Since President Thomas Jefferson brought the recipe home from France in the early 1800’s, mac and cheese has increasingly become a staple dish in homes all across America. Although the methods of preparation and diversity of ingredients vary widely, two ingredients remain essential: macaroni and cheese.
This week we are introducing a variation that is new to us in this Bacon Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese from our friend Ben at @firehousegrub on Instagram. If you're looking for some stick to your ribs, feel good food, then this recipe is going to hit the spot. It’s really cheesy, a little spicy and incredibly delicious. A word to the wise: You’re going to go for seconds. Plan accordingly...
On the stove top, preheat your 12 -inch Stargazer Cast Iron skillet on low heat for 5-10 minutes before slowly turning up the heat to medium-high. Add your cooking oil to the skillet for about 1 minute until heated, then add your bacon and sausage. Brown the bacon and sausage for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. In a separate pot on your stove top, cook your elbow macaroni pasta according to the instructions on the box, drain and set aside.
Add the jalapeños to the bacon and sausage mixture in the skillet and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
Add your flour to the skillet while stirring, ensuring that the bacon and sausage are evenly coated. Stir in the garlic powder, Cajun seasoning, ground black pepper, chili powder, onion powder, salt and optional cayenne pepper until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
Add the milk, cream cheese and 3 cups of cheddar cheese to the skillet and stir frequently until the cheese is melted and the mixture begins to simmer. Remove from the stove top, add the cooked macaroni noodles, mix thoroughly, then sprinkle the last cup of cheddar cheese evenly over the top and move the skillet to the oven. Bake at 325°F for 30 minutes.
Carefully remove the skillet from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.