Quick and Easy/ Sides and Salads

Bacon Jalapeno Mac and Cheese

Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

Remember how I said awhile back that a bechamel sauce has plenty of uses? I’ve used it as a base in creamy cauliflower au gratin, a base for a chowder and as a base for chicken pot pie. And today we’ll use it for another great thing: your humble mac and cheese.

Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

It’s amazing like that!

Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

But for those that don’t know what a béchamel sauce is, don’t let the fancy name chase you away. It’s just a white cream sauce made from mixing equal parts of butter and flour together and adding some milk. That’s it! It really is that easy. The starch acts as a thickener for the milk to create a creamy, white sauce. Cook the butter and flour mixture (also known as roux) for a bit to get rid of the floury taste and pour in milk. Simmer for awhile till it’s nice and thick and creamy.

Then you add in freshly shredded cheese with some macaroni elbows and voila: mac and cheese.

Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

But for something so comforting as mac and cheese, you really aren’t left with much thinking room to wonder why on earth American cheese is melted into an English white sauce and served with Italian pasta. Despite the irony, mac and cheese is very much American.

The choice of what kind of cheese you want to use is up to you: sharp cheddar, Pecorino Romano, Parmesan, Fontina, Gruyere, Monteray, white cheddar, Colby Jack etc. I’ll be using staples from my kitchen aka cheddar and Parmesan. No need to go visit the deli section for expensive cheese.

Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

So this was supposed to a recipe for classic mac and cheese but I ended up dressing it up some. It didn’t have enough bite for me so I added in a teaspoon of mustard. Then I tossed in about a cup of bacon bits and some diced jalapenos. Since it was a last minute alteration, I only had pickled jalapenos but feel free to use fresh ones if you like. But yes, bacon and jalapenos. Wow did it taste so much better.

If you’re one for classics, stop just before the bacon and jalapenos. Otherwise, go my route or get creative! Some suggestions are broccoli mac and cheese, smoky mac and cheese, buffalo chicken mac and cheese, lobster mac and cheese…the possibilities are endless.

Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

If you end up with leftovers, a great way to heat it up is to add a tablespoon or two of milk to each bowl to get the creaminess going again. Microwave or heat it up over the stove top. Good as new.

PS: If you hunger for Velveeta instead, here’s an old recipe of mine with it. I’ve found some people don’t like processed cheese while some people are all for some liquid gold.

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Add some comfort to your table with some bacon jalapeno mac and cheese. This twist on the classic is full of yum!

Bacon Jalapeno Mac and Cheese


  • Author: The Cooking Jar
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 6

Ingredients

Bechamel:

  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Mac and cheese:

  • 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
  • 1 cup bacon bits
  • 1 fresh jalapeno/2 tablespoons pickled jalapenos, diced

Instructions

Bechamel:

  1. Melt butter over medium heat
  2. Add in flour and stir to mix. Cook for about 2-3 minutes
  3. Pour in milk and whisk until smooth and blended
  4. Simmer until sauce has thickened and coats the back of a spoon, about 7-10 minutes
  5. Season with salt and pepper to taste

Mac and cheese:

  1. Stir in both cheeses in portions until melted. Add in mustard
  2. Add macaroni and stir to combine until fully coated and creamy
  3. Add in bacon bits and diced jalapenos, mix thoroughly
  4. Dish and serve hot

Used in this recipe:

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    nicole (thespicetrain.com)
    January 27, 2015 at 4:58 PM

    Oh my goodness that looks goooooood!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      January 28, 2015 at 2:39 PM

      It was gooood! 🙂 I don’t usually chow down hard on mac and cheese but I loved the flavor in this variation!

  • Reply
    Marisela | NomNom Kingdom
    January 29, 2015 at 1:27 PM

    This looks so yummy! I have never tackled making homemade mac but this looks easy and delicious! 🙂

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 1, 2015 at 11:43 PM

      It’s pretty easy once you know the basics of bechamel! It feels like there should be more to it, but nope…make a white sauce and melt some freshly grated cheese and that’s it!

  • Reply
    Dorothy Dunton
    February 24, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    My mouth is watering looking at these pictures! I love all things mac and cheese. I live in the South where everything is better with bacon!! I also love your blog!!

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      February 24, 2015 at 5:38 PM

      Thank you, Dorothy! It’s been so cold lately and everyone wants comfort food this time of year. What’s more comforting than a big bowl of mac and cheese, right? I loved how the bacon bits gave it a little saltiness and crunch!

      • Reply
        Dorothy Dunton
        February 24, 2015 at 8:48 PM

        I live in Tennessee and we have had SNOW on the ground for nine days, which is totally wrong! My comfort foods are big bowls of goodness, be it chili, mac and cheese, goulash or soup! I really enjoy you dialog and personal comments. Your blog is one of my favorites, along with Recipetineats!

        • Reply
          The Cooking Jar
          February 26, 2015 at 1:18 PM

          I suppose I can’t complain too much until there is snow here in FL 😉 And I try to be real with everyone and honest! Thanks for all the comments, Dorothy 🙂

  • Reply
    JellyBean
    September 5, 2015 at 3:53 PM

    Looks great, can’t wait to try it. Have you ever done a variation of this with an egg? Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      The Cooking Jar
      September 6, 2015 at 5:30 PM

      Good luck making it 🙂 I haven’t tried it with egg before though. Hope this turns out great for you!

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