Nat’s Seafood Mac

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Hey y’all! I have been asked to share my seafood Mac n cheese recipe and here she is! 
We are all inspired from time to time, and I have to give credit to the two recipes who got me here. My recipe is a combination of Divas Can Cook’s “Southern Baked Macaroni and Cheese” and Queenslee Appétit’s “Cajun Shrimp and Crab Mac and Cheese”. 
I wanted to make sure I kept the true southern essence while enhancing it with seafood, and the method I came up with worked very well for me. 
I took what I liked from each, and came up with this recipe, so enjoy! 

Prep: 30 minutes 
Cook: 50 minutes 

2 lbs wild caught shrimp (cleaned, deveined and diced. I used fresh and frozen)
2 tbs grapeseed (what I used) or olive oil 
2 tsp of Tony Chachere’s (will sprinkle more, to your liking, on the top before baking) 
1 tsp Magic Seasoning Blends Seafood Magic (will sprinkle more, to your liking, on the top before baking)
1/2 tsp Garlic powder 
1/2 tsp Onion powder 
4 cans of lump crab meat (I used the Bumble Bee brand)  
Elbow macaroni (2 - 16 oz boxes)
1 cup whole milk 
2 cans evaporated milk 
1 1/2 cup Monterey Jack hand shredded
1 1/2 cup colby shredded hand shredded 
1 cup sharp cheddar hand shredded 
Smoked cheddar (hard to find, but I found some seasonal at Target)
About a handful of fresh parsley 
1 15 x 11 foil baking pan 

*Special Notes:
First and foremost, always use what you can within your budget and be mindful that substitutions can alter the end result. If you feel you have a better technique as well, please throw down in your kitchen in whatever way makes you comfortable (i.e: I did not use flour nor egg, but if you would like to, that is entirely up to you). 

The seafood alone will run you a minimum of $40 dollars, so be mindful this is not an everyday dish and more suited for special occasions. 

If you have time to boil and crack two pounds of fresh crab, hats off to you chef! But for time sake, grab the cans off the shelf. If the cans are bad, so is the cheese and this is not the meal for all of that. 
So, for the cans of crab meat: if you decided to buy the cheaper cans, be advised the meat is sawdust-like and the smell is very off and chemically to me. The lump crab meat is more expensive, but it’s closest to fresh and you don’t run the risk of fine milled pieces of crab shell in your dish, like I have experienced. 

Yes, the plant based gyal is telling you to use whole milk. We’re already using cow milk cheeses and swimming crustaceans in this dish, so I do not know how it will set with alternative milk choices, since the milk helps add a creamy texture to the dishes. You may want to use a tablespoon or two of flour to help hold the macaroni and cheese if you go with a less fatty and alternative option. 
And yes, evaporated milk is off white, pretty much tan. Don’t be tempted to throw away your evaporated milk like me, since I haven’t used a can in years and was worried. Vegans, I tell you. 

The block is hot, the block is hot! 
I used block cheese to make sure the mac n cheese wouldn’t have any unnecessary dryness. The caking agents added (pulp/cellulose) can affect the moisture in the Mac n cheese and since I had time, today, I didn’t want any parts of that. 
I think your love ones will still think it was  made out of love if you use pre-shredded. 
But Ms.Diva said the smoked cheddar has to be shredded, and when you have a plethora of delicious recipes like her, you do whatever she says, ok!  

  1. Set the oven to 350° degrees. Depending on your oven, you will need to adjust. 
  2. Now wash your hands. Thank you. 
  3. Grab your blocks of cheese and begin to shred. I used my 4 sided grater and went with the large shred side. Add cheese into one large mixing bowl or place in 3 separate dishes. You can shred half of your smoked cheddar now, but you will only need it in the end, for the top. 
  4. Soak rinsed fresh or thawed shrimp in water and lemon while you get ready to prep the macaroni.
  5. Boil both boxes of macaroni in a large pot (I used one that can hold 8 quarts of water). I have cooked them as recommended on the box (7 minutes) and have cooked them past that to 10 minutes and the dish came out fine. Use your discretion. 
  6. While the noodles are cooking, rinse the shrimp again and begin to dice in small cubes. Make sure the shrimp is deveined, please. The more pieces the more you’ll have to spread throughout the pan.
  7. Drain noodles and dump into 15x11 pan. It may seem low but once you add seafood, milk and cheese it will rise up. 
  8. Heat pan on medium heat and add in the 2 tbs of oil. Pat dry shrimp and add diced pieces into pan. Cool until the skin starts to turn pink and then add in seasonings. Turn off heat and set aside; don’t overcook shrimp! 
  9. Save some of the shrimp drippings/sauce and add it to the cooling macaroni. Drain and dump in the cans of crab meat. Go ahead and mix around the seafood and watch things start to come alive. Be proud because your making something that can move...tables and chairs, not the mountains though. 
  10. On medium heat, in the same pot you used for the macaroni, add in the whole and cans of milk and cheese to make a cheese sauce. I grabbed a handful of each (Monterey, sharp cheddar, and colby) and added in to the pot. Whisk and whisk until you see the cheese become goey, and you can feel the milk become thicker. This takes about 5 minutes until you have a nice creamy sauce. Once you have your chess sauce, add in garlic and onion powder, a dash of both seafood seasonings, and a pinch of salt (remember cheese is salty, you added seasoning to the shrimp and you will be sprinkling the seafood seasoning on the top once your mac n cheese is assembled. So don’t get salty, I want you to have a well seasoned dish too. 
  11. Pour cheese sauce over noodles and mixed in seafood and begin to blend it all. We want every noodle to feel appreciated now. 
  12. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and add sprinkle on the smoked cheddar as well. Sprinkle on both seafood seasonings for a little more flavor, but most importantly for color and presentation.
  13. Top with your fresh minced parley. Queenslee’s recipe called for fresh basil, but I don’t like basil (even though it’s not for me) and opted for another herb. Parsley always pairs well with seafood, so I knew that was a safe switch. Fresh herbs always spruces up any dish, so get fancy, but not too fancy. We want to enhance, not overwhelm. 
  14. Viola. You are all done and you get to put it in the oven for...30 minutes. You thought I was going to say for baby and me, didn’t you? Don’t cover. We want it to get golden brown and the crispy edges lovers will thank you. 
  15. Remove and let it cook for about 10 minutes. I never get the chance to let that happen, so I’m just telling you this because every meal that was cooked at a hot temperature needs the chance to let the flavors set in place. But like I said, your guest will probably kick you out of the kitchen before you can shoo them away. 

Hopefully this dish will be a knockout staple for you to bring to gatherings or something new you can try for your loved ones to enjoy. 
If you want to add lobster, a different cheese or two, or even bread crumbs on top, do your thing. 
Just don’t forget to share and tell me how it goes. I would love your feedback!
If you feel I should revise a part for better understanding, please don’t hesitate. Constructive criticism is always welcome and I cook by sight and feeling, so recipe writing is still very new to me. 

Bon Appétit,


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