Tuesday, October 30, 2012

At Home: Jalapeno Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

We had some left over jalapeño and Anaheim peppers from when we made chili as well as left over bacon from my breakfast quiche.  I thought it would be fun to put a twist on my classic baked macaroni & cheese dish by adding in these extra ingredients.  This Jalapeño Bacon Macaroni & Cheese dish kept us fed during Hurricane Sandy and is another great game day meal that Keith loved and I am happy to feature on What Micky Eats...At Home.

Jalapeño Bacon Macaroni & Cheese
  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp flour
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 10 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2½ cups milk
  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  • salt & black pepper, to taste

- Preheat oven to 350 and boil pasta to al dente.
- In a separate pan, melt butter.  Sauté jalapeño for 1-2 minutes.
- Whisk in the flour and milk until smooth. Simmer.
- Stir in all of the pepper jack cheese. Season with salt & pepper.
- Add in the bacon crumbles. Stir until well mixed.
- Fold the drained pasta in the cheese sauce.  Pour all into a casserole dish.
- Top with cheddar cheese.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking for another 10 minutes.

Make sure the bacon is super crispy, almost overcooked even, because it will rehydrate in the cheese sauce and you don't want it to be too chewy in the final product.  I used elbow shaped pasta, but you can use whatever you have on hand.  If your cheese sauce looks a little runny, be sure you used enough flour to thicken it up.  I mistakenly used 4 teaspoons as opposed to 4 tablespoons, and didn't realize it until I was cleaning up my measuring spoons.  Oh well!  It was still cheesy enough and the pepper flavor really came through.  We served the mac and cheese with some barbeque chicken made with Pork Barrel BBQ sauce, a local DC company who made it big when they went on ABC's Shark Tank.  I like their sweet flavor, which really complimented the jalapeno and bacon in the macaroni and cheese.  We had plenty left over - perfect for lasting through Hurricane Sandy and packing up lunches for our return to work.

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