Monday, May 17, 2010

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese

By now you all know that I love the flavor combination found in jalapeno poppers. I’ve stuffed the ingredients into chicken, and more recently on top of a delicious burger, but I thought it was high time I combined them with one of my ultimate comfort foods: macaroni and cheese.

I’m almost certainly not the first person to think of this. But seriously -- jalapeno popper mac and cheese? It just doesn’t get any better than that. I think I gained about twelve pounds just looking at this macaroni and cheese, but it was so worth it. This is so amazingly delicious! Cooking the jalapeno peppers right in the roux really distributes their flavor through the entire cheese sauce, so you get the spice in every single bite. Add some bacon for saltiness, some cream cheese for extra creaminess, and a topping of buttery crackers for a crispy element, and it's pretty much comfort food heaven. I really can’t wait to make this again!

Jalapeno Popper Macaroni and Cheese

1/2 pound bacon
1 pound cavatappi pasta
1/4 cup butter
2 large jalapenos or 4 small jalapenos, finely diced
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
3 cups milk
4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
5 ounces cream cheese
1 cup bread crumbs or crushed Ritz crackers
3 tablespoons butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook bacon to desired crispness; drain on paper towels, crumble, and set aside.

3. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain.

4. Meanwhile, melt 1/4 cup butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add jalapenos and cook for 3 minutes, or until they’re slightly softened. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper, and Worcestershire sauce, until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Add milk; heat to boiling and stir constantly for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in cheddar cheese and cream cheese until melted and smooth.

5. Add cheese sauce and bacon to pasta and mix gently. Transfer to a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

6. Combine 3 tablespoons melted butter with the bread crumbs or crackers; sprinkle evenly over the top of the macaroni and cheese.

7. Bake for 20 minutes or until topping is slightly browned.


dining room set said...

This is going to be a hit at home! My kids will definitely like this new twist of their favorite mac and cheese.

Mrs. Ca said...

Man, I want to eat this, like, yesterday! It sounds so good!

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Luke Wherry said...

Hey, I hope you don't mind, but we stole your photo and watermarked it so others wouldn't steal it from us. That way we can make money off of your photo! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

This was delicious! I didn't include the bacon or the crackers on top and it was still awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Luke Wherry's post just shows how much of a a**h*le he is

Erin | Better Than Doing Laundry said...

This was amazing. I halved the recipe and served it right from the pan - no baking. Made it for a friend who is a huge jalapeno popper fan and he LOVED it!

Anonymous said...

This is amazing!! I didn't realize I was out of milk.. I used 2 cans of chicken broth and extra flour. Wow. Still very creamy! Can't tell milk is not used. Thanks!!