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Kicked-Up Mac-n-Cheese

Mac and Cheese

Kicked Up Mac n’ Cheese

Before I dive in to my latest recipe, you may have noticed a change to the look of my blog.  There was something about the old format that I didn’t like.  Perhaps, its just my a.d.d. kicking in.  Either way, I think I like this theme better and I’m going to stick with it….for now.

Growing up I had my fair share of macaroni and cheese.  More often than not, it was the blue-box variety.  I’m not opposed to the orange powdery concoction, and on occasion I even crave it .  But most of the time I make it homemade.  While its bad for you no matter how you spin it, homemade has to be better than the chemicals out of the box.  Not to mention, I think it can be made from scratch in almost the same amount of time as the boxed kind (providing you don’t bake it)

When I make it homemade, I like to experiment with all sorts of cheeses.  If I have leftover cheese from a get together, in the melting pot they go.  Although I like to experiment, I typically stick to cheeses that melt easily. For me, Gouda, Fontina, and Cheddar work best.

For my latest attempt of this cheesy family favorite casserole, I  decided to bring some heat to the party by using pepper-jack.  I combined that with some bacon and diced jalapeno, for my kicked-up Mac-n-Cheese.

I think this recipe is a nice flavor and isn’t too spicy, but my step-son, who obviously likes it spicier wanted more heat.  That being said, this recipe is a guideline.  Feel free to use as much (or as little) spice as your (or your kids) heart desires.

Ingredients:

Bacon? Jalepeno?? Cheese???

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups of whole milk, brought to room temperature
  • 5 slices of thick cut bacon, cut in to pieces
  • 1 box of elbow noodles
  • 8 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 8 oz cheddar cheese, shredded
  •  1/2 of one jalepeno, diced, seeds and membrane removed (or kept intact for more heat)
  • 1 pinch of nutmeg

Cook bacon until crisp, drain on paper towel and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 and boil noodles according to directions.  Drain and add to a casserole dish.

Meanwhile, in a medium size pot, melt butter over medium low heat, add flour.  Stir and cook approximately 2 minutes (to make a roux).

Making a roux

Making the roux

Next, add milk and stir until warm and incorporated with the roux.

Add half of the cheese, stir until melted.

Add bacon and jalapeno, stir.

Add remaining cheese, except 1/4 cup and stir.

Step 2

All of the goodness mixed together

Once all the cheese is melted, add nutmeg and stir.

Pour over noodles and top with the remaining cheese.

Step 5

Ready to bake

Bake, uncovered 30 minutes or until top cheese is golden and bubbly.

Main

There’s bacon in there!

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