Archives for : Crab Casserole

A Saucy Card Party

I love hosting the card party during the holiday season!  Everyone gets to see our beautiful Christmas tree with the cranberry and popcorn strung with our best glass ornaments.  I try not to put too much tinsel on the tree, but there seems to always be a larger than correct clump where Junior tossed a frustrated handful.  There were ribboned candy canes hung daintily from the limbs. I wrapped a few empty boxes and stacked them artfully under the boughs of the tree to cover the stand.  It’s not easy to get to the base to water it, but I still get under there every few days so that we don’t end up with piles of needles all through the room.  I hung a beautiful wreath on the front door and taped the Christmas cards in a tree shape on the front entrance mirror.

Judy Anne brought me a surprise when she arrived first.  She had found cards with a Christmas scene on the backs for us to use.  We were having a secret Santa, and Judy Anne placed her gift on the table reserved for the presents.  We had chosen names at the last party and placed a $15 limit on gifts.  The fun part involved not placing your name on the gift and trying to guess who chose your name.  Mags also spent more than the limit so her gifts were easy to guess.  The rebel in her refused to stay under the limit.  Gail always made clucking noises when the gift from Mags was opened.  Our individual personalities were so well drawn that our reactions were predictable and added to the fun of the event.  Each of my closest girlfriends reflected a different side of me.  Mags was my heart and soul, Gail scratched my need to be nosy, Judy Anne brought out the lady in me, and Sarah was the quiet side of me.  I needed and loved them all for different reasons.

We started with punch before the card playing because this annual get-together was more about the party than the cards.  I started off the toasts and thanked all my girls for being there for me throughout the year.  Everyone agreed, clinked glasses, and quickly downed the first drink.  A part of our ritual included each of us taking the time to toast and I knew it was more difficult for Sarah to express her thoughts.  Her words were always deeply moving and I looked forward to what she would say.  Sometimes I think that the more we speak the less it means.   Not to put down the rest of my friends for they all meant a lot to me, but it gave me a lot to think about.  Sarah loved her husband Roger deeply and he protected her in many respects.  She was one of those people who you admired and wondered about because you craved getting closer to her without offending her limits.  The presents were opened and enjoyed, and it didn’t even seem ironic when Gail opened her beautiful gift from Mags (that exceeded the limit).  Everyone had volunteered for their toast except Sarah by the time we stopped to eat.  I had made a beautiful Princess Crab Casserole.  It was creamy and delicious.  I like to express my love in food sometimes, so the message was clear to me even if everyone else didn’t get it.  In a quiet moment after eating, Sarah used the opening to express her thanks for having us as her friends.  Her words were eloquent, touching, and brought a tear to each of us.  We were truly the luckiest girlfriends in the world.  Our lives were fun, our spouses semi-caring at their worst, our families were healthy, and our neighborhood a great place to live.  I hope these card parties never go out of style!

Princess Crab Casserole

3 cups uncooked spiral pasta

1 3/4 cups sliced fresh white mushrooms

5 tablespoons butter, cubed

2 tablespoons all purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups milk

24 ounces lump crabmeat, drained and picked

1 can (10 3/4 ounces condensed cream of mushroom soup

1/4 cup crushed Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to box directions.  In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and saute mushrooms for five minutes.  Stir in flour, pepper and salt.  Slowly add milk and bring to a boil.  Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.  Stir in crab and soup until blended.

Drain pasta and transfer to large bowl.  Add crab mixture and toss to coat.  Grease a 13″x9″ baking dish.  Place crab and pasta mixture into baking dish and sprinkle with cracker crumbs.  Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or until bubbly.