Hello, summer. With your abundance of tangy green tomatoes, your abundance of soul-melting heat, and your abundance of why-waste-my-time-flat-ironing-my-hair-when-it’s-just-going-to-look-like-crap-in-11-seconds-anyway humidity.
I can only help you with one of those things. The other two can typically be fixed by drinking any one of these.
This summery mac & cheese is spiked with minced chipotles in adobo and layered in a baking dish – and then topped – with thinly-sliced green tomatoes. The tangy tomatoes help cut the richness of the cheesy dish while the chipotles give you just enough heat to justify cooling off with that Fudge Bomb for dessert.
You know, if you’re still looking for an excuse.
Green Tomato and Chipotle Mac & Cheese
A summery mac & cheese topped with tangy green tomatoes and spiked with spicy, smokey chipotle peppers.
1 lb macaroni pasta
16 oz grated cheese (I used half sharp cheddar, half colby jack)
6 Tbsp butter, divided
3 Tbsp flour
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp deli-style mustard (I use Creole)
1-2 Tbsp minced chipotles in adobo (2 Tbsp for a spicier mac)
4 cups milk
1 cup breadcrumbs (2 slices of bread sent through a mini processor works perfectly)
3 large green tomatoes, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Bring salted water to boil and cook pasta for half the time suggested on the package.
Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking.
Leave the pasta draining in the sink and return the empty pasta pot to the cooktop over medium heat.
Melt 4 Tbsp butter and whisk in 3 Tbsp flour.
Let cook ~3 minutes, whisking occasionally.
Add the garlic and whisk, cooking 1 minute more.
Add the mustard, chipotles, and then slowly stream in the milk while whisking.
Add a generous pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, and let the sauce cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture beings to bubble.
Add the cheese and stir until it is completely melted.
Turn off the heat and add the pasta back to the pot, stirring until evenly coated.
Transfer half of the pasta to the baking dish and then layer half of the green tomatoes on top.
Top with the remaining pasta and the remaining green tomato slices.
Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and stir into the bread crumbs.
Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the dish.
Bake for ~30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have crisped to a golden brown and the pasta is bubbling.
That basket of delicious, deep-fried napalm is made of three of my very favorite things: beer, deep-fried [fill-in-the-blank], and to fill in the blank – fresh, weapons-grade jalapenos.
The first time I had fried jalapenos was at a post-Big Brother Sweatshop after-work-meeting after-party. Because it wasn’t enough that you had to spend 9 hours inside that soul-sucking prison, then the Medium Brothers expected you to meet after work, and then to socialize after that. For free.
But they frequently paid in decent munchies and not-so-decent beer. The Fried Jalapenos served alongside a dipping bowl of ranch dressing (because this is Texas) was my favorite thing about my time served there.
The fried jalapenos back then were of the pickled, canned nacho variety – not the greatest thing to ever happen to a jalapeno. I prefer fresh jalapenos for the tender-crisp texture, the absence of that vinegary aftertaste, and the fact that they’re easily accessible (and usually abundant) in my backyard.
We fried the fresh jalapeno slices up in my friend Laura’s beer batter and then served them up alongside some Chipotle Ranch for dipping. And a glass of milk. Because sweet baby Firestarter Jesus, those things were HOT.
Beer Battered Jalapenos
Fresh jalapeno slices are coated in a dark beer batter, deep fried, and served alongside cool and spicy Chipotle Ranch dressing.
For the batter:
1 cup flour
1 cup dark beer
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 dozen large jalapenos, cut in 1/3-inch slices
For the dipping sauce
1 cup ranch dressing
2 Tbsp minced chipotles in adobe
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and then add the beer.
Mix well and then set aside for 30 minutes.
Line a plate with paper towels.
Pour enough oil to come up 1.5 inches in a small pot and heat over medium-high heat.
Working with 8-12 slices at a time, dip the slices in the batter and then drop into the hot oil.
Fry 3-4 minutes, until golden brown, flipping the slices halfway through.
Remove with a slotted spatula and let drain on the paper towels.
Stir the ranch and chipotles together and serve alongside the fried jalapenos for dipping.
There are some really fun and inventive Thanksgiving leftover ideas out there. The first dish that always comes to mind is Pink Parsley’s Turkey Cranchiladas. Different. Fun. And completely delicious.
And more importantly, they look nothing like lunch and dinner from the previous 3 days.
Tortillas are an awesome vehicle for leftovers. A little turkey, leftover cranberry sauce, and any cheese in the drawer makes an easy dinner. But even better, it opens up the perfect opportunity for a post-holiday margarita. (I always have an angle.)
We stirred a couple of minced chipotles in adobo into some leftover cranberry sauce for a more savory – and slightly spicy – take on the spread. And just like that, 5 ingredients puts another leftover dinner on the table in the form of quesadillas, but with just enough of a twist to make it almost feel like a completely different meal.
Turkey Quesadillas with Chipotle Cranberry Sauce
Thanksgiving leftovers get a fresh twist with an easy chipotle cranberry sauce.
1/2 cup leftover whole berry cranberry sauce
1-2 minced canned chipotles with adobo sauce (I used a full cube)
6 medium tortillas
Leftover turkey, sliced or shredded
Shredded cheese of your choice
Heat a grill pan or panini maker to high.
Mix the cranberry sauce and minced chipotles together.
Lay the tortillas on your work surface and spread a spoonful of cranberry sauce over half.
Top with turkey and cheese and fold the top half over.
Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Grill 2-3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned and crispy.
Cut each quesadilla into 2-3 pieces and serve hot.