As a father, I know how hard it can be to introduce new (especially healthy) foods into kids’ diets. But as a chef, I am dedicated to teaching my son all about where his food comes from, and having him try as many new foods as possible to broaden his palette. I think it’s the same in just about every house, but mac n’ cheese is definitely a favorite for us. A really easy way to introduce new ingredients to your kids is to simply add them to dishes they already know and love. This recipe for mac n’ cheese, which incorporates chorizo and tomato sauce, is a great way to incorporate some protein and veggies and trust me, your kids (and the adults in the house) will love it.
I know that time is a big factor when it comes to choosing meals to make for the family. Everyone’s working and has hectic schedules, that’s why I love to include kids in the cooking process, so that we’re all spending time together when we sit down to eat, but also before when we’re in the kitchen. My son loves to cook with me and feel like he is contributing. When I was growing up, it seemed like we were always in the kitchen, making breakfast, lunch, then dinner with family members coming in just to grab snacks and taste whatever was cooking on the stove. These are such great memories for me and by including your kids in the preparation of their food, you’ll not only get that extra time to connect with them, but the kitchen is also where you can learn a lot of valuable life lessons (I definitely learned my fair share while cooking with my mom and grandmother).
I hope y’all enjoy this dish and the time spent with your loved ones.
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WHAT YOU NEED
- 16 ounces macaroni
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 10 oz roll Cacique® Beef or Pork Chorizo
- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 to 2 chipotles in adobo, minced
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1⁄4 cup all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups milk
- 1 12 oz package Cacique® Manchego, shredded
- 1 12 oz package Cacique® Cotija, crumbled
- Salt and pepper
- Vegetable oil or butter, to grease the baking dish
HOW TO MAKE IT
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9 x 13inch baking dish. Cook the macaroni according to package directions.
- While the macaroni is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the Chorizo and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, for 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and continue cooking until the onions are tender, approximately 5 to 6 minutes. Sprinkle with the cumin and ancho chile powder and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chipotle in adobo and beans and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.
- While the sauce simmers, in a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat. Sprinkle with the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the milk gradually, stirring all the time to prevent lumps from forming. Add the shredded Manchego and half the crumbled Cotija. Cook, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, until the cheese melts (the Cotija won’t melt all the way.)
- When the macaroni is done, drain it and stir it into the cheese sauce. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
- To assemble, put a third of the Chorizotomato sauce in the bottom of the prepared pan. Top with half the mac and cheese, then another third of the Chorizotomato, the rest of the mac and cheese, and the remaining chorizotomato. Sprinkle the top with the remaining Cotija. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbling. Serve warm.