A couple weeks ago, the whole Cheddar Jalapeño Bacon Beer Bread thing happened. And I don’t regret it for a second. Neither do my coworkers.
So umm, that was delicious.
Earlier this week, I saw this recipe contest on 20SB and it was for mac n cheese and then I thought back to that bread and how delicious it would be as a mac n cheese.
So that’s what I did. And I added in chicken because why the hell not?
Jalapeño Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese (with chicken)
▴ 1 16oz box of macaroni (or similar noodles) cooked
▴ 8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled*
▴ 1/2 pound chicken breast, seasoned, cooked and diced
▴ 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced*
▴ leftover bacon fat
▴ 2 tbsp butter
▴ 4 tbsp flour
▴ 3 cups reduced fat milk
▴ 2 cups freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
▴ 1 cup freshly grated monterrey jack cheese
▴ 1 cup freshly grated pepper jack cheese
▴ 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
▴ salt and pepper to taste*
* The brand of bacon I buy provides really big slices of bacon, so feel free to add less (or more!) depending on your preference. And the jalapeños I bought were larger than normal too…so again, adjust this amount to your preference. For the last *, I wanted to note that I use adobo, which is only the greatest spice ever so you should get it (but really it’s just a mixture of salt, pepper, garlic powder and other things).
Preheat your over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Lightly toast the breadcrumbs in a bit of the leftover bacon fat (I used 1-2 tsp). Set aside to cool.
In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Then add 3-4 tsp of the leftover bacon fat, and the diced jalapeños, and cook for a minute or two.
Mix in the flour, and then add in your milk. Let this reduce for a couple of minutes, and then add in your cheeses a little at a time, and slowly (but constantly) whisk until the cheese begins to thicken.
Add in your crumbled bacon and diced chicken, and stir, making sure everything is coated.
Finally, add in your cooked pasta and mix thoroughly.
Pour this delicious mixture into a large baking dish (I used a 9×13 inch glass pan), and spread the breadcrumbs on top.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Allow to sit for a few minutes before digging in. It will be hard but you need to learn to be more patient anyway, so this will be a good exercise for that.