Sunday, November 21, 2010

Never Fail With Crab Stuffed Shells




I know it seems as if I have abandoned by blog since I haven't posted in over a week. But with graduation less than two weeks away, school has completely consumed most of my waking hours. And the little time left has been devoted to painting. I have missed my time in the kitchen and once December 11th arrives I will be back in full force. As final week nears, I fear that the dreaded frozen dinners will make their way from my freezer to my microwave. With that prediction and the fact that it was my dad's birthday, I decided that I would cook something special this weekend. A lot of my recipes are quick, easy, and fairly cheap to prepare; this is not one of those. This recipe for Crab Stuffed Shells is probably one of the best meals that I have ever made. It is perfect for a special occasion or if you want to impress those you are serving. These shells are beyond restaurant worthy, with a fraction of the calories in a restaurant-equivalent dish. With the succulent crab meat and silky cream sauce, nobody would ever guess that they are even remotely healthy. Crabmeat is an excellent source of protein, low in fat and calories. It also provides essential fatty acids, iron, zinc, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorous. Since the stuffing of the shells contains very few additional ingredients, the majority is made up of crab meat. So before you set out to make this, be prepared to spend a little more than usual as the crab meat alone cost me $20. I used half king crab meat and half crab claw meat. If you really want to splurge, I am sure that using all king crab meat would be amazing.If you compare the cost of the ingredients to the cost of a meal at a fine dining restaurant, it doesn't seem expensive at all. I love most types of seafood and crab is definitely one of my favorites. This dish is the perfect combination of ingredients to highlight the natural flavor of the crab meat. I have a feeling this will be a request for many birthdays to come.

Crab Stuffed Shells
Adapted from Prevention RD
Serves 7

Ingredients
21 large pasta shells
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
8 oz. fresh king crab meat
8 oz. fresh crab claw meat
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
Béchamel sauce (see below)
3/4 cup reduced-fat 4 Cheese Italian shredded cheese (Sargento)
1/4 tsp salt

Béchamel sauce
4 tbsp light butter (50/50 Smart Balance)
5 tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cups fat-free milk
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3/4 cup reduced-fat 4 Cheese Italian shredded cheese (Sargento)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cook the pasta just until al dente according to package. Drain noodles. Let them sit in cold water until ready to use.
  3. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the bell pepper, celery, and onion. Saute until softened (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the garlic and saute for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. For the Béchamel: In a medium pot over medium-low heat, warm the milk until it comes to a gentle simmer.
  6. In a separate medium pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour.
  7. Cook the butter/flour mixture (roux) for about 3 minutes until golden blonde, whisking constantly.
  8. To the roux, add the hot milk, salt and pepper.
  9. Bring the mixture to a boil and let boil for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add the cheese, stirring until melted.
  10. In a large bowl combine the vegetables, crab, parsley, 1 cup of the Béchamel, and 1/4 tsp salt.
  11. Spoon the crab mixture into the shells and arrange in prepared dish. Pour remaining Bechamel over shells.
  12. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Nutrition: (3 shells) 304 calories, 29g carbohydrate, 26g protein, 11g fat, 1.2g fiber, 7 weight watchers points

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About Lauren

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Nutrition student with a passion for giving yummy recipes a healthy make-over. Future RD on a constant search for the best food finds. And new blogger trying to relay my tasty ideas to everyone else.

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Please feel free to email me with any questions, suggestions, or comments at lamandle88@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you.

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