Jalapeno Popper Pasta is a cheesy, spicy dish where comfort food meets an appetizer favorite. This grown-up mac ‘n cheese dish is filled with tasty jalapeno peppers, topped with garlic breadcrumbs and is made a little lighter too!
While Mike and I were pretty sure we would enjoy Jalapeno Popper Pasta, because I mean really…between the cheese and garlic breadcrumbs and a nice kick from the jalapenos…it’s a safe assumption, right? Well, this is how it typically goes down when I want to photograph our dinner for the blog. I load up a plate for photos and head over to my photo spot. I tell Mike to go ahead and start without me, but he always says he wants to wait. (He might sneak a bite or two). Photos take anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes depending on various factors, and then we eat! These photos didn’t take long, maybe 5 minutes. I went to the table, and Mike had already finished. He just smiled and went to load up for seconds. It’s that good!
- 8 ounces pasta (rotini, gemelli, or any other similar shape will work)
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- pinch salt
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2-3 jalapeno peppers, minced (to yield approx 1/4 cup)
- 6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, cut into 6 pieces
- 1 cup skim milk
- 1 cup Monterey jack cheese
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- COOK PASTA: Cook pasta according to package directions to al dente. Drain and set aside.
- MAKE BREADCRUMBS: Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium, nonstick skillet and add breadcrumbs and (1 clove) minced garlic. Stir frequently until breadcrumbs begin to brown and garlic is fragrant. Add a pinch of salt, remove from heat and set aside.
- MAKE SAUCE: In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook for 3 minutes, or until onion and peppers are softened. Add garlic during the last minute, cooking until fragrant.
- Reduce heat to medium and add cream cheese to onion mixture. Stir until melted. Add milk, stirring until incorporated. Add cheese and chili powder and stir until melted and smooth.
- PUT IT TOGETHER: Remove sauce from heat. Add cooked pasta to sauce and toss until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- SERVE: Divide on serving plates and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of garlic breadcrumbs. Top with jalapeño rings for garnish (optional).
Adapted from Rachael Ray
The past few months, I have been able to knock out several recipes from my bucket list with this challenge, and each of these recipes have become household staples. Gotta love a 3 year old who can’t get enough of roasted chickpeas (we go through 1 can every 1 to 2 days!)
If you’re a blogger, why not join us! It’s fun to come up with new, healthy recipes as well as see what other bloggers decide to make. Brenda has more information and sign up details here.