This month we selected a recipe submitted by our own Marc Westenberger, Cordata Co-op cashier/customer service wiz. He makes this dish at home as an easy weeknight meal, and was very excited to have his recipe selected. He was also eager to taste the recipe prepared by someone other than him. He likened it to writing a song and then hearing someone else singing it. (FYI – he gave the thumbs up for my preparation!)
Customer response was great to his recipe – many thought it tasted like enchiladas, and others thought it tasted like an Hispanic flavored mac and cheese (which it pretty much is!). It was a big hit with kids and parents – the kids thought it tasted great, and the parents loved that it was a quick, nutritious meal! Once again, I had “repeat” tasters, and also garnered comments and support when I came into work this morning – it was still on people’s minds!
I prepared the recipe for samples at Cordata using whole wheat elbows in bulk, OG Washington yellow onion, OG local garlic, the Australian Cheddar that is one of our Member-Only deals this week (tomorrow is the last day for this special $1 off price!), Have’A Corn chips, and Oregon’s own Sweet Creek Foods Mild Enchilada Sauce. Because I opted for the local, organic enchilada sauce, my cost was at $12 instead of $10, but I feel that local and organic is worth two more dollars, and I love to introduce people to Sweet Creek because they are such a fantastic company.
I strayed from the recipe by sautéing the onions, garlic and spices as the pasta cooked, so I added my “Sassified” instructions at the bottom of the recipe. I added 1/2 t of chili powder to spice it up just a tad, although you could certainly add more if you like it hot! You can also make this gluten-free – just use the brown rice pasta (corn would also be tasty) and Sweet Creek’s enchilada sauce is gluten-free (the others are not). Also, be sure you pick a corn chip without any gluten ingredients (Have’A Chips are not GF).
Mexironi and Cheese Casserole
2 cups Elbow macaroni
1 can Enchilada sauce
1/2 cup Green onion or Yellow onion, chopped
2 ½ cups grated Cheddar cheese
1 large clove garlic – peeled and minced
1 cup crushed tortilla/corn chips of your choice
Salt to taste
Hot spices to taste (cayenne, hot sauce, chili peppers, or whatever you have on hand). Start with a 1/4 t—you can always add more, but you can’t take it back!
Optional (see note below): Well drained cooked ground beef or cooked, shredded chicken, frozen corn or peas, GF enchilada sauce and brown rice elbow pasta, cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cook macaroni al dente (about a minute or so less than the package directions—you want the pasta to still be a little stiff), drain and place back in pot. You should have about 4 1/2—5 cups of cooked pasta.
3. Add enchilada sauce, 1 ½ cups cheddar (a handful at a time), onion, garlic, any optional ingredients, salt to taste and whatever hot spices you like (to taste) and stir to combine. Make sure your pasta is still warm so the cheese doesn’t clump—it is best to add it in handfuls and mix thoroughly.
4. Place in oiled 9” x 13” baking pan.
5. Sprinkle crushed corn chips (about a third of the bag) over mixture and top with rest of the cheese.
6. Bake, covered with tented foil, at 350 degrees for 25 minutes and then uncovered until crust is golden brown (about 10-15 minutes more)
Side Dish suggestion: Green salad
Note: optional items may bring cost over $10. This recipe is very open to interpretation—if you think something would be great in it, add it!
Complete steps 1 and 2.
- While pasta is cooking, sauté onion in 1 t oil in large skillet until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add garlic, salt and any optional spices, and sauté until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
- Add any other optional ingredients (corn, beef, chicken) and sauté until warmed, about 1 –2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add enchilada sauce and mix to combine. Add mixture to drained pasta, and add cheese in handfuls—mix until combined and proceed to step 4.
You can also find a PDF versions of all of my demo recipes and Meal of the Month recipes here.