Ultimate Crab Macaroni & Cheese

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on January 1, 2013

in fish or seafood

Many many years ago, sometime around the time that I decided for the first time that I needed to lose weight, New Years Eve became a “last hurrah” of sorts. Eat whatever I want, one last time, before starting the new diet on New Years Day.

When I was younger, my mom would make cheese fondue for us as a family, and we’d ring in the new year with loads of melted cheese and bread. Later, a phenomenal meal and too much alcohol at favorite Chicago restaurants were my “last hurrah” of choice.

This year, I made my resolution early. Along with about 10 other women at work, I joined a Weight Watchers at-work meeting, and have lost almost 6 pounds in the last 3 or so weeks. So, New Years Eve wasn’t a “last hurrah”, but rather a “use up all my weekly points in one fell swoop” kind of night.

See, 2013 is the year that I’ll finally lose this “food baby” I’ve been carrying around since… oh, way too long. Hell, it’s not a “food baby” but rather a “food fifth grader.” So, for New Years Eve, I made Adam and I a delicious treat, one which I’m beyond proud of… partially because it was “I can’t believe I’m eating this in my own house” delicious, according to Adam. Partially because I limited myself to 1 1/2 servings, and am bringing the rest to a party this afternoon.

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Almost a pound of cheese, half and half, pasta, butter, and lots of crab meat made for a perfect send-off for 2012.

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Ultimate Crab Macaroni & Cheese

by What’s For Dinner?

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Keywords: bake entree cheese crab pasta American winter

Ingredients (serves 10-12)

  • 12 ounces small pasta, cooked and kept hot
  • 12 ounces crab meat
  • 5 ounces extra sharp cheddar, shredded
  • 5 ounces gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

Heat the oil and butter together in a large saucepan over medium heat.

Add the garlic and stir well. Allow the garlic to brown slightly.

Add the flour and whisk until a thick paste forms. Cook this mixture until very lightly browned.

Add the half and half, stirring continuously, then add the milk and wine. Stir well.

Whisk in the cheese one handful at a time, until it is all added and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Stir in the salt and thyme, and simmer while stirring for about 5 minutes.

In a large baking dish, layer the pasta, half the crab, half the sauce, and half the panko. Repeat, ending with panko.

Bake until browned and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

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This had the perfect balance of a restaurant creamy macaroni and cheese with the best part of a homemade mac and cheese with the crunchy bread crumbs… and then the crab meat pushed it over the top. Next time, if there is a next time, I’m going to use snow crab instead of the pre-picked king crab. It needed a touch of sweetness… not that I’m complaining.
The leftovers are beyond tempting… but I don’t think I have quite enough Points+ to warrant any more.
A very happy new year to all of you, thank you for sticking with me through all these years!
xoxo
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jenn@slim-shoppin January 1, 2013 at 1:08 PM

great job on doing ww at work, that’s awesome. I’m in the same boat this year, let’s lose this weight! Happy new year Mara!
Jenn@slim-shoppin´s last blog post ..Garlic Naan Bread – no rise quick version

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Marianne January 4, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Happy New Year Mara! That mac & cheese looks pretty phenomenal – I love me some seafood in my mac & cheese :) And congrats on your WW success to date :D
Marianne´s last blog post ..A Very Foodie Christmas

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Solana Cook January 5, 2013 at 9:39 AM

This is tempting, really tempting. But fresh crab meat is hard to find in my area. Can I use crab meat in can? Any brand recommendations?
Solana Cook´s last blog post ..Solana Beach Crush

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Mara @ What's For Dinner? January 5, 2013 at 10:55 PM

to be honest, we used the stuff from the refrigerated section near the seafood counter, so it was “canned” but not in a can. Does that make sense?

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