I think Mac and Cheese is the ultimate comfort food. And sometimes a bowl of plain macaroni and cheese is all I need. But we like to crank the flavor up too, and mac and cheese is very adaptable. Here I've added bell peppers and onions, and spices to amp up the flavor.
Macaroni, Cheese, and More
Next time you think about making mac and cheese, think about what you can put in it besides macaroni and cheese! This dish has bell peppers and onion for a bit of crunch, and it makes it healthier so you don't have to feel as guilty about eating a big bowl of carbs! I use green and red peppers because the color contrasts better with the yellow pasta and cheese.
And of course I have to crank up the heat and flavor with spices. The recipe that inspired this dish calls for a tablespoon of cayenne pepper! I love my chiles, but whoa! I dropped it down to a teaspoon and added some other spices, and it has a nice heat level.
Habanero hot sauce adds a nice layer of flavor. You can find it online, or use any other hot sauce.
Ingredients You'll Need
- olive oil
- green bell pepper
- red bell pepper
- cayenne pepper
- garlic powder
- hot paprika
- ground cumin
- ground coriander
- habanero hot sauce (or other hot sauce)
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- coconut cream
- Dijon mustard (or brown mustard)
- sharp Cheddar cheese
How to Spice Up Your Mac and Cheese
Here are the ingredients: macaroni, surrounded by Cheddar cheese, bell peppers, a beaten egg, spices (cayenne, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, and coriander), mustard, habanero sauce, butter, coconut cream, and onions.
Preheat the the oven to 350ºF, and coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Cook the macaroni to just under al dente. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
Add the cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce and stir for about a minute. You just need to mix them in and heat them up so they release their flavor.
Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for at least 5 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
Stir in the coconut cream and beaten egg. (You can substitute sour cream for the coconut cream, or you can also use coconut milk.)
Add the butter and mustard to the pot and stir until the butter is melted.
Add 3 ½ cups of the Cheddar cheese and stir until it's melted.
Mix the macaroni into the sauce.
Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking pan.
Sprinkle the other ½ cup of Cheddar cheese over the top and bake for 25 minutes.
We don't like a crispy cheese top. If we want crunch I'll do a crumb topping. But if you like a brown, crispy top you can turn the broiler on for 5 minutes. Here's our non-crispy mac and cheese, right out of the oven.
I hope you like this spicy mac and cheese as much as we do. It makes a great side dish, or a main course with a salad (for more guilt-reducing nutrients and fiber!).
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📖 Recipe Card
Spicy Macaroni and Cheese
Special Equipment Needed
- 1 Large stock pot
- 1 9x13 baking dish
- 12 ounces macaroni uncooked
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium green bell pepper diced
- 1 medium red bell pepper diced
- 1 small onion diced
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon hot paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon habanero hot sauce or other hot sauce
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 large egg beaten
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 4 cups sharp Cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat the the oven to 350ºF. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or butter.
- Cook the macaroni to just under al dente. Drain and set aside.12 ounces macaroni
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the bell peppers and onion and cook until softened, about 8 minutes.1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 medium green bell pepper, 1 medium red bell pepper, 1 small onion
- Add the cayenne pepper, garlic powder, paprika, cumin, coriander, and hot sauce. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon hot paprika, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon habanero hot sauce
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for at least 5 minutes. Season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.Kosher salt and black pepper
- Add the coconut cream and egg to the pepper mixture and stir to combine.1 cup coconut cream, 1 large egg
- Add the butter and Dijon mustard. Return to low heat and stir until the butter melts and the mixture is creamy, about 2 minutes.3 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Add 3 ½ cups of the cheese and stir to combine.4 cups sharp Cheddar cheese
- Add the macaroni and stir until thoroughly it's coated with the cheese and pepper mixture.
- Transfer the macaroni mixture to the baking dish and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining ½ cup cheese.
- Bake until the cheese on top is melted, about 25 minutes. If you want a crisp top, turn on the broiler and broil for 2 to 5 minutes.
THIS RECIPE IS FROM
The Spice of Your Life - https://thespiceofyourlife.com