Jalapeño Havarti Chicken Mac and Cheese

Makes 6 servings
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This 10-ingredient jalapeño mac and cheese is easy weeknight fare. Made with a creamy, not-too-spicy Jalapeño Havarti cheese sauce and chicken for protein.

Recipe by: Bev Weidner, Bev Cooks


  • 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 cups dry pasta shells
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 (6-oz) blocks Roth Jalapeño Havarti cheese, grated
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, thinly sliced
  • Coarse salt


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine garlic powder, onion powder and pinch of salt in a small bowl. Rub the spices all over the chicken thighs.
  3. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add chicken to the pan (splayed out so a lot of the under surface touches the pan) and sear for 6 minutes. Flip and sear the other side for 6 minutes. Flip the chicken once more and cook another minute or two, until completely cooked through (you can check this with a meat thermometer. The safe internal temperature for cooked chicken is 165 degrees F). Remove from the pan, let cool for five minutes and then shred with two forks.
  4. In the meantime, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cook shells until almost al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain pasta in a colander and place the pot back on the warm burner.
  5. Heat butter in the pot. Once foaming, add flour and whisk until the roux starts to become a nice golden brown, about 2 minutes. Add the milk in a slow stream, whisking as it thickens. Add one full block of grated Havarti cheese, plus half of another grated block. Stir until the cheese melts into the sauce and becomes soft, thick and stringy. To the pot, add shredded chicken and cooked pasta, giving it a stir to combine.
  6. Pour mac and cheese into a casserole dish and top with remaining grated cheese. Top with sliced jalapeño peppers, and bake for 30 minutes, until the cheese is browning and starting to bubble.
  7. Serve immediately with an extra sprinkle of coarse salt, if desired.