Rachael Ray is extremely prolific, you can go to the store right now and purchase thousands of her recipes. Yes, many are virtually identical or slight variations of the same…but regardless there is still a dizzying number of them. Consequently there are a lot them that leave me with the reactions like ehh…, fine, and edible. Of course there are also a few that are pretty horrible and a few that are really delicious. Crab and Corn Chowda-Mac, Rating = “ehh…”
This recipe goes a little something like this:
- cook some pasta shells
- fry some chopped bacon, then add chopped onions and celery, then chopped red bell pepper
- add some flour, then add some milk and chicken stock to make the sauce
- now add crab meat and frozen corn, heat through
- finally add cayenne pepper, fresh thyme and grated white cheddar cheese, until cheese is melted
- toss the cheesy mixture with the pasta shells.
Not a horrible idea. It sounded like it might be good…but it didn’t work out that way. Here are my improvement suggestions if you are considering trying it.
- Omit the corn and the chopped red bell pepper. I realize this is pulling two veggies, but just make a vegetable side dish. It could even have more nutritional value than corn and peppers!
- Buy your groceries at Jewel, Kroeger, Walmart, CVS… I bought my usual from Whole Foods, pricey lump crab and aged white cheddar. Don’t do it! Go with the tuna-disc can of crab and the zip-lock pack of pre-shredded white cheddar cheese. It will be perfect, I promise.
- And don’t use skim milk, like I did. You want “creamy” cheese sauce so at least go with 2%.
Nowadays, I may talk some trash about Ms. Ray…but once upon a time this cookbook was my go-to. The recipes weren’t intimidating, they only called for one or two pots/pans, and they often called for interesting ingredients that started out as a little scary and turned out to be delicious: anchovies, fennel, chipotle peppers. And let’s be honest… I still go back to it; for convenience, to save money, and of course in the search for those hearty, homey recipes that somehow are so satisfying with such comparatively little effort. Her best are usually variations on pizza, burgers or pasta, although she also has a recipe for Chorizo-Cod-Potato Stew in this book that I absolutely love.