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Bacon & Jalapeno Mac & Cheese

Bacon & Jalapeno Mac & Cheese

View this recipe and more of our favorites throughout the decades in our 80th Anniversary Cookbook


4 cups Kings Whole Milk
6 tablespoons Kings Unsalted Butter
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
8 ounces Kings Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
6 ounces Kings Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
6 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
1⁄8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon nutmeg
2 oz of canned jalapeño peppers, plus 1 tablespoon of liquid
6 strips thick-cut bacon
1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons Kings Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 pound Kings Organic Whole Wheat Penne Pasta or elbow macaroni
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large stock pot, bring salted water to a boil and cook pasta to package directions for al dente. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In a medium saucepan, warm milk to just below a simmer, be careful not to boil. While the milk heats, add butter to the same stock pot that the pasta was cooked in, and melt butter until bubbly. Slowly add the flour to the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly to create a roux. Once the mixture is a nutty, golden brown, add the milk by the ladle, whisking to create a smooth sauce (about 3-4 minutes). Remove from heat, and add grated cheese, cayenne pepper and nutmeg, stirring to combine all ingredients.
3. Place bacon slices on a baking sheet, and cook until the bacon is crispy, about 15 minutes. Allow bacon to cool and then chop.
4. Place extra bacon grease in a small bowl, with two tablespoons of EVOO and combine with panko breadcrumbs. Set aside.
5. Place pasta, bacon and jalapeños with 1 tablespoon liquid into cheese sauce, mixing to combine. Pour into a buttered 9x13 baking dish and top with breadcrumb mixture. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is browned and the macaroni and cheese is bubbling.