I don’t remember my mom making macaroni and cheese growing up. I remember her making delicious soup, I remember that Sundays after church we would stop by the bakery and buy fresh Italian bread and dip it in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. And I can remember her letting me hold her cup of coffee in the morning because I was cold. But I don’t remember her ever making macaroni and cheese!
When my husband first suggested we buy Kraft Dinner in our first year of marriage I thought, “what kind of wife would I be if I did that?!” Well, we did. In fact, we branched out and bought the Presidents Choice (Presidents Choice is a Canadian brand) white cheddar box on the regular!
As time went on I decided I wanted to make homemade macaroni and cheese so that I would know what ingredients my family was eating. I tried a few different recipes, but nothing ‘wowed’ my family.
Then one day I found the jackpot!
I first I made the recipe step-by-step. And since then I have made alterations and have perfected it in a way my family enjoys it. That’s an understatement – they love it!
The original recipe is from Kitchen Treaty.com ( Here is their recipe) this is the first recipe I use from this site, however it is filled with lots of good recipes!
Here is a list of adjustments I made for my family. I used gluten-free flour to make the cheese sauce instead of regular flour. The younger girls didn’t appreciate the spice of the jalapeños so I simply use Frank’s red hot instead. I also add smoked paprika to the sauce. Of course gluten free pasta. I use mozzarella and old cheddar cheese – smoked cheddar was nowhere to be found in my local grocery store!
Creamy Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
- 8 oz. 1/2 pound or roughly 1¾ cups, depending on your pasta medium-size elbow macaroni or other medium tubular pasta like penne
- 3 tbsp butter
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp dry mustard
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2½ cups milk whole or 2% works
- 1 cup plus 1/2 cup grated smoked cheddar cheese divided
- 1 cup plus 1/2 cup medium cheddar cheese divided
- 2 medium jalapeno peppers stems removed and finely diced (include seeds for spicier chili; leave them out for a milder version)
- 1 tsp jalapeno Tabasco sauce or more to taste.
- Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, drain. Return to the pan you boiled it in and set aside. (Toss in a little butter or olive oil to help keep the noodles from sticking together if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce)
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
- Add the flour, dry mustard, salt, and black pepper. Whisk constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
- Continue stirring with the whisk and slowly pour in the milk.
- Whisk frequently for about 5 minutes, and then constantly for another 5 minutes or so, until the sauce heats and thickens.
- Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the smoked cheddar, 1 cup of the medium cheddar, jalapeno peppers, and Tabasco sauce, stirring until the cheese has melted.
- Pour the cheese sauce over the pasta and toss gently until coated.
- Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish and sprinkle on half of the remaining cheeses.
- Add the remaining pastas and sprinkle on the remaining cheese.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.for about 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and golden brown.