ATTENTION! MEAL PREP PRE-ORDERS ARE DUE BEFORE MIDNIGHT ON THURSDAYS. THE FOLLOWING MONDAY WE ARE IN THE KITCHEN COOKING UP ALL OF THE PREORDERS AND GRAB AND GO MEALS FOR PICK UP ON TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY 8AM-4PM IN THE STORE. (415 ROOSEVELT STREET. #5, COLERAINE, MN 55722)

CAJUN BACON AND SEAFOOD MAC AND CHEESE

 

I always have to start by letting people know that this is NOT healthy. There is actually not one thing about this dish that is healthy. It's probably in fact one of the most unhealthy meals I have ever made. BUT, all things in moderation right. And since most of the food I eat is super healthy, I don't feel as bad having a meal like this here and there.

If you love bacon, seafood, and Mac & Cheese, you will LOVE this. I made this to bring as a Thanksgiving side dish. If you know me, you know I don't like to make any just regular, plain old boring recipe. I like to add my own flair to them and SPICE THINGS UP A BIT. Especially with Cajun seasoning. You could still make this dish without the Cajun if you're not someone who is particularly fond of spicy food. 

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter
  • Extra virgin olive oil. Just a splash
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • about a pint or so of heavy cream, more if you want it creamier.
  • 1 pound Mac & Cheese or Pasta of choice
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water after cooking your pasta 
  • 1 8 oz block cheddar cheese
  • 4 oz pepper jack cheese (about half of a block)
  • 4 oz parmesan cheese (about half of a block)
  • 1 package imitation crab, cut up into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Lb shrimp, thawed, peeled, and deveined, tails off. 
  • Cajun seasoning (I used "Slap Ya Momma")
  • Sriracha, to taste
  • garlic salt + black pepper to taste
  • Heavy cream
  • 1/2-pound bacon, cooked and chopped

Start by drying your shrimp with paper towel. Then season it with your Cajun seasoning and mix it around to coat all sides. Next you will want to heat a skillet. Cook your chopped bacon until it is crispy. Remove it from the pan and pat the grease off with a paper towel. Also remove some of the bacon grease but leave a small amount to cook your shrimp in. Next cook your shrimp on both sides until it is done. Remove the shrimp from the pan and set aside with the bacon.

Next, you are going to make the cheese sauce. Heat your butter until it is melted. Add a splash of EVOO. Add your garlic and let it simmer a bit. Next add your heavy cream, let it simmer some more until its nice and bubbly. Add in your seasonings. I did black pepper, garlic salt, and Cajun seasonings. I also added a couple squirts of Sriracha hot sauce because I like SPICY! Slowly add in each of your cheeses. Leave a little bit of each kind of cheese to top it with. Make sure you are using a block of cheese and not shredded. Freshly shred the cheese yourself. It makes a big difference with homemade Mac and Cheese because it melts better. Whisk it all together until it is melted. It should be pretty creamy. While you are making the cheese sauce multitask and boil your pasta. Once it's cooked al dente, strain it but set aside about 1 cup of the pasta water. Add your pasta and reserved cup of water to your cheese sauce and stir in the pasta. Next stir in most of the bacon, shrimp, and crab, setting some of each aside for toppings. Then, you're going to take a casserole dish or tinfoil pan, add your pasta and cheese mix. Top remaining cheese, bacon, shrimp, and crab. You can make this ahead of time and reheat when you're ready to eat. Or if you are making it to eat right away, turn on the broiler in your oven and let it broil for just a couple of minutes until your cheese is melted and slightly browned on top. If you are reheating, I would reheat it at 350 for 20 minutes or so, and then broil the last few. Serve as an epic side dish, or have it as the main course! I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! It's definitely a crowd pleaser for the foodies who love to have a cheat meal here and there!

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