Monday, 4 March 2013

Mac & Cheese Mondays: Cajun Shrimp Mac & Cheese

Did I ever tell you how cute my Mom is?

She's totally adorable.

When I went for a quick over-night trip to Mom & Dad's place, I called and asked her how she would feel if I made Cajun Shrimp Mac & Cheese. 

"I'd feel really GOOD about that!"  She said.  "I'll buy the groceries!"  She said.  "Send me your list."  She said.

The day I showed up:
Mom:  "I can't find Pepper Jack cheese."
Me:  "Well that's weird - they didn't have any at Superstore?"
Mom:  "I couldn't find any.  I'm at Wal-Mart and I can't find any here.  I'll go to Sobey's next."
Me:  (Suddenly concerned)

Later on:
Mom:  "I can't find Pepper Jack.  How about this "screaming chipotle cheese"?  That might be okay."
Me:  "No - it's not Pepper Jack.  Seriously?  You can't find Pepper Jack?"
Mom:  "Well, they have all kinds of Monterey Jack with "extras".  (reads me labels)"
Me:  "But that's what Pepper Jack is.  It's Monterey Jack with Jalapenos in it."
Mom:  "Oh.  I'll see if they have any."
Me:  "I'm sure they do, just look."

Later on:
Me:  "What's this? (pulling out the cheese)"
Mom:  "It's Pepper Jack."
Me:  "Why is it sliced like this?"
Mom:  "Because that's all they had."
Me:  "They didn't have blocks?"
Mom:  "No.  Just cut it up.  It'll be fine."
Me:  "Sigh."

The result of this little experiment - we've decided that next time we're going together. 

As I'm somewhat particular about stuff.

But it all worked out in the end.

Be forewarned - the recipe as is made a TON of food.  I would recommend halving it.  Funny thing is that I usually do, but I had a complete brain fart.

First, melt butter over medium heat, add the shrimp and some of the cajun seasoning and cook until the shrimp is pink.

Remove from the heat and set aside.

Then, in a large pot, melt some more butter.

Add some flour.

And cook until brown and fragrant.  Then add the milk and cook until thickened and slightly simmering.

Then add the cheeses.

Then the cajun seasoning.

And cooked pasta.

Then the shrimp.

And pour the whole lot into a 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Like I said, it makes a LOT.

Top with cheese.  I didn't have enough Pepper Jack so I just topped it with extra cheddar.

Then top with Panko crumbs.

And bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling.

The heat from the cheese wasn't a sharp spicy heat, but just warmed up your mouth.  I think I may have let it sit for too long (Mom and I were deep in conversation and Dad was sleeping beside the fireplace.  Really!), but it really would have been more creamy if served sooner.

And I recommend using a large sized shrimp, I thought the smaller sized shrimp that I used kind of got lost in the dish.

But if you don't like shrimp, you could always leave it out.

I love using Panko crumbs, they give everything a nice solid crunch. 

Thanks to Michelle of Brown Eyed Baker for another great Mac & Cheese recipe!

This is the Cane girl - signing off.

Cajun Shrimp Mac & Cheese

9 tablespoons butter
1 pound large shrimp (peeled, deveined, tail off, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 pound macaroni pasta
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups whole milk
12 ounces Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
8 ounces medium Cheddar cheese, shredded
1 cup Panko crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
  2. Cook pasta to al dente, according to package directions and drain.
  3. In a large frying pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter.  Add the shrimp and 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning.  Cook the shrimp until pink.  Remove the pan from heat and set aside.
  4. In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  Add 4 tablespoons flour and cook, whisking constantly until browned.  Gradually add the milk and, whisking constantly, cook until thickened and slightly simmering.
  5. Add 9 ounces of Pepper jack and 6 ounces of cheddar a handful at a time, stirring until each addition is completely melted.  Add the last 1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning and stir to combine.
  6. Add the cooked pasta to the cheese sauce and stir to combine.
  7. Add the shrimp to the pasta and cheese mixture and stir to combine.
  8. Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  9. Top the pasta mixture with the remaining cheese.
  10. In a small bowl, melt the last 4 tablespoons of butter and stir in the Panko crumbs and spread over top the cheese.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, until the top is browned and the sauce is bubbling.
  12. Let stand for 10 - 15 minutes, then serve.
Source:  Brown Eyed Baker


  1. Your mom sounds a bit like an airhead during these conversations :)

    1. But you're oh, so wonderful! Everyone should know!