Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Mac & Cheese Monday: Crab & Brie Mac & Cheese

When we were visiting my Grandmother over the Easter holiday, my Mom and I were snooping around in Wal-Mart and while waiting in the check-out line, I spotted a copy of Better Homes and Gardens "135 Best-Loved Reader Recipes from 1930 to Today".

I actually LEFT the store without it.  And then insisted that I needed to go back and pick it up.

Because I couldn't wait to snoop through it.

I will admit that I had hoped for more recipes from earlier decades - as there weren't that many from before 2000.

While I was somewhat disappointed, there are more than a few recipes that I really want to try.

Before our trip to Manitoba, I had asked my Mom what she would like for dinner when she brought me home...

She simply said, "Pizza".

Then I showed her THIS recipe. 

She changed her mind.

The recipe calls for medium shell macaroni, but I just used the elbows.  It's what I had.  Though I suppose if you were serving this to grown-ups (we have totally clarified that I do not fall into this category), you could use the shells to impress them.

The prep time states 40 minutes, but I know for sure I spent much longer than that prepping.  Maybe I'm just slow. 

Start out by cooking up the macaroni according to the package directions.

The next thing you should do is start cooking the butter and onions.  The recipe states to cook the onion over medium-low heat for about 15 minutes or until tender and golden.  I should have done this while I was cutting the rind of the brie.  Because it took FOR.EV.ER.

So start there.  While the onions are cooking, you'll basically have until you're 95 years old to do other stuff.  If you are currently over 31, maybe try a different recipe.  (Kidding!)

Take the brie and start cutting the rind off.  I took off as much as I could, but I wasn't going for perfection.  Plus, it was nearly impossible to get all the rind off without wasting a whole bunch of cheese.

Maybe if you can find it - use RINDLESS brie.  Yeah.  Way less hassles.

And give the now rindless brie a rough chop.

And try not to snack on it.  It will just create more work for you.

More work = badness.

Then, take a firm-texture bread, tear it into pieces and throw it into the food processor to make bread crumbs.

What the heck is a firm-texture bread ANYWAY?  I totally guessed and used a french loaf.  I think it worked pretty well. 

But why not just SAY "French Loaf"?  I mean, what if you don't know what that means?  Like me?  It kind of makes me stressed out.

Anyway, this is what it should look like.

Okay, now you've been cooking your onions on medium-low heat for 100 years.  Up the heat to medium and add in the flour, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.  Then add in the milk and stir until thickened and bubbly.  Lower heat to medium-low and gradually add in the brie, stirring until melted.

Then, in a greased casserole dish, add the cheese mixture to the cooked macaroni and gently fold in the crab meat.

Top with the bread crumbs and extra brie.

And bake in a 350 degree F oven, for about 30 minutes or until the mixture is heated through and the crumbs are golden.

I made an oops.  I put the brie on top before I started cooking it.  But the recipe clearly says to put the brie on the top during the last 5 minutes of baking.

Before I go on, I need you to meet someone....

That's my Mom.  She is also known as Mommy.  And that's her little dog Zoe.  Zoe also goes by the names of Bad Dog, Little Dog, Big Dog, or Oh You're The CUTEST IN THE WORLD!!!!.

PS - it's nearly a miracle that Zoe doesn't look completely insane in this picture.  She's not terribly photogenic (she gets the crazy reflected light in her eyeballs ALL THE TIME) and she's horribly camera shy. 

Mom was totally patient while she waited 230 years for dinner.  And she didn't even petrify.  That was cool.

Oh, this was soo good.  Soooo goooooood.  Although I still think it could have used more crab meat.  And I was totally expecting it to be REALLY rich.  Would you believe me if I told you that it wasn't?    Cause it's true.

I would definitely have this again!

This is the Cane Girl - signing off.
Crab & Brie Mac and Cheese

1 pound medium shell macaroni, uncooked
1 medium sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 cups milk
1 pound brie cheese (rind removed and chopped)
2 6-ounce cans crab meat, drained and flaked
3 slices French Bread, torn into large pieces and processed in food processor until coarse crumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly grease a casserole dish and set aside.
  2. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  3. In a medium sized pot, cook onion and butter over medium-low heat until tender and golden, stirring occasionally. (This is when the other prep - cheese trimmed and chopped, bread crumbs - should be done)
  4. Add in the flour, salt, and pepper.  Stir to combine.
  5. Add in the milk and cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbling.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in the brie, a handful at a time, and stir until melted.
  7. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the macaroni.
  8. Fold in the crab meat and pour mixture into casserole dish.
  9. Top macaroni mixture with bread crumbs.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes or until top is golden and the mixture is bubbling.
  11. Add additional pieces of brie on top during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  12. Let stand for about 10 minutes, then serve.
Source:  Better Homes & Gardens

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