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Southwestern Macaroni and Cheese with Adobo Meatballs

An Olive Oil Recipe

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Prep Information

Prep Time

35 minutes

Cook Time

25 minutes


6-8 people


  • 2 teaspoons jalapeno pepper (powdered) or use fresh finely chopped jalapenos to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Chipotle Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Organic Butter Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups low fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • salt
  • white pepper
  • 1 cup green chilis (canned, diced)
  • 3 Tablespoons adobo seasoning (if your brand has salt, cut the amount in half)
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 3/4 lb. lean ground beef or turkey


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Bring a big pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add macaroni and cook for 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
  • In a large bowl, combine ground meat with adobo seasoning and jalapeno powder or fresh finely-chopped jalapenos. Roll into small 1-inch meatballs. Heat Chipotle Olive Oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned all over. Remove to drain on paper towels. The meatballs don't need to be completely cooked as they will finish cooking in the oven.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, heat the Organic Butter Olive Oil for about 1 minute. Stir in the cream, sour cream, Cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, cotija cheese, garlic powder, and cilantro. Bring to a simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the cheeses have completely melted. Be patient. Season to taste with salt and white pepper.
  • Stir the cooked macaroni and diced chilis into the cheese sauce, and pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Slice the meatballs in half, and place onto the pasta, cut side down.
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the meatballs are no longer pink in the center, about 25 minutes.
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