Cheesy and Craveable: Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese

I can still feel the buttery, cheesy goodness melting in my mouth as I think about the first time I tried this Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese. It’s not your average mac and cheese recipe – it’s a sophisticated twist on a classic favorite that’s perfect for every occasion, from cozy dinner nights to extravagant parties.

This recipe combines two types of cheese – Monterey Jack Pepper Cheese and Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese- with juicy shrimp, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and savory artichoke hearts to give it a unique flavor profile that you won’t be able to get enough of. And let’s not forget the subtle hint of lemon zest that brightens up the dish and adds a burst of freshness!

But what truly makes this recipe stand out is the Tillamook Cheese. This award-winning cheese has been crafted using traditional techniques since 1909, making it unmatched in quality and flavor. Its smooth texture and rich taste elevate this mac and cheese to new heights of creaminess that will leave you feeling satisfied yet yearning for more.

Whether you’re a seafood lover or simply a fan of cheesy pasta dishes, this Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese will undoubtedly become your next go-to recipe. So grab your apron, preheat your oven, and get ready to dive into cheesy heaven!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese
Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese

Are you a fan of mac and cheese but tired of the classic recipe? Look no further! Get ready to take your taste buds on an adventure with this Tillamook Elegant Monterey and Shrimp Mac and Cheese Recipe. This dish is anything but ordinary – it’s the perfect combination of creamy, zesty, and savory flavors that will leave you wanting more.

First, let’s talk about the cheese. This recipe uses two types of Tillamook cheese: Monterey Jack Pepper Cheese and Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, which create a perfect balance of spice and tanginess. These cheeses blend beautifully with the other ingredients in the dish, creating a flavor explosion in every bite.

But what really sets this recipe apart is the use of small shrimp, artichoke heart, sun-dried tomato packed in oil, and lemon zest – ingredients you wouldn’t normally find in traditional mac and cheese recipes. The shrimp adds a subtle seafood flavor that pairs perfectly with the creamy cheese sauce, while the artichoke heart gives it a nice earthy depth. The sun-dried tomato and lemon zest add brightness and acidity to the dish that make it simply irresistible.

The best part? This mac and cheese can be customized to your liking! Don’t like shrimp? Swap it out for lobster or cajun-style shrimp. Want it to be even cheesier? Add some shredded Tillamook cheddar cheese on top before baking. The possibilities are endless!

This recipe may seem elegant at first glance, but it’s actually quite easy to make. With just a handful of simple steps, anyone can create this masterpiece without breaking a sweat.

So why should you try this Tillamook Elegant Monterey and Shrimp Mac and Cheese Recipe? Because it’s not your average mac and cheese dish. It’s unique, flavorful, customizable, and most importantly – delicious. Trust me, one bite and you’ll be hooked!

Ingredient List

 Cheesy goodness in every bite!
Cheesy goodness in every bite!

Let’s gather our ingredients to create this delicious Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac and Cheese recipe. Here are the ingredients we’ll need:

  • 2 cups rotini pasta
  • 8 oz small shrimp
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup Tillamook Monterey Jack Pepper Cheese
  • 1 cup Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese.

You can easily find these ingredients at your local grocery store or online. Be sure to check that you have all of them before starting the recipe.

The Recipe How-To

 Get ready to indulge in this elegant mac and cheese.
Get ready to indulge in this elegant mac and cheese.

The Ultimate Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe

This recipe is the ultimate indulgence for seafood lovers that can be eaten in any setting. It’s an excellent choice when hosting a dinner party or when you’re looking for a comforting and satisfying meal. This recipe blends the perfect amount of cheese and shrimp with Tillamook‘s flavorful award-winning cheese to create a creamy and decadent mac and cheese that will make your taste buds rejoice.

Preparing the Macaroni

First, we will begin by preheating our oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Once we have our oven preheating, we will move onto boiling a pot of water.

Grab a large pot and add salt with water to season it. We’ll then add one pound of rotini pasta or macaroni noodles (uncooked) into the pot and cook them for approximately 7-8 minutes until they are soft but not too mushy. Once cooked, we’ll drain water from the macaroni; after draining it well, pour into a large bowl.

The Cheese Sauce

In a separate saucepan, set to medium heat, melt four tablespoons of unsalted butter. After it’s melted, stir in three tablespoons of flour until combined. Continue stirring until the mixture becomes golden brown.

Then, gradually stir in three cups of whole milk until lumps are eliminated, but don’t let it boil over. Add finely minced garlic cloves and some chopped sun-dried tomato packed in oil for even more flavor.

We need to incorporate the cheese to make this dish cheesy delight. Mix two cups of shredded Tillamook Monterey Jack Pepper Cheese and one cup of extra-sharp cheddar cheese into the pot until all the cheeses are combined in a smooth texture. A small amount of cayenne pepper or paprika will add a little bit of spiciness if preferred.

Incorporating Artichoke Heart and Small Shrimp

Now that we have our cheese sauce ready to go plus the pasta cooked and ready, let’s focus on how to make our seafood component come together.

Add one can of artichoke hearts (iced up) to our large bowl containing the macaroni noodles followed by half a pound of small shrimp which have been peeled properly since our recipe uses only small shrimp instead of chunks of lobster meat typically used for traditional “lobster mac & cheese.”

We would recommend adding some grated lemon zest (from one lemon) along with these ingredients that give beautiful flavor, presentation value plus tanginess as well.


Once everything is thoroughly mixed together with no lumps present, pour mixture into an 11″ x 13″ baking dish that’s been greased lightly or sprayed previously with non-stick spray, making sure it is evenly spread out throughout the dish.

Now bake your seafood mac at 375 degrees Fahrenheit in preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or till golden brown

Substitutions and Variations

 Who says sophistication can’t be delicious?
Who says sophistication can’t be delicious?

When it comes to macaroni cheese recipes, the possibilities are endless. You can add different types of seafood or swap out ingredients to suit your personal taste. Here are some substitutions and variations you can try when making the Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese recipe.

Firstly, you can substitute small shrimp with other seafood such as lobster, crab or even scallops. For a spicy kick, you can use cajun shrimp or add some cayenne pepper to the sauce.

If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, you can skip the seafood and opt for vegetables like sun-dried tomato packed in oil or artichoke hearts. These ingredients will add a burst of flavor to the dish and make it extra tasty.

For cheese alternatives, you can substitute Monterey jack pepper cheese with Tillamook cheddar cheese, or use a combination of both. You can also swap out extra-sharp cheddar cheese with regular sharp cheddar or any other type of hard cheese that melts well.

If you’re lactose intolerant or vegan, you can use plant-based milk and butter substitutes instead of whole milk and butter.

Finally, if you want to experiment with different pasta shapes, you can use elbow macaroni instead of rotini pasta. Just keep in mind that different pasta shapes may require different cooking times.

In summary, feel free to get creative when making this mac and cheese recipe. Substituting ingredients and testing new flavors is what makes cooking fun!

Serving and Pairing

 Tillamook cheese makes everything better!
Tillamook cheese makes everything better!

Now that you’ve spent some quality time in the kitchen, you’re finally ready to dig into that creamy and cheesy masterpiece you’ve created. The Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe is the perfect comfort food that’s sure to satisfy your cravings. It’s delicious on its own but it’s even better if you pair it with the right side dishes and drinks.

To complement the creamy mac and cheese, I recommend serving a crisp and refreshing salad on the side. You can toss fresh greens with some sweet cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, and a tangy vinaigrette for a light and healthy addition to your meal. Alternatively, you can also serve some baked potatoes or garlic bread for a more hearty and textured side dish.

As for pairing drinks, there are plenty of options to choose from. A classic white wine like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc can cut through the richness of the dish while also creating a pleasant contrast of flavor. If you prefer beer over wine, you can try pairing this mac and cheese with a light Belgian ale or an IPA.

Above all, remember that this macaroni cheese recipe is best enjoyed with family and friends. Gather around the table and share stories while savoring each bite of this indulgent meal. Trust me; everyone will be asking for seconds!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 This is not your average mac and cheese.
This is not your average mac and cheese.

I know that it can be challenging to prepare everything for a party on the day of the event. That is why I recommend making Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese ahead of time. It could be made up to two days before and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve it. Before serving, allow it to come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes or so. You might need to add some extra milk and/or cheese to bring back the creamy texture.

To reheat, you have a few different options: oven or microwave. If you would use an oven, cover the mac and cheese with foil and warm it in a low-temperature oven (325°F) for about 20-25 minutes until warmed through. If you like crispy tops, remove foil during the last 10 minutes of baking.

Alternatively, reheat individual portions in the microwave for one minute at a time until hot. Make sure the mac n cheese is in a microwave-safe dish and cover with a damp paper towel if possible so it won’t dry out.

If you have any leftovers, they can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Before reheating leftovers, add some extra milk and gently stir together to bring back some creaminess. I don’t usually recommend freezing leftover mac and cheese since its texture may change after reheating. However, if you plan to freeze, consider undercooking your pasta by just one minute before adding sauce and baking – this will help your pasta stay firm after defrosting and reheating.

Remember that this macaroni cheese recipe tastes best freshly baked but is still delicious when reheated properly!

Tips for Perfect Results

 A seafood lover's dream come true.
A seafood lover’s dream come true.

If you want to impress your guests with a delicious and elegant mac and cheese recipe, there are some tips that can help you achieve perfect results. Here are some recommendations for making the Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe even more exquisite:

1. Use high-quality ingredients: The quality of the ingredients you use can significantly impact the final outcome. For example, choose fresh shrimp, rich Tillamook cheeses, and top-quality sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts for added flavor.

2. Don’t overcook the pasta: Cooking the pasta until it is al dente (firm but not hard) is essential to prevent it from becoming mushy or gummy when baked with the cheese sauce later. Follow the cooking time recommendations on the package and taste-test periodically to ensure it’s cooked correctly.

3. Use grated cheese blocks: Grate cheese blocks yourself instead of buying pre-shredded cheese. This way, you’ll get fresher and creamier shredded cheese that melts more evenly and consistently.

4. Add lemon zest for freshness: Zesting fresh lemons over the pasta adds a citrusy aroma and taste that complements the richness of the cheeses and seafood perfectly.

5. Spice it up with Cajun seasoning: If you want to add some heat to the dish, sprinkle some Cajun seasoning on the shrimp or in the cheese sauce for a spicy kick.

6. Be patient when baking: Bake the mac and cheese at 350°F for about 25-30 minutes until golden brown on top and bubbling around the edges. Don’t be tempted to raise the temperature too high to accelerate cooking or risk burning it.

7. Let it cool before serving: Allow a few minutes for cooling before serving to let the flavors meld together, and for easier portioning.

By following these simple tips, you can take your Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe to new heights of deliciousness that will make your guests begging for seconds!

Bottom Line

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In conclusion, the Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe is a triumph of flavors that will delight every guest at your party. This mac and cheese recipe is not only easy to follow, but it is also highly customizable to suit your preferences. You can add more or less cajun spice, switch out shrimp for scallops or lobster, and even make it vegetarian by substituting the seafood for sun-dried tomatoes or artichoke hearts.

The real secret of this recipe lies in the quality of the cheeses used. Tillamook extra-sharp cheddar cheese and Monterey Jack pepper cheese are perfect for a creamy and cheesy pasta dish. They add depth and richness to the sauce that elevates the dish to new heights. The combination of flavors is so delightful that you may find yourself wondering why you ever settled for ordinary mac and cheese recipes.

All in all, this recipe is perfect for anyone looking to make something elegant yet comforting for their guests. The rich and creamy sauce combined with flavorful shrimp sets this dish apart from other mac and cheese recipes. Don’t settle for less; give this Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe a try today and see for yourself just how delicious and unique it truly is.

Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese

Tillamook Elegant Monterey & Shrimp Mac & Cheese Recipe

Picked up this recipe at Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook, Oregon. It's from Priscilla Yee, the Regional 2005 Mac & Cheese recipe Contest winner. The original recipe calls for 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs mixed with 2 Tbsp. of butter and 1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts. You are supposed to bake it for 20-25 minutes with the crumbs and nuts but I didn't care for the bread crumb texture and couldn't find hazelnuts in Wyoming, and with my minor changes, you can prepare the entire dish on the stovetop!
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Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2 quarts
Calories 729.3 kcal


  • 8 ounces rotini pasta
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 garlic clove, minced (1 tsp from a jar)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/4 cups extra-sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/4 cups monterey jack pepper cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup cooked small shrimp, peeled
  • 1 cup quartered artichoke heart, diced
  • 1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomato packed in oil, drained
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (can substitute 2 tsp. lemon juice)


  • Cook pasta according to directions on package and drain.
  • In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add garlic and cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in flour and salt until flour is no longer white.
  • Gradually stir in milk and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  • Cook one minute more when boiling (still stirring). Will start to thicken.
  • Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.
  • Stir in pasta and enjoy!

Your Own Notes


Serving: 218gCalories: 729.3kcalCarbohydrates: 62gProtein: 33.1gFat: 39.3gSaturated Fat: 23.5gCholesterol: 109.8mgSodium: 1012.8mgFiber: 4.9gSugar: 8.3g
Keyword < 30 Mins, Cheese, Stove Top
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