Mac and cheese is pure comfort food that is always welcome and I often enjoy kicking it up a notch with extra flavours like in this jalapeno popper mac and cheese! Jalapeno poppers are jalapenos stuffed with cheese, coated in breadcrumbs and fried until golden brown and crispy on the outside with melted cheese on the inside! Yum! This mac and cheese covers all of the flavours and textures of poppers from the cheese to the jalapenos and even the crispy bread crumb coating! Poppers are usually filled with cream cheese and/or cheddar cheese and this mac and cheese uses
plenty of both! The crispy breadcrumb coating is easy to add to mac and cheese by throwing it into a baking dish and topping it with buttered bread crumbs to bake until golden brown and crispy and all sorts of good! Sometimes jalapeno poppers are wrapped in bacon rather than being coated in crispy breadcrumbs and this mac and cheese includes bacon to cover that option, and let’s face it, I hardly need an excuse to add bacon to anything! Of course, the final ingredient is jalapenos, and plenty of them!
One with extra jalapenos, one without!
Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese
Easy to make gourmet mac and cheese with all of the flavours of jalapeno poppers including bacon!
- 1 pound pasta (such as macaroni or chiocciole) (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 4 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2+ jalapeno peppers, diced *
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup flour (gluten-free for gluten-free)
- 4 cups milk
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 3 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- Start cooking the pasta as directed on the package.
- Cook the bacon in a large sauce pan and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the large saucepan over medium heat, add the onion and jalapeno and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic, sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the milk and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the cream cheese and cheddar cheese and cook until the cheese melts.
- Mix the cooked pasta and bacon into the sauce, place in a baking dish (or dishes), sprinkle on the mixture of the panko and melted butter.
- Bake in a preheated 350F/180C oven until the panko is golden brown and the sides are bubbling, about 25-30 minutes.
Note: Use as many jalapenos as desired!
Option: If you have some that do not like a lot of heat, use 1 jalapeno pepper at the beginning, make the cheese sauce, mix in the pasta and bacon and divide into two portions to which you can add extra pickled jalapenos to one!
Option: Add 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin along with the garlic.
Option: Add 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika along with the garlic.
Option: Add 1 tablespoon dijon mustard after melting the cheese into the sauce.
Option: Skip adding the panko topping and baking and just eat the mac and cheese after mixing in the pasta and bacon.
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