Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day #1 - A Success!

Well, today was the first day of "dining at home" and it was all-around a great success. Tonight for dinner we had Crab Cakes, Baked Onion Rings and Baked Grape Tomatoes with Parmesan Cheese. The weeone was a great help in prepping tonight. I think she was just so excited that we were having onion rings that she could hardly contain herself!!!

The Crab Cakes and Oven Baked Onion Rings were from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave. They were both simple, tasty and healthy options. The Baked Grape Tomatoes with Parmesan Cheese was just an idea in my head that sounded good and, as it turns out, was great!

Here's what the plate looked like when we sat down to eat -

In her cookbook, Ellie pairs the Crab Cakes with Smarter Tartar Sauce. I didn't make it, as I'm not a big fan of tartar and I knew that the weeone wouldn't eat it, but I'm sure it's a great option if you are a fan of tartar sauce. I seasoned my crab cakes up a bit at the table with some extra Old Bay Seasoning and a splash of Tabasco. The weeone ate hers just as they came out of the oven.

The only change I made to the Onion Rings was to omit salting them when they came out of the oven. That ended up being a wise decision as there was plenty of salt from the potato chip crust.

Crab Cakes

  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Dash hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 scallion, including green top, finely chopped
  • 1 pound lump crab, picked over for cartilage
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Smarter Tartar Sauce, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl mix together the egg, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning and hot sauce. Stir in the bell pepper and scallion. Gently fold in the crab, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs and salt and pepper to taste. Put the remaining bread rumbs in a shallow dish.

Divide the crab mixture into 8 mounds. Shape 1 mound into a round and coat in bread crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and flatten the crab cake to form a patty about 1-inch high. Repeat to form the remaining crab cakes.

Bake until golden on the bottom, about 10 minutes. Gently flip the crab cakes and cook until the second side is golden, 5 to 10 minutes longer.

Oven Baked Onion Rings

  • Cooking spray
  • 4 cups baked potato chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spray a baking sheet slightly with oil and set aside. Place potato chips in the bowl of a food processor and process into crumbs, about 20 seconds. Transfer to a shallow bowl, add cayenne, and set aside. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and set aside. Slice onions into 1/2-inch circles and separate into rings, keeping only large, whole rings (reserve rest of onions for other uses). You should come out with about 12 to 14 rings.

Place the remaining flour in a sealable plastic bag, then add onions, and shake to coat. Dip onions 1 at a time into the buttermilk mixture, then dip into potato chip crumbs and place on baking sheet. Spray canola oil evenly over rings and bake for 20 minutes, or until coating is crisp. Season with salt, to taste, and serve immediately.

The Baked Grape Tomatoes with Parmesan were simply halved grape tomatoes sprinkled with a small amount of shredded parmesan cheese baked for the last 10 minutes that the onion rings and the crab cakes were in the oven. These were juicy, sweet and will definitely be a repeater in this house!

Overall - a great and fun meal. This was the perfect start to my new "dining at home" plan. I think what I liked about it the best was how much fun the weeone and I had cooking together. This will be a great time for the two of us together each evening if she continues to show such enthusiasm for cookign with me!

No comments: