Macaroni and cheese are one of the greatest simple pleasures in life, and it’s something that can be enjoyed by all from childhood well into old age. While even the boxed stuff can be satisfying, there really is no substitute for a delicious, homemade mac n cheese. What’s great about it is you can take a simple dish and make it more luxurious with the simple addition of seafood. While seafood and dairy don’t seem like a natural pairing, adding items like shrimp, crab, or lobster to macaroni and cheese creates a delightfully rich yet well-balanced dish that should please everyone!
1. Seafood Mac n Cheese
Emeril Lagasse has long been known for his elevated but approachable dishes, often focusing on Cajun and Creole cuisine. This seafood mac and cheese pushes the limits of decadence but remains relatively easy to put together. With a rich and funky blend of parmesan, cheddar, swiss, and fontina, you’ll create a cheese sauce that melts perfectly and tastes great.
Minced seafood of your choice – such as crab, shrimp, lobster, crawfish, or a blend of all four – gives you plenty of protein and aquatic flavors. You might even consider scallops or clams if you’re feeling a little more experimental. The Creole seasoning gives a little bit of a kick, so feel free to adjust the levels based on your heat tolerance.
Get the full recipe and directions from here.
2. Cajun Shrimp and Crab Mac and Cheese
Cajun-spiced seafood is one of our favorite types of protein, and it becomes even more scrumptious when mixed with a rich, velvety mac and cheese. This certainly isn’t a light and airy dish, but you won’t feel any guilt as you devour the snappy shrimp, sweet crab, and hearty noodles. Imitation crab will work in a pinch, but if you can find fresh crab legs, you’ll notice a major difference that just might have you jumping with joy.
If you don’t have a prepackaged Cajun spice blend, you can make one by mixing smoked paprika, kosher salt, black pepper, white pepper, onion powder, cayenne, dried oregano, and thyme. This allows you to adjust the spice levels to your preference.
Get the full recipe and directions at Queens Le Appetit.
3. Shrimp Mac and Cheese
For those who can’t handle the Cajun heat, this recipe is a bit milder, but still exploding with flavor. Using a blend of Velveeta and cubed cheddar helps create a gooey, melty cheese sauce that sticks to the noodles, and topping with parmesan and breadcrumbs makes for some nice textural contrast.
This is an excellent way to use any leftover cooked shrimp that you might have, but it can still come together quickly by just sautéing the shrimp in some oil before adding them to the final dish. Once everything is cooked, you can get a nice crispy top crust by throwing this under the broiler for a few minutes. While we think shrimp works perfectly here, any shellfish will be sure to satisfy.
Get the full recipe and directions at Hy-Vee.
4. Spicy Lobster Mac and Cheese
Lobster is one of the most decadent seafood money can buy. Sometimes, it’s perfect with just a little bit of melted butter. But other times you really want to go all out and make a lobster dish that might be just a little over-the-top. This lobster mac and cheese is spicy, savory, absolutely irresistible. This, of course, is not an everyday staple, but rather something that you can enjoy for special occasions or bring to a party.
The habanero cheddar gives a pretty good kick, but if you want even more spice, considering tossing some cooked diced jalapenos or hot sauce into the cheese sauce. Either way, this dish is sure to take your taste buds on a wild ride!
Get the full recipe and directions at Foodness Gracious.
5. Baked Seafood Mac and Cheese Casserole
If you’re bored of traditional mac and cheese, try this comforting mac and cheese casserole! The Monterey Jack, cream cheese, cheddar, and Parmesan blend offers the right mix of flavor, texture, and ‘meltability’. With shrimp and crabmeat, you’ll get that nice, sweet taste of the sea that shellfish are known for. Somehow, the cheese doesn’t overpower the milder meats and instead helps to elevate their flavors and make them the star of the show. By baking this in the oven, the top will develop a nice, crispy crust, and the noodles will hold together wonderfully upon serving.
Get the full recipe and directions at Acadiana Table.
Mac and cheese haven’t always had a reputation as a gourmet main course, but we have no qualms with it becoming one. If you can’t decide between simple comfort food or seafood, consider one of these amazing dishes. You won’t be disappointed!
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