Seafood

Crabby Mac

by Shawnda on October 30, 2013

in Pasta, Rice, and Grains,Quick & Easy,Seafood

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

I spent almost my entire October doing nothing that was on my To Do List.

Or fun.

We didn’t have time to move this blog over to its new location at The Brewer and The Baker (but that’s still coming), we let the blog’s 7th birthday go by (that, too, is still coming), we almost let our 7th anniversary go by but Jason swooped in and saved the day with emergency margaritas, and here I am on the day before Halloween, marathon training on pause thanks to plantar fasciitis, and looking at a 90% chance of a Trick-or-Treat rain-out.

Seriously – waaaaaaah, right?

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

My family has sustained on Chick-fil-A and Jason’s Deli, I haven’t cleaned anything in 3 weeks (well, not the house we live in), and I bought new underwear to avoid “wasting” time by doing laundry. I also set a new personal-best for the number of F-Bombs dropped in a 12 second period. (Related: No. I do not want to talk about the paint incident.) (And yes, my power-tripping 3 year old put me in time out.)

If I could turn back time , I’d go back to 2008, look Past Shawnda in the eye, which would totally freak her out long enough to distract her, kick her in the girl parts, and scream “THIS IS WHAT BUYING RENTAL HOUSES DOES TO FUTURE SHAWNDA. PUT THAT MONEY IN APPLE AND VALERO STOCK AND GO GET A REAL JOB!”

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

For nearly 4 full weeks, I have not been a real joy to be around. But that all changed the second I dropped those house keys into my Realtor’s hands. We were free. FREE!

Free to come home to a house that smelled funky because no one remembers the last time we were here long enough to put garbage in the kitchen can, much less take it out to the street. Free to eat food that wasn’t handed to us through a drive-thru window. Free to realize that you’re better off just burning wet bath towels and the washer in which they were forgotten than trying to fix them.

Free to throw together a dinner using only things I could find in the pantry and freezer because we’re nearly through November’s grocery budget.

Stovetop Crab macaroni & Cheese

There are a few times that others can appreciate my hoarding tendencies. Finding crab in the freezer to throw in to some macaroni in cheese is one of those. Otherwise, we’d have found ourselves at Jason’s Deli for the 15th time this month.

A slight variation on our standard stove top mac & cheese recipe, I went for cream cheese instead of yogurt and added worcestershire, green onions, and a little mustard to make it more of a “crab dip meets pasta” dish. Warm, creamy, indulgent and still not that terrible for you – I was almost as happy polishing off a second helping as I was throwing the keys at my Realtor’s face and running away while laughing maniacally.

But now? Now it’s time for fun :)

Stovetop Crab Macaroni & Cheese

Stovetop macaroni and cheese meets crab dip - creamy, indulgent, and takes only 30 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 8 oz pasta
  • 4 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 3 green onions, chopped (dark green parts set aside)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 oz white cheddar, shredded*
  • 3 oz fontina, shredded*
  • Worcestershire
  • 2 tsp dijon or brown mustard
  • 1 cup crab meat, picked over for shells (this was from 1 1/2 snow crab clusters)
  • *Do not use pre-shredded cheese.

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water, according to package directions (you will be reserving some pasta water so don't forget - put the measuring cup in the strainer in the sink if you need a reminder).
  2. While the water is boiling/pasta is cooking, cut cream cheese into 6-8 blocks and microwave on half power until completely softened.
  3. In a small pan, heat a little oil and cook the white and light green onions parts and garlic for 2-3 minutes (you want to soften and knock the raw edge off).
  4. When the pasta is finished, reserve 1 cup pasta water, drain the pasta and immediately return it to the pot.
  5. Working quickly (it has to be hot to melt the cheese), add ~1/3 cup pasta water, the cream cheese, and 1/3 of the grated cheese and stir until the cheese has melted - pressing on the cream cheese before stirring will help it incorporate faster.Stir in remaining cheese, one handful at a time to prevent clumping.
  6. Add the onions and garlic, few dashes Worcestershire, mustard, crab, and several grinds black pepper.
  7. Add additional pasta water as necessary to thin the sauce and melt the cheese.
  8. Garnish with dark green onion parts and serve hot/warm.

Notes

Yields: 3-4 generous servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 30 minutes

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Margarita-glazed Fish Tacos

I get the best dinner ideas when I don’t have the ability to write them down. Like sitting at dinner with a fork in my hand. Or pushing The Little through HEB in one of those soul-killing plastic car-cart monstrosities.

Or playing Candy Crush :oops:

Then 2 nights later, I’m looking at a random collection of ingredients trying to remember what I was supposed to do with them.

That’s why I found myself heavy a pound of white fish and a single orange last week. Since they’re usually for margaritas, I never just buy one orange. It had to be one of those “all I need is X and Y because I have everything else” ideas.

I never did figure it out.

Instead, I whipped up a quick margarita-esque marinade, let the fish sit a bit, and then reduced the marinade down to a boozy, citrusy glaze while the fish cooked and I finished the rest of dinner.

Drizzled over the fish tacos before serving, the glaze really adds a bright punch of flavor to the tacos.

So let this be a lesson: When in Doubt, Margarita.

Margarita-Glazed Fish Tacos

Smokey, grilled fish tacos get a summery, flavorful punch from a margarita glaze.

Ingredients

  • For the fish:
  • 1/4 cup tequila
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (2-3 limes)
  • 1/4 cup orange juice (1 small orange)
  • 1 lbs white fish (cod, tilapia, etc)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 6 small tortillas
  • For the pico de gallo
  • 2 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Salt

Instructions

  1. Add the tequila, lime juice, zest, orange juice, and fish to a large zip-top bag and let sit for no longer than 30 minutes (less if your fish is delicate; tilapia and cod tend to hold up well).
  2. Heat your grill to medium-high.
  3. Stir together the ingredients for the pico de gallo and set aside.
  4. Grill the fish 4-5 minutes each side, until the center is just opaque.
  5. While the fish is grilling, pour the marinade into a large sauce pan over high heat and bring to a boil, reducing to ~1/4 cup.
  6. Season the fish with salt and pepper and flake into large chunks.
  7. Serve the fish on tortillas topped with pico de gallo and a drizzle of the tequila reduction.

Notes

Yields: 6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Beer-Glazed Fish Tacos with Kiwi-Mango Salsa

Dinner tonight was supposed to look a little different. But when it was go-time, I found myself faced with a real sketchy looking mango that I couldn’t remember buying and 3 wrinkly kiwi that I could remember buying because it was the source of The Little’s real public tantrum during the busiest grocery shopping hour of the busiest grocery shopping day.

So the kiwi, I bought. And the kiwi, she did not eat. Because they’re “real spicy.”

The person who coined the phrase “The Terrible Twos” most certainly didn’t survive one of those epic public meltdowns to realize that the Threes are worse than the Twos.

Way worse.

And at the end of the day, I just really wanted a real beer and a real fish taco. With a real tortilla. So one, I had. In the form of beer-glazed fish tacos topped with a kiwi-mango salsa.

The beer glaze was simple – I marinated the fish in a brew from of my favorite local guys: No Label Brewery‘s Don Jalapeno Ale.

Don Jalapeno is brewed with – wait for it – jalapenos. You get good muted char/roasty flavors from the roasted jalapenos and just a little heat on the back end from the fresh peppers. It’s one of those beers that’s awesome for a flight, to share, and to cook/bake with… but I find it a leetle difficult to finish the entire bottle on my own.

And that’s why I got married. No unfinished beer left behind.

I reduced the marinade to concentrate the flavors, drizzling the glaze over the tacos before eating. And Mother of Saint Arnold, was it fantastic.

Beer-Glazed Fish Tacos with Kiwi-Mango Salsa

Grilled cod tacos are topped with kiwi-mango salsa and a beer glaze.

Ingredients

  • For the marinade:
  • 1/2 cup beer (go for something middle of the road, not light or overly bitter)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Juice of 1/2 small orange
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 lb cod or other white fish
  • For the salsa:
  • 2 kiwi, peeled and diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, diced (and seeded, if desired)
  • Small handful of cilantro, chopped
  • For serving
  • 4-6 Small flour tortillas

Instructions

  1. Heat grill to medium-high.
  2. Place marinade ingredients in a large zippered bag, add fish, and let sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  3. Combine the salsa ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Put the marinade in a medium sauce pan or pot over high heat, bring to a boil, and let reduce to ~1/4 cup.
  5. Grill the fish ~4-5 minutes per side, until it's opaque in the center and flakes easily.
  6. To serve, top tortillas with flaked fish, a scoop of salsa, and a drizzle of the beer reduction.

Notes

Yields: 4-6 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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Grilled Tilapia with Orange-Avocado Salsa

Hi. It’s me again. And I’m back with math. Delicious math.

Dinner = grilled protein + citrus/avocado salsa.

The markets here are flooded with beautiful Texas citrus – 5 oranges for $1? An 8 lb bag for just under $5? Don’t mind if I do!

We took a few of those Texas oranges, paired them with creamy avocado and some weapons-grade-spicy diced jalapeno (if only there were some way to tell which peppers were “just” hot and which peppers were crazy ^%$#@! hot), and made a sweet+heat salsa to go over a simple citrus-marinated fish.

Dinner = light, fresh, and worthy of dinner on the patio. If you’re among those lucky enough to still not have snow on the ground on April 1st.

Potential notables – on the plate with that fabulous fish are HEB Borracho Beans and Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle Lemon butter. And if you’ve never segmented citrus before, you might find these photos most helpful.

Grilled Tilapia with Orange-Avocado Salsa

Peak-season citrus and creamy avocado top a smokey, grilled tilapia filet.

Ingredients

  • For the marinade
  • Zest and juice of 1 medium orange
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tsp chile powder (I used ancho)
  • Small handful of cilantro
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 4 tilapia (or your favorite white fish) filets
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • For the salsa
  • 2 medium oranges
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Handful of cilantro

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade and place in a large ziploc bag or non-metallic dish with the fish. Let sit in the fridge while you're heating the grill and prepping the rest of dinner (I did ~30 minutes and had the rest of dinner all but finished by the time the fish hit the grill).
  2. Heat your grill to medium-high and make sure grates are cleaned and oiled to prevent sticking.
  3. Over a medium bowl, segment the oranges, letting the oranges and juice fall into the bowl (discard any seeds and peel).
  4. Squeeze the remaining juice from the leftover membranes into the bowl and cut the segmented orange wedges into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Lightly stir with the avocado pieces, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and pepper; set aside.
  6. Place fish on the grill and drizzle some of the marinade over top.
  7. Cook 4-5 minutes on each side, drizzling additional marinade over top when flipping; the fish is done when it's opaque in the center.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and topped with a generous scoop of orange-avocado salsa.

Notes

Yields: 4 servings

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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