Roasted Poblano Mac & Cheese bakes in a cast iron skillet. Cheesy and spicy comfort!
One of the coolest things about living in upstate New York is the awesome summer weather. Of course, I say that as it is currently well below freezing, and a warm summer day feels like a world away.
Once the weather starts turning warm-ish, we wander out of the house (sans winter coats, I might add) and start soaking in the rays. As soon as spring begins to think about arriving, we always end up heading up to Saratoga Springs to wander the streets.
If you’ve never visited Saratoga Springs, then put it on your must-visit list! It’s a quaint town with tons of charm, good shops, tasty restaurants and of course the racetrack.
The Saratoga Race Course is one of the oldest horse racing tracks in the country, and it just recently celebrated its 150th anniversary back in 2013.
I didn’t know much at all about horse racing before we moved up here, but you can’t help but be drawn to the track during the season (which runs in late summer every year). By many accounts, the track has not changed much in many years, either.
Picnic tables dot the grounds, and you can set up camp and watch the horses parade in from the paddocks prior to each race.
At just 175 miles from New York City, Saratoga benefits from weekenders wanting to escape the city each summer - especially once track season begins. A side benefit from the vacation appeal of Saratoga Springs? The restaurants.
This small city is home to some of the best restaurants in the region, and my wife and I often take the 20-minute drive up to enjoy a night out.
Last summer, we were wandering along the main street of Saratoga Springs when we stepped into a local brewpub for a drink. We ended up staying for dinner, and it turned out that mac and cheese was one of the specialties at this brewpub.
Talk about my personal version of heaven! Good beer to drink and tasty mac and cheese to eat? Sign me up!
The mac and cheese is cooked and served in cast iron skillets, and I’m not just talking plain old Velveeta and shells here. I’m talking all kinds of awesome flavor varieties.
At one point, the owner stopped by our table, and we struck up a conversation about the tasty mac and cheese. He told me that if I could finish the entire skillet, then he would pay for it
. I’m always up for a good challenge, so I took him up on his offer. Little did I know that the skillet of mac and cheese was huge.
I’m not talking big. I’m talking huge.
I almost completed the challenge, but sadly I threw in the towel at about 3/4 of the skillet. (For the record, I totally could have finished that skillet… but I don’t think I would have been able to eat anything for the next 3 days.)
Inspired by this fun (and tasty) experience, I set out to create a delicious mac and cheese in a cast iron skillet here at home. A little bit of playing around in the kitchen led to this roasted poblano mac and cheese.
While I did exercise some self-control this time around, I still wanted to eat the entire skillet.
Macaroni and cheese is a childhood favorite, and it enjoys a permanent spot on my list of favorite comfort foods. This version includes roasted poblano peppers and a bit of sausage for a fun twist on a classic.
Oh, are you sitting there wondering why you’ve heard of Saratoga Springs before? Well, think back. Way back.
Carly Simon referenced Sarotoga in her famous early 1970’s song, “You’re So Vain.” She refers to the Saratoga Race Course with the line, “I hear you went up to Saratoga and your horse naturally won.” Now if only I could tell you who that song was about!
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