Tag Archives: fire-roasted tomatoes

Crab Dip w/Garlic Saltines and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Ok, I can’t take the credit for this recipe but I will thank Tyler Florence for it! I saw this on his show on the Food Network one weekend and made it last week. It was delicious! Easy too! And the saltines are incredible! I am going to make another batch this weekend! Even John who doesn’t eat many carbs in the form of crackers loved them! He was adding peanut butter to the crackers! But the dip is awesome on it. It is also better to let it sit over night in the refrigerator. The flavors will meld better. I also used the lighter versions of cream cheese and mayonnaise in my version. A suggestion from John is to heat it up also and serve it as a hot dip. I haven’t tried that yet but when we do I will post the results on here! We had this as our appetizer to our Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday. Washed it down with a bottle or two of Prosecco.


For the crab dip:

1 (8oz.) cup cream cheese, at room temperature

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard (DO NOT USE REGULAR MUSTARD)

½ tablespoon lemon juice

About 1 tablespoon EVOO (Extra-virgin olive oil), optional

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped chives

1½ cups (about 12 ounces) fresh lump crabmeat, drained and picked over (I used claw meat and it was fine)

For the crackers:

2 cloves garlic, minced

¼ bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

½ stick butter, melted (I used a butter substitute)

30 saltine crackers (about 1 sleeve)

For the tomatoes:

1 pint cherry/grape tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

EVOO, optional

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 350ºF.

For the crab dip:

1. In a food processor add the cream cheese, mayonnaise and Dijon mustard, blend until smooth. Then add the lemon juice and olive oil, if desired and season with salt and pepper. Process until well combined, scraping down the sides as you go.

2. Scoop the mixture into a large mixing bowl and fold in the chopped chives and crabmeat. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper then cover and set aside in refrigerator.

For the crackers:

1. Meanwhile, prepare the saltines. Make a garlic butter by combining the minced garlic with parsley and melted butter.

2. Lay out a flat layer of saltines on a baking tray (I just sprayed it with cooking spray) and use a pastry brush to baste the saltines with garlic butter. Bake in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until golden.

For the tomatoes:

1. Split each tomato lengthwise and toss in a mixing bowl with balsamic vinegar. Toss the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with a little olive oil, if desired, over the top. Season with salt and pepper and bake in oven for 7-8 minutes.

To Serve:

Arrange the three components so they can be assembled by easily. Take a saltine, spoon a little crab dip on top and garnish with a piece of tomato.

Makes 4-6 servings

Mussels Ala Genua

I never knew I liked mussels for most of my life until I had them at a friend’s house about 10 years ago. Who knew I’d love them so much! We have tried mussels in most of our favorite restaurants in our travels and have found such a range of styles and tastes! In Florida our favorite place to get mussels is at our favorite Italian restaurant EVO in Tequesta. (www.evoitalian.com). And strange enough our all time favorite place for mussels was in one of the oddest places you would think, North Conway, NH at a wonderful place called The Muddy Moose Restaurant and Pub (www.muddymoose.com)! We were there at the outlets a few years ago on while on our trip to Maine and decided to get a beer, they are a microbrewery also so they have great beers. We were hungry as well so decided to give their mussels a try and they were outstanding! Go figure, a local pub serving bikers and tourists and they all loved the mussels! A full pound of Maine mussels sautéed with garlic, shallots, white wine, butter, lemon juice and crushed red pepper. Incredible to say the least! We compare everything to theirs now. EVO’s recipe is fresh Prince Edward Island mussels pan sautéed with white wine, roasted garlic, pecorino romano and tossed with a touch cream, finished with fresh basil and toasted crostini. Also to die for! But mine is my own recipe and it’s still really good. I have been actually buying my mussels frozen from Wal-Mart, no joke. I get two whole pounds for $3.50! They are already cooked and frozen! And they are really good! Go figure! I always have some on hand in the freezer for a quick snack when company comes by. They don’t take too long to cook and they are pretty low-calorie too. It’s the cream sauces and bread that makes them higher in calories. Anyway, without further ado (as my Dad always says…) here’s the recipe.


2 pounds of frozen mussels

2 -15 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes with garlic and basil

olive oil

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup wine, red or white, which ever you have open

thin sliced italian bread toasted, if you wish

grated parmesan cheese


1. In a large sauté pan, pour enough olive oil to coat bottom of pan and heat on medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until lightly brown. Careful not to burn it.

2. Add the wine and sauté with garlic for a minute or so.

3. Add the tomatoes to pan and stir well. Cook for about 5 minutes until heated thoroughly.

4. Add the mussels and mix thoroughly. Cover and heat for about 7 minutes. Remember they are already cooked so don’t overcook.

5. Serve in a large bowl with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.

Serves 6 (or 3 really hungry people!)

**Check out the Muddy Moose when in North Conway, NH!! You won’t be disappointed!

Easy Pasta Fazool (Pasta Fagioli)

Pasta Fagioli

This is one of my all time favorite soups. There are so many versions of this but this is mine. I have done the trial and error and found what is best for me! Try some tonight! It is a simple and hearty soup that is great any time of the year!


2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons olive oil

1- 15 oz. can fire-roasted diced tomatoes w/basil, garlic & oregano (or 1- 8 oz. can tomato sauce)

1 cup chicken broth (this gives a great flavor)

1-  15-16 oz. can white cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

½ uncooked pound ditalini or elbow macaroni

1 tablespoon dried parsley

grated parmesan cheese


1. In a saucepan, fry the garlic gently in oil until golden brown. Add the canned tomatoes or sauce and chicken broth and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the beans, stir gently and continue to cook on simmer until pasta is ready.

2. Meanwhile cook the pasta al-dente, drain and add to the bean mixture. Stir gently. If soup gets a little too thick add a little more chicken broth or water. Add parsley.

3. Serve immediately otherwise the pasta will absorb all the liquid. The recipe can easily be doubled if you like. Serve with parmesan cheese on top and good italian bread. It is even good cold the next day!

VARIATIONS: You can omit the tomatoes or sauce and have a ‘white sauce’.  You can also replace the cannellini beans with a can of chick peas, sweat peas, black eye peas or lima beans, whichever you wish!

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