Monday, December 17, 2012

Mac and Cheese Entry #7: Lobster Mac and Cheese

In case you didn't notice, I put the recipes that were more traditional in the front of the contest and progressively there included more and more "extra" ingredients.  We saved this one for last because it has lobster, one of the most decadent mac and cheese mix-ins.

Lobster has a buttery texture of its own.  My favorite way to have it is stir-fried Cantonese style (hmmm...if only I could find a recipe for that!).  This is a recipe that I had bookmarked a long time ago so I was glad to see Kristen had entered it into my contest because that forces me to make it.

The ingredients for this macaroni and cheese aren't cheap.  Obviously lobster isn't cheap (though the story goes that back in the dark ages, it was cheap enough for peasants to afford because lobsters were considered undesirable when they were fishing).  The cheese used in this recipe, also aren't cheap.  As is suggested in practically all recipes and both Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown or Mac and Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin, freshly grated cheese off a block are recommended for the best melt and creamy texture.

Maybe I had too high of expectations for this particular recipe but I'll be honest and say it fell a bit flat of my expectations.  The cheese sauce, despite taking great care in using fine ingredients and mixing vigorously, still had a little bit of grit to it.  Of course lobster is great but what worked really well in this recipe was the crunchy topping.  Panko breadcrumbs are awesome for creating a light-textured, super crunchy topping.  Even this partial-to-stove-top girl loved this topping.

So this is the last recipe!  Please make sure you're sharing and commenting on the blog posts in order to be entered for your chance to win!  I'm going to think about this over the holidays and then announce a winner in the New Year so there's still time to enter.  See this page for full contest details :).

To recap, here are all the entries in case you missed them:

Lobster Mac and Cheese


  • 8 oz. pasta shapes, such as cavatappi 
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided 
  • 3 tbsp. all-purpose flour 
  • 2 cups milk 
  • 6 oz. fontina cheese, shredded
  • 4 oz. white cheddar cheese, shredded
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt 
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper 
  • Dash grated nutmeg 
  • 12 oz. cooked lobster meat, cut into ½-inch chunks
  • ½ cup panko Minced fresh chives, for garnish 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400˚ F. Lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish or individual gratin dishes. Bring a pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta until a few minutes shy of al dente according to the package directions. Drain well in a colander. 
  2.  While the pasta is in the colander, return the pot to the medium heat. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the pan. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until light golden brown, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk in small additions until completely added and no lumps of flour remain. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Continue to heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce bubbles and thickens, about 5 minutes. Once bubbling, cook for 2 more minutes, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the cheese and mix until completely melted. Return the pasta to the pot and mix to coat well with the cheese sauce. Gently fold in the lobster meat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. 
  3.  In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in the microwave. Stir in the panko and toss until the crumbs are evenly coated. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the pasta in the baking dish. Bake uncovered for about 20-25 minutes or until the top is browned and the cheese is bubbling. Serve warm topped with fresh minced chives, if desired.
Source: Annie's Eats as submitted by Kristen H.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mac and Cheese Entry #6: Spinach and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

We're getting towards the end of the contest.  Can you believe it?

Today's mac and cheese was submitted by Mandy.  She told me it's the BEST mac but technically cheating since it starts from a bag mix.  However she swore it was delicious and a must try, even if I'd never admit to liking it publicly.  Guess she kind of forgot the fact that I sorta kinda need to share the recipes with the entire world so now you all know our dirty little secret *gasp*!

As we already discovered earlier in our Mac and Cheese journey, sometimes the simplest macaroni and cheese recipes (like Bonnie's Grammy's Mac and Cheese which only has four ingredients, one of which is Kraft Singles!), can be surprisingly delicious.  Then, if you dress it up with ingredients like bacon, can you really go wrong?  I think not.

All in all, this is a great quick meal solution.  This was the first (and only) recipe submitted in the contest which included bacon and Chris approved of that addition.  If you hide and throw away the bag, you could impress your family as long as your conscience doesn't eat away at you ;).

Have you been remembering to enter for your chance to win either Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown or Mac and Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin!  As always, see this page for full contest details :).

Three Years Ago: Chinese Chicken Corn Soup and Banana Pancakes

Spinach and Bacon Macaroni & Cheese

  1. Prepare mac & cheese in large saucepan as directed on package except do not top with bread crumb topping.
  2. Stir in spinach and red pepper flakes; cook and stir 2 min. or just until spinach is wilted.
  3. Stir in bacon. Sprinkle with crumb topping.
Source: Kraft as submitted by Mandy N.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mac and Cheese Entry #5: Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and that normally means it comes with the calorie count to match.  But what if I told you that you could get the same deliciousness and flavor at a small fraction of the nutritional bomb?  Normally low-fat, low-calorie substitutes are kind of bleh but this recipe I would not have suspected of being lightened up if I didn't know any better.

Most mac and cheese recipes call for an entire stick of butter.  This one has just ONE TABLESPOON.  That's only 1/8th and a huge savings right there.  Then, they also usually call for low-fat milk and/or cream.  This uses SKIM milk.  More calories banked for later!  But let's talk about the cheese.  I thought that surely a low-fat, pre-shredded cheese would yield a result that's less than creamy, right?  But I was wrong!  This lighter mac and cheese recipe could have passed for one of its full fat counterparts!  In fact, the nutrition is boosted with the use of fiber pasta, spinach, and whole wheat bread crumbs.

My only complaint with this recipe was with the secret ingredient - Frank's Buffalo sauce.  I agree it added a great kick of flavor (tangy with a bit of spice!) but there was a little too much for my taste.  I want my mac and cheese to taste pure if it's not a Buffalo Mac and Cheese recipe (like this Buffalo Chicken Casserole) so I would reduce it by half if I were to make this again.  And, I would consider making this again as a low-fat alternative...especially to help with warding off Holiday weight gain and sticking to New Year's weight loss resolutions!

Thanks Sara for sharing and I hope the rest of you readers do the same!  I think you know the drill by now.  Please share the post then come back and comment on the blog post because that's the only way I can track and enter you into the contest to win either Mac & Cheese by Ellen Brown or Mac and Cheese, Please! by Laura Werlin!  As always, see this page for full contest details :).

One Year Ago: Cranberry White Chocolate Almond Cookies
Two Years Ago: Island Spice Pork Tenderloin
Three Years Ago: Cincinnati-Style Chili

Lighter Baked Macaroni and Cheese


  • 12 oz high fiber elbows like Ronzoni Smart Taste (I couldn't find elbows so used penne)
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 8 oz Sargento 2% reduced fat mild cheddar
  • 2 tbsp Frank's Buffalo sauce (Stephanie's secret ingredient!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/8 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs


  1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Spray a baking dish with buttered flavor Pam. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large, heavy skillet, melt butter. Add flour and cook over low heat stirring with a whisk. Add onion and cook another 2 minutes. Add milk and chicken broth and continue whisking, raising heat to medium-high until it comes to a boil and becomes smooth and thick. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Once it becomes thick, remove from heat, add cheese and buffalo sauce and mix well until cheese is melted. Adjust salt and pepper to taste, add cooked macaroni and baby spinach.Pour into baking dish. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Spray a little more buttered flavor Pam on top.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, then broil for a few minutes to get the breadcrumbs golden.
Source: Modified by and as seen on Stephanie Cooks from Skinny Taste.  Submitted by Sara M.