Mac and Cheese just says "comfort food" to me! And in the middle of winter sometimes you just need some cozy, cheesy food to stuff your face in and try and forget those "healthy" New Year's Resolutions you thought you could keep. Am I right? Ha!
Now, I don't want to sabotage anyone here....but if you need a cheat meal, here it is!
Cheesy goodness baked with jalapenos, onions, and bacon. Come to mama!
I'm usually pretty lazy when I make mac and cheese, and it usually ends up being some roasted veggies mixed with macaroni with a bit of butter, and then cheese grated over top. Ha! So fancy. This was a nice change, and something that you could get ready ahead of time and keep in the fridge until you're ready to cook it!
[Baked] Jalapeno Macaroni and Cheese
recipe by: Kelsey & Jordyn Siemens
yields: 5-8 servings
Cook the macaroni al dente, drain, and set aside.
On medium heat, melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the chopped onions and cook until almost translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Reduce the heat to medium-low, and whisk in flour and spices. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Very slowly whisk in your milk.
Turn heat to medium-high (more medium than high though), and stir continuously until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Keep stirring and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until mixture thickens.
Remove from heat, and stir in all but one cup of cheese (save that for the top!), chopped jalapeño peppers, and bacon.
On medium heat, melt butter in a medium saucepan and add in your bread crumbs. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until browned.
Grease your pan. (I used a large Le Creuset oval baker, but you could use anything you'd like. You may want to adjust the amount of crumbs you use on top if your dish is super shallow or smaller and deeper.)
Mix together the cooked macaroni and cheese sauce. Pour into your pan, and sprinkle with the leftover cup of cheese, bread crumbs, and finally the rest of the chopped bacon.
Cook at 375 degrees for 20 minutes, or until bubbling.
3 1/2 cups uncooked macaroni
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp dried mustard powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cups milk
3 medium finely chopped jalapeño peppers*
6 strips cooked bacon, chopped
2 cups grated old cheddar cheese
1 cup grated havarti
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Note: Mix the 3 cheeses together in a bowl, and take out approximately 1 cup to save for the topping.
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter
2 strips of cooked bacon, chopped
1 cup of blended cheese (from the above cheese mixture)
**The amount of jalapeños you use may vary with their spiciness. Test a bit of your peppers as you are chopping them, and add more if they are milk...and less if they are super hot. The seeds add lots of heat too, so adjust according to your taste buds.
Also...let's just say that mac and cheese is not the most photogenic thing to photograph! Haha. I'm so used to doughnuts and cake that this was surprisingly difficult. I can assure you that it truly does taste better than it looks. ;)