Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Food Desert Project - Baked Crab Pasta with Cheater's Bechamel

Are you one of those people who pulls open a pantry door and stares at it, glassy-eyed, until the contents start to swim and dance before your eyes?  No?  Just me?  (Let me tell you, it's cheaper to do it in front of the pantry than it is in front of the freezer.)

Well, this recipe is the result of one of those moments.  Sparky and I were on our own for the evening, and I had some leftover pasta...but since I'm still in the throes of tomato canning, I wasn't in the mood for our standard I opened my cabinets and I stared like the worm in the Dr. Seuss story.  I stared and I stared and I stared...until out jumped beans, artichokes, and a can of crabmeat.

"These need a bechamel!" I sez to myself, sez I.  However, I needed something different, something quicker and maybe tastier than a standard white sauce...and a quick google revealed this answer. "I can do that!" quoth I, and I jumped up from the laptop and headed for the kitchen, where I just happened to have not one but two partial tubs of leftover whipped light cream cheese (the real stuff; whip it yourself - the whipped stuff from the store has gelatin and other gunk added.) and a can of chicken broth.  Bonus: one was flavored with chives!

1 can chicken broth (low sodium)
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
2 tsp minced dried onion
8oz cream cheese, whipped (chive if you can get it)
1 can artichoke hearts (I used a 15oz can, but a smaller jar would work as well)
1 can pinto beans (or whatever beans you can get)
1 can crabmeat
1-2 sticks of string cheese
2-4 tbsp parmesan cheese

001So I plopped the chicken broth into a pan on a hot stove, and added some garlic powder and minced onions, and when it started to simmer, I turned down the heat to low and melted all that lovely cream cheese down into a thick sauce.

004Then I mixed up some leftover pasta (about 1/2 lb, cooked as directed) with my cans of artichokes and beans, drained and rinsed, and the crabmeat, drained, and I spread it in an ovenproof casserole dish.  I drizzled the cream cheese sauce over the top, dotted it with some mozzarella (I sliced up a string cheese stick; did you know they're really just sticks of mozzarella?) and some parmesan cheese and heated it all in the oven until it was bubbling and the top was brown.


Then we ate it.   Then we sat back and rubbed our full, happy bellies and SMILED.

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