Appetizers, Meatless, Seafood

Absolutely Delicious Crab Cakes

My Dad was an amazing cook.  He had a habit of throwing together ingredients and just making it taste good.  I definitely got that from him.  He didn’t write down recipes all that often but we’ve come across some recipes of his over the years that he did actually write out.  These crab cakes are one of them.  I found both a handwritten copy and also a typed copy.  The handwritten one just brought a smile to my face because it’s his written.  It made me happy to have that.  It’s just a rough draft as you can probably tell.

I wanted to share with you this recipe as it’s special to me since it’s my Dad’s.  I hope you enjoy these crab cakes as much as I do.

Absolutely Delicious Crab Cakes with Garlic Aioli
By Tony T.

Ingredients:
1 lb real lump crab meat ONLY
1/2 cup chopped red or green pepper
2 bunches green onions chopped, or 1 small yellow onion
2 cloves, minced
2 T Dijon mustard
1 cup plain bread crumbs
¾ cup grated Parmesan or Romano
3 eggs
¼ cup flour
1 t Cajun spice
1 t cayenne
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ T olive oil
Oil for frying (cover bottom of a sauté pan with 1/2-3/4 inch of oil)

Garlic Aioli

Ingredients:
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 T olive oil (good quality)
2-3 garlic cloves, grated or minced
2-3 t parsley, dried or fresh
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
Salt and Pepper to taste (About 1/2 t of each)

Directions: In a medium bowl add all ingredients for the Garlic Aioli.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to use.  Heat a medium sauté pan on high heat.  Cook garlic, onion and peppers 3 minutes.  Add in spices to taste and cook till mixture is tender and cooked.  Remove and let cool completely.  In a medium bowl mix in the cooled pepper mixture, 2 eggs, mustard, ¼ cup breadcrumbs and the cheese. Mix together with your hands and make into patties/cakes.

Whisk last remaining egg in a small bowl.  Make a breading station.  1 bowl of ¾ cup of bread crumbs, 1 bowl with ¼ cup of flour and one with the whisked egg.

Dip cakes into flour on both sides, then into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Place on a plate. Complete with remaining crab cakes.  Cover completely and refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

Heat a medium or large sauté pan with oil. Oil should be about 1/2 -3/4 inch in the bottom. Heat until oil is hot and fry for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.  Drain on paper towel and season with salt while hot.  Serve crab cake with garlic aioli.

Notes: You can omit the cayenne and Cajun spice and replace with 1 teaspoon each of, garlic, onion, chili powder and paprika. When cooking in a sauté pan you won’t be fully submerging the crab cake, it will cook on one side and then be flipped.  If you want to use a deep fat fryer it will cook for 2-3 minutes total and be completely submerged.

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Bacon, Easy & Quick, Healthy, Salad, Seafood

Shrimp & Bacon BBQ Ranch Salad

I’m about 2 weeks into doing Weight Watchers and I’m finally realizing that dinner doesn’t have to be a production every single night. I have a habit of over thinking a meal and then getting frustrated or discouraged. I always feel like every meal should have a a protein, a vegetable and a starch. That must be my culinary professors in my head telling me that.

So, I’m learning it’s ok to have eggs for dinner or a quick thrown together salad or something simple. With doing Weight Watchers I feel it’s easier as I can really eat anything I want.

I put this salad together this for dinner that was full of protein and very delicious. It really was super simple.

Shrimp & Bacon BBQ Ranch Salad

Servings: 2

Ingredients:
20 medium shrimp, cleaned and cooked and slightly warm
1 small avocado
½ cup no salt black beans, rinsed and drained
½ cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 small red onion, diced
¼ cup shredded cheese
4 slices bacon, cooked and rough chopped
6- 8 cups romaine lettuce, cleaned and chopped
2 oz bbq sauce
2 oz ranch dressing

Directions: In a small bowl mix together bbq sauce and ranch dressing. Add lettuce to a large bowl. Add in corn, black beans, onions, cheese and dressing and mix well. Separate into individual bowls and top with even amount of shrimp, bacon and avocado. Enjoy!

Notes: Feel free to mix all these ingredients together and serve it up. I always like to make sure the main proteins or higher fat/calories items are equally distributed to both bowls especially when county calories or points. In this case, that would be the shrimp, bacon and avocado. Use any bbq sauce you’d like, mine had a slight kick and it gave a nice flavor profile. If you don’t have cooked shrimp, feel free to use raw and just cook them up. That’s exactly what I did.

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Bacon, Holiday, Seafood

Baked Scallop Gratin

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.  In my family we always do seafood on Christmas Eve.  We are Italian and it’s been a tradition for as long as I can remember.  I made this scallop dish and it was a hit and super delicious and rather simple.

Scallops are one food item I have gotten a lot of questions about.  People are worried about overcooking the scallops.  That’s a common thing actually.  If you are searing them, it’s a hot pan for 2-3 minutes on each side.  You want the inside glistening when you cut into it.  For these they are baked an take a little longer.  There is so many different ways to use scallops.  Check my recipes for seafood and you’ll find the scallop tacos.  They are to die for as well.

For now, check out this upscale simple recipe!

Baked Scallop Gratin

Ingredients:
4 oz prosciutto or par-cooked bacon, minced or rough chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2- 2lbs bay scallops, rinsed, dried and mussel removed

Topping:
1 stick butter, soften
¾ cup plan panko breadcrumbs
3 T fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced or grated
3 T olive oil
2 medium shallots, small diced
¼ cup parsley, chopped
2 t garlic powder
2 t onion powder
2 t kosher salt
1 t pepper

Directions: Heat oven 425°.  In a medium baking dish add the wine and top with the scallops.  In a medium bowl add all ingredients for the topping and mix well till incorporated.  I used a fork to mash the butter and get everything fully mixed. Add mixture evenly on top of the scallops. Sprinkle with prosciutto or bacon.  Bake in oven 12-16 minutes.  Serve hot. Feel free to serve with bread for dipping in butter mixture.

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Seafood, Tacos

Shrimp Fajitas

Shrimp fajitas are an easy, simple and delicious dish.  Shrimp is a great alternative to other proteins.  It’s high in protein and low in fat however it is rather high in cholesterol.  That’s why I don’t make it several times a week.  Otherwise, I would.  Shrimp is quick to cook and can be used in so many different ways.  Pasta, tacos, salads, etc…the list goes on. 

I like to keep a good quality frozen shrimp in my freezer.  Maybe it’s frowned upon in the culinary world but we all need something healthy that you can de-froze rather quickly.  I figure it’s healthier then ordering takeout or eating something bad.

This is my take on Shrimp Fajitas.  These fajitas are so fresh tasting and full of flavors you’ll really enjoy them.  The fajitas are rather healthy as well.  You can use reduced fat cheese or no cheese at all.  The flavors are great and you really don’t need the cheese.  I’m just a firm believer that if it comes in a tortilla it should have cheese on it.  (That’s the cheese lover in me though.)

One thing I always say is that healthy doesn’t have to taste like cardboard.  It can be delicious and tasty and still healthy.  Follow me and I’ll show you how….

Shrimp Fajitas

Ingredients:
22-24- medium shrimp, uncooked and cleaned
6 – medium peppers (red, orange and yellow), cut into strips
2 – medium onions, sliced
1 – avocado, mashed
1 – lime, juiced
2 T – olive oil
1/2 T -garlic powder
1/2 T- onion powder
1/2 T-chili powder
1/2 T- cumin
Sprinkle: Salt
Sprinkle: Pepper
2 T reduced fat shredded cheese
6 Fajita size flour tortillas

Directions: In a bowl add the peppers and onions with 1 T of olive oil, lime juice and spices. Reserve some spices for the shrimp. Mix well. I grilled till they started to get slightly charred and tender. You can also roast in the oven or sauté. Once cooked set a aside.

Heat a medium sauté pan over high heat. I added tortillas one at a time and browned slightly on both sides. Then I wrapped in foil to keep warm.

In that same pan over high heat, add rest of olive oil and shrimp. Season with the remaining spices. Cook 3 minutes on one side then flip and cook another 3 minutes. Cook shrimp until it is pink. Remove from heat.

To assemble fajita add fork full of pepper and onion mixture, then 3-4 shrimp then top with mashed avocado and a sprinkle of cheese.  Serve immediately.

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Seafood, Tacos

Scallop Tacos

Happy Sunday! Where has the weekend gone?  I can’t believe tomorrow is Monday already!

It’s Taco Sunday tonight at my house!  I made scallop tacos.  It’s funny because a few years back I wouldn’t touch a fish or shrimp taco.  I fully believed that tacos were meant for steak or chicken.  It wasn’t that I didn’t like shrimp or fish because I love both those things.  I just thought it was weird to put that on a taco.  Fast forward a few years later and I love them! I make shrimp tacos often but today I wanted to try something out of the box.  That is where scallop tacos came from.  Scallops have a mild sweet flavor and  I thought it would pair well with certain flavors in a taco.  Check out the recipe and give it a try.  It’s a good take on a taco and great for a dinner party.  It’s sure to wow your guest and make a lasting impression with this elevated taco dish.

Scallop Tacos with Avocado Cilantro Crema

Ingredients:
16 sea scallops, rinsed
1 T low sodium taco seasoning
1/2 T olive oil
Sprinkle: salt
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup queso fresco, crumbled or chopped small
4 tortillas, taco size

Avocado Cilantro Crema

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado
1/4 cup + 1 T light sour cream
1 bunch cilantro
2 limes, juiced
1 jalapeño, seeds removed (keep seeds in if you want a spicier taste)
1 T milk
1 t salt  (more to taste)

Directions: In a blender or a food processor add all ingredients for the avocado crema.  Mix until smooth.  If it’s too thick just add a little more milk.  Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.

For the scallops, heat a medium saute pan on high.  Sprinkle the scallops with the taco seasoning and salt.  Once pan is heated add in the olive oil and scallops and cook 2-3 minutes on each side.  They will get a little dark in color from the taco seasoning however it’s not burnt.  Once scallops are done, set on a paper towel.  Heat the tortillas in a paper towel in the microwave for 30 seconds.  Next assemble the tacos.  Place 4 scallops on the tortilla and top with sliced onion, cheese and finish it off with the avocado cilantro crema.  Serve immediately.  Then enjoy!

Notes: Make sure you rinse your the scallops.  You don’t want to feel sand in your mouth.  You can add only 3 scallops to each tortilla if you’d like.  The sea scallops I used were a little smaller then normal so I put 4 on each tortilla.  The sauce should last in the refrigerator for a few days.  The lime juice should keep the avocado from turning brown.

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Pasta, Seafood

Pesto Fettuccine with Scallops

It’s finally the weekend! After a long work week I wanted something easy for dinner last night but didn’t want to just cave and order a pizza. I haven’t made pasta in forever and I had craving for it so that’s where Friday night’s dinner came in.

I made pesto fettuccine with scallops. It was divine! Completely hit the spot. Take a look at my recipe below for a quick hearty meal.

Pesto Fettuccine with Scallops

Ingredients:

1/2lb fettuccine

12-14 large scallops, rinsed and dried

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 shallots, chopped

1/4 cup pesto

2T olive oil

1T Romano cheese, finely grated

Sprinkle: Salt and Pepper

Directions: Cook pasta according to package. Strain and rinse under cold water and add 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil to keep pasta from sticking. Set aside. Heat a large saute pan on high heat. Add 1/2 tablespoon of oil and add scallops cooking for 2 minutes on each side till golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. Add the garlic and shallot to the pan and cook until tender. Add in the pesto and remaining olive oil (1 tablespoon) mix well. Add fettuccine to the pan and toss until coated. Heat for 3-4 minutes tossing often. Remove from heat and add to 2 bowls. To finish the dish top pasta with 6-7 scallops each and Romano cheese. Serve immediately with garlic bread.

Enjoy!

Fetticcine