Last weekend Chef PickyKid spent the weekend with her Mimi and Papa who took her to the Pinal County Fair in Tucson Arizona. We learned that Chef PickyKid is quite skilled at carnival games and racked up FIVE new stuffed animals, one of which is a GIGANTIC fish that looks like the fish from Finding Nemo. And when I say gigantic, I mean gigantic…this thing is over three feet tall and about two feet wide.
While Chef PickyKid enjoyed the weekend with her Mimi and Papa, my husband and I enjoyed the weekend to ourselves by attending the Arizona BBQ festival in Scottsdale Arizona. The BBQ festival had live music, mechanical bull rides, buffalo wing eating contests, lawnmower races and a mullet contest! Oh yeah, and there was tons and tons of tasty BBQ treats! I think I tried some of the best BBQ ribs I’ve ever had from Big John’s Texas BBQ; these ribs were so good, I’m going to hunt down their food truck on Route 66! My friend even had a BBQ Sundae, with mashed potatoes, coleslaw, bbq meat, and baked beans!! A-MAZING!
A few pics from the BBQ Fest…my friend enjoying a BBQ Sunday, Bull Ridin’ Fun, and the hubby and I enjoying shade and good BBQ!
In addition to BBQ Sundaes and amazing ribs, we also tried a super tasty Jalapeno Mac and Cheese from the Sandbar Restaurant. This mac and cheese was super creamy, cheesy and spicy, and since I couldn’t stop thinking about its cheesy goodness, I had to re-create it on my own. I think my version turned out pretty dang good, not to mention I added a key ingredient the original recipe didn’t have…bacon!
- One package of small shell pasta, cooked to al dente according to package directions
- 5-6 slices of cooked bacon, crumbled
- Two tablespoons of butter
- One yellow onion, minced
- One clove of garlic, minced
- Two tablespoons of flour
- 1 1/2 cups of cream
- 1 cup of milk
- 8 ounces of cream cheese
- 1 1/2 cups of sharp shredded cheddar cheese, plus an additional 1/2 cup for sprinkling on top
- 1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
- One 4 ounce jar of diced green chilies
- 6-8 ounces of diced pickled jalapenos (start with 6 ounces and add more to taste)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup of Panko bread crumbs
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter.
- Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and saute until the onions are softened, about 4-5 minutes
- Add the flour and whisk into the onions for 1 minute or until a paste texture forms.
- Add the cream a little at a time and whisk into the mixture.
- Add the milk a little at a time and whisk into the cream mixture.
- Add the cream cheese and stir to combine until the cream cheese has melted.
- Remove the skillet from the heat and add 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese (save the other 1/2 cup to sprinkle on top), and the pepper jack cheese and stir to combine until the cheese is melted
- Add the green chilies, jalapenos and bacon and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add the cooked shell pasta. Stir to combine.
- Spray a 9X13 baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and pour the mac and cheese into the pan. Be sure to spread the mac and cheese evenly in the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and Panko bread crumbs on top of the mac and cheese and bake, uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the Panko bread crumbs are golden brown.