Pepper Jack Mac

I was clearing out the fridge and I had a cup of cream and a bag of shredded pepper jack cheese so I put my thinking cap on and decided the best use of my ingredients was to make baked mac and cheese.

As an aside, the cheese sauce is pretty darn tasty on tortilla chips, if you wanted nachos instead of dinner.

If you do make it into mac and cheese, this recipe serves three (or me and a friend and lunch tomorrow). Of course, had I served a salad with this I probably could have served four but those who know me, know that isn’t happening.

Pepper Jack Mac

1 1/2 cups elbow noodles

1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup cream or milk
1 1/2 – 2 cups pepper jack cheese, grated
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 adobo seasoning or cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 1 quart casserole.

Boil the elbow macaroni in salted water for a little less than al dente (I did them for 9 minutes).

Toast the bread crumbs in a small skillet in which you’ve melted the butter. Set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan. Whisk in flour and cook for 2 minutes to cook off flour taste but not so much as to darken the roux. Slowly whisk in the milk or cream. Don’t pour it in all at once or you will have lumps. Cook the milk mixture until it coats the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to low. A handful at a time, add the pepper jack cheese. Stir well after each addition until the cheese has melted. Once cheese has melted, add the salt and for a touch of heat add adobo or cayenne pepper. Stir well.

Drain macaroni and return to pan. Pour cheese mixture over and stir to combine. Pour into buttered casserole and top with toasted bread crumbs. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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