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Double Jack Mac

This spicy mac and cheese recipe came about when I asked my two sisters what they would like to add to mac and cheese to make it special. One said pepper jack cheese and the other said black beans. I liked both of the ideas and this is the result. The black beans add color and nutrition. The pepper jack cheese adds zip and fun. —Andrea Johnson, Freeport, Illinois
  • Total Time
    Prep: 25 min. Bake: 25 min.
  • Makes
    6 servings


  • 1 pound small pasta shells
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 8 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • Additional minced fresh cilantro


  • Cook shells according to package directions.
  • Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, saute onion in butter. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  • Add the cream cheese, Monterey Jack cheese, pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, salt, cumin and pepper; cook and stir until cheese is melted.
  • Drain pasta. Add the beans, bacon, cilantro and pasta to the cheese sauce. Transfer to a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with Mexican cheese blend.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 375° until bubbly and golden brown, 25-30 minutes. Garnish with additional cilantro.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • Unless otherwise specified, Taste of Home recipes are tested with lightly salted butter. Unsalted, or sweet, butter is sometimes used to achieve a buttery flavor, such as in shortbread cookies or buttercream frosting. In these recipes, added salt would detract from the buttery taste desired.
  • Sharp cheddar cheese has been aged longer than regular cheddar. As cheese ages, its flavor becomes more pronounced. Using aged cheese in a recipe can add complexity and rich flavor, even to humble favorites like mac ’n’ cheese.
  • Check out our top 10 mac and cheese recipes.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1-1/2 cups: 837 calories, 41g fat (24g saturated fat), 123mg cholesterol, 1283mg sodium, 79g carbohydrate (8g sugars, 6g fiber), 37g protein.

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