We’ve got a twist on a classic comfort food- it’s a Southwestern creamy baked macaroni and cheese with green chiles and bacon. That is Shan’s recipe because she is a macaroni and cheese connoisseur and that means that she’s an expert in the field!
Make a Milk and Cheese Mix
Start with 3 tablespoons of butter, melted and sift in 3 tablespoons of flour. Whisk that until it’s really good and smooth. Now, we’re going to stir in 2 cups of cow juice. Put that over medium heat and keep stirring until it gets to the consistency of a really thick cream.
At this point, go ahead and stir in 2 cups of sharp cheddar. I’m gonna add this a little bit at a time while I’m stirring that way it doesn’t knot up quite so badly. You’ll see, there’s some cheesy goodness taking place!
Add Bacon and Green Chilies to the Mix
I have taken 6 slices of really good thick cut bacon that I have cooked and chopped. If you don’t have thick cut, increase the amount of bacon by a few slices ’cause you can never have enough bacon in something. Go ahead and stir the bacon into the cheese mixture along with a 4 oz. can of chopped green chiles. The best brand you can get is Hatch, if you can find them at your local store. Be sure you don’t drain the juice for more flavor. I’ve also found that the whole green chiles in the can have more flavor and you can chop them yourself.
When you have that all incorporated it is time to season. What makes macaroni and cheese jump up three levels and hit you in the head? Red River Ranch Original Seasoning. You ain’t got it? Get you some here. There’s a little garlic in the seasoning which adds great flavor to any mac and cheese.
Next, I’ve cooked 3 cups of large dry elbow macaroni and we have cooked them till they are “al dente” (just slightly firm). Mix the macaroni mix in with the cheese and bacon mix and let’s give it a good incorporating.
Bake the Macaroni and Cheese or Serve as It Is
At this point, you could just serve the macaroni as it is, but I like to take it up a notch and bake it with a Ritz cracker topping.
Pour the mac & cheese in the Dutch oven (or casserole dish). Sprinkle the top with 1 cup of shredded Mozzarella (you can use any type of cheese but we like Mozzarella because it’s a good melty cheese).
Crumble up a sleeve of Ritz crackers and stir in 3 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the crumbs on top and now we’re ready to bake it.
This is a really easy Dutch oven recipe because everything’s already cooked. You just need a little light heat on the bottom to keep it warm and a good amount of coals on the top. You’ll bake it just until the top cheese melt and the cracker crust lightly browns (watch our video below to see how we cook this outdoors with coals).
If you’re in the house- bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
Now you’ve got a grown-up Mac and Cheese with a little Southwestern flavor!
Watch Us Cook Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Green Chiles and Bacon
Baked Macaroni and Cheese with Green Chiles and Bacon - Cowboy Kent Rollins
- 3 cups dry large elbow macaroni
- 6 strips thick-cut bacon
- 6 tablespoons butter divided
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cups milk
- 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 4 oz can chopped green chiles (Hatch is best)
- Red River Ranch Original or salt and pepper
- 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers crumbled
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 3 cups of large dry elbow macaroni. Cook the macaroni until cooked thru but firm to the bite, stirring occasionally. Drain.
Meanwhile, add the bacon to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy. Cool on a paper towel and then chop.
In a pot, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add the flour. Whisk together until smooth. Whisk in the milk and continue cooking until the consistency becomes like a thick cream, whisking frequently.
Slowly whisk in the cheese until melted and smooth. Stir in the bacon and green chiles (do not drain the juice from the chiles). Season with Red River Ranch Original or salt and pepper, to taste.
Slowly add the cooked macaroni and stir until well coated.
Place in a 10-inch Dutch oven or casserole dish. Top with Mozzarella cheese.
Combine the crackers and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Sprinkle on top of the macaroni. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the crust is lightly browned or with coals.