Marcia’s Spicy Macaroni And Cheese

 
Marcia's Spicy Mac N Cheese

 

Parties are great for catching up with people and when combined with food are often wonderful venues of for tasting new recipes. Such was the case at a recent gathering when our good friend Marcia shared one of her favorite recipes for Spicy Macaroni and Cheese. What makes this recipe so great is the variety of yummy cheeses she used, plus a couple extra spices not typically found in traditional Mac & Cheese recipes. I’ve just got to add, this is one super creamy and cheesy pasta you’re really going to love!

 

This mac n cheese is a great pepper jack recipe.

Here’s one of Marcia’s secret ingredients.

Marcia uses “Pepper Jack” along with Colby and Cheddar cheeses, plus she adds Cayenne pepper to spice it up a little more. Personally, I like a little “heat” in my food, but I know some people avoid spice at all costs. If spice is a issue in your household, you could easily exchange the Pepper Jack for more of the other cheeses and skip the Cayenne altogether. However, until you’ve tried it, you may not believe how delicious this tastes when prepared exactly as written. Besides, Cayenne pepper is good for you! To check out it’s many health benefits, see this page at the CayennePepper.info.

 

Without further ado, here’s Marcia’s Monstrously Magnificent Spicy Mac N Cheese:

 

Ingredients

 

Time to whip up some macaroni and cheese.

Don’t forget to check your spice supply. You’ll want mustard, nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper and salt.

2 cups elbow pasta, uncooked (see below for additional instructions)

8 ounces Pepper Jack, cubed

8 ounces Colby, cubed

8 ounces Cheddar, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 shredded

2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder

1/2 teaspoon Cayenne pepper

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

4 tablespoons sour cream

1 large egg, beaten

1 cup half-and-half

1 cup heavy cream

4 slices bread (or use Panko bread crumbs see below)

1 tablespoon butter

 

Directions

 

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 55 min

Level: Easy

Serves: 6 to 8 servings

 

Draining my pasta with a strainer.

Oops! I was all set to make this recipe and didn’t have the right pasta. You want elbow macaroni, though I have to say this penne pasta made a perfectly good substitute.

Start by cooking the pasta al dente. You want to error on the side of undercooking it, meaning it should still be a little chewy and more resistant at the center when you bite into it.

 

Next up: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

 

After draining the pasta, combine it with the Pepper Jack and Colby cheese cubes and pour into a 2 quart baking dish.

 

I'm adding all my spices.

It’s time to add my spices. I’ll start with the cayenne.

In a large mixing bowl, add in the flour and all the spices, including the salt, black pepper, Cayenne pepper, dry mustard, and nutmeg.

 

Now, combine in the liquids, including the sour cream, egg, heavy cream, and half-and-half. Stir well, and then pour over the pasta. Note: The half and half and cream make this super rich and creamy, but if high fat is a concern in your diet, try substituting milk or part milk. It won’t be as rich, but should still be delicious.

 

I'm grating my Pepper Jack cheese.

If you find grating easier than cubing, you can always do that, or buy the pre-grated cheese in your deli.

Finally, sprinkle the shredded Cheddar over the top.

 

Baking

 

Bake about 35 minutes uncovered, until the top begins to brown.

 

Time to pop this mac and cheese in the oven.

You can whip up the croutons while you bake or just use the Panko bread crumbs.

While the macaroni is baking, you can make your own croutons. (If you prefer an easier option, see the alternative below.) To make the croutons, first cut the bread into crouton-size cubes. Next, place a skillet on medium heat. Melt the butter and then add the bread cubes and toast until they start to turn golden. You’ll want to keep stirring these to keep them from scorching. Once the macaroni starts to brown as specified above, sprinkle the croutons over the top and bake about 10 more minutes or until golden brown.

Alternative to croutons: Rather than making croutons, Marcia also recommends sprinkling Panko bread crumbs over the top. You’ll probably want to start with 1/4 to 1/2 cup. According to Marcia, using pre-made Panko is much easier and just as delicious. Now, bake about 10 more minutes as suggested above.

 

Submitted by Marcia Olson. Thanks Marcia!

 

If you like spice, you may also want to try these Javabird recipes:
Simple Spicy Artichoke Dip
Not Your Grandmom’s Tuna Melt
Chili Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies
2 Bean Chicken Chili Soup
Chili Cheese Cornbread
Spicy Chicken Curry Cashew

 

 

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