Articles about Food

Forks in the Road – A Travelers Cookbook

Forks in the Road Cookbook

An argument could be made that eating is the backbone of travel. In my experience, most travel (road trips, plane flights, camping, backpacking, rafting, etc.) revolves around food. What food do you pack? Where do you eat? When should we stop to eat? What is the local food like? Who are we eating with tonight? And what do we have to bring to cook? Food, and cooking, is a huge part of our day to day lives and it’s importance is amplified when traveling. It’s no wonder, then, that a book compiling recipes collected while on the road and focused on travel cooking has surfaced…in fact, I’m surprised there aren’t more of them.

Forks in the Road – Overland Expo 2014

Overland Expo is a symphonic cacophony of adventurous travel stories. To get into the individual accomplishments of every Overlanding group becomes an ego driven exercise of carefully stacking the number of miles driven, countries visited, tires changed and officials bribed in a round-the-world pissing match. All in good fun, of course, as every storyteller is also an avid fan-boy of the next adventurer recounting the comedy and tragedy of their own epic sagas. Ultimately, it’s the not how far or how long your trip was that sets your story apart but the personalities involved and how they’ve shaped the journey that really matters.

This year at Overland Expo I made an effort to look past the dusty statistics and find something that really captured my interest among a whole collection of unique and interesting stories. The stories that captured my interest were the ones relateable to me, aligning with my own experiences as I begin to dip my big toe into the Overlanding lifestyle. I love all land south of the border including Mexico, Central America and South America and long to travel more extensively in that part of the world. I am also a cook, at home and on the road, and meal prep is a big part of our travel experience. Ask my wife, she’ll tell you that proper food on the road may make the difference between a happy road trip and a miserable meltdown.

Enter Life Remotely.

Kobus - Life Remotely

I met this trio for the first time as I walked along the dusty path between vendor booths casually assessing this year’s assortment of new products. I lingered at their booth eyeing the hand-made grills and metal Expedition Tongs sitting neatly on the edge of the table. I was drawn in further when I realized they were hosting some cooking demos I had already decided I wanted to sit in on. Immediately I was engaged by their outgoing front-man, a charismatic South African native by the name of Kobus who doubled as grill-master and crowd wrangler. He took a break from working the crowds to tell me a little about their new cookbook and introduce me to Jessica, the “token female” of the group and Kobus’s wife.

“This is a collection of recipes we put together during 19 months on the road through Central and South America…”, I don’t even think I let her finish the whole sentence before I said I wanted one. Jessica operates as the Navigator and, seemingly, primary income provider of the trio. Working as a photographer and graphic designer who successfully manages her business from a small laptop between internet connections, her income fuels the ongoing journey. Her brother, Jared, claims she is the primary reason there always seems to be a bottle of wine around to roll out fresh tortillas but she is also responsible for the beautiful photography featured in their book.  Just flipping casually through the pages and knowing they collected local recipes as they traveled in Latin America sold me on their book, Forks in the Road.

Jared is head chef of the Life Remotely crew, taking responsibility for almost everything they eat on the road. Throughout their 19 month trip, they’ve cooked about 80% of their own meals mostly planned an orchestrated by Jared with grill help from Kobus. Forks in the Road was his baby and while all three of them are listed on the cover, Jared is credited as author. I caught up with Jared as he was preparing empanadas for a Dutch Oven demo later that morning. He talked about technique and the importance of flexibility in recipes while traveling in foreign countries all while trading good-natured insults with his sister and brother-in-law. The finished empanadas were pretty amazing.

Life Remotely - Empanadas - Forks in the Road

Dutch Oven Empanadas - Forks in the Road

Forks in the Road – A Cookbook for the Road

Forks in the Road is specifically designed as a cooking guide for Overlanders by Overlanders. Jared chronicles the book’s authenticity ,

“Every recipe in this book was discovered, adapted, cooked, written, revised and meticulously photographed somewhere between Tijuana, Mexico and Ushuaia, Argentina. The first recipes were written mere miles from The Death Road in Bolivia. In the following months they were photographed on the coast of Chile, edited on a cruise ship in Antarctica, formatted in a Uruguayan hotel, and finally submitted for publishing from a rental house on the beach in Brazil.”

The book is a collection of local favorites and down-home comfort food with simplicity and minimal equipment in mind for ease of cooking on the road. It caters to the novice cook and experienced camp-chef alike with basic building-block recipes as well as complicated day-long, whole-hog roasting events. That’s what I think is so great about this book. If you’ve never cooked on the road before, these recipes will get you started. If you’ve cooked on the road for years, these recipes will still likely introduce you to flavors and techniques that are entirely new. These are recipes that bring a level of joy and comfort to your journey that it may have been lacking. Whether it’s Dutch Oven cinnamon rolls for breakfast, Chimichurri  Steak for dinner or a killer Caipirinha for an after dinner cocktail this book has you covered. Organized into sections with names like “Comfort Breakfasts”, “Eat Lunch Like a Local” and “I’m Tired and Dirty and Just Want to Eat Dinners” this book is made for travel but offers a nice change of pace for the home cook as well. Hell, even part-time road warrior and self-proclaimed “non-cook”, Val-in-Real-Life picked up a copy of the eBook for some less frightening culinary ideas on the road and actually put it to use on her 7-week Pacific Northwest Tour.

Aside from the recipes, Jared has presented well written stories and detailed techniques for finding food, fun and adventure on the road. Accented with Jessica’s photography my copy of Forks in the Road has an honored spot on our coffee table…that’s when it’s not actually on the road with us.

Forks in the Road

Forks in the Road – Bringing in the Crowds

So, how do you cut through the chaos and bring in the crowd in the middle of a noisy, fast paced event like Overland Expo? Easy: Feed the people!

Yup, the Life Remotely trio executed the perfect PR stunt by spending 6+ hours Saturday morning during the peak of the Expo fire roasting a whole 40 lb lamp on a home-made spit over an open fire. Continually basted in a chimichurri-like marinade the enticing aroma of garlic and roasting meat whipped by high winds attracted huge crowds all day Saturday with the tantalizing promise of a free tasting when it was done. As the designated hour approached hoards of sun-baked, dust-covered, hungry Overlanders began to gather sensing the time was near. A long, haphazard line quickly formed as the meat was removed from the spit and laid whole across a table while Jared and Kobus stripped it clean and processed the meat into bite size pieces for the eager crowds.

Life Remotely Forks in the Road-2

Life Remotely Forks in the Road-5

Life Remotely - Forks in the Road

Life Remotely Forks in the Road-8The lamb roasting event was a big hit as Life Remotely took the opportunity to work the crowds and talk about their book. Jared, Jessica and Kobus put on other demos and tastings throughout the weekend sharing recipes and techniques they’ve experimented with on the road. The Dutch Oven empanadas, a mud-baked whole chicken and chilaquiles from home-made tortillas rounded out the weekend’s demonstrations. With every demo you could tell that they’ve learned to work together and manage minor frustrations without letting them get in the way. The trio’s time on the road has truly made them a team.

Jared talks about finding balance. How important it is to strike a happy medium between chaos and comfort to stay sane:

“It turns out that much of this world is full of dirty bathrooms, noisy campsites, inaccurate maps, understocked grocery stores and horrible road conditions. It also has a fair share of excellent accommodations, spectacular scenery and very friendly people. Not knowing which to expect as you roll into the next town is one of the best, yet most difficult parts of traveling. Finding the balance will help you deal with these uncertain circumstances without turning grocery shopping and nightly meals into a burden.”

Simplicity, flexibility and a willingness to experiment seem to be key factors in keeping sane on the road. Especially when it comes to food. It appears the Life Remotely crew have found their balance and it’s a pleasure to watch them show it off.

Check out more of their adventures at LifeRemotely.com and I encourage you to grab a copy of their book, Forks in the Road, by clicking here.

 

Camp Food – Wife’s Favorites

Car camping with my wife has been a lot of fun and a huge learning experience.  I am so accustomed to camping alone and only worrying about my own comfort that I let a lot of things pass just because they’re not priority.  One of the biggest things that changed when my wife and I started camping together was the camp food.  I had come into a habit of treating food like a necessary evil when camping or backpacking, making it as painless, lightweight and worry free as possible.  I would do a couple of nights in the desert with some oatmeal, trail mix and a big bag of beef jerky.  That kind of thing won’t fly when we’re camping together.

First of all, my wife is a vegetarian.  So the beef jerky staple is out and she’s not much for dried fruit, so I have to think about fresh ingredients when possible.  Car camping with the cooler makes it relatively easy to manage, backpacking is a little more of a challenge.  But I promised my wife plenty of snacks in our wedding vows and that means making sure she is fed well even when we’re out in the middle of nowhere.  Luckily, there are some easy go-to dishes that have become her favorite camping meals when we’re on the road.

Grilled Cheese and Veggies

Grilled Cheese

This sounds easy, but there’s some thought that goes into this.  The right bread, the right cheese(s), grilled veggies to add…you gotta get it right! My wife’s running favorite is white cheddar, goat cheese and grilled sweet potato on wheat bread.  If I’m feelin it, we’ll add a few jalapeno slices for some spice.

Grilled Veggies

Remember in Cub Scout camp-outs wrapping veggies in foil and tossing them over the fire?  Yeah, that still works.  We’ll slice up some sweet peppers, squash and mushrooms then add a pad of butter and some seasoning.  Wrap the whole thing in foil and grill over an open flame.  For a little extra punch I’ll add some jalapeno mustard to the mix.

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Berries

Breakfast is usually oatmeal (we make it a little extra watery so we can add powdered peanut butter to it – AWESOME!) but once in a while I’ll make pancakes while we’re at camp if we have time.  On one of our trips to Grand Canyon we got up early so I could shoot the sunrise.  When we came back I put coffee on and started on a big breakfast.  I had some sweet potato pancake mix to which I added powdered peanut butter and blueberries.  I cooked them in my fancy new contraption from Snow Peak and they were amazing!  So good they didn’t need any syrup.

Pancakes in Snow Peak Clamshell

 

Bonus Camp Cooking Tip:

Even if you’re eating prepared, freezedried or leftover food from home, always bring a few fresh ingredients to add some dimension to your meal.  I generally bring a lime, at least one jalapeno and an apple.  Dice the apple and add it to oatmeal for some fresh, sweet crunch.  Add diced jalapeno to pasta, rice or chili dishes for some fresh spice or add slices to sandwiches and eggs.  Lime juice goes a long way to freshen Thai dishes, Mexican dishes or even eliminate that weird flavor we often get from filtered water.

Snow Peak cutting board

For more Camp Food tips, tricks, ideas and recipes check out the Sierra Trading Post Social Hub post about Food for the Outdoors.

 

It’s all about the juice…

ready to juice with the Hurom Slow JuicerThis is my juicer.  There are many like it but this one is mine.  My juicer is my best friend, it is my life.  I must master it as I must master my own life…

I’ve been talking about getting a good juicer for years.  Now that things are settling down a bit for me I can focus on my health and nutrition a little more and part of that process is juicing.  I’ve talked with a handful of friends and family about their experiences and none of them had anything but good to say about juicing.  They feel better, have more energy and, in some cases, have lost weight.

Over last few years I’ve transitioned to a more whole food, plant-based diet.  I still eat meat occasionally, but that is happening less and less.  These days, I have a hard time eating meat from big-box grocery stores.  Luckily, we have several very nice farmer’s markets and local growers and ranchers who provide quality food here in Phoenix.  This makes it much easier to have a well stocked kitchen with fresh food while supporting local growers.  We have almost completely pulled away from processed foods and I feel so much better about the food I put in my body.

I know there is a strong community of juicers out there who all have their favorite recipes and are always experimenting and developing new ones.  Hopefully, I will be able to share some of my favorites as I get more experience with my juicer.  I am very excited about finding recipes to use the pulp as well as the juice so less get’s tossed out.  Any of the pulp ends up in compost for the garden, so I’m not too worried about the scraps.

Anyway, I wanted to post about this because I’d like to hear about some of your favorite recipes!  If you’ve got a favorite juice recipe (or other recipe using the juicer) please share it with me below, I’d love to try it!

Mean Green JuiceMy First Juice:

This was a recipe I found over at MyJuiceCleanse.com

Mean Green Juice

6 Kale Leaves
1 Cucumber
4 Celery Stalks
2 Green Apples
1/2 Lemon
1 piece of ginger

FYI – The Juicer I bought is the Hurom Slow Juicer.

Recipe: Sweet Potato Garlic Rosemary Mac-and-Cheese…

I do love me some Mac and Cheese!  Most of you, I’m sure, have seen the recipe I posted a while back for the Manly Mac and Cheese that my buddies and I make for Steak Night.  Well, with the bacon and grilled chicken it’s not vegetarian friendly for my fiance.  So I played with a variation of a recipe I had found with sweet potatoes mixed into Mac and Cheese (we LOVE sweet potatoes!).  One night we picked up everything we needed from the store and got to work in the kitchen.

The smell of the garlic and rosemary while it’s cooking is enough to get you drooling.  This one came together beautifully and is a great vegetarian Mac.  This recipe has even become popular with my meat-eating buddies…

Sweet Potato Garlic Rosemary Mac and Cheese

The Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 10 cloves garlic
  • 1 large (or 2 small) orange sweet potato, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices or thicker
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces pasta (your choice)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 2 cups Italian Blend Shredded Cheese
  • 3/4 cup Asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup italian breadcrumbs
  • 2-4 medium jalapenos (chopped, diced or sliced…cook’s preference)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray or rub with butter.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add garlic and sweet potatoes and cook until the sweet potatoes are just starting to soften (about 5 minutes); remove cloves and sweet potatoes and let cool. When cloves have cooled, use a garlic press to press blanched cloves; set aside.
  3. While the water is still hot, add salt to the boiling water and toss in the pasta.  Cook until al dente (do not overcook).  When done, drain and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; Dice sweet potatoes and cook in skillet, flipping occasionally, until they develop a caramelized crust (about 5 minutes). Set aside with the pasta.
  5. Pour yourself another glass of Sauvignon Blanc (per Russ Beebe). <<– Important step
  6. In the large pot over low heat, melt the butter. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add in salt and pepper, and, with a wire whisk, gradually add half-and-half. Bring to a boil while continuously stirring. It should start to thicken up.  Reduce heat, and then simmer 1 minute (too long and it will get too thick making it hard to incorporate the cheese).
  7. Stir 1 3/4 cup Italian Blend Shredded Cheese and 1/2 cup Asiago cheese until melted and smooth. Add blanched pressed garlic, diced sweet potatoes, rosemary, minced garlic, jalapeno and cooked pasta. Stir to combine. Pour into greased casserole dish.
  8. To make topping, combine a tablespoon olive oil, breadcrumbs, 1/4 cup Italian Blend Cheese, and 1/4 cup Asiago cheese in a small mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle on top of pasta.
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and topping golden brown. Serve.

There are a lot of steps to this one, with the addition of the caramelized sweet potatoes.  But it is well worth the work.  I’ve made this one a half-dozen times or so now and everyone really seems to enjoy it.  Give it shot!  Let me know what you think…

Sweet potato mac and cheese

Recipe: Dave’s Awesome Chili…

Dave's Awesome Chili
I’ve made a lot of Chili over the years and experimented with a lot of different types of Chili.  Personally, I like to change it up often and have made turkey chili, vegetarian chili, no-bean chili, etc. and have enjoyed them all.  But the Grandaddy of them all is Dave’s Awesome Chili (no, I did not name it myself).  I only make this one on special occasions and, typically, only upon request.  This Chili has graced several Super Bowl parties and one especially thankful Cub Scout Pot Luck Awards Dinner.  This recipe can be expensive, makes a LOT of chili and it is spicy.  There are things you can do to adjust the spiciness of it but….why would you?
Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound chorizo (pork or beef, but I prefer pork)
  • 1 pound chopped mock tender chuck steak (or any stew meat)
  • 1 beef Kilbasa (see below for alternate options)
  • 1 1 lb package bacon
  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 1 15 oz can kidney beans
  • 1 15 oz can spicy chili beans
  • 5 10 oz cans Ro*tel tomatoes (if you want spicy chili pick 2 or 3 of the “extra hot” variety)
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2-4 green chili peppers (or jalapenos)
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1 can beer (your choice)
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1/4 cup Lee Kum Kee black bean garlic paste
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Pickapeppa sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons hot sauce (your choice, I usually use two different kinds)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper

Dave's Awesome Chili

Process:

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat add roughly chopped, thick-cut bacon and cook until crisp. While bacon is cooking you can chop all the peppers, onions and celery. Remove bacon (leave the grease in the pot) and add chopped onions and celery. Add salt and pepper and cook until transparent and semi-browned then remove to a bowl.

Now add the ground chuck and chorizo to the pot and cook until nearly browned then add chopped chuck steak (chop into pieces small enough to handle in a bite but big enough to know you’re eating steak). I usually start adding the sauces and spices at this point and mix them in as the meat cooks.

Once the meat is browned and the sauces and spices are mixed in, toss in the cooked onions, chopped peppers and bacon.  Stir gently.

Drain the kidney beans and black beans and add those to the chili.  Stir gently.  Add the Chili Beans with spicy sauce.  Stir gently.  Add the Ro*Tel mix.  Stir gently.  Add the beer and chopped Kilbasa.  Stir.

Everything should be in at this point and you should have a nice soupy mix. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Stir every 20 minutes or so for 2 to 3 hours…the longer the better.

Dave's Awesome ChiliServe in small bowls with shredded cheese, sour cream and chopped scallions or jalapenos.

optional:

Lately, instead of using the Kilbasa in the chili, I’ve used sweet Italian sausage links.  Brown the sausage in a skillet or on the grill, just enough to get some color to the skin.  Then drop them, whole, into the chili and let them cook with the chili.  In the end, I usually fish them out and cut them in half…serving one piece in each bowl with the chili.  It makes for the most flavorful, tender Italian sausage you’ve ever had.

Also, I like to cook a little extra bacon to chop up and use as a topping.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve with the usual toppings: cheese, sour cream, scallions, minced onion, chopped bacon, chopped jalapeno, etc.  I like to serve my chili with fresh tortillas (this IS Arizona).  I also like to serve mine with melon.  There is something really nice about the sweet, cool melon against the savory, spicy, steaming hot chili.  My recent find is Santa Claus Melon.  I can’t get enough of it and it pairs beautifully with the chili.  And don’t forget the beer…Lagers, Ambers and Pale Ales work great!

Chili

Recipe: No-Bake Protein Bars…

This is adapted from a recipe originally posted by Jessica Allen over at BlondPonyTail.com.  For awesome fitness related content check out her site or follow her on Twitter.  To see her original recipe post, click here.

Peanut Butter No-Bake Protein Bars...

The first time I made these No-Bake Protein Bars they were amazing!  I have adjusted and tweaked the recipe every time I’ve made them to experiment with flavors and texture.  I like to have a more solid, slightly drier bar so that they will hold up better on the trail.  The original recipe was very soft (and yummy) and would essentially melt once it started to warm up.

So, here’s what I use:

  • 1 cup organic Almond Butter
  • 1 cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 1/2 cup organic local honey
  • 2 cups of protein powder
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (optional)
Protein bar ingredients...

Collect all your ingredients along with a microwave-safe mixing bowl (Pyrex or glass)...

Then start mixing…

mix peanut butter, almond butter and honey...

Add the Almond Butter, Peanut Butter and Honey to the bowl. Then microwave for 90 seconds...

then…

Mixed butters and honey...

Carefully mix thoroughly until smooth...

 

added dry ingredients...

Add the remaining ingredients, except for the oats, and stir. I find that it's easier to mix the oats in last after all the seeds and powders...

 

chocolaty mixture...

Add the rolled oats and mix everything trying to get the oats evenly integrated.

 

mixture poured in to Pyrex storage containers...

Pour the mixture into Pyrex containers or a glass baking sheet with the lid (you could cover with plastic wrap if you don't have a lid). Spread the mixture evenly across the bottom and place in the refrigerator to let the bars set up. I usually leave mine overnight...then cut the servings I want as I need them.

 

If you are not a big fan of chocolate, you can use plain or vanilla flavored protein powder and skip the cocoa powder.  The natural peanut butter and honey flavor is awesome so the chocolate is just a bonus.  These make a great post-workout snack with a good ratio of natural sugar, carbs, fat and protein.

I tend to do a lot of fasted-state workouts if I run or lift in the mornings so this is a nice snack to have directly following the workout…followed by a real meal about 30-45 minutes after the workout.

Enjoy!

Manly Mac-n-Cheese…

My buddies and I have a long-standing tradition of getting together one night a week specifically to grill up some thick-cut steaks, drink and hang out.  It’s a way for us to break away from our busy schedules, limited budgets or restrictive diets and just have an awesome, perfectly-grilled steak with friends.  Originally, there were only a couple of us and I hosted Steak Night at my house.  Since then the attendance has grown.  Steak Night is now hosted at my friend Ian’s house and we all take turns buying the steaks.  We’ve also started to introduce side-dishes.

Side dishes are tricky when the focus is put so heavily on the steaks.  We started out with simple side dishes that could not compete with the amazing slabs of beef we would serve.  Then things got serious.

Our Steak Night Mac-N-Cheese Recipe has undergone it’s own storied evolution, but the final outcome has become a staple of Steak Night.  We’ve progressed from a simple mac-in-a-box side dish to something truly extraordinary.  Though it started as a joint venture, Ian gets full credit for coaxing this recipe through it’s evolutionary process and perfecting it.  It was adapted from a couple of different recipes we found online and modified to our tastes.  THIS is the kind of Mac-N-Cheese you tell your grand-kids about…

mac-n-cheese

 The Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb rotini macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard
  • 2 garlic cloves , rough chopped
  • 5 drops hot sauce (or more depending on preference)
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • course, ground pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs , beaten to blend
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese (additional cup for topping)
  • 1 cup grated asiago cheese
  • 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 medium boneless chicken thighs, marinated and grilled (we marinate them in Italian Dressing)
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon, cooked and crumbled (should be enough to let you snack on some while cooking)
  • 2-5 medium jalapenos (chopped, diced or sliced…cook’s preference)

Directions:

  1. Boil macaroni in plenty of salted water until al dente. Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  3. Grease a 9 X 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small processor or blender, combine milk, cream cheese, mustard, garlic, hot sauce, eggs and salt.
  5. Pour drained pasta and milk/cream cheese mixture back into pot pasta was cooked in.  Allow to ‘sit’ in pot for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This is an important step and must not be left out as it allows the sauce to start thickening and be absorbed by the pasta and not just settle in the bottom of the baking dish. 
  6. After 15 minutes, add various cheeses, jalapenos, grilled chicken, pepper and crumbled bacon and mix well altogether.
  7. Pour into prepared baking dish, cover with foil and place in preheated oven.
  8. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes.
  9. Remove dish from oven, remove foil and add an additional cup of grated cheddar cheese to the top.
  10. Return dish to the oven (without foil) and broil until the top is melted and starting to brown.
  11. Remove from oven, recover with foil and give it about 15 minutes to cool enough to eat.

 

Wet ingredients in a blender

Wet ingredients in the blender...

 

Boiling the pasta

placing a wooden spoon over the pot will keep it from boiling over when cooking pasta...

 

cheeses, jalapenos, bacon and chicken

cheeses, jalapenos, bacon and chicken in mixing bowl...

 

adding pasta to the mixing bowl

pasta added to mixing bowl...

 

pouring mixed ingredients into making pan

Once all ingredients are mixed together, pour in to baking pan...

 

mac-n-cheese in baking pan

level out the mac so it will cook evenly, do not overfill the baking pan...

 

finished mac-n-cheese in baking pan

finished mac-n-cheese should have a crusty, cheesy, golden-brown top...