Ranch and Pimento Mac & Cheese #HiddenValleyIt
You know how I keep that iPhone list of recipes I want to create? Well, “Ranch Mac & Cheese” has been on there for a looooong time. Yes, creamy macaroni and cheese combined with the craveable flavor of ranch dressing. It’s happening. Today.
You see, ever since I started using packets of Hidden Valley ranch mix to jazz up Veggie Pizza Wonton Cups, I’ve been hooked on the flavor. I pretty much want to sprinkle it in everything (which my husband, the ranch fanatic, has no problem with). I love it because it adds a ton of tangy ranch goodness without adding lots of fat and calories. You know, if you were making a healthy dish.
Maybe when you’re already making macaroni and cheese, you forget about the fat and calorie bit, and just focus on flavor. Let’s do that. Everything in moderation, folks. I started with my go-to mac and cheese recipe. It’s creamy and decadent, with a rich béchamel sauce, extra sharp Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses, and a pinch of cayenne for spice. I had a long-neglected jar of pimentos in my fridge, so those went in, too. And, for yet another layer of flavor, a packet of Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix. I topped it with some crunchy panko breadcrumbs, baked it until it was bubbly, and then sprinkled on some sliced green onions for a little extra flavor.
In terms of iPhone recipe ideas-transformed-to-real life dishes, this is right up there on my list of favorites. It’s everything I love about my trusty macaroni and cheese recipe, made even more amazing by Hidden Valley. As soon as I finished eating it, I already started jotting down iPhone notes of ways to re-invent it yet again. 1.) Bacon. Because Bacon Ranch Mac & Cheese sounds too good to be true, right? 2.) Roasted Veggies. Because ranch mac & cheese is the definition of a crowd/kid pleaser, so why not sneak in some vegetables? Whatever version you decide to go with, please enjoy!
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 4 ounces shredded extra sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- 4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1 package (1 ounce) Hidden Valley Original Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup drained pimentos
- 3 green onions, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
- In small bowl, stir together breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup of each cheese; set aside.
- In large pot of boiling salted water, cook macaroni 9 minutes or until al dente; drain and return to pot.
- Meanwhile, in medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add flour and cook 4 minutes, stirring constantly with wooden spoon (do not let mixture start to brown). While whisking, slowly pour in milk in a steady stream. Cook 5 to 6 minutes or until thickened, whisking constantly.
- Remove milk mixture from heat; whisk in ranch mix, black pepper and cayenne pepper. Add pimentos and remaining cheese; stir until cheese is melted and everything is combined.
- Pour cheese sauce over macaroni; stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish; sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let stand 5 minutes; serve sprinkled with green onions.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
From dressings and dips to sandwich spreads and side dish solutions, the special blend of herbs and spices makes Hidden Valley the perfect addition to any recipe. For more delectable ranch recipes, visit www.hiddenvalley.com.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Hidden Valley Ranch. The opinions and text are all mine.