CAJUN SHRIMP AND CRAB MAC AND CHEESE

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I made this mac and cheese for Christmas dinner last year, and it was a HIT! The fact that my entire family enjoyed it was such a big deal, because black folks don’t play when it comes to mac and cheese. Let’s be real.

Since it’s gotten so many positive reviews, this has now become my go-to macaroni recipe

lso before I break down the layers of perfection in this dish, I wanna talk about the measurements of spices. Now in my family, when we cook, we don’t measure a damn thing. We usually just eyeball it and add as much or little as we want and hope it tastes great (which it always does!). Obviously, since I was planning on sharing the recipe on here, I measured everything

This Cajun Shrimp and Crab Mac and Cheese is super creamy, cheesy and decadent. This delicious spin to the classic dish will surely be your new favourite!

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INGREDIENTS

CAJUN SHRIMP:

  • 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined (if frozen, thawed)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 Tbsp cajun seasoning
  • Pinch of Salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

MAC AND CHEESE:

  • 3 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • 2Ibs Fresh Crab legs, cooked OR 2 and 1/2 cups imitation crab meat, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried basil + more for topping
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 – 2 and 2/3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp Paprika, or to taste (see notes)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper, or to taste (see notes)
  • 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups mild cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 cups colby & monterey jack cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Cajun seasoning, for topping
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INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE CAJUN SHRIMP:

  1. Read the notes before beginning the recipe.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. In a medium bowl, add shrimp, olive oil, cajun seasoning, and a pinch of salt and pepper and toss to combine and coat the shrimp.
  3. Once skillet is hot, add shrimp and cook, stirring constantly until shrimp is pink, 4-6 minutes. Set aside.

FOR THE PASTA:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (177C). Lightly butter a 9×13-inch baking dish and set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add macaroni and cook until al dente (look at package directions to see how long it takes). Do not overcook.
  3. Drain well and transfer cooked pasta to a large bowl. Mix in Cajun shrimp, crab chunks and basil. Set aside.
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FOR THE CHEESE/MILK MIXTURE:

  1. In a large bowl, add milk and evaporated milk and whisk to combine. Add paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Taste the milk and adjust the seasonings to your liking. Once you’re satisfied with the taste, add the eggs and beat until mixture is combined.
  2. Set aside 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 cup of colby & monterey, and 1/2 cup of Parmesan. Add the remaining cheese to the milk mixture and stir to combine.

ASSEMBLY OF THE MAC AND CHEESE:

  1. Pour cheese mixture into macaroni and stir to combine. Pour mixture into prepared baking dish. Top with reserved cheeses. Sprinkle more basil, paprika, salt, pepper and Cajun seasoning on top (optional).

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