Part 1: Dressed Up Mac & Cheese with Chris Nease

November 23, 2015 – Chris Nease from Celebrations at Home here and I’m so excited to have teamed up with ALDI this holiday season! I’ll be sharing more fantastic recipes and holiday entertaining ideas over the next few weeks that are easy to execute, and incorporate lots of seasonal items form ALDI! I’m also popping up in the ALDI Holiday Catalog this year, with home entertaining tips sprinkled throughout.
lobster-macaroni-cheese[1]To kick things off, ALDI brought a group of bloggers to Chicago a couple of weeks ago for a fabulous Test Kitchen event. We were treated to a store tour with background information on the business model, a blind taste testing similar to what they do when choosing which products to sell, a cooking demo with recipes, we made hostess gift baskets, and we sat down for a holiday meal featuring ALDI recipes of course. It was all fabulous and this Lobster Mac n’ Cheese is one of the dishes we were served.

This dressed up version of mac n’ cheese is a delectable way to add a little surf to your turf dinner at Christmas time. After trying it at the Test Kitchen, I knew I wanted to make it at home and share the recipe. It’s rich and cheesy, and the addition of lobster and bacon make it something special. Specially Selected Maine Lobster Tails* are available at ALDI beginning 12/16 along with a variety of other Premium Special Buys! If you want to make it year round you can certainly make it without the lobster also.

Lobster Macaroni and Cheesegourmet-macaroni-cheese[1]
Yields: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Ingredients:
3 cups Reggano Elbow Macaroni
8 slices Specially Selected Hickory Smoked Thick Sliced Bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
¼ cup Baker’s Corner All Purpose Flour
½ cup Winking Owl Chardonnay
1 cup SimplyNature Organic Chicken Broth
2 cups Friendly Farms Heavy Whipping Cream
½ cup Priano Parmesan Cheese Wedge, Shredded
½ cup Priano Asiago Cheese Wedge, Shredded
½ cup Happy Farms Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
½ tsp. Stonemill Essentials Garlic Powder
¾  tsp. Stonemill Essentials Iodized Salt, divided
¾ tsp. Stonemill Essentials Ground Black Pepper, divided
2 8-ounce packages Specially Selected Maine Lobster Tails, removed from shell and chopped*
4 Tbsp. Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, divided
½ cup Chef’s Cupboard Plain Bread Crumbs

Directions:                    

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Bring a pot full of water to a rolling boil and cook macaroni for 6-8 minutes. Drain, rinse with cold water and reserve in the refrigerator.
  3. In a heavy bottomed stock pot on medium low heat, cook bacon for 8 minutes. Add onions and sauté until bacon is fully cooked and onions are tender. Add flour and stir to make a roux. Cook until roux turns light golden brown.
  4. Stir in wine and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add chicken broth and heavy cream and bring to a light simmer.
  5. Combine shredded cheeses, slowly whisk cheese into sauce until thoroughly melted. Add garlic powder, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low, keep warm.
  6. Season lobster with remaining salt and pepper. In a large sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter on medium-high heat. Saute seasoned lobster for 3-4 minutes or until cooked through.
  7. In a large bowl, combine cooked lobster and macaroni and cheese sauce and stir to combine.
  8. In a small mixing bowl, melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in the microwave and fold bread crumbs into melted butter.
  9. Transfer mixture to a 9×11-inch casserole dish and top with bread crumb mixture. Bake at 375° for 7-10 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.

As I mentioned above, I’ll be highlighting some ALDI Special Buys for the season as I share more posts. I hope you have a store near you because the prices are really fantastic! You can save up to 50 percent* on your holiday shopping list at ALDI where you can find a selection of fresh, high-quality seasonal items at great prices. Some of my personal favorites are the selection of cheeses and the prices on meat and seafood {Specially Selected Jumbo Scallops, Maine Lobster Tails and Smoked Salmon}.

I can’t wait to share more. Stay tuned!

Availability and price of alcoholic beverages vary by store.

*Available while quantities last. All products may not be available in all stores. Prices subject to change.

**Based upon a price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores. Based upon price comparison of comparable products sold at leading national retail grocery stores.

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