Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a Kick

The other day, I noticed that there were three unopened boxes of elbow macaroni, sitting peacefully in my cabinet.  And I know what happened.  Every trip to the Kroger leads me through the pasta section.  And I think, “Hmmm.  I wonder if I have any macaroni at home?”  Better safe than sorry, I pick up a box and add it to the cart.

Tired of pushing those boxes out of the way to grab my cornmeal and whole wheat flour, I decided to put that elbow macaroni to use!  This macaroni is not as excessively cheesy and creamy as you might be accustomed to.  At the same time, it’s definitely delicious and comes together nicely.  It’s a perfect way to make a dent in that pasta stockpile.

baked macaroni and cheese with a kick

PREP TIME: 30 minutes
COOK TIME: 25 to 30 minutes
YIELD: Serves 4 to 6

3 cups dried elbow macaroni (or other favorite pasta)
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups low-fat milk at room temperature
1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
3/4 cup grated Gruyere
3/4 cup grated pepperjack
1/4 teaspoon tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 small jalapeno, diced
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
3 small tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup panko bread crumbs


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Cook macaroni according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Melt the butter in a large, heavy saucepan over low heat.  Once the butter is melted, add the flour, stirring until smooth. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn the heat to medium and gradually whisk in the milk, and cook over medium heat, stirring or whisking constantly until thickened, about 10 minutes.  Stir in the pasta, mustard, cheese, tabasco sauce, jalapeno, spices, and salt and pepper.  Stir until the cheese begins to melt.

3. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased 10- x 7- inch baking dish. Top with the sliced tomatoes.  Mix the melted butter and panko together, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the mixture.

4.  Bake uncovered at 375 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs are golden and the cheese is bubbly.  Let it stand for 5 minutes, then serve warm!


9 responses to “Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a Kick

  1. That looks so good! Mac and cheese is my ultimate comfort food! Thanks for sharing! I’m new blogging and love that there is a huge foodie community here! If you have time, could you please check out my blog and let me know what you think? And if you have any advice, please do share 🙂

  2. WOW, this actually look so delicious! I love making baked mac and I think this is something that I want to try, the ingredients were a bit different than what I’ve used to make like the use of Gruyere, jalapeno, panko bread crumb. Awesome!

  3. I love mac and cheese, but my husband doesn’t care for it. Maybe he’ll finally eat it if I serve it this way…

  4. Love the gruyere and the potatoes.

  5. I meant to say tomatoes. The heat’s frying my brain!

  6. Your photos are so impressive, and your Mac and cheese looks divine!!

  7. This sounds/looks deeeelicious. I lovee me some mac n cheese, and pasta. I do the same thing every time I go to the store when it comes to buying another bag of noodles.

  8. Hi! i’m repost you post: Baked Macaroni and Cheese with a Kick to my!/slavcentrinfo

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  9. Jalapeno and jack cheese sounds really good in this mac and cheese recipe. I need to try this soon. Yummy!!!

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