Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stuffed Bell Peppers with Spicy Mac and Cheese

Do you ever have “one of those days”? You know, the day when you walk over to the MS building and totally get lost and cannot find the room to drop off your samples so you have to walk back to your lab and look it up online because you are too embarrassed just to ask someone. And then 30 minutes later, you are rotovapping down your last glimmer of hope for the day because you’ve already had two reactions fail, and your product bumps for like the twelve time. And then you have to struggle to fight back the tears welling up in your eyes. No? me either… Okay, okay. This may be a true story of an over-emotional moment one afternoon this week. So to attempt to brighten my day, I turned my iPod to Taylor Swift and rocked out to her girly music. This helped A LOT. Day looked up significantly. What about you? Do you have music that will automatically give you that little pick-me-up? What do you do when you have “one of those days” and you just need to put a smile on your face?

You know what else puts a smile on my face? COOKING!! (and EATING!) And on a day that isn’t the happiest, we all need a little comfort food. For me, comfort food tends to revolve around gooey, melting, delicious cheese. So today I’m sharing with you a great recipe for spicy mac and cheese. I stuffed it into some green bell peppers, but you could certainly skip that step and serve it alongside whatever you wanted.

Spicy Mac and Cheese Stuffed Bell Peppers (Mac and Cheese Recipe from Annie’s Eats)
2 cups penne pasta, cooked according to the directions on the box and drained
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
¼ cup roasted red pepper, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced (remove seeds if you don’t like a lot of spice)
2 tbsp butter, divided
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 ¼ cup milk
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp garlic powder
1 dash salt
1 dash black pepper
4 oz. colby jack cheese, shredded
2 oz. pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2-4 bell peppers (depending on the size), tops removed and cored

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Melt ½ tbsp butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, red pepper and jalapeno and cook, stirring occasionally until fragrant and tender, about 5 min. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt 1 ½ tbsp butter over medium-high heat. After the butter has melted completely, whisk in the flour. Cook, whisking constantly, until it turns a light golden brown color and begins to foam, about 2 min. Whisk in the milk. Cook, whisking frequently, until it begins to thicken, about 5 min. Reduce heat to medium-low and whisk in spices. Finally, add the cheeses and whisk until completely melted and incorporated. 

In a bowl, combine the cooked, drained pasta with the onion and pepper mix and cheese. Mix completely and then spoon into the cored bell peppers. Place the peppers into a baking dish with a small amount of water in the bottom.

Bake for 25 minutes or until the mixture is heated through.


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