I am not sure how I came up with the idea for this recipe… it’s entirely possible it just found me. Whatever the case, it combines two of my favorite things: Trader Joe’s Carnitas and macaroni and cheese. Even better, this recipe cooks up in less than 30 minutes. Perfect for those busy nights or when you want a delicious weekend lunch in a jiffy.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- One box of elbow macaroni or penne pasta
- One small wedge of Beecher’s cheese (mine was just under 1/2 pound or 8 ounces)
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups milk, depending on desired cheese thickness
- 1 package Trader Joe’s Pork Carnitas (look for these where they sell meat in the refrigerated section)
Start by bringing a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
Let’s talk a minute about these carnitas, shall we? They are SO GOOD and easily one of my top 10 favorite items to buy at Trader Joe’s. They are fully cooked and all you need to do is heat them in a microwave and shred. That’s it! They are delicious topped on slider buns with Trader Joe’s Corn Salsa, or in tortillas or on salad. Bottom line: if you haven’t tried them yet, you need to!
For today’s recipe, you’re just going to heat them up and shred them, just like it says on the package. I did this while my pasta was cooking.
Next up: the cheese sauce! I decided to do a white cheddar mac ‘n cheese, so I opted for Beecher’s flagship. Of course, you could go with any other cheddar or white cheddar of your choice.
I just shredded mine with a grater and it crumbled right up.
Melt the butter and flour in a pan over medium heat.
Once the butter starts to bubble, drop the cheese in by small handfuls and add about 1/2 cup of milk. Stir until melted. Continue until all the cheese is melted. If you’d prefer a thicker sauce, use less milk. For creamier sauce, add more. I opted for more on today’s recipe.
By this time, your pasta should be ready. Drain.
Next, combine your pasta and sauce.
Now comes the best part: fill a bowl with the pasta and top with a good helping of the carnitas. If you’d like, you can add a dollop of your favorite sauce. (I have to say, I preferred it without the sauce and felt it had plenty of flavor as is.)
This recipe should make a good 4-5 helpings. I hope you enjoy it! Looking for more recipes using Trader Joe’s ingredients? Perhaps try this one: