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Say Queso!

As a chef, most people think I go home after a long day of work and eat high-end meals to satisfy my late night hunger pangs. However most chefs I know have a weak spot for some instant products. High on that list is ramen as well as macaroni and cheese. I have been known to agree. It’s quick, it’s food, it gets the job done. I am not one to like functional food, but it has played a star role in allowing me to continue on with my mission of feeding the masses under strenuous circumstances.

It can get boring. There are nights when it hits you that you spent an entire day paying minute care to ingredients such as 5-year-old parmesan, grass-fed pork belly, perfectly ripe apricots, fresh ground cardamom… Only to eat an entire blue box modified food starch, buttermilk solids and yellow number five. Some nights when I have felt a little frisky I have added in a few grinds of black pepper or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

growing edgeI thought for Our Growing Edge this month I would go a bit farther and come up with a way to inject some life into a quick pantry staple. Our host this month is Hannah from Love the Little Bakery. She is a young self-taught baker that tries until she gets it right. My experiment is not really in the baking realm, but I do hope our host can appreciate it. My entire thought process was to use lower key ingredients to create something very tasty. Without further ado I would like to walk you through my version of Mexican Mac and Cheese.

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Mexican Mac and Cheese

Ingredients
1 can whole kernel corn
12 oz breakfast sausage
1/2 onion, minced
1 tsp minced garlic
2 boxes of instant mac and cheese
1 stick of butter
1/2 cup milk

1 pkg taco seasoning
1 cup shredded mexican cheese mix
2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 avocado, diced
Sour cream, for garnishing
 
Directions
Heat a skillet over high heat and saute the corn until golden or slightly charred.  Set aside.  Cook the breakfast sausage and mash with a potato masher until it resembles ground beef.  Set aside.  Heat oil in a small pan and saute the onions over a medium heat for about 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and saute for an additional minute.  Set aside. 
Prepare the macaroni according to the box instructions, using the butter and milk.  Stir in the taco seasoning and the shredded cheese.  Remove from the heat and incorporate the corn, sausage, onion, garlic, tomato and avocado.  Stir well.  Serve garnished with sour cream.
 
Yield 6 portions
 

To do this “gourmet” style I would use a high-grade pasta, homemade cheese sauce, craft mexican chorizo, corn cut fresh from the cob, fresh garlic, homemade spice mix and real mexican queso.  Either way, this dish was ridiculously good tasting.  It would be great in small portions for parties or one giant bowl for midnight splurges.

None of the brands in the pictures are endorsements, I used what I had, other brands would likely work just as well.  I do hope this inspires all you readers out there to think (please forgive the pun) outside the box.  As they say in Mexico, “Provecho!”.

Until next time…

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3 responses to “Say Queso!

  1. Yum. I love the idea of giving a classic a new flavour twist. I’ve done something with similar flavours with the addition of beans and mince. Cheap and hearty!

  2. Pingback: Our Growing Edge Round Up: September 2015 | love the little bakery

  3. Pingback: Refrigerator Ramen | The International Poor Chef School Project

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