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Sweet Tooth Tuesdays: Orange Angel Food Cake

Sweet Tooth Tuesdays: Orange Angel Food Cake

In honor of my Mom’s birthday last week and Mother’s day this weekend, I’ve made a cake fit for angels (or more so for mothers who are angels)! This cake was probably the first recipe I made with my grandmother for my Mom’s birthday as […]

Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Savory Cheesecake

Sweet Tooth Tuesday: Savory Cheesecake

Yes, you read it right, a SAVORY Cheesecake! Spring is finally upon us, so I’ve created this asparagus & lemon-pepper offering to the goddess of spring flowers. It may sound a bit odd, but this treat is a mix between quiche and cheesecake. It’s packed with […]

Farmstand Friday: Kickin’ Mac n’ Cheese

Farmstand Friday: Kickin’ Mac n’ Cheese

My kitchen repertoire has a few love potions, but non are as deadly as my mac n’ cheese. I’ve snared many admirers over a piping hot plate of this comfort food. It’s one of the most basic dishes to make, but gives my guests warm  bellies and happy hearts! My favorite story that involves Mac n’ Cheese was finding my dear friend and former roommate Blandine. I was in the market for a roomie and she was a friend of my BFF Adima, so we planned a dinner party at my place to meet. Adima was already in love with me and my mac, so it was a no brainer to offer that as the main attraction! (Besides me and my think pink apartment…)

I invited a few of the gals to party and welcome Blandine…little did I know it would just take my mac n’ cheese to win her over. In usual form, I welcomed Blandine into my home with a big hug and a heavenly smell wafting from the oven. The table was being set and I was putting the finishing touches on dinner; going through my head of how I was going to charm this little Parisian doll to be my housemate. However, before I even got a chance to sit down and chat with Blandine, she burst into the kitchen saying how she would love to live with me if I was always making food that smelled just as delicious!

Kickin' Mac n' Cheese with red peppers and jalapenos will warm up any chilly weekend!

And that was how our story began, which isn’t unlike many other stories of friendship in my life! I totally believe the way to a persons heart is through their stomach, and I use my love of cooking as my love potion. Even Cutie has been the victim of my irresistible mac; we’ve even made a few updates to this recipe together. The possibilities are endless when it comes to this comfort food, but the kickin’ part of this recipe are the roasted red pepper and pickled jalapenos hidden beneath the creamy blend of cheddar, aged gouda, and swiss cheese.

Let’s get kickin’!

Kickin' Mac n' Cheese

2017-03-10
: 4-6
: 20 min
: 30 min
: Easy

There are many secrets to this recipes, but the most important is the combination of cheese. You want to choose ones that melt easily, but also have a range of sharpness and flavor. This recipe is a guide...go where your heart takes you in the cheese section. I've gone with a sharp cheddar, and aged gouda, and a swiss for this recipe. If you have a parmesan block add some of that in there too!

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 cups of grated cheese (see note above)
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3-4 cups whole milk room temp
  • 1 box of cavatappi pasta
  • panko bread crumbs
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A jar of roasted red peppers
  • Dash paprika
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Optional: a jar of pickled jalapenos.
Directions
  • Step 1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Get a large pot of water boiling for the pasta, and cook al dente while preparing the sauce. Set aside a few tablespoons of cheese for topping.
  • Step 2 The secret to a creamy mac is making a bechamel sauce: Melt the butter in a large pot (6 qt size would make me comfortable) over medium heat and add flour. Whisk till thick and lighter in color for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the room temp milk until the sauce is thick
  • Step 3 cook it a bit before each addition and keep whisking. Salt with caution since the cheese will add a salty taste, also add pepper and paprika to taste. The sauce should be slightly thicker than milk on its own.
  • Step 4 Turn the heat all the way down. Using a spoon stir in the grated cheese in thirds until melted and creamy. Add the al dente pasta to the pot and stir to coat.
  • Step 5 Pour the pasta into a greased 9×13 inch pan. Take about ½ cup worth of red peppers out of the jar and cut into thin stripes. Sprinkling the mac n’ cheese with the red peppers and push into the sauce with a fork. If you’re making a kickin’ version, add slices of pickled jalapenos as well.
  • Step 6 Make the breadcrumb topping by combining the panko, garlic, rosemary, and a little olive oil. Spread across the top of the pasta and add a top layer of cheese. Dust with more Paprika and black pepper.
  • Step 7 Bake for 30-35 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the top is browned. Serve hot!

I usually serve this as the main course, not a side dish. It’s great to take to potluck parties because you can prep everything up to baking it, store it in the fridge for a two days, and then cook it when you arrived to host’s house. If I’m cooking for just Cutie, I’ll place the cheesy pasta in a smaller baking dish for two and also divide the rest among smaller bakeware. Then I’ll only bake what I need that night…saving the rest to be baked fresh for dinner that week. Genius!

Kickin' Mac n' Cheese with red peppers and jalapenos will warm up any chilly weekend!

Say, Cheesy!

Sweet Tooth Tuesdays: Orange Cardamom Cake

Sweet Tooth Tuesdays: Orange Cardamom Cake

Some days you just want cake. I came home the other day to a very empty fridge and all I could think of making was a cake. Baking (and eating) cake seems very decadent, usually an activity reserved for special occasions. However, I think cake on weekdays is even […]

Sweet Tooth Tuesdays: Salted Caramel Frozen Hot Chocolate

Sweet Tooth Tuesdays: Salted Caramel Frozen Hot Chocolate

My love of frozen hot chocolates goes way back to my Midwestern childhood afternoons at Dairy Queen. For the first few years of my life, I was a chocolate cone dipped in chocolate kinda girl–an amazing treat I enjoy to this day. However, one afternoon […]

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Farmstand Fridays

Farmstand Friday: Kickin’ Mac n’ Cheese

Farmstand Friday: Kickin’ Mac n’ Cheese

My kitchen repertoire has a few love potions, but non are as deadly as my mac n’ cheese. I’ve snared many admirers over a piping hot plate of this comfort food. It’s one of the most basic dishes to make, but gives my guests warm  bellies […]

Farmstand Friday: Summer Squash Blossoms

Farmstand Friday: Summer Squash Blossoms

Summer is sadly coming to an end, and so is my toasted-marshmallow skin. I had such an amazing season this year, one for the books! However, mother nature isn’t quite done with her sun-kissed goods, yet. Tomatoes are at their peak, hot peppers are popping […]

Farmstand Friday: Spent Grain Pretzels

Farmstand Friday: Spent Grain Pretzels

I have my cousin Phillip to thank for the fact that I love beer. He’s been a home brewer for almost a decade, and along the way he’s taught me a thing or two about this tasty beverage. (It’s a little more useful than die hard references.) […]

Farmstand Friday: Leek Jam on Buttermilk Biscuits

Farmstand Friday: Leek Jam on Buttermilk Biscuits

Walking around in this cold weather makes me want to bite into something warm and gooey. One of my spots to fulfill this urge is a great place called Empire Biscuit. They are open 24/7 and are always making piping hot buttermilk biscuits, which are […]

Farmstand Friday: Leek & Asparagus Quiche

Farmstand Friday: Leek & Asparagus Quiche

Spring can’t come any sooner! When I go to the market these days I mostly pick up apples, maybe some potatoes. However, I’ve discovered the wonders of farm fresh eggs. I never thought much of buying eggs at the market. Which seems silly because why wouldn’t […]