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You're the STAR Blog Hop & HOME Features

T his linky party is the perfect place to show off your creativity! Share your blog posts, for a chance to be featured next month!     WELCOME to the August 2022  " You're the Star " Blog Hop! Before we continue onto the Linky party I wanted to share from my blog: Keep cool during these last few weeks of summer with my delicious 3-Ingredient No Churn Ice Cream ! ___________________________ WELCOME to  HOME feature week of the August 2022  " You're the STAR " blog hop! Meet your HOME week Hosts   This week is HOME feature week Swing by the Home Hosts' Blogs: Bev from Eclectic Red Barn Cindy from Mom, the Lunch Lady Niki from Life as a LEO Wife This is a month long Linky party featuring YOU! There will be 4 different features each week and 4 different feature categories.  Just to be clear - this is NOT a themed party - you may link up ANY family-friendly blog posts any day of each month.   The "theme" occurs in our weekly features:

Baked Mac n Cheese with Shrimp and Bacon

Possibly the BEST Mac 'n Cheese, it is full of juicy shrimp and smoky bacon. Making it the ultimate cold weather comfort food!

My kids have never really liked homemade mac 'n cheese, until a few years ago. They rather the blue box mac 'n cheese and while I grew up on blue box mac thinking it was the best thing, now that I'm older I prefer the homemade stuff. My kids are old enough to cook for themselves, so there is a lot of blue box Mac being made. When the craving hits, I have to make it from scratch! I remembered seeing a recipe in the Fall/Winter Pampered Chef catalogue for a Baked Mac 'n Cheese with Shrimp, and it looked so good, that I bookmarked the recipe. Years later, I'm browsing through all my bookmarks and find the recipe. I knew it must be a sign ;)

I used the method in the recipe, but totally changed the ingredients. I added bacon and used some Smoked Gouda cheese. The result was amazing!! I didn't have the dish they recommended, so I used a good ceramic baking dish with lid and I'm sure the results were similar. This recipe couldn't be more simple. I love that the pasta cooks in the cheese sauce, so it soaks up all that awesome flavour. My daughter is not a shrimp fan, so I kept some without shrimp for her. The pasta was coated with a luxurious smoky cheese sauce, with a great sweet contrast of the shrimp. Not only did this taste insanely good, it also looked so good. Perfectly hearty for a cold fall/winter night, which have already made their appearance this year.

Baked Mac 'n Cheese with Shrimp and Bacon

adapted from The Pampered Chef

1 lb medium raw shrimp (25-30 count), peeled, deveined, tails removed
3/4 tsp salt, divided
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
6 Tbsp butter, divided
1/2 C dry white wine, divided
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 C flour
3 1/2 C milk, divided
1 Tbsp Honey Dijon mustard
1 tsp Cajun seasoning
1/2 lb bacon, cooked and crumbled
8 oz uncooked pasta (I used fusilli)
2/3 C Smoked Gouda, shredded, divided
1 C medium Cheddar, divided
2/3 C panko bread crumbs
green onions or parsley for garnish

Season shrimp with 1/4 tsp of the salt, and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp of the butter in a large skillet with high edges, over medium heat; until bubbling. Cook the shrimp 2-3 minutes, until pink and cooked through, turning once. Stir in 1/4 C dry white wine; cook 1 minute. Remove shrimp with a slotted spoon.

Add onion and garlic to the sauce pan and cook for 2 minutes; until onions become translucent. Add remaining butter and flour to pan; whisk 1-2 minutes or until smooth. Slowly pour in 1 cup of the milk, whisking constantly until smooth. Whisk in remaining milk, 1/4 C dry white wine, mustard, Cajun seasoning and remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Cook, covered, 3-5 minutes or until mixture comes to a simmer, whisking often. Remove pan from heat.

Stir in pasta, 1/2 of the cheddar and  1/2 of the smoked Gouda. Pour into a 5 qt ceramic casserole dish and bake, covered, 30-35 minutes or until pasta is tender, gently stirring once halfway through baking. Meanwhile, combine bread crumbs and remaining cheeses in small bowl.

Remove dish from oven and preheat the broiler. Stir in shrimp and bacon, and top with bread crumb mixture. Place dish 2-4 inches from heating element and broil 2-3 minutes; until top is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Garnish with chopped green onion or parsley, before serving.

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  1. This sounds like an amazing recipe! I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!


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