A Squared: What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spicy Pepper Mac & Cheese

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What's For Dinner Wednesday: Spicy Pepper Mac & Cheese

Originally I had planned to call this recipe "Triple Pepper Mac & Cheese." If you follow me on Instagram, you know that the lovely people at Kraft Foods are sometimes positioned outside my office handing out freebies. I LOVE when this happens and most recently it was Kraft Fresh Takes and I ended up going home with a few packages of the Spicy Chipotle Cheddar variety. I used the first one to make spicy chicken tenders for a southwestern salad, but thought it would be great to mix it up a bit the second time around.

And now back to my original idea: I wanted to make a three pepper mac and cheese with roasted red bell and poblano peppers in the mac and cheese topped with the chipotle bread crumb mixture. I thought that these three peppers would lend a sweet, spicy, and smoky (respectively) addition to rich mac and cheese. Well, I cut into my red pepper and the inside was moldy (gross!) so that plan fell by the wayside. I went ahead without the red pepper and the result was still delicious-- definitely more spicy, but it's a great way to cut the richness of the cheese sauce. Also, this cheese sauce is thickened up with plain Greek yogurt so it's big on creaminess and not so much on fat. Win. win.

Next time I will defintely add a (fresh) red pepper, but in the meantime give this kicked up recipe a try!

  • 1 poblano pepper, seeds and ribs removed, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1/2 yellow onion, cut into thick slices
  • Light olive oil, for roasting
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. flour
  • 3/4 cup fat free low sodium chicken broth
  • 5.3 oz. container fat free plain Greek yogurt
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 package Kraft Fresh Takes - Spicy Chipotle Cheddar
  • 8 oz. short cut pasta, cooked *I used Barilla White Fiber Mini Shells
  • Olive oil or cooking spray
Preheat broiler. Lightly spray or coat a baking sheet with olive oil and place peppers skin side up and onion slices on the plan. Drizzle again with olive oil and place under broiler. Broil until pepper skin begins to bubble and onions are browned, 5-8 minutes. Remove pan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Once cooled, gently peel skin off the peppers and then chop peppers and onions into 1/2-inch pieces.

In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add flour and whisk consistently for about 2 minutes until combined and flour is "cooked."  Continue to whisk as you stream in the chicken broth. Once combined, add yogurt, salt, pepper, and mustard, continuing to whisk until combined and smooth. Raise heat, bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce is thickened and reduced, whisking occasionally.  Remove from heat and add almost all of the cheese in the Fresh Takes package (reserving a little bit for the topping).  Stir until cheese is fully melted and then combine with pasta, peppers, and onions.

Lightly grease a 9x9 baking dish with olive oil or cooking spray and pour pasta mixture evenly into the dish.  Mix reserved cheese with the chipotle breadcrumb mixture and sprinkle evenly over the top of the pasta.  Lightly spray the topping with olive oil or cooking spray and bake for 12-15 minutes until top layer of cheese begins to melt.  Turn on your broiler and broil the mac and cheese until the breadcrumbs start to brown.  

Come join Mac and Cheese Mania at Rachel Cooks and Nutmeg Nanny sponsored by Door to Door Organics and OXO – Win prizes!

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