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Jalapeno & Sausage Macaroni and Cheese

A nice, creamy stove-top macaroni and cheese is my absolute favorite. My dad, on the other hand, is quite a fan of oven baked macaroni and cheese with its crunchy texture on top. One of our favorite restaurants, GrillSmith in Tampa, makes a wonderful baked jalapeno macaroni and cheese that we can both agree on. For my creation, I added some smoked turkey sausage. What makes this dish is the combination of sharp cheddar with colby jack and smoked gouda. Enjoy!
Jalapeno & Sausage Macaroni and Cheese
  • 16oz macaroni elbows
  • 6 tbsp butter, divided
  • ½ yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • ½ red pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded (two finely chopped, one sliced for garnish)
  • 13 oz smoked turkey sausage, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¼ tsp cayenne
  • ½ tsp salt
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 8 oz sharp cheddar, cubed or shredded
  • 4 oz colby jack cheese, cubed or shredded
  • 4 oz smoked gouda, cubed or shredded
  • ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a 2-1/2 or 3 quart casserole dish.
  2. Bring large pot of water to a boil and cook macaroni according to package directions for al dente pasta. Drain pasta and pour in the casserole dish.
  3. Meanwhile, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, pepper, the finely chopped jalapeno, and turkey sausage and cook until the onions begin to turn translucent. Top macaroni with veggies and gently mix in.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt 3 tbsp butter over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Add milk and cook, stirring frequently (no one likes burned milk!) until the mixture thickens, roughly 4-6 minutes. Remove from heat and add spices. Whisk in egg and add cheeses. Stir until the cheeses are melted. Mix cheese into casserole dish.
  5. In the skillet that you did the veggies in, melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter and mix in panko bread crumbs. Top the dish evenly with the panko.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Garnish with a few slices of jalapeno on top!


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