Today’s shrimp mac and cheese is a more nutritious take on the simple, easy comfort food you love.
a Nutritious Comfort Food
Nothing screams ‘American Classic’ like a pot of sticky mac and cheese. It tastes so good and with just a few ingredients it is so simple anyone can make it without instructions.
Simplicity is beautiful, but it also allows for versatility. We used to think there was nothing special about lettuce and leafy greens, but things changed when ingredients like Ranch or bacon were added. Mac and cheese, delicious as they already are together, can be even tastier with the right additions.
Today’s recipe adds shrimp to the equation. We cook it with garlic, butter, and spices until a plethora of flavors are developed to their fullest. This concoction is then used as the base for our mac and cheese. It’s still that simple dish with ingredients you know and love, only packed with much more flavor.
The original recipe for macaroni and cheese brings plenty of refined carbs and fats to the table. In this way, it can form a part of a healthy diet, but it would be of more nutritional value should there be some proteins.
Mac and cheese, however, tends to be high in saturated fats and calories, and that’s what makes it taste good. We realized that reducing the cheese to the amount we consider healthy greatly affected the taste, definitely not what we wanted.
As a last resort, we crafted this recipe until we found the most delicious ratio of ingredients and made it a side dish instead of a main dish. It does not have the most satisfying portion size as a side, but it does taste great and has a balanced nutritional profile. We suggest pairing it with cooked meats and a salad to make a full nutritious meal.
Ingredients You Will Need
For our shrimp mac and cheese, you’ll need cooked macaroni pasta, shrimp, cheddar cheese, milk, cream, garlic, flour, butter, and a few other ingredients.
With the portion size reduced, we still have to use a moderate amount of cream to keep the saturated fats low. To replicate the exact creamy mouthfeel, we introduce all-purpose flour to the milk-cream mixture. As a result, the sauce thickens when heated, and since there is still real cream present, the authentic taste is maintained.
We also add some chicken broth instead of plain water for yet another layer of flavor.
Since the recipe includes shrimp, it’s also a great idea to use shrimp broth instead of chicken broth, and it’s super easy to make:
Begin by cooking the shrimp peel in a pot with some canola oil until the bottom chars a little. Deglaze it with a splash of white wine, scrape the bottom, then add water to it and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Other ingredients you can use include garlic, paprika, and fresh parsley. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your liking.
Storing and Reheating the Leftovers
Once any leftovers have cooled to room temperature, cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 4 days. To reheat, transfer them to a room-temperature ramekin, and bake at 475°F for 5 minutes.
The leftovers can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Freezers tend to have less space than the refrigeration compartment, so we recommend transferring each serving into a Ziploc bag first. Reheat as you would with the refrigerated leftovers.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Natalie Butler is a registered dietitian nutritionist with a passion to help others live their best life through food, fitness, safer beauty and a healthy lifestyle. She has expertise with a variety of diets and diseases and believes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for health.
This is always a favorite, but this recipe took it to the next level.