Spicy White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

We all have our kitchen staples, you know, things that, when you run out, you finally pick yourself up off the floor to go buy at the grocery store. I must always have eggs, milk or cream, butter, sugar, cheese, and flour. Even when there is embarrassingly little to behold, my staples & I can conjure fresh baked bread or biscuits, homemade pasta, or some elaborate cupcakes for a guest.

This recipe for homemade mac & cheese is one of the recipes that I can throw together quickly with whatever-is-left. Sometimes I don’t have bacon. So what! I’ll use Italian sausage. I don’t have a jalapeno? Whatever. I’ll add a little extra sriracha and some potatoes. I’m sure you could make shredded chicken work deliciously (unleash that creativity!) or you don’t really have to include a meat at all! It’s delicious &  easy & everyone really loves it because it’s no doubt horrible for you 🙂

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Spicy White Cheddar Mac & Cheese
Pasta:
1 1/2 c. dry noodles, cooked al dente (use penne, rotini, mini shells, elbows, or whatever else)

Cheese Sauce:
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 1/2 c. milk
1 c. white cheddar, shredded (+ 2 T. for top)
1 T. sriracha sauce
salt & pepper, to taste

Filling:
1/2 onion, minced
1/3 c. corn
1 jalapeno, seeded & minced

Topping:
1/4 c. panko
1 T. butter
2 slices bacon, cooked & chopped
reserved 2 T. white cheddar

To begin, boil salted hot water & cook your noodle of choice to al dente following directions on package. Strain in a colander and set aside until further assembly.

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Meanwhile, we’ll begin the cheese sauce. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the flour, mixing in with the melted butter to make a smooth paste, cooking for just a minute or two.

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Pour in the milk. Add a dash of salt & pepper. Continue to heat until the milk simmers & starts to thicken, about 3-5 minutes depending on your stove. Once it begins to thicken, remove from heat and add the cup of white cheddar & the sriracha sauce. Stir to combine until all the cheese is melted to form a thick sauce. Add more salt, pepper, or sriracha to taste.

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Moving on to the filling…
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In a small saute pan, heat a little butter or oil. Saute onions until slightly browned, about 3-5 minutes. Add the jalapeno & the corn. Continue to saute for another 2-3 minutes. I like the veggies to have a little bit of crunch left to add a bit more texture to mac & cheese.

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Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Separate the noodles into two oven safe bowls or ramekins. Split the veggie mixture and cheese sauce evenly between the two bowls. Fold to combine. Add one piece of chopped bacon to each bowl.

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In one more pan (I know, right? I’m sorry you have so many dishes to do!) Melt one tablespoon of butter. Toast the panko until slightly browned.

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Evenly distribute on top of the bowls & add the reserve cheese. Place in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese melts on top and forms a toasty crust.

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Yum! Mix together with a fork and enjoy all the sweet and spicy flavors + all the different textures of this awesome mac & cheese.

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One thought on “Spicy White Cheddar Mac & Cheese

  1. This was close to what I have done. I was limited with my ingredients and decided to make something out of it. This looks like a scrumptious mac and cheese recipe that I would try in the future!

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