Welcome to the first post in a lovely series we are preparing especially for you, Traeger Nation! THE ULTIMATE TRAEGER SIDES. Over the next 10-12 weeks we will be featuring the most iconic sides in Barbecue. Think baked beans, smoked coleslaw, corn bread and more! To kick off the series we are bringing you Mexi Mac & Cheese.
Smooth and creamy, with the perfect amount of spice this meal will please the young and the young at heart. This mac & cheese made the list of the Ultimate Sides because it is easy to prepare and can cook right along side whatever tasty entree you have on your Traeger.
Mexi Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 to 40 minutes
Serves: 4 to 6
Pellet recommendation: Hickory
Nonstick cooking spray
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
2 cups (8 ounces) uncooked macaroni
2 cups half and half
1 pound (16 ounces) Mexican-style Velveeta®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Spray the inside of a 2-quart casserole dish or baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Pour the melted butter over the tortilla chips and stir to coat the chips. Set aside.
Cook the macaroni according to the package directions in a pot of salted water until just barely tender. (Subtract 1 or 2 minutes from the recommended cooking time. The macaroni will continue to cook on the Traeger.) Drain the macaroni in a colander.
Return the pot to the stove and add the half and half. Heat over medium-low heat. Gradually add the cubed cheese, stirring until it melts completely, about 5 minutes.
Pour the drained macaroni back to the pot and stir gently until the macaroni is coated with the cheese sauce and no clumps remain.
Tip the macaroni and cheese into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the buttered tortilla chips on evenly on top.
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the casserole dish directly on the grill grate and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the tortilla chip topping is golden brown. Let cool slightly before serving.