Dinners, Side Dishes

Recipe—Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

Jalapeño Popper Mac N’ Cheese

My name is Rebecca and I am a cheesy jalapeñoholic. I will literally devour anything with cheese and jalapeños. I HAVE NO SELF CONTROL!

If it has popper in the name, I am game. Mac n’ Cheese with a crispy top is involved. No holding me back. I will literally fall off of any diet wagon for some good mac n’ cheese. That is a universal thing, right? Like, that goes for everyone?

Come on, you start with a creamy white sauce base, add in gobs of pepper jack cheese until it is thick, and creamy, and cheesy, and then add in cooked pasta. It could be perfect as is, but no. It gets better. You add a buttery panko topping that once crisp will replicate that of the exterior of deep-fried jalapeño popper. And then the sliced jalapeños on the top is literally the icing on the cake. SO. DAMN. GOOD!

This recipe goes fantastic with any sort of grilled meat but is totally sufficient as a standalone dish. What says comfort food more than a big ol’ bowl of spiced up mac n’ cheese? Nothing. Absolutely nothing people.

Note: If you do not have an oven safe skillet you can make this in whatever large skillet you have, and then transfer the noodles and cheese sauce to a baking dish before topping with the panko and sliced peppers. 

MACARONI INGREDIENTS
8 oz macaroni pasta, uncooked
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 c milk
3 c pepperjack cheese, crated
salt and pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red peppers

TOPPING INGREDIENTS
3 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 c panko
1/4 c jalapeño slices

STEPS

  • Preheat the oven to 400º.
  • Cook the pasta per the package instructions.
  • Drain and allow to sit.
  • Melt the butter in a large oven safe skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Whisk in the flour and cook it for about a minute while stirring continuously until it starts to lightly brown and is well combined.
  • Gradually whisk in the milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, making sure it is nice and creamy and starts to thicken after each addition. Continue this until the milk is finished.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer and then reduce heat to low.
  • Whisk in the cheese, salt, pepper, and crushed red peppers and stir until it is all melted and creamy.
  • Add in the cooked pasta making sure all the noodles are evenly coated and remove skillet from heat.
  • Now for the topping!
  • In a small bowl mix together the melted butter and panko.
  • Evenly distribute the topping over the mac n’ cheese.
  • Top with sliced jalapeños.
  • Bake for 8–10 minutes or until the panko starts to turn a nice golden brown and the sauce is simmering around the edges.
  • Allow to rest for about 5 minutes.
  • Serve and enjoy!
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Beverages

Recipe—Red Wine Sangria

The big question is, when you take a two-year break from blogging, what do you post? It has to be something amazing, right? Something you are known for by your family and friends.

Is it bad that my mind went right to sangria? LOL What can I say, I have a busy life and this girl loves her wine. One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is have friends over for a relaxing dinner where we can all just sit around and laugh over our crazy lives and yes, wine is almost always involved. Many of my friends have come to know me for my sangria. I make a bomb sangria and it is so easy! So here you have it folks, the Diva’s go to sangria recipe. And guess what, I have one for each season. Here is my summer one if you want to take a peek at that.

Note: I like to let my sangria sit in the fridge for a couple of hours with the fruit. It really allows the sangria to take on some nice flavors from the fruit and allows the fruit to soak up some of the boozy goodness.

INGREDIENTS
750 ml bottle of your favorite red wine
1/2 c brandy
1/2 c orange juice
1/2 c sugar
fresh fruit, sliced (I like oranges, limes, and blackberries)
12 oz can of gingerale or sprite

STEPS

  • In a large pitcher mix together the wine, brandy, orange juice, and sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add in the majority of your prepared fruit. (Set some aside for a nice garnish).
  • Place in the fridge and allow it to set for a couple of hours. (Or drink it now if you don’t have time. It will still be delicious either way.)
  • Add in the 12 oz can of soda right before serving.
  • Pour over ice and garnish.
  • Drink up!
Uncategorized

I’m Back, and in a New Kitchen!

The last several months have probably been the craziest of my life so I apologize that my posts have been non-existent. I am working on getting back into the swing of things and promise more recipes coming soon!

Why has my life been so crazy you ask? My family and I bought a new house! A beautiful house that I can say without a doubt is my dream home! I will live and die in this house. If not because I love it, because moving is such a pain!

It really did all happen in a whirlwind. We went and looked and a house just for fun and fell in love at first sight. We weren’t really in the market for a new house we just happened to drive by it one day after having lunch and thought it would be fun to look. Within 3 days we were signing papers on it. The house was not even a finished house. As a matter of fact it was only framed.

This is what it looked like when we bought it. Crazy, right?

House

Over the next four months we worked hard on fixing up our old home, staging it, getting it on the market, packing up all our possessions and moving up the road to our new home. And keep in mind this was all going on throughout the holidays. It was so worth it but oh my goodness! Moving is a pain and you don’t realize how much stuff you have until you have to box it all up and move it from Point A to Point B.

We have now been in our home for 6 weeks and it finally feels like life is getting back to normal. Hallelujah!

Now onto what really pertains to this blog. My kitchen! My glorious beautiful kitchen! I am in love! The kitchen has granite countertops with full backsplashes, is equipped with stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, including a microwave, TWO ovens (yes, two!), a 5 burner gas range, a beautiful new side by side refrigerator, and more cabinets than a gal knows what to do with.

Kitchen

Oh yeah, and it even came with an incredible view! This is the view from the kitchen and dining room. Not too shabby, eh?!? (Never mind the landscaping, that is still a work in progress.)

View

Here is the funny thing, I was in love with my kitchen from the moment I saw it. However, I was completely intimidated by it. I didn’t cook in it for a week because I didn’t want to mess it up. It was too perfect! So the first time I went to use the digital high tech oven it took me five minutes to figure out how to turn it on. I am not even kidding! All I wanted to do was toast garlic bread for Pete’s sake!

Now I am much more comfortable in it and this past weekend I even hosted my first party with great success. The new kitchen is so much better equipped for entertaining.

Anyways, my sincere apologies the non existent posts the last four months. I hope you can all forgive me and will continue to check in for more regular recipe posts. I’m sure I will have some great and humorous stories of my adventures in my new kitchen over the next few months.

I have missed my regular blogging and am looking forward to getting back into the groove of things. Stay tuned!

XOXOX

Diva di Cucina