I love mac and cheese. There’s little that says comfort food better than a casserole dish of warm, bubbly, cheesy pasta goodness. But my usual version is time consuming and not something I can usually manage as a weeknight dinner when I walk in the door ready to gnaw off my own hand I’m so hungry. That’s when I turn to this beautiful little shortcut known as Velveeta. Now I know a lot of food snobs that turn their noses up at processed cheese. But whatever insults they may heave in its direction, the simple fact is that very little melts BETTER than Velveeta. Which makes it ideal for all kinds of things from dips to a stovetop mac and cheese. In the last few years, they’ve come out with a few other varieties, including 2% (a lifesaver as far as I’m concerned) and among them a lovely pepper jack. I’ve been meaning to adapt it to a mac and cheese recipe with a kick and finally got around to it this week. And honey, let me tell you, it was fantastic. And fast. And at 676 calories, 25.6 grams of fat per serving (it makes 4), it’s pretty reasonable for a homemade mac and cheese. So I’m definitely passing it on to Ruth for Presto Pasta Nights!
- 1 box whole wheat medium pasta shells
- 16 oz. pepper jack Velveeta cut into cubes
- 1 can rotel tomatoes
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup roasted red peppers, diced
- 6 oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Bring a large pot of water to boil.
- Meanwhile, brown your pound of ground beef.
- Drain and rinse the beef with very hot water.
- Salt the water.
- Toss your pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente (probably about 12 minutes, but check package instructions).
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat and saute the peppers and mushrooms.
- Add the rotel to the peppers and mushrooms.
- Reduce heat to medium, and add the Velveeta and stir until melted. It should look like cheese dip when you’re done.
- Drain your pasta.
- Add the beef and stir until well incorporated.
- Add the pasta and stir well.
- Dish it up and enjoy!