In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese

Spice up your mac and cheese with bacon and jalapeños!

Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese is a creamy, cheesy and flavorful dish that’s so easy to make. It’s literally a match made in heaven!

It’s also super easy to customize based on your preferences. If you want it spicier you can add more jalapeños or leave the seeds in, if you’re a vegetarian you can leave out the bacon, or if you don’t like spicy you can leave the peppers out.

Ingredients:

  • 8 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (we use panko)
  • 16 oz of cavatappi pasta (or elbow)
  • 4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 fresh jalapeños, seeded and sliced
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 oz cream cheese, cut into cubes and softened
  • 2 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups shredded American cheese
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F
  2. Cook your bacon in a skillet, then set aside to cool.
  3. Wipe skillet clean, then add olive oil. Add breadcrumbs and stir until browned. Set aside in small bowl.
  4. Cook your pasta until 1 minute shy of al dente and then drain and set aside. (if you want to prevent sticking, you can toss your cooked pasta with a little bit of olive oil)
  5. Heat large saucepan over medium heat and add butter. When it’s melted add your jalapeños, onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes while stirring often.
  6. Add the flour and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, constantly stirring.
  7. Whisk in half and half and milk. Simmer and whisk for several minutes to avoid clumps while it thickens.
  8. Remove saucepan from the heat.
  9. Add cream cheese, all but 2 teaspoons of shredded mozzarella, and all but 2 teaspoons of shredded american cheese. (If the sauce is too thick when the cheese is melted and mixed, add a few splashes of milk)
  10. In a large mixing bowl add cooked pasta, cheese sauce and all but 2 teaspoons of the bacon. Stir then add to your baking dish.
  11. Top with remaining shredded cheeses and bacon.
  12. Bake uncovered for 15 minutes.

If you want to make this ahead of time, you’re in luck. Prepare the dish as listed above, but refrigerate it before sprinkling the breadcrumbs on top. Then when you’re ready to make it (1 or 2 days later) let it sit on the counter for about 30 minutes, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs and cheese on top and bake as listed. Voila!

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