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You guys. Thanksgiving is SO close! And since I’m such a foodie that makes it one of my most favorite holidays around. Sure, I love hanging out with my friends and family, catching up on things that we are all normally too busy to share and what not, but the star of every Thanksgiving gathering is the food. Oh my gosh the FOOD! If you are anything like me then not only do you stuff your day with awesome company, but you also stuff your mouth with awesome grub too. Ever since I “grew up” and started carving out my own place in the world I have spent this holiday with my closest friends. Over the years we have welcomed new people, lost a few, had marriages and gained quite a few babies along the way, and through it all we still know that at Thanksgiving we are going to come together to enjoy friendship and fabulous food. So in honor of my favorite delicious holiday I have created an epic foodiepalooza of a side dish that is absolutely perfect for the big day. This recipe combines three of my favorite tastes of all time: Kraft Ranch Dressing, spicy jalapeños and mac & cheese. Are you drooling yet? It’s an epic mac and cheese, y’all!
Spicy Ranch And Jalapeno Mac & Cheese
This recipe is one of my absolute favorites for its rich flavors and creamy cheeses, but I think the part that makes it really pack a punch is the addition of creamy Ranch dressing and these beautiful zesty peppers. I’m sure you are already familiar with my love of all things Ranch, so when I was developing this recipe I decided to add some in and see how it tasted. The result was fabulous!
This will take you around 30-45 minutes from start to finish, and once ready you can serve it immediately or wrap it in foil and a towel and take it to your next gathering. Let me tell you, though, make sure you are the first in line because EVERYONE will want a scoop of this! If you want to spice it up more you can add an extra jalapeño or poblano pepper, or if you want to tone the heat down substitute those for bell peppers. Here is what you need:
- 3 cups uncooked pasta. I use Cellentani noodles but regular elbow macaroni is fine as well.
- 1 cup Kraft Triple Cheddar shreds
- 1.5 cups Kraft Pepper Jack shreds
- 1/2 cup Kraft Ranch Dressing
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 large jalepeno
- 2 sweet red chili peppers (may substitute for peppers of your choice)
- 8 oz golden sweet corn
- large, shallow serving dish
The first thing you want to do is cook your noodles to *just* softened. While they are cooking dice your peppers and then combine them with your corn and a small amount of butter in a saute pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the edges are slightly browned and set aside. By now your noodles should be ready, so drain and transfer them over to a large bowl. Add in your ranch and half and half then stir.
Once that is thoroughly mixed add in your cheese. One thing to remember about this step is that you want to make sure your noodle to cheese ratio is properly balanced. Add too much and it’s overwhelming, add too little and it falls flat so for this recipe I am adding roughly three cups of cheese. I love cheddar, but since I wanted this dish to have a little kick I am splitting my cheese portion to result in half triple cheddar and half Pepper Jack. I use Kraft shreds because they come in the perfect portion sized bags and using pre-shredded cheese means I’m not wasting time shredding it myself.
Next fold in your corn/pepper mix, spread the whole thing evenly into a baking dish, add a light sprinkling of cheese over the top and bake at 350 degrees for around 15ish minutes.
When it is ready take it out of the oven, set it aside to cool for a few minutes and either serve or insulate and head over to your gathering. It will smell absolutely amazing and look like this:
Yum! Now, wasn’t that easy? Just look at that amazingly golden cheese, I can almost taste it now! I know my friends are going to love it this year, and what could be better than a full belly and fabulous company? Not much! #TasteTheSeason #CollectiveBias