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the northwest part 1: crab mac and cheese.

If it weren’t for the months and months of rain I might seriously consider moving to the Northwest.  Really I’m just a rain wimp.  But this week we traveled to Whidbey Island, about 30 miles north of Seattle in the Puget Sound, and it was absolutely, drop dead gorgeous.  Here’s the view from my in-laws’ kitchen…they have a 270 view of the Puget Sound.  Not bad, huh?

So between this view and a dear friend who dropped off pounds and pounds of fresh crab that she caught that morning, I found my way back to the kitchen for some vacation-cooking.  Is there anything more fitting for a frugal foodie blog than putting free crab meat to work?

I think not.

And since we have this rule that calories don’t count on vacation, I whipped up some crab mac and cheese for dinner.

Mince up some garlic and mash it into a paste with fresh sea salt.

Throw it into a pan and whisk in a little butter, flour, milk and egg yolks for the sauce.Add some cheddar, mozzarella and asiago or parmesan cheeses, then crab meat and pasta.And, voila! – crab mac and cheese.

I might just reconsider this whole rainy season afterall.

3 Cheese Crab Mac and Cheese

(serves 6)

What You’ll Need:

8 oz. pasta, cooked (I used penne but you could use macaroni, spiral, etc)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter

1 tablespoon flour

2 cups whole milk

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1/2 cup asiago or Parmesan cheese, shredded (I often sub asiago for parmesan as it’s less expensive)

salt and pepper

12 oz. crab meat

1/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs

additional shredded asiago or parmesan cheese, if desired

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil the pasta to al dente, drain and set aside. Sprinkle salt over the minced garlic and mash into a paste with the back of a knife or wooden spoon.

Melt the butter and garlic paste in a large saucepan over med-high heat. When the garlic becomes fragrant, whisk in the flour. After a minute or so, the butter will begin to foam. Whisk in the milk and 2 egg yolks until well combined. Stir over medium heat until the sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Add the cheeses and stir until they are melted. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and stir in the crab meat and pasta. Pour everything into a 9×13-inch baking dish and spread evenly. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and additional parmesan or asiago if desired.  Bake 25 minutes or until heated through and breadcrumbs are golden on top.

TOTAL:  $16.10 or $2.68 per serving*.

*This is based on finding crab meat for $15/lb.  Or travel to Washington and cozy on up to a friend with a crabbing license and you’ll get your crab for free!  Ok, it’ll cost you the work of de-crabbing the meat but at $15/lb it’s worth it!

Nutrition:

451 calories per serving

24 grams of fat

31 carbs

18 grams protein

Give it a go and let me know what you think?  Or visit Facebook to share your thoughts, pics, ideas, etc.

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2 Comments Post a comment
  1. The heck with the frugal part of your foodie blog. How about the fact that there are 24 grams of fat in each portion! Yikes, how big is a portion anyway?

    August 29, 2011
  2. Jill Young #

    OK, Looks yummy, making it this week!

    August 29, 2011

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