NACHO MAMA'S MAC N CHEESE
About the Recipe
This is Scott Pasmore's favorite recipe in all my years at Good Morning Arizona. It's one of the few dishes he makes for himself at home! His version leaves out the veggies, but if you're going to make this one, please don't leave out the tortilla strips! They're a game changer!
1 lb. macaroni elbows
1 lb. ground beef
1 1/2 tbsp. McCormick taco seasoning
1 can Juanita's Nacho Cheese Sauce, medium heat (15 oz.)
1 cup half & half
16 oz. Mexican shredded cheese blend (reserve about 1/2 cup for garnish)
1 medium tomato, diced
2 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 large, chopped green onions
2 tbsp. diced jalapeños (canned or fresh)
6 corn tortillas
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. kosher salt
Using a large knife or pizza cutter, slice the tortillas into 1/2 " wide by 2" long strips. Heat the oil on medium heat in a medium saucepan. Fry the tortilla strips in batches, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and transfer to a dish that's lined with a paper towel. Sprinkle with salt as soon as they come out of the oil. Set aside until ready to use.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the macaroni elbows, boil for about 7 minutes until al dente, drain and set aside.
Heat a large skillet to high heat. Add the ground beef and season with the taco seasoning. Cook on high heat for 7-10 minutes, breaking it up as it browns and cooks through. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
In a medium saucepan, add the nacho cheese sauce, half & half and shredded cheese. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sauce is smooth, creamy and warm.
Add the macaroni to a very large mixing bowl. Stir in the cheese sauce and the cooked ground beef until combined.
Transfer to a large serving bowl and top with additional cheese, chopped tomatoes, green onions, cilantro and diced jalapeños. Serve immediately.