So, you’ll recall I received the Influenster Feast Vox Box recently and have been having a great time with it.
Tis the season for comfort food and I’m so grateful that Influenster gave me the opportunity to dust off an old favorite recipe (originally found it in Family Circle Magazine and then added a flair of Josh to it… and by flair of Josh I mean I added more cheese than is probably healthy) and give it a bit of an exciting update! For this recipe, I used not one, but two of my items found in the box. My French’s Crispy Jalapeños and my Country Crock Buttery Sticks.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
1 box (1 pound) cavatappi (for this particular night I had to use elbow, either works)
3 tablespoon Country Crock Unsalted Butter
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups 2% milk
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Colby-Jack cheese, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 slices of american cheese
1 cup French’s Crispy Jalapeños
1 Bottle of wine (your choice)
Remember to gather all the measuring tools and bowls you’ll need. I’m a big fan of making sure you have what you need on hand rather than panicking and not being able to find something… like I did… while making this.
Also, get yourself a judgmental cat. Burger plays this role perfectly every time I am in the kitchen.
Let’s get cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large (3-quart or bigger) broiler-safe baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to boil and open the bottle of wine.
- Pour yourself a nice glass of wine and get the party started. Because cooking with wine is better. Julie Child wouldn’t lie about that, would she? No.
- Cook the cavatappi.
- While that’s happening, in a medium size saucepan, melt the butter.
- Whisk in flour until smooth and, in a thin stream, add in milk.
- Stir in salt and pepper and bring to a boil on a medium-high heat.
- Reduce to a simmer for a couple minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix together your shredded cheese.
- Remove milk mixture from the heat and slowly stir in the cheese mix along with the jalapeños.
- In pasta pot combine the cooked noodles and cheese.
- Pour half into the prepared baking dish and place a layer of your American cheese slices
- Pour in the second half of the noodle/cheese mix and add another layer of American cheese. Want to use more than 8 slices? Go for it, this is a no judgment zone. Same with the jalapeños, add more to taste, if you like spicy, go for it, add more.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Increase temperature to broil for three minutes, until the top is slightly browned.
- Cool slightly and serve.
- Finish the bottle of wine. You’ve done a great job! Proud of you.
SIDE NOTE: I did try topping my concoction with some jalapeños but the broil setting burnt them and I ended up scraping them off.
Let me know what you think! Like I said, I modified a recipe I normally use to fit in the Crispy Jalapeños, there’s a good chance I’ll post my original at some point when I can make it again. This is actually the first time I’ve made homemade mac and cheese in years and it was delicious. Problem is, I live alone so I end up eating it all on my own and I have a feeling my arteries aren’t too happy with me.
That’s where the wine comes in handy.
Happy cooking all!
Josh’s Note: “I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.”