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Cheesy Mexi-Mac

Serves 6

This recipe was tested by thousands of school students from coast to coast as part of a collaboration between Yum-o! and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Originally created to be served in schools, we’ve adapted the recipe here for you to try at home. Rachael also shared this recipe at the 2012 South Beach Wine & Food Festival Kidz Kitchen!

Would you like to see this recipe on your school lunch menu? Visit the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s website to learn how!


  • Salt
  • 1 pound whole wheat or whole grain rotini or penne with lines
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, divided
  • Pepper
  • 1 can diced green chili peppers (4 ounces) or 1/2 cup store-bought salsa
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and medium diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (a handful)
  • A small handful of fresh cilantro, finely chopped (optional)


  1. Pre-heat the broiler.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt the water and cook the pasta to al dente, according to the package directions (about 10-12 minutes total, depending on the brand).
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepot over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the stock and milk. Let the sauce thicken to coat the back of a spoon; stir in 2 cups of cheese, the diced green chilies, corn, red bell pepper and chili powder; season with salt and pepper.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss with the sauce. Adjust the seasonings, to taste. Place in a large casserole dish and top with the remaining cheese. Place under the broiler to bubble and brown the top and garnish with cilantro (if using).

Photo Credit: Burcu Avsar