Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

Original post is here.

Ingredients

2-3 jalapenos, seeded and diced (I’ve always used 3 and could probably be okay with a 4th. Husband would probably prefer more than that or a spicier pepper used)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

Cream cheese, 1 block (8 oz)

2 cups milk

1 cup water

8 oz dried pasta

8 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese

1/2 cup bread or cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400*.

In a large skillet, saute peppers with garlic powder and salt, cooking until softened (about 5 minutes).

Stir in cream cheese. Mix until until melted.

Add milk, water, and pasta. Bring to boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium or until the pasta is cooked through. Stir regularly.

Add in cheese; stir to melt.  Transfer pasta/cheese mixture to an oven safe pan.

In a small bowl, mix crumbs with oil to evenly coat.  Add to the top of your mac and cheese.

Bake for 5-10 minutes or until brown on top.

Notes

The original post calls for 1 medium onion, diced, to be cooked with the jalapeno in step one.  Husband isn’t a big fan of onions and I force them on him in enough other meals that I figure I’d spare him on this.

Usually makes 4-5 servings, depending on how hungry we are.

I’ve done some variations.  I’ve added bacon before – 6 slices just chopped up and mixed in.  I’ve switched pastas – penne, cavatappi, rotini.  Monterey jack cheese as listed sometimes or switched with cheddar or colby-jack or pepper jack depending on my mood.  Most recently I used the Monterey jack cheese and added slices of pepper jack cheese on top of pasta/cheese mix and below the crumbs.

I have made this on several occasions and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite meals.  It doesn’t take too long to make, not too difficult, and is super delicious.

Crab Macaroni and Cheese

New recipe! Original can be found at this site.

 Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups macaroni

6 oz claw crab meat (I used 1 8 oz package of imitation crab meat)

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cup milk

3 oz fresh Parmesan cheese

8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese (The original post suggests using a block cheese because it melts better but says to grate it and see the notes section below for my cheese issues)

1/4 cup bread crumbs (What the post suggested, I used more like a 1/2 cup because 1/4 didn’t cover well enough)

1 large shallot chopped finely (I didn’t use)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook macaroni according to directions. Drain. Add crab and set aside.

In a sauce pot, melt butter on medium heat.  Add shallot if applicable and saute until fragrant.

Sprinkle with flour and mix well. Slowly pour milk into pot while stirring.

Grate white cheddar into the milk mixture. Add salt and pepper while stirring slowly until the cheese is melted.

Pour cheese mixture in with mac and crab.  Add half the parm cheese and stir well.

Transfer to lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Notes

I wanted to make this meal because Fiance’s band played at a bar that I know from previous experience has amazing crab mac & cheese. I decided not to spend the money for it out and wanted to make it instead.  I should have just bought it out.

I had some cheese issues. I don’t know if it’s the brand I chose or the fact that I cut the cheese rather than grated (I don’t have a cheese grater and didn’t see that while the recipe called for a block of cheese, it needed it grated anyway) but my cheddar just did not cooperate.  It essentially melted but then solidified.  So I had this gooey blob of cheese that just didn’t give the right consistency.  Even after melting with the pasta for a half hour, there were still pieces of macaroni that didn’t have any cheese on it – just the milk and butter than spread around.

I in general just always have mac and cheese issues.  I can’t eat store bought boxed mac and cheese anymore without feeling sick – I pretty much lived on it when a previous job cut my hours and I was too depressed and broke to really do much else.  Previous attempts to make mac and cheese usually don’t end up going my way.

Made about 6 servings by the way.

Macaroni and Cheese

I know I’ve been slacking.  I’ve continued to try out new recipes, not quite as much as I’d like but usually at least once new recipe a shopping trip.  It’s the posting about it that I’m awful at.  So here’s a catch up from longer ago than I care to admit.

 

Macaroni and Cheese

Original can be found over here.

 

Ingredients

1 8-oz package of elbow macaroni (I usually don’t pay much attention to the suggested type of macaroni but in this case, no, mac and cheese needs elbows)

2 cups milk

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 teaspoon onion salt (yeah I skipped this)

2 10-oz blocks sharp cheddar cheese

1 cup soft plain breadcrumbs

1/4 cup butter or margarine

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook macaroni following package directions.  Drain.  Set aside.

Place milk and flour in quart jar, cover tightly, and shake vigorously for 1 minute.

Stir together mixture, 3 1/2 cups of cheese and macaroni.

Pour into 13×9 baking dish.

Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and remaining cheese. Drizzle with melted butter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Notes

I didn’t do the whole jar thing.  I mixed my milk and flour in the baking dish before tossing in the cheese and macaroni.  It seemed fine to me.

I was disappointed in the breadcrumbs.  I’ve got to talk to my mom, she manages to make them congeal (I guess would be the word for it) so it’s less grainy.

I used an already shredded 16-oz package of sharp cheddar cheese.  I tasted plenty cheesy enough and didn’t seem worth buying the blocks and shredding myself.

But it’s mac and cheese and definitely a whole lot better than Kraft or other instants so it’s a win.