Getting My Mac On

52 macs in 52 weeks

June 23, 2020

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Week 16: Black Bean Pasta & Alfredo Mac

I am a big fan of Trader Joe’s. I like how everything they carry is their own label. I love how they have so many random, unique products. I really wish we had one here in the Tri-Cities. As it is, I get there once, maybe twice a year, either on my way home from Seattle or if I go Christmas shopping in Spokane. So when I do get to make a stop, my goal is to buy things that you just don’t see anywhere else. The Cauliflower Gnocchi are a big favorite, and the Cauliflower & Broccoli Veggie Patties are pretty good also. Unlike most of the rest of the world, I can take or leave the original Cookie Butter, but the Cookie & Cocoa Swirl is verrrryy yummy. And don’t get me started on the Dark Chocolate Peppermint Joe-Joe’s – I may never buy regular Oreos again. They don’t just have onion dip, they have Caramelized Onion Dip. And Truffle Dip. And English Cheddar Cheese with Caramelized Onions. And so many other tempting treats. Like Mac & Cheese Bites. Mmmmmmm. And no individual item costs very much … it seems like everything ranges between $1.99 – $3.29.

So you can maybe understand why the last time I was there, just about 6 months ago, I had 9 things on my list but when I left an hour and a half later I had 4 bags and had spent well over $100. I’m not ashamed. I just make sure I have a cooler and cold packs in the trunk.

One of the new things I brought home but hadn’t tried yet, was a bag of Black Bean Rotini Pasta. I hadn’t even conceived this year-long mac & cheese project yet, it just looked different and interesting, and I like black beans, so I thought “why not?” It’s been sitting on my pantry shelf ever since, and this week I decided to give it a go. I decided to combine it with a simple Alfredo sauce because (a) I thought the contrast would be pretty; and (b) I had all the ingredients on hand and it comes together pretty fast. As you can see, my decision-making process is really not very complex.

Black Bean Pasta & Alfredo Mac


  • 12 oz. bag Trader Joe’s Black Bean Rotini
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups shredded Parmesan, plus more for topping
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, add pasta, and cook 8-10 minutes. Drain and rinse.
  • Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  • Add cream and simmer approximately 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add cheese and garlic and stir until cheese is fully melted.
  • Top pasta with Alfredo sauce and additional shredded cheese


I liked it a lot! It very definitely tastes like black beans, so if you aren’t a fan, then this won’t be for you. I happen to really like black beans and always get them instead of refried beans at Mexican restaurants, so the taste was fine by me. (I mean, let’s be real here, it’s not going to replace regular macaroni noodles any time soon, but it’s an interesting and tasty way to switch it up occasionally.)

Posted June 22, 2020

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