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Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

It's Macaroni and Cheese day. Does anything say comfort food like mac and cheese? Just sitting down with a bowl can cheer you up on the worst of days. Growing up, mac and cheese was a treat. My sister and I would only get to indulge when my mom was out of town. Mac and Cheese was my Dad's specialty, paired with some fish sticks and ketchup. While I still can enjoy a bit of ketchup mixed in, my adult palate prefers spicy. What role did mac and cheese play in your childhood?

INGREDIENTS 1# elbow macaroni 1/2 onion, chopped 1/2-1 jalapeno, chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 2 T butter 1 c half and half 1 1/2 c gouda 3 oz cream cheese 4 c sharp cheddar, shredded 4 pieces crisp bacon 1/2 c panko 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

DIRECTIONS Cook elbow macaroni until al dente. Saute onion, jalapeno, and garlic in the butter. Add the half and half and bring to a simmer. Add cheeses and stir until melted and creamy. Mix into elbow macaroni. Pour into greased 9x11 pan. Top with panko, bacon and shredded cheese. Bake at 350 until browned and bubbly.

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