low carb jalapeño popper mac and cheese

Jalapeño poppers + mac & cheese?  All in one dish?  And even low carb if you want it to be?!

I think I may have just died and gone to heaven.

Jalapeño poppers are one of my guilty pleasures.  I could eat them every day, and sometimes I kind of do, by making my Jalapeño Popper Dip or Jalapeño Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwiches way more often than I should.

My waistline doesn’t thank me for those splurges though, so I was excited to find a way to make this treat low-carb, which fits into my lifestyle (and my waistline!) much better!

I have been enjoying the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle lately and using low-carb noodles such as Dreamfields (and leaving off the bread crumb topping!) keep this meal very low carb (making it an “S” for you THMers reading this).  So satisfying!

(No, I don’t eat low carb 100% of the time.  That is the beauty of THM, but I won’t go into that right now.  This is not an advertisement!)

If you like Jalapeño Poppers, I can pretty much guarantee that you will like this.

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baked jalapeño popper mac & cheese

Sometimes I am amazed that I even remember to brush my teeth, considering the chaotic state of my mind these days.

I can barely put 2 and 2 together it seems, and I am sure missing having a brain.  I feel kinda like the scarecrow right now, ya know?

Anyways, I had a burst of cooking-energy this afternoon….

But I realized I was afraid to move much beyond things I can make in my (non-existent) sleep.   Which is why I just keep making brownies and mac & cheeses.  I know I can’t mess up if I’m making those!  :o)

This is a super easy mac & cheese…  meaning, no stovetop cooking (except for the noodles) – just some tossing together, pouring and baking in the oven!

One of our all-time favorite mac & cheese recipes is my Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese.

I started thinking about what other favorite foods I could turn into mac & cheese and Jalapeño Poppers was the obvious next choice.

I also have a Low-Carb version of this Jalapeño Popper Mac & Cheese, if that’s your thing!  SO so good!

baked jalapeño popper mac & cheese


  • for the topping:
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or mexican blend)
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • for the mac & cheese:
  • 1 lb penne or other short pasta
  • 2 cups diced pepper jack cheese
  • 1 (8oz) block cream cheese, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar (or mexican blend)
  • 2-3 large jalapeños, seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 1/2 cups milk


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9x13" baking dish or a 12" cast-iron skillet and set aside.

In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients and set aside.

Cook the noodles according to package directions, draining them about a minute before they are done.

Combine the noodles, cheeses, butter & jalapeños, stirring well to melt the cream cheese. Dump this into the prepared baking dish.

In a small bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients and pour over the noodles and cheese in the dish.

Sprinkle the topping evenly over the top and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden & bubbly!


baked pumpkin & ham mac and cheese

Most of us had Turkey for Thanksgiving dinner, but I know some of you had ham, right?

And I’m guessing at least a few of you have half a can of pumpkin sitting in your fridge leftover from all that baking?  (I used 3/4 cup for this recipe.  If you have a little less, just substitute a little more milk or even better… some sour cream!)

I was playing a little ‘throw this all together and hope it tastes ok’ game with this meal, and I’m pretty sure I won!

I absolutely loved this combination of pumpkin, cheese, spices and noodles.  Add a little cayenne if you like a kick, and some fresh sage if you’ve got it!

Wanna know the best part about this meal (besides the use of leftovers)?  Your kids would probably not even notice the pumpkin hiding in all that cheese if you didn’t tell them…  a perfect sneaky-veggies meal!

What’s your favorite dish for holiday leftovers?

baked pumpkin & ham mac and cheese


  • 1/2-3/4 pound short noodles, cooked al dente*
  • 2 cups diced leftover ham
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar jack blend cheese, divided
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups half & half or milk
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan


Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cook the noodles according to package directions (1 minute or so less, if you don't like your noodles too soft.)

(*I usually boil the whole pound, and then give a bowl of buttered noodles to my toddlers to snack on while I work!)

Butter a 9×13″ baking dish. Stir together the cooked noodles, the shredded cheddar blend and the diced ham and place in the buttered baking dish.

Stir together the rest of the ingredients in a bowl, except for the parmesan. Pour this sauce evenly over the noodles in the dish.

Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the top. (At this point you can combine some butter and bread crumbs and sprinkle those over the top as well, if you like!)

Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling (cover with a piece of foil if it is getting too brown towards the end of the cooking time!).