Jalapeño Popper Mac-n-Cheese Stuffed Lasagna: The True Medicine for the Soul

Afrikana Stories_lasagna featured image
It’s thick. It’s creamy. It’s super-rich. Just saying the name can give you a heart attack. Doctors will warn you to skip the cheese, but bae-bae…. When perimenopause got you in the choke hold, your hormones are all over the place, the full moon’s energy is active and activated… bring on the comfort food! No apologies… and if that’s you, keep reading :) it gets worst LOL … girl I got pictures AND video to prove this deliciousness is a must-have once in a while on your period day!

So literally the past couple of weeks I have been down and out with vertigo and food poisoning (another story for another day). Yep, so not only was my mind under attack, but so was my belly! I couldn’t eat a solid meal for 2 weeks. I’ve lost weight, lost time from work, lost some of my memory, and I’m sure some friendships as well.

When you are the one people call for strength, what happens when you’re unavailable? Either the real ones will understand, but most of them sap suckers will fade away because they can no longer benefit from the connection. Again, that’s another story for another day.

Today, I woke up after 2 weeks of being under serious attack with vertigo, and taking head-spiraling medicines around the clock, today…. I feel clear. So I decided to treat myself to a big old plate of comfort food!

Parents, do you need a safe and easy way to explain “that time of the month” to your growing little girl? Well, while I was down and out with vertigo, I wrote a children’s book to help you and our little girls embrace womanhood early! It’s available in digital and video! Watch with her and make it a Mommy-Daughter day 🙂 Download it for only $1.97!

Oh, and I must mention this: all proceeds go to my Nonprofit partner who are planting mango trees in Congo Brazzaville! So not only are you creating a safe learning space for your little girl, you’re also feeding another little girl on the other side of the globe! Thank you 🙂

While I was under the bed sick, I watched a butt load of YouTube videos and I ran across this video of this recipe. Of course, I’m putting my own spin on it because I am … Southern… West African… and filled with spice! So this is my take on Jalapeño Popper Mac-n-Cheese Stuffed Lasagna!

The Recipe Explained… sort of

Jai’s Special Jalapeño Popper Mac-n-Cheese Stuffed Lasagna

Ingredients

  • Red Beef Sauce:
  • 1 lb of lean ground beef (or minced beef here in Ghana)
  • 1-2 Bay leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 each Beef & chicken bouillon 
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 large green bell pepper
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • Tomato paste
  • Onion
  • 4-5 small Fresh Tomatoes
  • 1 large clove of garlic smashed
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Jalapeno Popper Mac-n-Cheese Sauce:
  • 1 lb aldente boiled pasta of your choice (slightly undercooked)
  • 1 small tub of cream cheese (plain)
  • 1/2 handful of yellow cheddar cheese (the sharper the better)
  • 1/2 handful of white cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 handful of mozzarella cheese (fresh mozzarella is yummy but we don’t have it here in Ghana, sad face)
  • 1 small jar of pickled sliced jalapenos (with the juice for added flavor!)
  • 1 cup of milk or heavy cream (in Ghana, I used full cream cow’s milk – use what tastes good to you!)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of flour
  • Lasagna Layers:
  • 1 box of no boil lasagna noodles (even Ghana has no boil lasagna sheets! They are costly but we are treating ourselves baby)
  • Sliced mozzarella (again, if you can get your hands on fresh mozzarella!!! yes and amen)
  • Mixed herbs or dried parsely to sprinkle on top to make it pretty

Step 1: Set Your Intentions

Did you know cooking is soul food? It heals us with the ingredients The Most High naturally made just for us to survive living here on this Earth. It may look like a big old plate of unhealthy food, but if you break down the ingredients, I can point out some healing properties tucked snuggly in all of that cheese! 🙂

For example, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper, fresh tomatoes, fresh vegetables home grown in the Motherland’s soil (ok, maybe I’m milking it a bit but it was really homegrown from a local farmer)…

Skip the cheese.. nothing at all to say about the cheese… move right along

Fresh tomato puree, fresh garlic, and a side of red wine (heart-healthy red wine)…

Paired with Astoria il Puro Merlot (can you say delicious after you let it breathe for 20 minutes???) YUM – for grown folks only (and ladies, would make a great date night meal! Add some garlic bread and green salad to make him feel good about eating all of that cheese AND to help with digestion laters).

Listen, pop you dairy pill and enjoy yourself! This plate of yumminess is so worth celebrating my weaknesses, and making them my super power. I even added southern fried chicken because I’m a bad ass!

Step 2: Prepare the layers

It’s all about that roux profile!
I can swim in this perfect lasagna beef red sauce!

Okay let’s first have a straight talk about measurements. I suck at them!

I’m not a professional baker, cook, chef, none of that.. I cook with my senses and what I’m in the mood for. And mostly, I cook with love. That’s the magical ingredient. So when I tell you a teaspoon of this or that, take it with a grain of salt. Put your own taste to it and try it that suits YOU.

One thing I want you to know is this: food is so forgiving. My Cook With Me series is about finding what you love through the process of doing it! I’ve never been to school to cook, I literally learned from life. All of my lessons learned are expressed through my dishes. And, so far, my friends seem to enjoy my expressions!

Anyway, back to cooking.

You should also know I’m a spice girl, and since perimenopause, I’ve been craving spice and beef and this dish has BOTH!

For the lasagna beef sauce, I’ve perfected my own favorite spaghetti sauce recipe so that’s what I’m using. I told you my ingredients. I love the flavor of cumin and coriander in my spaghetti (or lasagna) sauce, but you use what you like best. Shit, a bottle of your favorite Ragu or spaghetti sauce will do and add cooked ground beef to it. Boom. Don’t complicate it.

Next up, that jalapeno popper mac-n-cheese. It’s your favorite way of making your best mac-n-cheese oven dish (not that boxed shit, stop eating and feeding that poison to your family, I digress…). Just add jalapenos and some of that juice if you’re using the bottle that I’m using for this recipe… for the roux, season it with italian or mixed herbs seasoning and a chicken bouillon cube, and done, done!

Literally, I use a different flavor profile for each layer. The cheese is the salt, so I don’t need to be heavy handed elsewhere. The mac-n-cheese is the creamy texture with heat from the jalapenos. The beef sauce is the protein and beef I need for my period pain relief. Plus its jam packed with cumin and coriander and other healing agents. It’s my healing layer filled with flavor!

The pasta gives me a healthy fat I just want. So does the added fresh mozzarella cheese. It’s a guilty, nonguilty pleasure. After coming out of a 2-week battle, I deserve it. That’s my story.

Layered and prepped for the oven! OMG!!! #jalapenopoppermacncheesestuffedlasagna #longesthashtagever #iamstillhashtagging

The layers are as follows: The beef sauce on the bottom, the no boil lasagna sheets, shredded cheese, beef sauce, mac-n-cheese, mozzarella slices, repeat again. Trust me, you only want 2 layers of this but… who am I to limit your layers??? Layer until you run out of layers 🙂

Bake at 350 degrees Fahreinheight for 45 minutes, or if you’re in Ghana, I use my toaster oven at 210 degrees Celsius for 45 minutes. Cover loosely with foil for the first 30 minutes, then uncover for the last 15 minutes to get that nice golden brown almost burnt cheese on top crust! I’m salivating just typing this….

Afrikana Stories_lasagna featured image
Cheese, Cheese, and More Cheese! #cheese

The Tasting

I promised you a video and I always keep my word.

Jalapeno Popper Mac-n-Cheese Stuffed Lasagna Afrikana Stories-Style! Wipe your mouth! 🙂

The video speaks for itself. Literally, I cannot find the words to describe how good this dish tasted to my soul! And, to be honest and completely transparent, I’m actually enjoying a plate of it right now as I type out this blog! The next day leftover lasagna, after it had time to set overnight, with a cold coke, is EVEN BETTER! I’m typing and rubbing my feet together at the same time 🙂

It’s definitely comfort food, it makes me feel good eating it, and it feels so good to be free and clear in my mind! After 2 weeks of food poisoning, I would NOT recommend trying this dish. But I am special – I absolutely had NO belly aches or constipation or any stomach problems you usually get after consuming so much cheese in one setting LOL … but I do realize that I’m a weirdo.

Don’t try everything I do if you don’t believe as radically as I do. That’s my disclaimer.

Making a Scene in Periods. Period.

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