This quick, easy recipe is truly delicious. The succulent, melt-in-your-mouth seafood flavors and textures make for elegant comfort food. To make ahead, just assemble, cover and refrigerate, then bake when ready. —Jan Bartley, Evergreen, North Carolina
2 packages (8.8 ounces each) ready-to-serve long grain and wild rice
1/4 cup butter, cubed
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds uncooked shrimp (31-40 per pound), peeled and deveined
2 cans (6 ounces each) lump crabmeat, drained
1 cup shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350°. Spread rice into a greased 13x9-in. baking dish. In a large skillet, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add celery and onion; cook and stir until tender, 6-8 minutes. Stir in flour until blended; gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
Stir in seafood seasoning, salt, pepper sauce and pepper. Fold in shrimp and crab. Spoon over rice. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, covered, until shrimp turn pink, 40-45 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes. To Make Ahead: Can be made a day in advance. Prepare recipe as directed, cooling sauce slightly before adding shrimp and crab. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake as directed.