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.
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