day 14: soon to be famous crab stuffed mac + cheese

I spent the day being an adult … not that I’m not all the time, but the not fun part of being an adult. Car repairs. I’m fairly certain the most stoic of grown ups has shed a tear or two over just the right unexpected car dilemma. And, once you’ve paid and gotten back on the road … I think you’re entitled to a little self-indulgence. What on earth could be better a fit splurge than crab and mac & cheese? Nothing. That’s what.

This ain’t your Momma’s mac + cheese … it’s got a few twists (literally).

Crab Stuffed Mac + Cheese

Crab Stuffed Mac + Cheese

What you’ll need:

  • 16 oz. Cavatappi pasta, cooked al dente & drained
  • 2 cups of shredded gruyere cheese
  • 1 handful chopped Italian parsley
  • 1 cup of panko
  • 16 oz. lump crab meat
  • 1 stick of butter
  • 3 tbps flour
  • 3 shallots minced
  • zest & juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 3 cups fontina shredded
  • healthy dash of your favorite hot sauce (I used Frank’s here)
  • 1 tbsp of quality dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp quality of olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • a smidge of nutmeg
  • truffle oil drizzle (optional)

What you’ll do:

  1. Sautee shallots in 1 tbsp of the olive oil until fragrant & tender
  2. Combine crab meat, hot sauce, dijon, lemon zest, lemon juice and shallots. (Careful not to over mix – you want lump crab meat not shreds). Set aside.
  3. Combine shredded gruyere, panko, parsley, and the remainder of your olive oil. Set aside.
  4. Melt butter and whisk in flour over medium heat. Add heavy cream and fontina. Continue to whisk so nothing sticks! Throw in your smidge of fresh ground nutmeg.
  5. Combine your cooked pasta with the crab mixture in a casserole dish.
  6. Pour your sauce over the crab mixture.
  7. Next top with the panko mixture.
  8. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown & bubbling on the sides.
  9. Let stand for 10 minutes before digging in. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil.
  10. Enjoy!

green chile mac n’ cheese

What you’ll need …

  • 16 oz. cooked and drained shell pasta
  • 8 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup queso asadera
  • 1 cup extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese
  • 4 poblano peppers, roasted, cooled & chopped
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

What you’ll do …

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a saucepan, add 8 tablespoons of butter. Allow to melt slowly, whisking consistently. Then add one at a time, the tbsp of flour … again, whisking to combine rapidly and consistently. Add the half & half in the same fashion.
  3. Once sauce begins to thicken. Add peppers, queso asadera and cheddar.
  4. Then pour cheese sauce over the the pasta in a 9×12 pan.
  5. Top with parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling.

smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese with bacon + kale

Smoked Gouda Mac 'n Cheese with Bacon & Kale

Smoked Gouda Mac ‘n Cheese with Bacon & Kale

Let me just go ahead and get this out of the way. Confession: I’ve had a long standing love affair with mac ‘n cheese – homemade concoctions, boxed shortcuts, and restaurant versions alike. Celebrations, pot lucks, down on your luck, fed up with it all and just because … all perfectly sound reasons to break out the good stuff.

I can admit, I have fixated just a bit. You know, gone overboard. But being an all or nothing girl definitely has it’s perks. This is the first … hope you enjoy!

What you’ll need …

  • 16 oz. cooked and drained penne pasta
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup shredded smoked gouda
  • 1 lb. quality diced (1/2″ cubes) bacon
  • 2 shallots minced
  • 2 cups fresh kale
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • salt & pepper to taste

What you’ll do …

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a medium saucepan cook bacon pieces. When nearly cooked crispy, add shallots and kale. Once kale is wilted. Remove mixture from heat and set aside.
  3. In the same saucepan, add 6 tablespoons of butter. Allow to melt slowly, whisking consistently. Then add one at a time, the tbsp of flour … again, whisking to combine rapidly and consistently. Add the half & half in the same fashion.
  4. Once sauce begins to thicken. Add smoked gouda, nutmeg, salt & pepper.
  5. Toss the cooked penne with the kale mixture. Then pour cheese sauce over the the pasta in a 9×9 pan.
  6. Bake at 350 until top is golden brown and edges are bubbling.