I’d like to consider myself an athlete. Mind you, I do nothing to deserve this title. I go to the gym once a week, twice if the stars align. I walk my dog daily, but truth is we only walk for about 20 minutes. I do the stairs in my home, I lift my 3-year-old and I stir food. Surely you can see that I should grace the cover of Muscle and Fitness Magazine!
In February I got a wild hair and decided that I’d like to walk half a marathon. With my 40th birthday around the corner, I have an intense need to accomplish something great! True, I gave birth to three kids and they are fully functioning little human beings. That IS an accomplishment. But I needed something a teeny bit out of the norm. So I signed up to walk the half. Recruited my trusty sister to accompany me. Once I registered I totally forgot about it until last Thursday. The marathon was last Sunday. I did not study the course map because I would freak out. I did have a moment on Saturday when I thought “what the heck am I doing? What if I pass out along the way? What if I pee my pants?”.
So the big day comes. I get up at 4 am (couldn’t sleep). Thought I better stretch. The least I could do considering I didn’t really train. I had the attitude that my whole life was training. Once we got there, we spent 30 minutes waiting to use an extremely stinky port-a-potty and was late for the start. But it was all uphill from there (literally). It was a gorgeous day, the mood was festive and the runners or actual athletes were truly inspiring. Despite the fact that my sister almost fainted once, we did awesome! Our legs didn’t even start to hurt until about mile 7!!! By mile 9 I was famished. For the next 4.1 miles all could think about was food! I think I even hallucinated a little. I knew I wanted something saucy, cheesy and carb loaded for dinner. Thus Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese came about. Because I like spice, I threw in the andouille sausage. It was so satisfying! The heat from the peppers contrasts nicely with the creamy, cool cream cheese. The pepper jack cheese adds a kick that a popper recipe should have, but is tempered by the Monteray Jack cheese! Jalapeño Popper dip is my favorite!! Now as a mac and cheese, it’s my new favorite meal!
As for marathons, I think I’m done. I’ll sacrifice the athlete title I suppose. I’ll leave it to the individual who ran 13.1 miles that day with totally bare feet!
Jalapeño Popper Mac and Cheese with Andouille
1 lb Farfelle pasta
12 oz. Andouille Sausage sliced
8 oz cream cheese
8 oz shredded pepper jack cheese
4 oz Monterey jack cheese
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
4oz can chopped green chilies
4 oz can chopped jalapeño peppers
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
4 Tbs butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
In a large skillet, cook sliced sausage until browned. Set aside.
In a large sauce pan, melt butter. Add flour whisking until blended, about 1 minute. Slowly add in milk whisking constantly. Let mixture cook on medium heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Add cream cheese, continue to whisk while cheese melts and incorporates into sauce. Add shredded cheeses and stir until smooth. Add in cooked and drained pasta followed by sausage. Pour mixture onto a greased 9×13 baking dish.
In a bowl, combine bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Stir in melted butter until incorporated. Spread bread crumb mixture over pasta. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Broil for 1 minute to brown the bread crumbs.