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Do you ever just get sick and tired of planning your weekly dinner menu because you know you’ll probably end up eating the same exact meals as the week before? The struggle is real, but doesn’t have to be if you just think outside of the box. Or in this case, inside a box of frozen popcorn shrimp.
It’s been snowy and cold around here lately and that chilly weather calls for warming comfort food. One of my favorite comfort foods is macaroni and cheese! Who doesn’t love a belly warming bowl of pasta covered in a creamy cheese sauce. Am I making your mouth water yet? Well, how about taking mac’n’cheese to the next level by adding crunchy popcorn shrimp?
I love to swap seafood in place of meat when I can. So having a couple boxes of SeaPak® shrimp in the freezer definitely came in handy when my recent mac’n’cheese craving struck! When I made this dish, I couldn’t help thinking back to summer and some of the restaurants that I absolutely love visiting down the shore. But since it’s not warm enough to visit the boardwalk yet, I can at least enjoy a homemade version of a dish I’ve been dying to try!
This version of mac’n’cheese uses two types of cheese, crunchy popcorn shrimp, and a dash of hot sauce to kick up the flavor (please don’t skip the hot sauce – it gives this dish a great flavor)! Cooking the shrimp ahead of time allows it to keep its crunch. Whole wheat pasta is substituted to take the calorie count down a notch and 2% milk is used instead of heavy cream. Then, if you’re feeling fancy, the mac’n’cheese gets topped with panko and broiled in the oven for an extra layer of crunch. This isn’t your childhood box of mac’n’cheese! This is the real deal!
- - 1/2 box whole wheat pasta
- - 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- - 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- - 1 cup 2% milk
- - 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- - 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- - 1 1/2 c. SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp, cooked according to package
- - 1 tbsp. mild hot sauce
- - Salt and pepper, to taste
- - Panko bread crumbs, optional
- Cook pasta in a boiling pot of salted water just until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In the same pot, melt butter over medium heat.
- Gradually stir in flour, then add salt and pepper. Stir until smooth.
- Add cheddar and mozzarella cheeses to mixture and stir until melted.
- Fold in pasta, shrimp, and hot sauce.
- Serve mac'n'cheese in an oven-safe serving bowl. Top with panko and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until panko bread crumbs are golden brown.
- Serve as a meal or a side dish. Enjoy!
I bought the Party Size packages of SeaPak Popcorn Shrimp and SeaPak Shrimp Spring Rolls in the freezer section at Walmart and I’m so glad I did! The addition of the popcorn shrimp definitely made this mac’n’cheese seem restaurant worthy. It’s also been great on its own as a side dish. And those spring rolls I picked up – they’ll be used as a delicious side for our stir-fry nights.
You may not have known that Walmart stocks high quality seafood in its frozen section. So now when you head to Walmart to pick up your own boxes of SeaPak shrimp, don’t forget to print a coupon for 75 cents off of any SeaPak product! Now that I’ve shared this East Shrimp Macaroni and Cheese recipe with you, I’d love to know: how do you plan on using shrimp to #ShrimpItUp in your next seafood dish?