Tuesday, August 9

Jalapeno & Mango Macaroni and Cheese

Macaroni and cheese reminds me of two times in my life. 1) Being a little kid and 2) being a drunk college freshman at 3 AM. Not that those two things are really all that different: poorly thought out decisions and sloppy eating at their finest.

Regardless, I'm sure we can all agree that mac and cheese is an amazing food. Some might call it a super food. Not to be confused with superfoods. (Add ketchup. Enjoy!)

Just add mango

But now I've graduated. My tastes are more refined. Sophistication has won the day. No more boxed mac for me. It's actually really crazy how easy homemade mac n cheese can be to make once you get it out of your head that it's hard. No need for Easy Mac. Seriously, there is NO NEED for Easy Mac (I'm talking the just add water stuff here, not the boxed stuff in general. I love boxed mac and cheese.) Because it's NOT really that much easier to just add water to dehydrated cheese than it is to add milk and butter. Unless of course you don't have a refrigerator and your only means of cooking is in the microwave, then sure, get your Easy Mac on (HELLLOOO college memories...).

AND, I hope you aren't totally repulsed by the idea of cheddar cheese and mangoes. I know, it's weird. But if you are skeptical (as SOME people that I live with were...), you are dead wrong. The sharpness of the cheese. The sweetness of the mangoes. Match made in heaven. Those are not complete sentences. All balanced out perfectly by the hint of spiciness from chipotle and jalapenos. Baking the dish is key to fusing all these flavors together.

The responsible, healthy eater that I am, I went ahead and served this mac and cheese with a nice healthy salad. It was full of carrots, bell peppers, yellow (!) cherry tomatoes, and green beans. The more colors the better! And I slept better at night, know that I got my veggies in for the day.

Soundtrack: ALO

Jalapeno & Mango Macaroni and Cheese
(Serves 4 as a main course)

3 tbsp butter
4 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 c 2% milk
1 tsp chipotle seasoning
1/2 tsp paprika
2 c sharp cheddar cheese (white)
About 1/2 box of elbow macaroni, cooked al dente
1 small jalapeno, chopped very finely
1 medium mango, chopped
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 350.

Create a roux by melting the butter in a medium saucepan. Whisk in the flour, stirring until completely combined. Remove from heat.

Begin to whisk in the milk, adding a little at a time and whisking quickly to avoid lumps. Turn the heat back on to medium. Heat, stirring constantly and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan until it begins to boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens (about 3-5 minutes). Season with salt, pepper, chipotle, and paprika and simmer on low for another 10 minutes, continuing to stir often.

Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese until melted. Add macaroni noodles, mango and jalapeno. Transfer mixture to a grease baking dish and top with bread crumbs. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and bread crumbs are toasted.

Thickened white sauce.. hmmm

Little mango flowers!
Look! It's the leaning tower of Cheese-a!

Baked Cheese. Yum.
What else can you really say?


  1. This looks like a great way to revisit a classic memory.... and it makes the "salty yellow stuff in a box" that I use to have in college look really bad ;)

    I will try this soon.
    Thanks for sharing it

  2. made this for the family for dinner tonight, substituted cavatappi for the elbows. it was a big hit. thanks