Table of Contents
Cajun Mac and Cheese
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup diced onion about 1 small onion
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons cajun seasoning
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
- 8 ounces large elbow macaroni
- 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- ½ cup milk
- In a deep skillet over a medium-high heat, cook and crumble ground beef. Once it's nearly cooked through, drain in a colander or blot excess grease with a paper towel
- Add onions, garlic, and Cajun seasoning to the beef mixture. Cook until onions are translucent, about 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the tomato paste.
- Pour in beef broth and one cup of water. Bring to a simmer.
- Add the uncooked pasta. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is al dente and the broth has cooked down.
- Pour in milk and cheese. Stir until the cheese has melted. Ladle and garnish with sliced green onions or fresh parsley if desired.
Expert Tips and Variations
- Adjust Cajun Seasoning to Taste: Cajun seasoning can vary in spiciness, so adjust the amount according to your preference for heat. You can start with the suggested amount and add more if desired.
- Use Low-Sodium Beef Broth: Using low-sodium beef broth allows you to control the saltiness of the dish. You can always add salt later if needed. If using ground chicken, you can also substitute the beef broth with chicken broth or chicken stock.
- Choose Quality Cheddar Cheese: Opt for a good-quality cheddar cheese for the best flavor and creaminess in your mac and cheese. While cheddar cheese is classic, you can experiment with other types of cheese such as Monterey Jack, pepper jack, or Gruyère for a unique twist on the dish.
- Add Vegetables: You can add diced green bell pepper, mushrooms, or spinach to the dish for added flavor and nutrition. Sauté the vegetables along with the onions and garlic until they're tender.
- Spice it Up: If you like your mac and cheese extra spicy, you can add diced jalapeños or red pepper flakes along with the Cajun seasoning for an added kick. Chili powder, black pepper, and cayenne are also great additions.
- Experiment with Pasta Shapes: While jumbo elbow macaroni is traditional, you can use other pasta shapes like penne, rotini, or shells for a different presentation.
- Make it Creamier: For an extra creamy texture, you can add a dollop of cream cheese or sour cream to the cheese sauce.