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Anniversary Dinner

Firstly, thank you all for you encouragement and praise on my 1/2 marathon! You guys all put so many smiles on my face. I really, truly appreciate it 🙂

It’s not our anniversary…yet. But Sunday, May 23rd is! Mr. Prevention and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary with my family who just so happens to be visiting next weekend! Which I will allow because they’re bringing the top layer of our wedding cake! Just kidding, I love’em!!! But before the hustle and bustle of the coming week, I wanted to make Mr. Prevention something special to celebrate our nuptials…just the 2 of us 😉

When I ran across Crab-Stuffed Shells on Faith’s blog last week, I knew…that recipe was the one. And to accompany those beautiful shells, I figured Marla’s Roasted Asparagus with Gruyere and Smoked Paprika would compliment perfectly.

While I wanted this meal to be a surprise, Mr. Prevention insisted on coming grocery shopping this week. I guess a week’s worth of rain will do that to a man. Who knew?

As I attempted to flirt/persuade Mr. Prevention into king crab legs versus snow crab legs at the seafood counter, he walked away saying, “Whatever you want, Nicole…I’m fine either way.” Typical. So of course I ask for 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 pounds worth of KING crab legs (self-proclaimed seafood HUSSIE and crab connoisseur right here!). Well, our friendly neighborhood grocery meat man gave a little, “Shhh!” as he placed an additional crab leg (3/4 pound!) into our order….on the house. “Since it’s your anniversary and all”, he said. Score! Mr. Prevention walked over just in time to see this generous act of pilferage kindness, and he was suddenly very grateful I decided to go with the king crab 😉

Feast your eyes on our anniversary meal:

Crab-Stuffed Shells slightly adapted from An Edible Mosaic

12 oz large pasta shells (you’ll use 20)
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 3 large clove garlic
1 lb (16 oz) lump crab meat (I used fresh King crab)
1/4 cup fresh minced parsley
Béchamel (see below)
3 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded (for topping)
Fresh minced chives (for garnish)

4 Tbsp unsalted butter 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
3 cup milk (I used 1%)
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
3 oz Gruyère cheese, shredded
Butter, to grease the pan Non-stick cooking spray
9 by 13-inch casserole dish

Cook the pasta to just under al dente according to the package directions. You will have more pasta shells than you need, which is good because some will inevitably break while cooking.

Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat; add the pepper, celery, and onion and sauté until softened but not brown (about 10-15 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly.

For the Béchamel: In a medium pot over medium-low heat, warm the milk just until it comes to a very gentle simmer. In a separate medium pot over medium-low heat, melt the butter and then whisk in the flour. Cook the butter/flour mixture (called a roux) for about 3 minutes (it will be a light blonde color), whisking constantly. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the roux, then add 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Turn the heat up and bring the mixture to a boil; let it boil for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and whisk in 3 oz Gruyère.

Preheat the oven to 350º F and butter the casserole dish. In a large bowl, combine the cooked vegetables, crab, parsley, 1 c of Béchamel, and 1/4 tsp salt. Stuff the crab mixture into the shells and arrange in the prepared dish; pour the remaining Béchamel on top. Bake for 20 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining 3 oz of Gruyère on top and bake another 10 minutes. Serve garnished with fresh minced chives. Yield: 7 servings.

Nutrition Information (per serving): 432 calories; 20.3 g. fat; 64 mg. cholesterol; 1159 mg. sodium; 34.7 g. carbohydrate; 2.4 g. fiber; 27 g. protein

Result: 1) Faith is a wizard in the kitchen and 2) I am SO GLAD we both LOVED this dish! I was a bit nervous trying a new dish for our special meal and Mr. Prevention was skeptical thinking, “It probably sounds a lot better than it is..” Wrong! DELICIOUS! It was so creamy and rich! I do think the king crab and 1% milk were key – this isn’t a meal to skimp on as crab is never cheap. I will most DEFINITELY be making this again, it was divine! We savored every bite, and I cannot wait for leftovers at lunch today! 😀

Roasted Asparagus with Gruyère & Smoked Paprika from Family Fresh Cooking

one bunch of Asparagus, cleaned and trimmed
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
paprika, to taste
2 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated


Pre-heat oven t0 425˚F

Line a baking sheet with Silpat, parchment or foil. Coat asparagus with a drizzle of olive oil and toss with all seasonings. Cook for about 5 minutes toss, cook another 4 minutes. Add cheese & cook for another minute for a total of 10 minutes or so. Cheese should be browned and bubbling. Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information (per serving): 104 calories; 8 g. fat; 12 mg. cholesterol; 330 mg. sodium; 3 g. carbohydrate; 1.5 g. fiber; 5.5 g. protein

Result: Roasted asparagus is never bad! I don’t think the Gruyere added too much…other than calories. I love the paprika, but I’ll probably go without the cheese next time. 🙂

And Mr. Prevention provided bought a surprise dessert:

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake. Thank you, Braums…and Mr. Prevention. 😉

My slice 🙂

It was a wonderful anniversary dinner. Hats off to the chef (it was that good, I can say that!) and to Faith and Marla for their wonderful recipes! Thanks, gals!

I think I caught up with most everyone this weekend (finally!). I’m the reverse of most bloggers — overly busy on the weekdays and underly (not a word, I know!) on the weekends!!! 😉

Question: Do you like crab? If you were to celebrate an anniversary at home, what would you make? Does it have any special meaning behind it?

Have a great week,

Share With Your Friends!


  1. May 17, 2010 / 6:00 am

    What a special dinner! Happy anniversary (a week early)!

  2. May 17, 2010 / 6:48 am

    Holy Cow! This looks awesome! I love crab but I like when the peeling is done for me haha. Congrats on the half marathon Nicole! That is awesome!

  3. May 17, 2010 / 7:37 am

    Growing up my mom would have me and my 3 brothers draw chores from a jar too! I think it’s a great idea because then you’re not stuck with the same thing each week… most of the time. And I totally agree, vacuuming every 2-3 weeks isn’t gross. That was how much I vacuumed until I put together my weekly clean up list. It’s just with Joe in and out of the house the carpet get’s so messy especially at the front and back doors:(

    Your anniversay dinner looks amazing! I don’t really enjoy eating crab on it’s own but in dishes like yours above I’d love it. Have a great Monday Nicole!

  4. May 17, 2010 / 7:56 am

    That meal looks amazing Nicole! We actually have crab fests with our neighbors at least 3 times a year.

    For anniversaries though, we usually do lobster tails on the grill – even in December when our anniversary is! This December will be our 10th wedding anniversary already!

    Have a great Monday Nicole!

  5. May 17, 2010 / 8:22 am

    Hi there! I LOVE crab and your dinner looks totally delicious. Mmm pasta and seafood = perfection. Happy Anniversary btw and I loved your joke on the top layer of the cake πŸ˜‰ Too cute!! Thanks so much for your compliment on my glasses- I picked those up at Crate & Barrel a few years ago and love them. They are goblets so can be used for reds or whites- but I mostly use them for water and dessert of course:))) Looking forward to following your posts and please look for a link later tonight/tomorrow!! XO

  6. May 17, 2010 / 9:06 am

    Happy Anniversary! I love crab–I’ll be honest though, I only eat it when someone else prepares it. And congrats on your half marathon!

  7. May 17, 2010 / 10:17 am

    Happy Early Anniversary! What a special dinner you made.
    Everything looks delicious especially the roasted asparagus. yum!
    Congrats on completing another 1/2 marathon!

  8. May 17, 2010 / 10:54 am

    It looks so great. Happy anniversary!

  9. May 17, 2010 / 10:58 am

    Mmmm what a FANTASTIC anniversary dinner!!! I love seafood, so whenever Nick and i celebrate special occasions at home (more cost effective) we ALWAYS have lobster. hahaha That’s his favorite, but mine would have to be jumbo prawns. Yum!!

    P.s. I’m hostin’ a little giveaway for organic preserves and thought it would go perfect in so many of your tasty recipe creations! Does strawberry basil jam and blueberry merlot sound good to you? πŸ™‚

  10. May 17, 2010 / 11:02 am

    Um, that is one FABULOUS dinner!! I love crab! When we celebrated our anniversary at home, I made lobster mac and cheese. πŸ™‚

  11. May 17, 2010 / 11:18 am

    Our first anniversary is on May 22nd!!! Must have been a good weekend for weddings πŸ˜‰

  12. May 17, 2010 / 12:04 pm

    What an amazing dinner! I LOVE crabs, which is a good thing considering I live in Maryland right on the Chesapeake Bay. I love having access to freshly caught blue crabs!

    Happy Early Anniversary! πŸ™‚

  13. May 17, 2010 / 12:19 pm

    What an amazing looking dinner! I was sitting here drooling over that asparagus, and then I saw the cake. YUM!

    Happy (early) Anniversary!! πŸ™‚

  14. May 17, 2010 / 1:00 pm

    Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize you only just got married last year! Congratulations and Happy (early) Anniversary. πŸ™‚ Um, that ice cream cake looks DELICIOUS. Mint CC is one of my favorites! You can never go wrong with that.

    I don’t think I’ve ever had crab – aside from crab cakes! πŸ˜‰ I’d love to try it, I’m just hesitant because I’ve heard it’s hard to get good crab meat, um, in Indiana. But I’m going to South Carolina in July – maybe I will try it then?! That meal looks absolutely mouth watering!

  15. May 17, 2010 / 1:03 pm

    What an amazing dinner! It looks very delicious and special. πŸ™‚

    Special dinners at home usually consist of steak in our house.

  16. May 17, 2010 / 1:04 pm

    That sounds like a fabulous dinner! Those crab stuffed shells sound and look amazing. Happy early anniversary to you both!

  17. May 17, 2010 / 1:20 pm

    I must try that shell recipe! They’re are favorite pasta dish πŸ™‚

    Happy Anniversary!

  18. May 17, 2010 / 1:23 pm

    happy early anniversary! yes i saw this on faith’s blog and it looked so good!

  19. May 17, 2010 / 1:28 pm

    That looks sooooo good. I LOVE crab. I’m glad you guys had a wonderful anniversary dinner!

    Now your post has me thinking about what I can learn to make for an anniversary at home…

  20. May 17, 2010 / 1:39 pm

    If you keep cooking like that you are going to have MANY MANY more anniversaries….everything looks amazing!!!

    Happy Early Anniversary =)

  21. May 17, 2010 / 2:19 pm

    I LOVE crab but I’m a Dungeness snob the rest are just not as good in my book πŸ˜› King would be my second choice. Those stuffed shells look soooooo delicious.

    Anniversary dinner for me would be being wined and dined or my husband doing the dishes which will never happen so going out and having someone else cook for me.

    Happy early anniversary and enjoy that cake topper this weekend!

  22. May 17, 2010 / 2:35 pm

    I don’t love crabs, but my husband is from the Eastern Shore of Marylandβ€”crab country. He’s crazy about it. We usually go somewhere to celebrate our anniversary, though if we cooked at home I’m sure we’d make fish. It feel special.

  23. May 17, 2010 / 2:54 pm

    I love crab, but only really eat it when I am at the beach. It tastes so much better there. All your recipes look great.

    Happy (early) anniversary! Ours is coming up soon too.

  24. May 17, 2010 / 3:02 pm

    Woah girl, I am IMPRESSED!! What a fancy restaurant quality meal you prepared!! Those crab stuffed shells look fabulous!!

    Happy Anniversary!! πŸ™‚

  25. May 17, 2010 / 3:10 pm

    Happy anniversary! Your dinner sounds delicious! I loved the sound of Marla’s asparagus recipe too πŸ™‚ For our first anniversary, we also celebrated at home, and I recreated our favorite parts of our wedding meal!

  26. May 17, 2010 / 3:30 pm

    What a gorgeous meal (love crab!) for an early anniversary celebration! My and John’s 1 year anniversary is on May 24 – the day after yours :). I don’t yet know whether we’ll celebrate by cooking a special meal or by going out to a restaurant… but I do know that we will be enjoying the top layer of our wedding cake! Yummmmm.

  27. May 17, 2010 / 4:00 pm

    What a nice way to celebrate your anniversary…by the way Happy Anniversary πŸ™‚ I love crab…always order crab cakes πŸ™‚ Yummie!

  28. May 17, 2010 / 4:30 pm

    Happy Anniversary (a little early)!!! I’m so happy you and Mr. P enjoyed this meal, and I’m so flattered that you made it for such a special occasion!

  29. May 17, 2010 / 5:51 pm

    There is nothing wrong with celebrating your anniversary for a week! πŸ˜‰ What a fabulous meal!

  30. May 17, 2010 / 8:06 pm

    What a great anniversary dinner you prepared!! Congrats to you guys. I am sure next to those yummy stuffed shells it must have been hard to taste the gruyere on the asparagus. How fun to celebrate for a week!! xo

  31. May 17, 2010 / 8:58 pm

    To play it safe, I stay far away from shellfish. πŸ™

    “Whatever you want…” I can never seem to get these types of folks in my life. Tell me your secret. πŸ˜‰

  32. May 17, 2010 / 9:29 pm

    That mint cake looks great.

    I grew up in Maryland eating blue crab. Just the smell of Old Bay reminds me of home.

  33. May 17, 2010 / 9:47 pm

    A couple things…

    1. I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOVED crab. That was before my vegetarian days. But man is it ever delicious!

    2. As I was reading your post, I was wishing there was a recipe for that pie. It looked amazing!

    3. I gave you a Sweet Blog award today: http://geonerdette.wordpress.com/2010/05/17/my-first-blog-award/ Love reading your blog!

  34. Katie
    May 17, 2010 / 11:39 pm

    Happy (in 5 days) Anniversary, date twin! πŸ™‚

  35. May 18, 2010 / 4:39 am

    omg that crab is HUGE !! I am not a huge fan of crab, I do love shrimp and scallops but thats about the only shell fish I do like! my mom ordered soft shell crab at a restaurant last week and the whole crab was on the plate! it was unreal!!! beautiful presentation indeed!

    that pie wwwwooooowza thats a fabulous way to celebrate your anniversery!!

  36. May 18, 2010 / 6:33 am

    Wow, this sounds delicious! And topping it off with ice cream cake just adds to the marvelousness! Happy Anniversary!

  37. May 18, 2010 / 7:02 am

    I love crab!!! I will eat almost anything if it involves crabs!

    hmm J is requesting ribs for our next special at home dinner. We will see if that actually happens. I think now, after reading what you made, I would want to make the exact same thing!

  38. May 18, 2010 / 7:09 am

    Ohhh wow, what a meal! I would have loved to even get a bite of the leftovers!! 5 stars girl!

  39. May 18, 2010 / 8:55 pm

    Another great looking meal for a great occasion. Happy Anniversary!

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