HomeDinnerBacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese Recipe

Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese Recipe

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Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese Recipe

Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese is a delightful twist on the classic comfort food. Combining crispy bacon, spicy jalapeños, and a creamy, cheesy sauce, this dish offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. It’s a surefire hit for any occasion, from family dinners to potluck parties.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese recipe is a flavor explosion in every bite. The smokiness of the bacon complements the heat from the jalapeños, all enveloped in a rich and creamy cheese sauce. Plus, it’s easy to make and can be ready in under an hour.

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Ingredients Overview

Pasta

  • Pasta: Elbow macaroni or any short pasta of your choice.

Cheese Sauce

  • Butter: Unsalted for the base of the roux.
  • Flour: All-purpose to thicken the sauce.
  • Milk: Whole milk for a creamy texture.
  • Cheddar Cheese: Sharp, grated.
  • Monterey Jack Cheese: Grated for extra creaminess.
  • Cream Cheese: Adds richness and smoothness.
  • Garlic Powder: For added flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.

Bacon and Jalapeños

  • Bacon: Thick-cut, cooked until crispy.
  • Jalapeños: Fresh, seeded and chopped.

Essential Kitchen Tools

  1. Large Pot: For boiling the pasta.
  2. Skillet: For cooking the bacon and jalapeños.
  3. Saucepan: For making the cheese sauce.
  4. Baking Dish: For baking the mac n cheese.
  5. Whisk: For the cheese sauce.
  6. Colander: For draining the pasta.
  7. Wooden Spoon or Spatula: For stirring.

Step-by-Step Preparation

Cooking the Pasta

  1. Cook the Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 12 ounces of elbow macaroni and cook until al dente, about 8-10 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Preparing the Bacon and Jalapeños

  1. Cook the Bacon: In a skillet over medium heat, cook 8 slices of thick-cut bacon until crispy. Remove from skillet, drain on paper towels, and chop into small pieces.
  2. Sauté the Jalapeños: In the same skillet, add 2-3 chopped jalapeños and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Set aside with the bacon.

Making the Cheese Sauce

  1. Start the Roux: In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and cook for 1-2 minutes until it forms a paste and bubbles slightly.
  2. Add the Milk: Gradually whisk in 4 cups of whole milk, continuing to whisk until the mixture thickens, about 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the Cheese: Stir in 2 cups of grated sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup of grated Monterey Jack cheese, and 4 ounces of cream cheese. Whisk until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Add 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Combining Ingredients

  1. Mix Together: In a large bowl, combine the cooked pasta, cheese sauce, chopped bacon, and sautéed jalapeños. Stir until everything is evenly mixed.

Baking Instructions

  1. Preheat the Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Bake: Transfer the mac n cheese mixture to a greased baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and golden on top.

Serving Suggestions

Serve your Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese hot, garnished with fresh chopped parsley for a pop of color. Pair it with a simple green salad or steamed vegetables for a complete meal.

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Tips for Success

  • Cheese Quality: Use high-quality cheese for the best flavor and texture.
  • Cook Pasta Al Dente: Slightly undercook the pasta since it will continue to cook in the oven.
  • Control the Heat: Adjust the number of jalapeños based on your heat preference.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Different Cheeses: Try using Gruyère, Gouda, or Pepper Jack for different flavors.
  • Vegetarian Option: Skip the bacon and add more vegetables like bell peppers or mushrooms.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free pasta and flour.

Storing and Reheating

  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Reheating: Reheat in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until warmed through, or microwave individual portions.

Nutritional Information

Each serving of Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese (based on 6 servings) has approximately:

  • Calories: 650
  • Protein: 25g
  • Fat: 40g
  • Carbohydrates: 45g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 6g

Conclusion

Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese is the perfect comfort food with a kick. The creamy cheese sauce, combined with smoky bacon and spicy jalapeños, creates a dish that is both indulgent and satisfying. It’s easy to make and guaranteed to be a hit with family and friends.

FAQs

1. Can I use pre-shredded cheese? Yes, but freshly grated cheese melts better and provides a smoother sauce.

2. How can I make it less spicy? Use fewer jalapeños or remove all the seeds to reduce the heat.

3. Can I prepare this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble the mac n cheese, cover, and refrigerate it. When ready to bake, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking.

4. What can I use instead of bacon? You can use pancetta, turkey bacon, or a vegetarian bacon alternative.

5. Can I freeze this mac n cheese? Yes, assemble the dish without baking, then freeze. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as directed.

Source: butteryourbiscuit.com

Yield: 6

Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese Recipe

Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese Recipe

Bacon Jalapeño Mac n Cheese is a delightful twist on the classic comfort food. Combining crispy bacon, spicy jalapeños, and a creamy, cheesy sauce, this dish offers a perfect balance of flavors and textures. It's a surefire hit for any occasion, from family dinners to potluck parties.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces pasta
  • 1/2 lb bacon I used Cherry wood smoked bacon
  • 1-2 jalapenos diced
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 3 cups half n half
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup Mozzarella cheese
  • 1-2 teaspoon Salt according to taste
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • Panko topping
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • 3 tablespoons butter melted

Instructions

  • Cook pasta 2 minutes under al dente. (It will cook more in the oven) strain and set aside.

  • In a small bowl with melted butter add Panko crumbs, parmesan cheese, and butter mix and set aside.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • Chop raw bacon up into bite-size pieces. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat and cook bacon until crispy and let drain on paper towels.

  • In the same cast-iron skillet, drain all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add butter, diced jalapeno, and cook just until soft about 1 minute. Add flour and whisk together for about 30 seconds to cook the flour a bit. Reduce heat and add half n half and whisk until all clumps are out.

  • Turn off heat and add shredded cheese and cooked bacon and whisk until combined. Add cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and mix. Add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Pour mac n cheese into a baking dish, or leave in cast iron skillet fold in mozzarella cheese and top with Panko crumbs.

  • Bake for 20 minutes

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