I think I am the luckiest woman alive! My husband is a wonderful chef and we are clean eaters (http://www.eatcleandiet.com/) so everything he makes is healthy. That doesn’t mean I have to give up the comfort foods – it just means we substitute out ingredients to make them better for our bodies. And, the benefit? The food we eat fuels us up and doesn’t weigh us down – it’s energy, it’s weight management, it’s overall health.
Lobster Mac & Cheese
This is another adaptation from a clean eating magazine, and again, I didn’t care for all their preparation so did my own adaptation.
- Olive oil – 1 or 2 tablespoons (twice, for two different processes) – The original recipe called for butter for the second sauté, but I like olive oil better.
- Two lobster tails (or one whole 1 ½ pound lobster), steamed and removed from the shell, cut into small pieces, but save the shells.
- 3 or 4 cups of brown rice macaroni, or whole wheat macaroni (I used the entire box of Dreamfields whole wheat elbow macaroni)
- 1 ½ cups of low-sodium chicken stock (I like Pacific best)
- 2 shallots, cut up as small as you can (however any similar type of onion will work
- 1 tbsp brown-rice flour or whole wheat flour (I’ve never used rice flour and it may take double the amount of wheat flour for thickening)
- Penzey’s 4/S seasoned sea salt (from www.penzeys.com/) and Lawrys’ seasoned pepper (or whatever sea salt and pepper you have handy)
- 1 cup 1% milk
- 2 Roma tomatoes (any tomato will work fine, but the Roma tomato seems to hold up better), cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 cups shredded cheese (low fat and shred it yourself, packaged is not as good) and by the way, have some extra handy just in case you would like to add more to the final mix. Use a combination if possible: White Sharp Cheddar (the sharper the better) – Two portions, Gruyere – One portion, Gouda – One portion, or any other favorite white low-fat cheese.
Heat oven to 375 F and select your baking pan. A rectangular glass dish is a good choice and spray with olive oil spray. Boil macaroni according to directions, drain and keep warm on stove (do not overcook).
Using a large saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high. Add lobster SHELL and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 3 minutes. This may seem weird, but it does what it’s supposed to. Add chicken stock and bring to a light boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes stirring often. Use a strainer or mesh and pour off the stock to a waiting container. Discard the shells.
Rinse out saucepan and put on medium heat. Add 1 (or 2) tbsp of olive oil (this is the second use of olive oil) and sauté the shallots for roughly 2 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and stir for 1 minute. Add the stock and stir constantly until thickened. Note – I had trouble getting the mixture to thicken and adding a little extra flour works (don’t over do it though – one tbsp or two at most). Add the milk and stir until heated through for 1 to 2 minutes, but make sure it’s really heated. Remove from the heat and add lobster and the cheese mixture (note, you can save a small portion of the cheese to sprinkle on top if you wish). Stir until cheese is melted. (NOTE – this is where you may need additional cheese available to mix in if there is too much liquid or it’s not thick enough, but some of the liquidity will also evaporate in the oven.)
Add this mixture to the macaroni, add tomatoes and mix gently and thoroughly.
The recipe I used as the initial basis also called for bread crumbs to be sprinkled on top when the mixture is placed in the baking dish. I’m not a fan of bread crumbs and opted not to go that way, so I put some shredded cheese on top instead.
After mixture is properly smoothed and well mixed, place in the baking dish and bake until cheese is melted completely and/or top shows some browning, roughly 10 minutes (but I extended to 15 minutes).
Prep time is a bit lengthy, but you can actually do several things at once and after you’re past the lobster and macaroni boil, things go pretty quickly.
Cost is high due to the lobster, but you have to splurge sometime…right? I’d try to avoid much being left over. The lobster addition tends to not age so well in the refrigerator after a day or two. This recipe is pretty much taken from Clean Eating Magazine, Classic Comfort Foods. (http://cleaneatingmag.com/preview/ComfortFoods2011/)