Whenever one of my boys comes home to visit the first thing they want me to cook is good ol’ macaroni and cheese. This time around, my youngest has returned home for a few weeks from his travels abroad. His request… Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese. Now there’s a variation I can get excited about!
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that my go-to Mac and Cheese recipe has Velveeta in it. I know, I know, many of you might be thinking “yuck.” Or maybe not. Maybe some of you are like, “hell yeah, bring on the Velveeta!” Besides, I’m guessing if you’re half way interested in this recipe, you’re probably not looking for a healthy version of macaroni and cheese. Why bother? It’s Mac and Cheese after all! I believe a splurge every now and then is a good thing, especially when it’s shared with my gallivanting son.
I’ve been making the basic recipe for this macaroni and cheese for as long as I can remember. It always turns out creamy, no worries about curdled or grainy cheese sauce. I believe you can thank Velveeta for that. It’s super simple, no roux to make. Just heat butter, milk and cheese in a sauce pan and pour it over pasta. If you want to get all fancy you can add bacon and jalapeño like I did this time around. Then pop it in the oven for a bit and voila, dinner is served.
This Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese is soooooooo good, I hate to admit we ate it all in two days. Diet starts tomorrow!Print
Bacon Jalapeño Mac and Cheese
Basic Mac and Cheese
- 1 16. oz. box pasta (I like to use cavatappi or penne pasta)
- 2 Tbls. butter
- 2 C. milk
- 8 oz. bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese (+ more grated cheese if you want to use some on top of the casserole for a cheesy crust)
- 4 oz. Velveeta cheese, cut up into chunks
For the add-ins
- 1 lb. bacon, diced
- 5 jalapeños, veins and seeds removed, sliced
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Cook pasta according to package directions, except cook about 2 minutes less. You want the pasta al’ dente so it will soak up some sauce. Drain when cooked and set aside.
- Cook bacon in large saucepan. Remove from grease and let drain on paper towels.
- Drain grease from pan (leave about a tablespoon in the pan) and then add jalapeños and sauté a couple of minutes to soften them. CAUTION: turn on your fan! And be careful, the spice will make you cough! Remove jalapeño from pan and set aside with the bacon.
- In medium saucepan, melt butter, then add milk and heat.
- Add cheeses and continue to heat over medium heat, stirring, until cheese is melted and combined.
- In large casserole dish, combine pasta, cheese sauce, bacon and jalapeños.
- Top with additional grated cheddar cheese, if desired. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Let sit about 5 minutes before serving.
It will look like you have too much sauce when you combine the pasta with the sauce, but if you undercooked the pasta, some of it will get absorbed, yet still be creamy.
You may need a little salt & pepper depending on your preferences.