I don’t know what it is, but for some reason… if I see a recipe on Pinterest with claims about being 5 ingredients or less – I always click to learn more! And, I am way more likely to actually make it than most of the other recipes I pin! I guess it’s for the obvious reason – recipes with 5 or fewer ingredients are less overwhelming and easier to throw together quickly. 5 ingredient recipes – I’m always a fan!
This “pepper jack mac” as my husband affectionally calls it, has 5 simple ingredients: macaroni, cheese, milk, butter, and flour. I do add salt too, but that doesn’t exactly count as an ingredient. So yeah – 5 ingredients and dinner is served – YUM.
I’ve noticed that most “5-ingredient” style recipes seem to have a secret ingredient. That one ingredient that packs a huge punch and imparts tons of flavor to an otherwise simple dish. Sometimes it’s dijon mustard, sometimes molasses, a fresh herb – well in this recipe, it’s that pepper jack cheese! If you’ve never had it before and don’t mind a little bit of kick – you’ve got to give this recipe a try! My husband said he liked this version better than my mom’s macaroni and cheese. And that’s basically the biggest compliment there is when it comes to macaroni and cheese!
I’d love to hear from you all – do you have any quick 5 ingredient style recipes that you and yur family love?
- 4 cups elbow macaroni noodles (I use whole wheat)
- 2-3 cups of shredded pepper jack cheese
- 2 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus more for greasing the pan.
- 2 tablespoons flour (not pictured)
- 2 teaspoons salt for boiling pasta, plus extra for seasoning
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the package directions for al dente pasta - about 8-9 minutes. Drain but do not rinse the pasta (we'll use that starch to help thicken the sauce!)
- Melt your butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour to the melted butter and whisk together for a few minutes. We are just making a quick roux so you want to cook the flour a bit to get rid of the raw flour taste. Add in the milk and whisk to combine. Continue to whisk the milk over medium low heat until it starts to thicken.
- Turn off the heat and add in half of the cheese. Stir until all of the cheese is melted, then toss in the cooked noodles. Make sure all of the noodles are coated in the cheese sauce. Pour the cheesy noodles into a 8x8 square pan. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and season with salt.
- Bake covered for 15 minutes, then uncover and cook for 10 more minutes. I like to broil mine for the last 2-3 minutes to get it nice and golden on top.
- You can easily serve this as a main dish with fruit or side salad. But it also makes a terrific side dish to burgers or BBQ chicken.