A Real Macaroni and Cheese Recipe Southwest Style

You want a rich, authentic macaroni and cheese recipe that blows that mac-and-cheese-in-a-box stuff away? This is our cool-weather barbecue and "tailgater" smash hit.

Southwest Macaroni and Cheese Recipe

  • 4 slices of white sandwich bread (please, not that buck-a-loaf stuff) Tear into large pieces
  • 8 tbsp butter (1 stick) See note below *
  • 5 tbsp flour
  • 3 12 oz cans evaporated milk (36 oz total)
  • 2 tsp course salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (pre-grated Parmesan in a bottle does not have the flavor of real Italian block Parmigiano-Reggiano, period)
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded American cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 4 oz. can diced chilis

* For our macaroni and cheese recipe, we use either salted or unsalted butter. If you use unsalted butter, follow the recipe verbatim. If you prefer salted butter, use AA grade like Land O Lakes or Challenge and reduce the salt when boiling the macaroni to 2 1/4 tsp.

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat to 375°F/190°C
  2. Melt 4 tbsp butter, Put bread, melted butter, and Parmesan in food processor and pulse until you have course crumbs. Place mixture in separate bowl.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, melt remaining butter over medium heat until butter starts foaming. Add flour and stir constantly until light brown. Slowly whisk in evaporated milk, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and mustard. Cook until mixture begins to simmer and is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in cheeses and chilis until cheese melts.
  4. In large pot bring 4 quarts water to boiling. Add 2 tbsp salt and macaroni. Cook until al dente, or about 6 minutes. Drain and rinse macaroni in a colander under cold water. When thoroughly drained, stir in cheese mixture.
  5. Put all in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
  6. Serve and reap the accolades!

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