What does one do with left over fajitas when there aren't enough left for a full meal? Make Cheesy Fajita Pasta of course! This is a super easy way to jazz up pasta in a jiffy. Any type of fajitas would be great in this dish... I used home made vegetable fajitas (I'm a vegetarian), but you could certainly get great results with fajitas that contain meat or seafood in addition to veggies. Use your home made left overs or restaurant left overs for equally delicious results. This dish truly qualifies as comfort food. The cheese sauce is my Grandma's recipe revised to be Gluten free. It comes out perfect every time. You can top this dish with whatever you have on hand that suits your fancy. I used sour cream, homemade Pico de gallo, and pickled jalapenos. Some other suggestions are olives, avocado slices, and salsa. If you have kids who would find this dish too "daring", try what I did last night. I made the cheese sauce WITHOUT adding the fajitas, and spooned the plain cheese sauce generously over bowls of hot pasta. Voila! A kid friendly (and "picky adult" friendly) Mac n' Cheese. They LOVED it! I then stirred the fajitas into the remaining cheese sauce for my hubby and I. We garnished each bowl to suit our individual taste, and everyone was happy. :) If you have any cheese sauce left over (with or without fajitas added), save it! It makes a quick and satisfying soup for lunch the next day. To make the soup simply stir milk into cold sauce 2 Tbsp. at a time until it reaches a creamy consistency that appeals to you. Microwave for 1 minute on high. Stir. Microwave for one more minute or until hot. Stir again and serve. Another use for the leftover cheese sauce? Heat cheese sauce in the same manner as for soup, but do not add milk. This makes a YUMMY topping for nachos! Gotta love the many uses for Grandma's awesome cheese sauce!
Cheesy Fajita Pasta - Gluten Free
1 16oz bag Gluten free pasta (I used Tinkyada Penne
but any shape would be fine)
1 stick butter (8 Tbsp.)
7 Tbsp. sweet rice flour
2 tsp. salt
4 cups milk
4 cups shredded cheese (I used sharp cheddar and parmesan shredded by hand, not from a can)
1 tsp ground GF mustard
1 tsp. paprika
black pepper to taste
1 cup (give or take) left-over fajitas (sliced veggies such as sweet red peppers, green bell peppers, onions, sauteed over medium high heat in light olive oil until crisp tender. Add approx. 1/4 cup water and season with spices such as garlic and onion powder, salt and black pepper, oregano, paprika, chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked down.)
Sour Cream, salsa and pickled jalapenos and/or other toppings as desired for garnish.
Prepare pasta according to package directions (cook only until al dente, which is usually around 12 minutes for Tinkyada). Meanwhile, melt butter in a medium sauce pan over low heat. When it is melted whisk in sweet rice flour and salt. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes until very bubbly. Gradually whisk in milk. Increase heat to medium high. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil, and continue stirring for 2 minutes. Decrease heat to low. Whisk in ground mustard, paprika and black pepper. Stir in shredded cheese. Continue stirring over low heat until cheese is completely melted. FOR PICKY KIDS: (and/or picky adults!) use the cheese sauce as it is at this stage over pasta for a traditional Mac n' Cheese. Re-heat left over fajitas in microwave for 2 minutes on 70% power. Stir into cheese sauce. Ladle over bowls of hot pasta. Garnish with sour cream, salsa and pickled jalapenos if desired. Yield: 4-5 servings