Jalapeno Popper Macaroni Salad

1 lb dried elbow macaroni pasta
1 cup canned jalapeños, chopped I prefer the mild version (can substitute with fresh chopped jalapeños as well)
1 cup cheddar cheese, cubed small (or shredded) (monterey jack or Colby jack are good as well)
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like to use the canola oil mayo for a less calorie dressing)
1/2 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp cream cheese, room temperature
2 Tbsp lemon juice fresh is best
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
generous pinch of black pepper
fresh parsley, minced for garnish (optional)

  1. Bring large pot of water to a boil, add generous pinch of salt and boil pasta per package directions.  Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water until cooled.
  2. To a small mixing bowl, add mayo, sour cream, cream cheese, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder and black pepper and whisk until smooth and creamy.
  3. To a large mixing or serving bowl, add cooked and cooled pasta, jalapeños, cheese, and most of the bacon.  Pour dressing over pasta and toss to combine.  
  4. Sprinkle with remaining bacon, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow flavors to fully combine.
  5. Serve cold.

If desired, add a bit of melted butter to some panko breadcrumbs and cook in a dry skillet over LOW heat until fragrant and toasty.  Before serving pasta salad, sprinkle the toasted breadcrumbs over the top.

Original Recipes visit: Jalapeno Popper Macaroni Salad @ thechunkychef.com

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