Chipotle Mac & Cheese and Tex-Mex Meatballs

This is another great dish (or two dishes) to try during cold weather months, and is especially great for football-watching-food. I posted this on Grub for Guys a couple years ago. Enjoy and let me know what you think….

Two Spicy Dishes That Explode With Flavor:Chipotle Mac & Cheese and Tex-Mex Meatballs w/Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

Guys, if you like spicy food the way I do, I’ve created two dishes that you’re going to love. Skill level is easy to moderate on the mac & cheese, and a bit more complex for the meatballs, but worth it. I’ve tried to give you a classic mac & cheese with a twist, and a summery, fiery meatball dish that is different and made for the bold taste buds of the common dude. Enjoy!

Chipotle Mac & Cheese

8 oz. macaroni
4 small to medium chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely chopped
1 cup whole milk
8 oz. sharp cheddar cheese
8 oz. Monterey Jack cheese
¼ cup flour
½ stick butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook macaroni, drain and set aside. Melt butter in large skillet, then add flour and stir for about 20-30 seconds. Add milk and whisk to break up chunks of flour mixture. When mixture is warm and starts to thicken, add cheese. Stir until cheese melts, and then add chipotle peppers. Put cooked macaroni in a large bowl, and pour cheese mixture over it. Stir to combine and then pour into a greased casserole dish. Bake for about 20 minutes or until top is lightly browned. Serves four, or like previous recipes I’ve posted here, two very hungry guys.

Tex-Mex Meatballs w/Spicy Tomatillo Sauce

For Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef
2 medium ears cooked corn on the cob
2 jalapeno peppers
¼ cup chopped cilantro
1 Tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 slice white bread, cut into cubes and soaked in ½ cup milk

For Sauce
3-4 tomatillos, papery skin removed and rinsed
1 jalapeno pepper
¼ of a large red onion
¼ cup chopped cilantro
½ medium avocado
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. black pepper
juice of one lime

For the sauce, spray the tomatillos, two jalapenos (one for sauce, one for meatballs) and red onion with cooking spray and grill over medium heat until the skins on tomatillos and pepper turn brown and begin to blister and onion lightly browns. Cut off tough core of tomatillos and remove the stem and seeds of jalapenos. Throw the vegetables in a blender, saving one jalapeno for the meatballs, and add remaining sauce ingredients. Blend for a few seconds until smooth.

For the meatballs, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the corn off the cob, and chop the remaining grilled jalapeno. Combine in a large mixing bowl along with beef, cilantro, chili powder, salt and pepper. Then take the soaked bread and add to the bowl, discarding the milk. Mix thoroughly with your hands and shape into 1 ½ inch meatballs. Brown meatballs in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 3-4 minutes. Then move meatballs to a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about ten more minutes, or until cooked through.

Pour some sauce on a plate and top with a few meatballs. You should have about 20 meatballs in all, which will serve between two and four people. Serve with a frosty Mexican beer, and trust me, you’ll need it to wash down both of these dishes!


Hot meals for winter months

Okay, so we moved from balmy Nashville to frigid Madison, Wisconsin in April–right after the thaw. And so now we are experiencing our first blast of winter–which arrived with a fury right after Thanksgiving. It’s not so much the snow that is difficult to take–it’s the insane cold and wind chill. It’s 24 degrees right now and feels warm. Well, whatever…we chose to move here and the best part about the cold weather is making warm–no, piping hot–comfort food. Even if you’re a dude, you can enjoy stuff like these two oven dishes I created on’s Grub for Guys last year……

As the weather gets colder, we men retreat to the den and watch sports in the comfort of an easy chair. To sustain ourselves, we spoon up big bowls of rib-sticking hot casseroles. Below are recipes for kickass chicken and rice, and a dish that has everything manly in it except the kitchen sink. And yes, that includes beer.

Dude Casserole
Casseroles might bring to mind Betty Crocker, church potlucks or, well, the women who usually make them. But we’re here to put some testosterone in casseroles…not literally, mind you, but with four types of meat (including bacon), cheese, macaroni, cream of mushroom soup, jalapeno peppers and BEER among the ingredients, this casserole is made for the common man. It’s especially for the common man who likes to watch football and bulk up in the winter months. Make this for your buddies and you will suddenly have more buddies the next time you cook, I guarantee it.

1 lb. Elbow macaroni
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (we use canola)
2 slices bacon, chopped
1 lb. Ground beef
2 bratwurst (we like Johnsonville stadium brats), chopped
4 pre-cooked breakfast sausage patties (spicy kind if possible), chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, trimmed, seeded and chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, trimmed, seeded and chopped
1 tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
6 oz. beer
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
½ cup milk
2 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 cup ketchup
½ cup canned corn
1/3 cup sliced black olives (optional)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
Salt & Pepper to taste

Spray a large casserole dish or 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cook macaroni according to package directions and set aside. In a very large, deep skillet, heat oil over medium/high heat. Add bacon, beef, brats, sausage, onion and peppers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. When beef is browned and onion and peppers are softened, add chili powder, garlic powder, then beer. Stir occasionally and let simmer until beer is almost completely absorbed, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile combine cheese, soup, milk, soy sauce, and ketchup in a large bowl. Stir pasta, corn and olives into soup mixture and add salt and pepper to taste. Add that mixture to meat mixture, and then dump everything into the casserole dish. Bake, covered, for 25 minutes. Remove cover, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake for 5 more minutes. Serve hot. Serves 4 hungry dudes.

Kickass Chicken & Rice
Chicken and rice go together like football and beer. And while we’re not advocating eating a football, you get the idea—it just works. Here we take this dynamic duo and add some creamy chicken soup, cheese and other bright flavors to make another great hot dish for a cold day.

1 pound boneless chicken breast tenders
salt and pepper
Cooking spray
1 can cream of chicken soup
½ cup milk
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 cup white rice
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup French fried onions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and coat with cooking spray. Sprinkle tenders with salt and pepper and brown in skillet for 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine soup, milk, cheese, Worcestershire sauce, onion power, parsley and more salt and pepper to taste. Spray a large (preferably a short and wide) casserole dish with cooking spray. Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with rice, and add more if it doesn’t quite cover the dish entirely. Place chicken tenders on top, then sprinkle peas on top of chicken. Then pour soup mixture evenly over everything. Cover and bake for 35-40 minutes or until soup is absorbed by the rice and chicken is completely cooked through. Uncover and sprinkle with onions, and bake for another 5 minutes. Serve immediately, and serves 2-4, depending on how hungry everyone is.


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