Tag Archives: macaroni and cheese recipe

Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac

Our friends at the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board have invited us to come back for a second year of their Mac ‘n Cheese extravaganza, 30 Days 30 Ways with Macaroni and Cheese. Last year, we went savory with our Wintervera Mac but this year we’re spicing things up.

This Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac brings the heat whether you’re battling the cold winter weather or sitting on your patio with a cold beer. Spicy chorizo and zippy Wisconsin pepper jack cheese are layered with fresh, pungent greens to make a mac that’s packed with Tex-Mex flavors.

So pick up a fork and get ready for a little fiesta!


Southwestern Pepper Jack Mac

1 box cavatappi noodles
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 C flour
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, chopped
1 lb ground chorizo
3 C whole milk
3 C pepper jack, shredded
2 C shredded Mexican cheese blend
1 handful cilantro, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add cavatappi noodles. Cook noodles for 8-10 minutes until al dente. Drain and transfer to a 13×9 baking dish.

In a large saucepot, melt butter and gradually whisk in flour until mixture thickens. Do NOT let it burn. Slowly whisk in milk, working in small amounts and incorporating into the roux until smooth. Gradually repeat process, adding shredded cheese in small amounts and whisking until each amount is melted and well incorporated. Keep warm over low heat for 5-7 minutes or until the rest of your dish is assembled.

Meanwhile, remove seeds from pepper and dice. Chop green onions and cilantro, setting aside half of the cilantro. At the same time, cook chorizo in a medium skillet until cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

Drain excess fat and juices from chorizo and add to the baking dish with the noodles. Add in pepper, onions and half of the cilantro and mix well to evenly distribute ingredients. Pour cheese mixture over the noodles. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cheese begins to slightly crust and bubble.

Serves 5-6.

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Say Cheese: Rosemary White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese

Wisconsin may not be what most people think of as a culinary hotspot but some of its local foods, like bratwurst, custard and kringle, seem to have a cult following. It’s not necessarily the healthiest of cuisine but it’s certainly delicious and who doesn’t want to indulge every once in awhile?

The real stars of local flavor, however, are more well-known:  beer and cheese. Thank God for beer and cheese. This week we’re celebrating our love for Wisconsin and it’s wonderful cheeses, as voted on by our readers.

I made this Rosemary White Cheddar Macaroni & Cheese for my white and gold holiday party and had multiple people request the recipe so now it’s time to share.  It’s a classier (but just as easy!) version of an old-time crowd favorite.

Rosemary White Cheddar Mac N Cheese

Rosemary White Cheddar Mac ‘n Cheese
*adapted from Ina Garten
1 lb of penne or cavatappi noodles
3 C milk (I use skim to lower the calories)
1/2 C half and half
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 C flour
1 large block of white cheddar cheese (approx 4 C)
2C swiss or gruyere cheese
1 Tbsp dijon mustard
1 pinch nutmeg
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 1/2 C panko bread crumbs
salt, pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375.  Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook noodles until they are al dente. Shred the block of white cheddar cheese.  In a medium pot, combine milk and half and half and gently warm but do not let boil.  In a separate large pot, melt butter over med-low heat. Whisk in flour until smooth and thick.  Slowly add warm milk into flour mixture, whisking to smooth out any chunks.  Add mustard, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Slowly add cheddar, whisking in until the cheese begins to melt.  Add swiss/gruyere mix and continue whisking until semi-smooth (you will have some globs of cheese).

Pour noodles into a 13×9 baking pan.  Pour cheese mixture over noodles, sprinkle with more salt and pepper and mix well.  Using a kitchen shears, snip rosemary sprigs into small pieces over the macaroni.  Use your fingers to strip any remaining leaves off the rosemary.  Stir again and sprinkle panko crumbs over the entire dish.  Bake for 40-45 minutes.

NOTE:  Don’t like the cheeses I used?  Can’t find them?  Don’t sweat it…standard sharp cheddar will work just fine! Block cheese that you shred on the spot will give better consistency for the cheddar.  If you wish to speed things up, pre-shredded will be fine for the swiss.

PS: In Milwaukee and looking for something to do tonight?  I’m “competing” as a baker in the Iron Cupcake Milwaukee:  Beer challenge tonight at MOCT!  Anyone can come and if you do, make sure to swing by and say hello…and vote for my cupcakes made with home brewed beer!

Iron Cupcake Milwaukee

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Filed under Cook, Sides