Crab Macaroni and Cheese

New recipe! Original can be found at this site.

 Crab Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups macaroni

6 oz claw crab meat (I used 1 8 oz package of imitation crab meat)

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 cup milk

3 oz fresh Parmesan cheese

8 oz sharp white cheddar cheese (The original post suggests using a block cheese because it melts better but says to grate it and see the notes section below for my cheese issues)

1/4 cup bread crumbs (What the post suggested, I used more like a 1/2 cup because 1/4 didn’t cover well enough)

1 large shallot chopped finely (I didn’t use)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350.

Cook macaroni according to directions. Drain. Add crab and set aside.

In a sauce pot, melt butter on medium heat.  Add shallot if applicable and saute until fragrant.

Sprinkle with flour and mix well. Slowly pour milk into pot while stirring.

Grate white cheddar into the milk mixture. Add salt and pepper while stirring slowly until the cheese is melted.

Pour cheese mixture in with mac and crab.  Add half the parm cheese and stir well.

Transfer to lightly greased baking dish. Sprinkle with the bread crumbs and remaining Parmesan cheese.

Bake for 25-30 minutes.

Notes

I wanted to make this meal because Fiance’s band played at a bar that I know from previous experience has amazing crab mac & cheese. I decided not to spend the money for it out and wanted to make it instead.  I should have just bought it out.

I had some cheese issues. I don’t know if it’s the brand I chose or the fact that I cut the cheese rather than grated (I don’t have a cheese grater and didn’t see that while the recipe called for a block of cheese, it needed it grated anyway) but my cheddar just did not cooperate.  It essentially melted but then solidified.  So I had this gooey blob of cheese that just didn’t give the right consistency.  Even after melting with the pasta for a half hour, there were still pieces of macaroni that didn’t have any cheese on it – just the milk and butter than spread around.

I in general just always have mac and cheese issues.  I can’t eat store bought boxed mac and cheese anymore without feeling sick – I pretty much lived on it when a previous job cut my hours and I was too depressed and broke to really do much else.  Previous attempts to make mac and cheese usually don’t end up going my way.

Made about 6 servings by the way.

Oven Fajitas

2 posts in 1 day! This is madness!

But really, it’s absolutely delicious.  I’ve made this recipe several times since I first found it and enjoy it immensely.

Oven Fajitas

Original recipe can be found here.

Ingredients

2 small or 1 large onion

2 green bell peppers

1 red bell pepper

1 lb chicken

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

8 6″ tortillas

1/4 cup optional sour cream

Recipe also mentions lime juice and optional cilantro that I haven’t tried

Also, the link names 9 different seasonings to mix as the fajita seasoning.  They’re fairly similar to a basic taco seasoning mix which I always have on hand so I typically use that instead.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the onion(s) and peppers into strips about 1/4 to 1/2″ wide. Place in 9 x 13 casserole dish.

Slice the chicken breast into thin strips as well and add to the veggies.

Sprinkle seasoning and drizzle the oil over everything.  Use your hands to toss until everything is coated.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.  Scoop onto tortilla and top with sour cream or whatever else if desired.

Notes

Like I mentioned early, I’ve made this several times since the first time I tried it. Have enjoyed it immensely.

When I made it yesterday, I made about 1.5 lbs chicken instead of 1 and gotta say, it was better with the lower amounts of chicken. Didn’t quite get as good of a veggie to meat mix.

Also yesterday I left it in the oven more like the full 40 minutes and it was a bit drier. Prolly could do with only the 35 min next time.

Meal Plan – April 26, 2015

I go food shopping for myself and my fiance once a week and always make a meal plan for the week.  I leave it open ended as far as what to eat which day and therefore try to have a mix of things for when we’re short on time (band practice days for him or dance practice days for me) or for when I’ve got some extra time to make a longer meal.  I also only plan on dinners.  Workday breakfasts are simple and quick – cereal or an English muffin – and lunch is almost always leftovers or a frozen meal – either prepared at home and frozen or the occasional store bought frozen.  I keep eggs, milk and pancake mix on hand for the weekend mornings when I’ve feeling cook-y but given the prices at the local diner for brunch, it’s usually not worth the time or effort to make it at home.

I’m rambling but what else is new.  The point is that I have been very diligent about keeping to a meal plan schedule and about keeping a food diary for the purposes of my current weight loss goals but I still can’t remember to update this blog to save my life.  So new goal – every week after setting the meal plan, I’ll post it here and link to the recipes for anything I’ve made before.  Then I’ll come back and link to each meal after I try that’s new.  I’m hoping by mentally adding it to my current meal plan goals anyway, it’ll keep more more on track.  I’ve got a secret board on Pinterest where I post anything I plan to make but haven’t yet and right now it’s getting crowded with things I’ve made but just have been too lazy and absentminded to write about.

Anyway, here’s the meal plan from yesterday’s shopping trip:

Oven Fajitas – not a new meal but one I haven’t written about despite making several times previously

Hot Dogs with baked beans and store bought potato salad – I won’t bother with posting recipes for something as low key as this.

Leftover Burritos or Lightened Up Buffalo Chicken Quesadillas served with a side salad – last week was a crazy busy week so the week previously I doubled burrito and quesadilla recipes to freeze and eat later. Still some left so that’ll be a quick dinner this week, probably on laundry day.

Chicken Mozzarella Pasta with Sun Dried tomatoes and a side Caesar salad – new recipe

Crab Macaroni and Cheese – new recipe

That’s actually it for this week and is about how many meals I buy in a usual shopping trip. There’s usually a day or two where other plans keep us out of the house and therefore not cooking.  So that’s it for now and fingers crossed this keeps me better about posting!

2 books in 4 days

I go through periods where I will read everything I can get my hands on and then others I’ll go months without picking up a book.  I’d been in one of those funks for the last few months (the last book I read was a reread of Hunger Games trilogy before the most recent movie…so November?).  After a book sale at a local library last week, I finally picked up a new books.  And then immediately followed that with another.

Beneath a Marble Sky: a Love Story by John Shors

The story follows Princess Jahanara, daughter of the Emperor of 17th century Hindustan.  After her mother tragically dies, her father commissions the building of the Taj Mahal.  She meets and falls in love with the architect while fighting between her brothers threatens to tear the empire apart.

7 stars out of 10.  Very enjoyable and easy to read.  Also, it is the first historical fiction story I’ve read to take place in this time period and area and it was very intriguing to read something a bit outside my usual.

The Anatomy of Deception: a Novel of Suspense by Lawrence Goldstone

I followed a book rather out of the norm from me with a book that’s a bit closer to home.  A thriller that takes place in Philadelphia, right across the bridge from my home in South Jersey.  At the end of the 19th century, Dr. Carroll studies under a leading professor in the field, Dr. Osler.  When the mysterious death of a young woman is followed by the murder of a coworker, Dr. Carroll uses logic and medicine to uncover a scandal.

6 stars out of 10.  It was fine, okay.  Kept me guessing and interested enough to finish reading in less than 48 hours.  I’m not sure I’d ready again though.

One note that includes minimal spoilers and is pretty much a tangent on an unrelated and often controversial topic.  When investigating Dr. Turk’s murder, Dr. Carroll suspects that he is dealing drugs and/or performing illegal operations on women.  While it is not until the end of the book that we begin to discover what Dr. Turk was involved in prior to his death, it is referenced several times how easily women died or simply disappeared following complications in illegal surgeries such as these, these abortions.  Fictional accounts like this, like Penny in Dirty Dancing, like the statistics of real living women which inspires fiction like this, is why I’m Pro Choice.  My own spiritual beliefs aside, I know I come from a place with a lot of privilege, both a stable income and support system that would help me should I find myself in that situation.  But many, many women were desperate enough to seek out an illegal surgery to fix it because they saw no other option, and many died for that decision.  I firmly believe that should never happen again, not while it can be performed relatively safely and in an appropriate manner.

Alright that’s my rant for the day.  I couldn’t stop thinking of this as I read through the book and just had to say it somewhere.