Jalapeo Popper Mac And Cheese
The BEST Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese youll ever try! Extra creamy, loaded with bacon, cream cheese, jalapeños, and kicked up a notch with TABASCO® Sauce, this delicious and easy mac and cheese is sure to be a new favorite! Bacon lover? Make sure to try this Baked Bacon Cheese Dip and Slow Cooker Green Beans with Bacon!
Sponsored by TABASCO® Brand.
Mac And Cheese Tip #: Its All About The Cheese
But you already knew that, right? Not all macaroni and cheese recipes are created equal. Our recipe is all about that cheesy triple threat combo! Our mac and cheese recipe gets a major flavor boost from Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese! A mouthwatering mixture of medium white cheddar cheese, sharp cheddar cheese and medium cheddar cheese, Tillamook Triple Cheddar Cheese makes ours the very best mac and cheese recipe out there!
How To Avoid Grainy Cheese Sauce:
- The type of cheddar makes a difference. High quality aged cheddar cheese will give you a stronger taste and smoother texture. More mild and inexpensive cheddar cheeses will have less flavor and almost a grittier taste.
- Use fresh grated cheese. Pre-shredded store-bought cheese will not melt the same as freshly grated cheese, and grating the cheese helps it melt smoothly and evenly in the sauce.
- Bring the cheese to room temperature. I like to grate the cheese very first, before moving forward with the recipe. That allows it to sit at room temperature while I prepare the white sauce.
- Use low heat. In order for the cheese to melt properly and smoothly we want it to have gradual changes in temperature . When its time to add the cheese to the white sauce, remove the sauce from heat and let it cool for a few minutes. It only needs to be warm enough to melt the cheese.
- Dont over-stirthe sauce once the cheese has melted. Add the noodles and quickly assemble in pan and put into the oven.
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My Love Of Lighter Baked Homemade Mac And Cheese
Who doesn’t love homemade mac and cheese! When my older kids were younger, I loved when their friends came over and I offered them mac and cheese. The kids never had homemade mac and cheese! They were all mesmerized by the color and taste! The kids love my mac and cheese!
The kids go home and then I got the calls from their Moms, why did I ruin it for them, mac and cheese not out of a box, why! I made a lot of make and cheese during those years. They were half kidding, but not really! I certainly didn’t want to upset my friends
So it began, after getting a mac and cheese call, I’d make a batch of my low-fat mac and cheese for that family and attached the recipe!
Tips For The Best Homemade Baked Mac And Cheese
- Use block cheese and shred, do not buy the pre-shredded cheese. The pre-shredded cheese is great for so many things but not macaroni and cheese. Its coated and wont melt properly. You need to shred it yourself for the best result.
- Cook your pasta to slightly less than al dente, about one minute shy is perfect. The reason is that this is baked mac and cheese so the pasta will continue to cook in the homemade cheese sauce in the oven. You dont want soggy macaroni.
- I used elbow pasta but really, any tubular past will work.
- This mac and cheese recipe starts with a roux. The roux is super important to getting the creamiest cheese sauce of your life. Here is what you need to look for:
- The roux is whisked together until bubbly and golden.
- Whisk in cold milk not warm to prevent the flour from clumping.
- Cook the roux until you see bubbles on the surface and then continue cooking for an additional 2 minutes before adding the cheese.
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Trishs Tips And Tricks
- Make sure you have all of your ingredients chopped and measured out beforehand. This is a basic cooking must-do, but one that I must remind myself to do on a consistent basis!
- Every cooktop and range is different. If you feel like something may overcook or not cook enough, feel free to change the heat settings or the timing of something and check for the doneness of the ingredients instead. This is especially important in soup.
- Add extra broth or water when the consistency of the soup is too thick for your liking. I like to keep extra water around because I tend to find some soups too salty and strong, so adding some water is a go-to strategy for me. Much of this is personal preference, so taste your soup often to make sure you like it. On the other hand, if you would like to thicken your soup, make a quick slurry by whisking together 1 tablespoon of cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of liquid and then whisking into the soup.
- I use a mandoline for slicing the potatoes. It takes about one minute to have them all perfectly and uniformly sliced.
I add a bit of crushed red pepper flakes to the soup as well as a bit of salt and pepper. Totally optional. The soup already has a lot of salt from the bacon and heat from the spicy Italian sausage so feel free to omit if youd like.
I know youre going to go crazy for this one pot Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana soup! Less dishes is always a good thing
Cooking Tips For Baked Mac And Cheese
- Boiling the pasta cook the pasta less than you normally would. I like to boil my elbow pasta for between 4 and 5 minutes. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, and you dont want it to get mushy.
- Use room temp liquids if you can cold liquids generally take longer to thicken than warmer ones. I usually set my milk and half and half out while the water for the pasta is coming up to a boil.
- The cheeses use your favorites! Our personal favorites are the cheddar and gruyere used in this recipe, but you can be very creative with the cheese selection here. Mozzarella, gouda, smoked gouda, swiss, monterey jack, colby jack, colby. There are plenty of reader comments down below the recipe that talk about the cheeses they used!
- Shred your own I know its a pain, and its SO tempting to use the pre-shredded cheese in the bags. But those bags of cheese contain a starchy substance that keeps the cheese from clumping which also prohibits it from melting as well as it should.
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How To Make Mac And Cheese:
Homemade macaroni and cheese is seriously simple to make! With the help of pre-shredded cheese, it truly is a straightforward process that ends with a gloriously creamy pan of mac and cheese that you will love! Heres how its done:
- Preheat your oven and place the rack in the centerthis rack placement ensures an even, golden brown crust on top of your creamy mac and cheese!
- Cook your pasta just one minute shy of al dente. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so this keeps it from becoming mushy.
- Make a two-ingredient roux! Butter and flour is all youll need for this step to make a simple rouxaka, the base of your homemade cheesy cream sauce.
- Slowly, slowly add some whole milk to your roux, whisking as you go. The more slowly you add the milk the thicker the sauce will be.
- Add Tillamook Triple Cheddar Shredded Cheese, salt, pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder and stir to complete that luscious, silky sauce!
- Add the macaroni to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
- Top with buttery panko and extra cheese and pop that baby in the oven!
And there you have it, easy mac and cheese! I personally enjoy my serving slathered in sriracha, but it also pairs well with green peas, a big salad or with a few green apple slices on the side! Sometimes I go crazy and sprinkle the finished mac and cheese with a little parmesan as well.
Special Equipment Used In This Recipe
- Box Grater remember, the best mac starts with freshly shredded cheese!
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Post has been updated in September 2019 with new photos and additional information.
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @the_chunky_chef on Facebook and Instagram!
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What Type Of Cheese
This classic mac and cheese recipe is made with cheddar cheese. I particularly love medium or sharp cheddar cheese but any type will do. If you want a more luxurious mac and cheese or youre really trying to impress a crowd, you could use a combination of different cheeses. Just be sure to select a type of cheese that is good for melting, like white cheddar, smoked gouda, gruyere, brie, goat cheese, mozzarella, or fontina.
Can I Freeze Macaroni And Cheese
I get asked that a lot and my answer is always no. As the pasta and cheese sauce sit, it will thicken and when you thaw it and bake it, the creamy consistency is just gone. Its thick and gloppy. Plus if you freeze it and its still a bit warm, water crystals will form and then thaw into your dish and could make it separate when you bake it. Besides, its so fast to make, theres not really a reason to freeze your macaroni and cheese.
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Can You Freeze Baked Mac And Cheese
If you want to get ahead for a busy weeknight, you can make a dish of this mac and cheese in advance. But don’t bake it. Instead, follow all the steps, assemble it, and cook it completely. Then cover it with aluminum foil, and put it in the freezer.
When you’re ready to bake it, thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours, then bake it. You may need to add 5 to 10 minutes of cook time for the casserole to be completely done. But just monitor it for a bubbly, browning top. That’ll be your cue it’s ready to come out of the oven.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- Step 2
Microwave milk at HIGH for 1 ½ minutes. Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-low heat whisk in flour until smooth. Cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Gradually whisk in warm milk, and cook, whisking constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened.
- Step 3
Whisk in salt, black pepper, 1 cup shredded cheese, and, if desired, red pepper until smooth stir in hot cooked pasta. Spoon pasta mixture into a lightly greased 2-qt. baking dish prepped with cooking spray top with remaining cheese. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
How To Make Baked Mac And Cheese With Bechamel
For me, the best mac and cheese starts with a béchamel sauce made with a basic roux. The roux in this easy recipe is made with butter and flour. This is the base of most cheese sauces unless you use processed cheese like Velveeta.
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Best Cheese For Baked Mac And Cheese
Dont be scared when using cheese for this recipe. I used three types of cheeses to grace every noodle of this dish. For the best flavor, I highly recommend adding a sharp cheddar to your baked mac and cheese. Just a warning though, dont use the pre-shredded bagged cheese as it has preservatives that make it drier compared to fresh-grated cheese.
Sharp cheddar cheese, mozzarella, jack cheese, are my top fave. Or you can also use pepper jack cheese, gouda, fontina, and Gruyere.
Can I Make This Healthier With Veggies
Yes, yes, yes! Feel free to add into the pasta water either fresh or frozen veggies for the last 4 minutes or so. I add broccoli, spinach, or kale a lot! A great way to sneak in veggies.
Enjoy your mac and cheese! The key is portion control. I make a large salad to accompany the lightened up mac and cheese!
Everyday tip: I have a big family so this recipe works well for us, with a pound of pasta, my sons eat a lot! If your family is smaller, you can make this as written and split between two casserole dishes and freeze one for later for your family!
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How To Make A Bread Crumb Topping
Combine the following and sprinkle over your casserole before baking.
- 3/4 cup bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tablespoon parsley
This recipe makes an extra saucy creamy macaroni. Do not over-bake this recipe. You want it creamy and rich, over-baking will cause it to dry out. I find that 20 minutes is perfect in my oven, the cheese sauce will thicken slightly while standing.
Homemade Mac N Cheese
There are thousands of macaroni and cheese recipes, from quick and easy mac and cheese, fancy mac and cheese, adult mac and cheese to glow-in-the-dark boxed mac and cheese. I think it is safe to say we all love the pure comfort food quality of cooked pasta and cheese sauce.
Mac n cheese can be served as a side dish or as a main course , and its a must have side dish for family gatherings, game day, special celebrations and holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
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Homemade Macaroni And Cheese
The ultimate comfort food has to be macaroni and cheese. Everybody has their favorite version. I typically enjoy the stovetop velveeta type of Mac n cheese. But a super cheesy baked version like this one is also a favorite.
Perfect for holidays as a side dish that everyone will look forward to.
Apart from the mentioned three kinds of cheese, you can also use Gouda, sharp cheddar, Monterey jack cheese, parmesan, etc.
Elbow Macaroni is the standard pasta used for Mac and cheese. But, feel free to use your favorite sturdy pasta instead.
This recipe calls for garlic powder and paprika. Your favorite complimenting spices can be added to up the flavor. If you like a little kick, add a pinch of cayenne.
Can I Make This Macaroni And Cheese Ahead And Bake It When Im Ready
Yes you sure can. Just let it cool down, put some plastic wrap right against the surface of the mac and cheese and stick it in the fridge. If you have a few minutes to bring it out and let it warm slightly before you bake it, do that. But if you cant, just bake it till the center is hot and the edges are bubbling.
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