Thursday, October 11, 2012

Budget Friendly Dinner Series - Old Bay Shrimp and Mac and Cheese

You cannot find a quicker meal than fish or shrimp (which is all in the same category to me - nevermind that fish is fish and shrimp are crustaceans).  Honestly, medium-sized shrimp cooked over medium-high heat are finished cooking within five minutes.  How much quicker can you get?  Soooooo, to go with quick shrimp, you need a quick side dish.  My new favorite mac and cheese recipe takes less than fifteen minutes to make - and that's including the time it takes to the boil the pasta!  I found this recipe while going through my Cooking Light cookbooks and having over ten years worth of their Annual Recipes books, I had quite a few recipes to choose from. 

Ryan loves mac and cheese but doesn't really like the baked kind.  He wants the cheesy stovetop kind (are all husbands this picky?).  Because I'm such a good wife (yes, yes I am, thank you very much) and because I'm always looking for ways to cut calories while retaining flavor and being somewhat health (we have to maintain a good balance between all the sweets and meals I make), finding this recipe just blew me away.  So simple yet healthy even though it tastes indulgent.  Its become my favorite go-to mac and cheese recipe and I've made in once more since I made this original recipe!   And it requires no fancy ingredients (unless you consider 1% milk fancy) so you're all set to go.

Old Bay Shrimp and Mac and Cheese
shrimp created by me!
mac and cheese recipe adapted from Cooking Light 

Shrimp (2 servings)
1/2 lb. Medium Sized Shrimp, tail off, deviened
1 Tbsp. Old Bay Seasoning (more or less, to your taste)
2 Tbsp. Butter

Mac and Cheese (4 servings)
1 1/4 c. Macaroni Pasta, uncooked
1 c. 1% Milk (if 2% is what you have on hand or all you can find, that's okay.  Just don't use skim - you need that milkfat to get the creamiest mac and cheese)
2 Tbsp. All Purpose Flour
1 1/4 c. Cheddar Cheese, shredded
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package instruction, not including the oil stated in the directions.
During the last few minutes of cooking your pasta, make the cheese sauce by adding the milk and flour to a saucepan (at least 2 qt. size) over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk.
Once thickened (about two minutes or so), add your cheddar cheese and whisk until melted.
Remove from heat.
Drain pasta.
Mix pasta into cheese sauce and season with salt and pepper.
Let sit for four minute (this helps the sauce to thicken).
While the mac and cheese is resting, you can make the shrimp.
In a ziploc bag, combine the shrimp and Old Bay Seasoning and shake to evenly coat the shrimp.
Put your butter into a skillet and melt over medium-high heat.
Pour the shrimp into the skillet and cook until done, turning once (about four to six minutes).

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