I know I have mentioned this before, but I love experimenting with spicy or hot recipes. Growing up, we always had very basic flavoring. It was delicious, but my mom just doesn’t do spicy. Bryan and I love it though, so I decided it was time to make my Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese with a subtle kick – Jalapeño Mac and Cheese!
Like many of my recipes, this came about because of what I needed to use up in my fridge. I was going to make my Creamy Baked Mac and Cheese, but I had some jalapeños left over from our Tomato and Avocado Salsa on the 4th. Put these two things together and you get creamy mac with the perfect amount of heat from the jalapeños and the pepper jack cheese!
This heat of this recipe will completely depend on the jalapeños. 1, some jalapeños just have more heat than others. I always take a little bite to check the heat, and I recommend you do the same. 2, seeds is where the heat really is in the jalapeño. The more seeds you add, the hotter the recipe will be. I am someone who loves the flavor of jalapeños without too much heat, so I remove the seeds first and let a few stray seeds into the recipe. If you are someone that likes your food really hot, add more seeds.
- 4 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 small red onion - chopped
- ½ cup butter
- 6 tbsp all purpose flour
- 4.5 cups of milk (I use skim)
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cups pepper jack cheese, shredded
- 2 jalapeños, unseeded and diced
- 2 tsp ground mustard
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper (I usually add more because we are big pepper people)
- ¾ cup of Italian bread crumbs
- Preheat over to 350
- Cook pasta per directions and drain the water
- In a small skillet, I like to lightly saute the red onion and jalapeños for a few minutes. You do not want them to wilt. When done, turn off the pan and let them sit there until you need them.
- In a stock pot, melt the ½ cup of butter and then add the flour and whisk until blended (make sure the butter hasn't completely evaporated)
- Gradually add the milk while still stirring.
- Bring the mixture to a boil. Continue stirring to avoid any burning. The mixture should thicken slightly.
- Stir in the cheese, mustard, salt and pepper until smooth. I usually pour the first half of the cheese, stir well, and then pour the rest. Then, add the onions and jalapeños.
- Add the cooked/drained pasta into the sauce and stir well until all the pasta is coated
- Transfer the pasta into a greased 9x13 baking dish
- Sprinkle the bread crumbs evenly over the top of the dish. If desired, you could toss the breadcrumbs with some butter before adding to the top.
- Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
The best part of making the full size recipe is how much it makes for a reasonable price. It is perfect for a party or for having as leftovers like we do. This batch of Jalapeño Mac and Cheese got us 2 extra dinners and a lunch.