Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spicy Jack

A few months ago, in preparation for Spring Break, I sat down with the kids and together we came up with our menu for the week.  Since we weren't traveling anywhere, and nobody was visiting, I wanted them to have something to look forward to.  Besides the fun things we did at home that week, each kid had a day that they got to be in charge of our food choices.

Kamy chose sausage penne (surprise surprise) and Kolby chose hamburgers.  Keaton said he wanted mac and cheese, but "not the normal kind".  So with that, I set out to find a more interesting recipe to accomplish Keaton's request.

I came across this recipe for Spicy Mac & Cheese, and decided that's what we should make.  I saw that the recipe already had broccoli in it (which I would have added anyway) and then I thought I should add ham to it  as well, to make it more of a complete meal.  What resulted was perfection.  It's a sassy version of Mac & Cheese, and everyone loves it.

Spicy Mac & Cheese

8 oz elbow noodles
2 cups (8oz) cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cups (8 oz) pepperjack cheese, shredded
1 can (12 oz) evaporated milk
2 cups chopped broccoli (fresh or frozen)
1 cup diced ham
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp pepper

Boil your noodles al dente.  The last three minutes, add your broccoli to the pot of boiling macaroni.  Drain noodles and broccoli.  In a large bowl, combine the noodles, broccoli, cheddar cheese, pepperjack cheese, evaporated milk, ham and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Pour mixture into a greased casserole dish.

In a small bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle over the top of your mac & cheese mixture.  Bake (covered with aluminum foil) for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes.  Serve!

As a side note: When I make this for my family, as a meal, I double the recipe. When it is a side dish, I keep it as it is.

As another note:  Bacon could be substituted for ham.  I've used bacon and it tastes great.  However, I normally use turkey ham. This recipe could also be made without the ham (or the broccoli), if you so desire.

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