Dinner in Minutes

Shrimp mac ’n’ cheese maximizes flavor, cuts fat and time

Add shrimp to your Mac ’n’ Cheese for an updated version of one of America’s favorite meals. It takes this flavor memory from a childhood treat to a welcome plate for the whole family.

A bubbly, cheesy, from-scratch skillet can take too long to make on a busy weeknight. Instead, use frozen chopped onions and green pepper along with cooked shrimp to get this meal on the table in 20 minutes.

Reduced-fat cheddar cheese and nonfat ricotta give the dish the cheesy flavor it demands while lowering its fat content.

I like to keep frozen chopped onion and green pepper on hand to add to many sauces and dishes. Because they’re frozen at the peak of freshness, these veggies cut preparation time without skimping on quality.

Helpful Hints

• Any type of short-cut pasta can be used.



• Fresh diced onion and green pepper can be found in the produce section of the market. They can be used instead of frozen chopped onion and green pepper.



• If you like a crusty bottom to the pie, cook it in the skillet a little longer.



Countdown

• Boil water for pasta.



• Make pie.



• Assemble side salad.



Wine

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestion: This is a big, fat dish that needs a big, fat wine. I’d suggest an oaky California chardonnay.

SHOPPING LIST

To buy: 1 package small elbow macaroni, vegetable oil spray, 1 package frozen chopped onion, 1 package frozen chopped green bell pepper, 1 small container nonfat ricotta, 1 package reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 pound peeled cooked shrimp, and 2 medium tomatoes.

Staples: Cayenne pepper, salt and black peppercorns.

Find more of Linda Gassenheimer’s recipes on her website, dinnerinminutes.com, and on Twitter, @lgassenheimer.

Main Dish

Shrimp Mac ’n’ Cheese

4 ounces (1 1/2 cups) small elbow macaroni

Vegetable oil spray

1 cup frozen chopped onion

1 cup frozen chopped green bell pepper

1/2 cup nonfat ricotta cheese

6 ounces (about 2 cups) reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided

2 cups tomato cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/2 pound cooked, shelled shrimp

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot with 3 to 4 quarts water to a boil, then add macaroni and boil 10 minutes. Meanwhile, spray a 10-inch nonstick skillet with vegetable oil spray and sauté onions and green pepper 2 minutes to defrost. Combine ricotta, half the cheese, tomatoes and shrimp in a large bowl. Add cayenne pepper and mix in onions and green bell pepper. Drain macaroni and add to cheese mixture. Add salt and pepper to taste. Return the mixture to the skillet and sprinkle remaining cheddar evenly over the top. Cover with a lid and set over medium heat 10 minutes. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 662 calories (17 percent from fat), 12.1 g fat (5.4 g saturated, 4 g monounsaturated), 254 mg cholesterol, 71.1 g protein, 65 g carbohydrates, 6.3 g fiber, 1247 mg sodium.

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