Dear Krafts’s Mac and Cheese,
We’re practically BFF. I mean, you’ve always been there for me: throughout my picky eating years, at the end of a bad day, after my wisdom teeth operation. And I cherish all of those times, I really do, but I’m growing up. My taste buds are evolving -finally. I’m starting to enjoy more refined dishes -finally. When I eat mac and cheese, I want to do more than boil a pot of water and toss in some freakishly neon cheese -finally. So, when I say that I may have strayed from our friendship a bit, please keep in mind that I still love you. It just might be time to branch out a bit.
You see, this past week I made a dish of mac and cheese that didn’t come in a box. It was a lovely medley of sharp feta and swiss cheese, fresh and flavorful herbs, and tender shrimp. And, while it didn’t make your endearing squishy sound when I mixed it and it took a little longer than five minutes to cook, I really did love it.
So, I’m sorry Kraft’s mac and cheese. Can we still be friends?
The College Gal
Anyone else looking to have an amicable yet fulfilling break up with their comfort mac and cheese of choice? Try this recipe out for size.
Shrimp, Feta, and Herb Mac and Cheese
- 1 lb. pasta shapes
- 1 lb. raw shrimp, uncooked, peeled, and deveined
- 10 oz. feta cheese
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
- 5 tbsp. butter
- 4 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 3 cups milk
- 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
- 8 oz. swiss cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. While this is happening, begin to chop up your fresh herbs, defrost your shrimp if they are frozen, and preheat your oven to 400˚ F. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente according to the directions on the box. Drain the pasta and set aside in a large bowl. Add the uncooked shrimp to the warm pasta and mix together.
In a seperate bowl, combine a handful of feta, the breadcrumbs, 2 teaspoons of the parsley, and 1 tablespoon of the butter, melted. Mix ingredients together.
In a medium pot, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, whisk in the flour. This should form a paste. Cook, whisking constantly, for about 1-2 minutes, until the color darkens a bit. Whisk in the milk. Continue stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and bubbles. This should take about 5 minutes. Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and add the rest of the feta, swiss cheese, remaining parsley, dill, salt, and pepper. Pour contents over the pasta and shrimp and mix until completely covered.
Grease a 3-quart baking dish and transfer the pasta and shrimp mixture into it. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture evenly over the entire dish. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let cool 5-10 minutes before serving.
This recipe was extremely easy to make despite the many dishes it created. Though, that might just be my having to use an incredibly unneccesary amount of dishes for each meal I create.
I changed things up a bit from the original recipe, ommitting lemon zest and switching gruyere cheese for swiss to lower costs. To me, the meal was still perfect, with enough gooey cheese and yummy shrimp in each bite. I also made half of this recipe (I provided you with the full amounts, though.) which still got me about 6 medium-sized servings. So, if you are cooking for one, I suggest halving the amount of ingredients like I did.
45 minutes (I know this seems like a while, but think of all of the leftover meals you will have that require no more than 2 minutes to reheat.)
$3.89 per serving (Shop smart: skip the brand names and look for cheaper substitutes when possible.)
Recipe adapted from Annie’s Eats.