Saturday, June 30, 2012

Crab Cakes with Pineapple Mango Salsa

It's been a pretty eventful saturday over here. Ihit a great workout with some friends in the morning, ate breakfast, my power got cut off, I relocated all my refrigerated food, my power got turned back on, I brought back all my refrigerated foods, and I just made crab cakes with pineapple mango salsa. I really do love cooking and baking. To help me get in the "mood" to cook, I turn on some tunes and start jamming out while I cook. This may or may not involve ridiculous dancing and horrible singing...

Anyways, this is a great summer recipe. It's light and flavorful. So turn on those tunes and get out your cooking supplies. Here's what you'll need for the recipe.

Pineapple Mango Salsa

-2 1 inch thick slices of fresh pineapple
-1 mango
-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
-1/4 of a small red onion
-3/4 of a jalapeno
-1 1/2 avocado (or just one)
- juice of 1 lime
-1 tbsp lemon juice
-1/2 tsp salt

Step 1: Dice up your mango, pineapple, cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and avocado. If you plan on making the crab cakes dice up 1/2 of a small red onion, the entire jalapeno, and 1/2 bunch of cilantro (or one very small bunch). You will need the remainder of the ingredients for the crab cake mixture.
finely chopped red onion

Step 2: Mix all the ingredients into a bowl, make sure the juice of the lime and lemon coat the entire mixture so the avocado doesn't brown.
completed salsa

Set aside and start making those crab cakes

Crab Cakes

-14.5 oz of crab meat (I used a mix of white meat and claw meat)
-1/4 small red onion
-1/4 jalapeno
-1/4 c cilantro
-1/2 + 1/8 c whole wheat bread crumbs
-1 egg
-4 tbsp lemon juice
-1/4 c fat free greek yogurt
-3/4-1 tsp salt
-Hot sauce

Step 1: Toss the leftover jalapeno, red onion, and cilantro in a bowl. Add the crab meat. You'll want to use your hands for this, but feel through the meat and make sure there are no shells or hard pieces.
unmixed ingredients 

Step 2: Add remainder of the ingredients into the bowl and mix together. Once it's completely mixed it should form into balls or patties easily.

Step 3: Again, use your hands here. Get about 1/4 of a cup of mixture into your hands and form into small crab cakes. Set these into the refrigerator for a few hours so they can firm up.

crab cake mix
formed crab cake patties

Step 4: Preheat your oven to 350F. When you're ready to cook, put a little cooking spray and olive oil into your frying pan. Use medium heat to sear the outsides of the crabcakes. Depending on your range it shouldn't take more than 5 or so minutes per side. Then place the crabcakes in the oven to bake for 10 minutes (so they can cook all the way through).

you'll want to flip them before they look like this!

Once it's all said and done plate up your crab cakes and enjoy!
crab cake with salsa, black beans, and carrots! YUMMY!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Date and Spinach Salad

Happy Friday Everyone. I hope your weekend is starting off well. I've got a super easy salad recipe for you tonight. I served this alongside pizza and a class of white wine. Since we've had a few blog posts about pizza type dishes already I left it off tonight, it's super easy to create a new pizza with whatever ingredients you have on hand. This salad mixes sweet and salty perfectly!

Date and Spinach Salad 
(I made 3 side salads with this recipe)

-3 cups fresh spinach
-9 pitted medjool dates
-1 cup diced mushrooms
-2 beets (already cooked-you can buy can or pre-pacaked or boil/steam some yourself)
-3 slices of prosciutto
-2 1/8 in thick medallions of goat cheese with cranberries (or any flavor goat cheese)
-fig tahini dressing (i was intrigued and bought it from whole foods)
not the best pic, sorry!

Step 1: Divide the spinach into 3 bowls, then top with sliced mushrooms, and sliced up dates.
Step 2: cube up the goat cheese (you'll need 9 cubes). Open up each date (slice it in half) and fill it with a cube of goat cheese.
Step 3: Slice the prosciutto (you'll need 9 strips) and wrap each date with the prosciutto.
Step 4: add the dates to the bowls and dress your salad.

*This salad is a great appetizer salad. If you wanted to make it into a meal I'd suggest doubling the veggies and maybe adding in some walnuts and sliced pear.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Homemade Snack Bars

Granola bars are a solid choice as a grab-n-go when you are in a rush.  Choosing a healthy snack between meals can help stave off hunger and are a good way to prevent over-eating later in the day.  However, most of the granola, energy or protein bars found in the grocer (yes, even the organic or 'all-natural' brands) are packed with added sugar and preservatives.  To make your between meal snack, truly a nutritious choice, try this easy recipe to make your own granola bars!

This recipe can be altered to suit your taste preferences.  It is just a combination of whole grains (oatmeal, cereal and whole wheat flour), dried fruit, nuts, a touch of honey, and some eggs to bind everything together.  You can also add in some protein powder or dry milk powder.  Protein powder is expensive, but I know many folks have it on hand already.  DO NOT go out and buy some just for this recipe- dried milk powder is a great, and INEXPENSIVE, way to add a little extra protein to recipes. 

I usually use a combination of dried fruit, so use whatever you have on hand- chopped dates, raisins, dried cherries and craisins all work wonderfully.  I like to use pecans because they have a great flavor- almonds, walnuts and peanuts also work very well. 

Besides the ingredients, all you need is an oven, a baking dish and a food processor (you can use a blender if you don't have the food processor).  Simply blend your dry ingredients in the food processor. 

Add your eggs and honey and blend until flour mixture is moistened.  Press mixture firmly into a greased 13x9 baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes.  And there you have it- homemade, and healthy, snack bars.

Homemade Granola Bars
1 cup quick oats
1 cup plain life cereal
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder or non-fat dry milk
1 cup roughly chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, etc)
1 1/2 cup your choice of dried fruit (I like doing a blend of chopped dates and craisins)
1 tsp cinnamon or ground ginger
2 Tb honey**
2 large eggs

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Lightly coat a 13x9 baking dish with non-stick spray.
2- Blend oats, cereal, flour, dry milk (or protein powder), nuts, dried fruit and cinnamon (or ground ginger) in the food processor. 
3- Add honey (**tip- spray the measuring spoon with non-stick spray to prevent honey from sticking to the tablespoon) and eggs and pulse until mixture is evenly moistened. 
4- Dump the mixture into the baking dish and use your fingers to spread the mixture evenly in the pan.  Spray a little of the non-stick spray on your fingers to keep the mixture from sticking to you- this helps you spread everything more evenly.
5- Bake for about 20-25 minutes in the pre-heated oven.  The edges of the mixture should be browned.  Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes.  Cut into 16 evenly sized bars.  Remove to a cooling rack and let cool completely.  These bars freeze well if tightly wrapped.