Mac and Cheese with Ham

Celebrate National Macaroni and Cheese Day!

Here’s Alec’s favorite!

2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded American cheese
2 cups hot cooked macaroni
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1½  cups cooked, diced ham
1 tablespoon horseradish
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

In a large saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter; add flour and stir until smooth and bubbly. Gradually stir in milk. Continue cooking, stirring, until sauce just begins to bubble and sauce has thickened.

Combine sauce with cheese, hot cooked macaroni and salt; mix well. Pour into buttered casserole dish. Combine remaining ingredients; sprinkle over the top of the macaroni, pressing into the mixture lightly. Bake at 350F for about 20 to 25 minutes.

Serves 4

National Shrimp Day!

Shrimp Recipes
Try one of these or one of your own. You can’t go wrong with Alabama Wild Shrimp!

Layered Shrimp and Crab Cocktail
  Vinaigrette:
3/4 cup (6fl oz/180 ml) olive oil
  Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup (2fl oz/60 ml) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  Pinch of saffron threads
  Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
 
  Seafood Cocktail:
1 pound (500 g) peeled cooked shrimp (prawns)
3 celery stalks, thinly sliced
3 green (spring) onions, including tender green tops, chopped
1 pound (500 g) crabmeat, picked over for shell fragments
1 fennel bulb, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, cored, and sliced crosswise paper thin
6 thin lemon slices
6 small bay leaves

To make the vinaigrette, in a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, oregano, and saffron. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Wash and thoroughly dry six 1 ½ cups (12fl oz/375ml) canning jars with glass lids and wire bale closures. Place half of the shrimp in the bottoms of the 6 jars, dividing them evenly. Top with half of the celery, green onions, crabmeat, and fennel slices. Repeat the layers, starting with the shrimp and finishing with the fennel slices. Drizzle the vinaigrette into the jars, dividing it evenly. Garnish the top of each jar with a lemon slice and a bay leaf. Close the lids and refrigerate the jars for 2 hours or up to 12 hours to blend the flavors.

Just before serving, rock each jar back and forth a few times to distribute the vinaigrette. Serve cold directly from the jars.

Serves 6

Sautéed Shrimp Tacos
1/4 C canola oil
1 white onion, sliced
pounds shrimp (21-25 count), peeled, deveined, and split lengthwise
  Kosher salt
3 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 jalapeno chile, thinly sliced
2 tablespoon chopped garlic
1/2        bunch Italian parsley, stemmed and chopped
16 5-inch fresh corn tortillas
1 lime, cut into wedges

Preheat a skillet or griddle over medium heat for tortillas. Heat a separate large sauté pan or skillet over high heat. Add the oil and onion and quickly stir 2 to 3 times. Immediately add the shrimp and a few pinches of salt and sauté for 1 to 1½ minutes, until the shrimp begin to turn red. Add the butter jalapeno, and garlic and sauté for 1 minute as the butter begins to melt and the garlic releases its aroma. Adjust the seasoning with salt if necessary and continue to stir for about 30 seconds; the whole cooking process for the shrimp should be no longer than 3 minutes. Stir in the parsley and remove the pan from the heat. The shrimp should be tender, the garlic aromatic, and the onions and jalapenos crisp to the bite.

Working in batches as necessary, warm both sides of the tortillas in the preheated skillet. Place them in stacks of 2 on individual plates or a platter, so that each taco ends up with a double layer of tortilla. Evenly divide the filling among the 8 stacks, and serve immediately with the lime wedges.

Serves 4.

 

Cajun Shrimp with Artichoke Cream Sauce
2 lbs peeled and deveined shrimp (21-25 ct)
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
2 cups chopped mushrooms
1 cup chopped purple onion
2 cups artichoke hearts
2 cups white wine
1 cup olive oil
1 stick butter
1 quart heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon thyme
1 tablespoons basil
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
2 teaspoons lemon juice
½ cup flour

In a large skillet, sauté onions, bell peppers and mushrooms in ½ stick of butter and ½ cup olive oil until tender (4-5 minutes). Add the white wine and let reduce by ½. Add the minced garlic, thyme, basil, black pepper and cayenne and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour, coating everything generously, until all liquids are absorbed. Slowly add the heavy cream, stirring constantly until desired thickness. Fold in the artichoke hearts and continue to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. In a separate skillet, add the other ½ stick of butter and the ½ cup olive oil adding shrimp to sauté. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice. Cook for approximately 4 to 5 minutes and add to cream sauce including all shrimp juices. Serve over your favorite rice or pasta.

Food Stations

If you want to manage traffic and please many tastes, try a food station. They encourage creativity and conversation and prevent logjams at the buffet. Take a look at our suggestions for food stations and let us build one for your next gathering.

Check out our Pinterest board for ideas.

Asian Cabbage Slaw

1 medium cucumber, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup fresh pea pods, cut up
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 tablespoon salad oil
2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
4 cups shredded Chinese cabbage
1/2 cup coarsely chopped honey roasted peanuts or dry roasted peanuts

In a large bowl combine cucumber and pea pods. For dressing, in small bowl stir together vinegar, salad oil, sesame oil, sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper. Pour dressing over cucumber and pea pods, stirring to coat. Cover and chill for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
Stir Chinese cabbage into cucumber mixture. Sprinkle with nuts. Makes 8 servings.