Thursday, April 19, 2012

Tex Mex Mac & Cheese

Tex Mex Mac & Cheese
Dorcas Annette Walker

It felt like a lazy summer day as I took a moment to swing in my woods watching the chickens scratch around in the dirt clucking contentedly. Everywhere I looked was a vision of spring color. Delicate violets carpeted the ground in my orchard and other shady spots. My lettuce, beets, carrots, peas, and potatoes had popped out in the garden. It seemed like warmer weather had come to stay. Then overnight like an April fool’s joke the temperature plunged down to freezing up here on the mountain as cold north winds blew scattering flower petals everywhere. Not just one night, but a couple days in a row making one feel like winter had returned as I’ve kept my wood stoves burning day and night. Again I had to grab my warm jacket when going outside to make sure the animals stay safe and warm.

As though disgruntled by the cold weather, my hens started pecking at one of my beautiful white ducks that have lived together side by side for over a year. And when one hen starts to pick and jab it seems like the entire brood joins in on the hapless one. By the time I discovered what was going on the hens had surrounded and stripped a good portion of the feathers off my poor duck. Talk about a sorry sight. I was good and mad as I waded in the bunch of hens threatening to wring any neck that stood in my way letting them know exactly what I thought of their behavior. Dana helped me rescue the ducks relocating them in my enclosed garden.

When all the feathers and dust had settled, those attacking hens reminded me of gossip. All it takes is one whispered comment or exaggeration and before you know it everyone is talking about a certain person. By the time the unfortunate one realizes what is going on their reputation has been ruined and they are left vulnerable like a sitting duck. Meanwhile my ducks think they have arrived in paradise after being switched from a barren dirt chicken yard to a garden full of bushes and plants with a goldfish pond to swim around in. They spend their days hunting bugs and playing in the pond.

My Tex Mex Mac & Cheese will warm up your insides during cold days with its zesty spicy south of the border zing providing you with extra vitamin C to ward off colds and flu while giving your immunity a boost during spring weather changes. You can add green chilies or Tabasco sauce for more heat if you like your food extra hot. For meat lovers brown and crumble up hamburger or sausage and/or include pepperonis. Either way my Tex Mex Mac & Cheese will grab attention each time it is served. Preparation time for my Tex Mex Mac & Cheese is thirty-five minutes and this recipe serves four.

Tex Mex Mac & Cheese

1 (12 oz) box of shells & cheddar cheese
1/3 c frozen seasoned onions & peppers
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes drained
¼ c jar salsa cheese

Cook shells according to the directions adding the onions. Drain macaroni and stir in the tomatoes and cheeses. Keep on low heat until the cheese is completely melted. Serve hot!

Weekly tip: Adding a tb of cooking oil when preparing macaroni or noodles will keep the pot from boiling over and prevent the noodles or macaroni from sticking together!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Tennessee Mountain Cookin blog at:

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