Hubster has forever been a meat and potatoes man. I prefer a variety of foods, and a variety of ingredients. If something isn’t salty, my husband doesn’t seem to think it has flavor (unless of course it’s spicy). Our first dinner date, I took him to an Indian restaurant, he loved it (being spicy). He was a little hesitant about the dahl and the basmati rice, but he was a great sport. On our next date, he took me out for wings. The food at his apartment at the time only consisted of frozen pizza, lunch meats (no bread), and Campbell’s Chunky Soup. He enjoyed trying my meals, things I thought were basic and common he thought we exotic.
Fast Forward four years later…
We still have a very different view about food, sometimes he’s good about trying new concoctions, sometimes not so much. (We are talking about a man who thinks individually wrapped slices of cheese taste great… EW!) For two years, I’ve been working on the perfect macaroni & cheese recipe for both of us. We don’t eat it that often, but I’ve tried 30 or so recipes. My final recipe was developed from a strong sense of what we did and did not like in all the other recipes.
My Jack Mac
12 oz. box of elbows, 8 oz. block of pepper jack cheese, 8 oz. block of cheddar cheese, 2 Tbsp. of flour, 1 qt. heavy cream, 1/2 c. butter, 1 package turkey bacon, freshly cracked black pepper, freshly ground sea salt, 1 small can diced jalapeños (or fresh if you have it)
In a food processor, shred the blocks of pepper jack cheese. Preheat oven 350°F. Cook pasta. Cook bacon until crispy (I microwave the turkey bacon to achieve this result) and cut into small pieces. Grease or spray a casserole dish and set aside.
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Blend in flour, salt, and pepper. Slowly add cream, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Add pepper jack and cheddar and stir over heat until melted. Stir together pasta, cheese sauce, and bacon. Pour into casserole dish and bake 30 minutes until hot and bubbly.
Additional Variations: I love adding chunks of artichoke hearts and topping it off with cooked spicy diced tomatoes. Pumpkin likes broccoli. Hubster likes extra bacon and jalapeños crumbled on top. Try sprinkling Italian bread crumbs on top.