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Many would argue that macaroni and cheese is one of those sacred American dishes that just can't be tampered with.  I disagree.  I've done many things over the years -- some of them good, some of them not so good -- that would make some people reel in revulsion at my utter disregard for something as classic as mac 'n cheese.  Don't get me wrong, I like me some classic homemade mac 'n cheese to an extent, but it just doesn't do it for me anymore.  I get bored.  I've tried everything from tomatoes to hamburger to even turkey.  A guy I dated had a term for my perpetual experimentation: "mac 'n cheese blasphemy."  It's a term I embrace.  Our society needs blasphemers, and I'm happy to fill that role in my kitchen.

Since I moved to Houston, my taste buds have come to love anything with a Mexican or southwestern flavor.  An omelette isn't an omelette anymore to me without Ro Tel and fiesta cheese.  I can't even make a simple hamburger nowadays without throwing in some southwest chipotle seasoning.  So, naturally, being the mac 'n cheese blasphemer that I am, I wondered how I could make mac 'n cheese Mexican and/or southwestern.  The result?  The best mac 'n cheese I've ever had in my life.  Get ready to throw out everything you know about what makes good mac 'n cheese and have your life changed.  But first, the obligatory word from our sponsor:

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After Googling ways to give macaroni and cheese a southwestern flavor, I ran across this recipe from Betty Crocker.  I was more than a little skeptical at first.  Something about throwing corn and salsa in mac 'n cheese didn't seem right (and that's coming from a mac 'n cheese blasphemer extraordinaire).  But I decided to give it a try.  And God, am I glad I did.  Do yourself a favor: Bookmark this diary and try it.

Here's what you'll need: 2-1/3 cups of elbow macaroni, 1 cup of your favorite salsa, 1-1/2 cups of milk, 1 14.75-oz. can of cream-style corn, 1 11-oz. can of "fiesta corn" (corn with red and green peppers), and 8 oz. of cheese.  When it comes to the cheese, the recipe calls for cubed process cheese product loaf.  But I just bought an 8-oz. bag of shredded Mexican cheese, and it did wonders for the dish.

Making southwest mac 'n cheese is a very quick, simple process.  First, put everything except the cheese in a large skillet.  Even the macaroni.  Mix it all up and turn the stove on high.  Bring it to a boil.  Once it starts boiling, turn the fire down to medium, cover the skillet, and simmer a good 10 or 15 minutes (or until the macaroni is nice and tender).  Then, stir in the cheese.  Voila!  Southwest mac 'n cheese.  This is what it looks like when it's all done (tell me this doesn't make your mouth water):

I advise using a bigger skillet than I used, because as you can see, I made a mess on my stovetop!

When I made this dish, I cut some flour and corn tortillas into wedges and baked them to make homemade tortilla chips.  They went well with the mac 'n cheese.  Then, just mix up a margarita (or, if you're like me, two or three or four), and you have yourself a meal fit for the gods.

Try it.  Best mac 'n cheese you've ever had or your money back, guaranteed.  And it makes a crap ton, so if you live alone like me, you'll be eating this for several days (and not complaining, trust me).  Unless you have as little discipline around cheesy pasta products as me, in which case it's going to be gone in two days.

This is my "Oh My God This Is So F#$@%$& Amazing" face:

Chrislove approves.  Sooooo cheesy and flavorful!

How do you like your mac 'n cheese?

Now, On To The Top Comments!

A special thanks to this week's Top Comments contributors!

From bronte17:

LeftHandedMan speaks of opportunity and a second chance provided throughOccupyWallStreet in the diary Krugman Rocks #OccupyWallStreet! ... by bobswern.

From angelajean:

This comment [by Whimsical Rapscallion in The Troubador's diary] isn't getting a lot of attention but I really think it should.

From JG in MD:

Terrapin posted an important reminder to #OccupyWallStreet demonstrators everywhere in TomP's diary The Class War Out in the Open.

And finally, from yours truly, Chrislove:

In Mark E Anderson's diary on the growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, stunzeed delivers this delicious zinger.
In Clarknt67's diary on the NYPD's mistreatment of Occupy Wall Street protesters, Laurence Lewis draws some parallels between Dublin's 1916 Easter Uprising and the Occupy Wall Street movement.
In blue aardvark's jaw-dropping diary on Topeka's idea to legalize domestic violence to save money, Onomastic nails it with this comment.

Finally, Some Top Mojo!

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  5) Yes, yes you could by ontheleftcoast — 93
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  7) Forgive me, but I'd like to add this video again by Diogenes2008 — 89
  8) 90% off.  LOL  Lovin' the schadenfreude... by BarackStarObama — 88
  9) On my way to the Occupy Portland event today by Horace Boothroyd III — 86
10) Mot And Will by Tool — 84
11) Washington by Horace Boothroyd III — 84
12) "Where'd this come from? Not from nowhere." by stolen water — 84
13) More power to you guys. by One Pissed Off Liberal — 84
14) Nothing says summer like by Bindle — 82
15) Awesome Video! by allie123 — 78
16) Until we can hurt them politically, we don't exist by dkmich — 78
17) That is what they do to the homeless by Horace Boothroyd III — 77
18) transcript by Cedwyn — 77
19) Universal by CA Nana — 74
20) Peaceably assemble for redress of grievances by Neon Mama — 69
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23) Occupy Wall Street is so "confusing" by ten fingers — 68
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26) ...and for the love of God, will they stop by Eileen B — 63
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