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Baked Jalapeño Popper Macaroni & Cheese | lecremedelacrumb.com
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Baked Jalapeño Popper Macaroni & Cheese

Baked jalapeno popper macaroni & cheese is made in just 30 minutes with a creamy pepperjack cheese sauce, sliced jalapeños, and crispy breadcrumb topping.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 people
Author Tiffany

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces macaroni pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups half & half (or milk)
  • 1 12-ounce can evaporated milk
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning blend
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded pepperjack cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup sliced jalapeños (see note)

Toppings

  • 2/3 cup panko style breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and lightly grease a large casserole or baking dish. Next, Cook macaroni pasta according to package's instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • In a large pan or skillet melt the 3 tablespoons butter. Stir in flour. Slowly and gradually whisk in milk until a sauce forms. Stir corn starch into evaporated milk until dissolved, then add to pan and whisk to combine.
  • Add dijon mustard, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, cream cheese, and 1 1/2 cups pepperjack cheese and stir until cheeses are melted and combined with the sauce.
  • Stir noodles and jalapeños into the sauce. Transfer to prepared casserole/baking dish. Sprinkle remaining pepperjack cheese over the top.
  • Next make the topping. In a pan on the stove, melt butter. Add breadcrumbs and Italian seasoning and stir over medium-high heat until breadcrumbs begin to brown. Sprinkle over pasta.
  • Bake, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly and serve.

Notes

Although I am a big fan of using fresh jalapeños (and fresh ingredients in general) I highly recommend using jarred/canned sliced jalapeños for this recipe. They cook down easier/are softer and the heat is not so overpowering the way a fresh jalapeno is in this recipe. If you do want to use fresh jalapeños, I recommend seeding them first (and discarding the seeds) and then sautéing the jalapeno slices in a bit of oil or melted butter for 3-4 minutes so they soften up.