Double Jack Mac
This spicy mac and cheese recipe came about when I asked my two sisters what they would like to add to mac and cheese to make it special. One said pepper jack cheese and the other said black beans. I liked both of the ideas and this is the result. The black beans add color and nutrition. The pepper jack cheese adds zip and fun. — Andrea Johnson, Freeport, Illinois
Total TimePrep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min.
- 1 pound small pasta shells
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/4 cup butter, cubed
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
- 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
- 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Additional minced fresh cilantro
- Cook shells according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute onion in butter. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
- Add the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, cumin and pepper; cook and stir until cheese is melted.
- Drain pasta. Add the beans, bacon, cilantro and pasta to the cheese sauce. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese blend.
- Bake, uncovered, at 375° until bubbly and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Garnish with additional cilantro.
Test Kitchen Tips
Nutrition Facts1-1/2 cups: 837 calories, 41g fat (24g saturated fat), 123mg cholesterol, 1283mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 6g fiber), 37g protein.
Originally published as Two Jacks and Black Bean Mac in Taste of Home Cookbook Contest 2010/2011