Tag Archives: lemon juice

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.

INGREDIENTS:

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


DIRECTIONS:

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

Mock Apple Pie

I am sure many of you may remember years ago the recipe on the side of the Ritz Cracker box. It was for Mock Apple Pie. No apples needed! I remember making it a few times and still couldn’t figure out how it tasted like apple pie without any apples in it! I believe it has something to do with the crackers but I do not know how it’s done! I just came across the recipe and thought I’d share it with everyone. It’s very easy and again, no apples needed!

INGREDIENTS:

Pastry for two crust 9-inch pie

36 RITZ crackers

2 cups water

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Grated rind of one lemon

Butter or margarine

Cinnamon


DIRECTIONS:

1. Roll out bottom crust of pastry and fit into a 9″ pie plate.

2. Break the RITZ crackers coarsely into the pastry-lined plate.

3. In a large saucepan combine the water, sugar and cream of tartar. Boil gently for 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally. Add lemon juice and rind. Cool.

4. Pour syrup over crackers and dot generously with butter or margarine and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cover with top crust. Trim and flute edges together. Cut slits in top crust to let steam escape.

5. Bake in 425º oven for 30-35 minutes, until crust is crisp and golden. Serve warm. Top with whipped cream if you want! (I know in my house we will!)

Makes 6-8 slices

Italian Sauces (Part 1)

When most people think of Italian sauces they usually think of the tomato sauce, marinara sauce, alfredo sauce and probably white clam sauce. But there are so many more sauces out there  that are all wonderful in their own way. Growing up in my house my mother used to serve us a quick spaghetti meal we called Aiole. It was a basic olive oil and garlic sauce. Simple and fast and it was delicious. I am going to go through most of the basic sauces out there and hopefully put in some pictures so you know what they look like. I will have the second half of them next week so keep an eye open for them!

ALFREDO: Alfredo sauce is rich with heavy cream, butter, and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. It is best known when used with fettuccine. Love the sauce, hate the fat and calories! A luxury I must have every so often. You don’t have to limit it to fettuccine either, use it on any kind of pasta you want. Usually the heavier pastas do best. Throw some chicken or shrimp in there as well and it gets even better!

Fettuccine Alfredo

AGLIO E OLIO: This is a traditional Italian sauce (it’s what we called Aiole) that can be made on a budget. This is probably why we had it so often. It is said to have originated in the isolated region of Abruzzo but it is popular everywhere in Italy. It is usually served with spaghetti (that’s how we had it) and the sauce is made by lightly sautéing minced or pressed garlic in olive oil, sometimes adding dried red pepper flakes. You can also add finely chopped fresh parsley and parmesan cheese.

Aglio e Olio

ARRABBIATA: Arrabbiata is Italian for “angry”. This is a zesty tomato based sauce that gets its heat from chili peppers. It is basically a Roman sauce of garlic, tomatoes, and red chili peppers cooked in olive oil. Basil is used sometimes though most chefs in Italy don’t use it. This dish is usually served with pasta and chopped fresh parsley sprinkled on top.

Spaghetti Arrabbiata

BOLOGNESE: Bolognese sauce is a robust meat sauce also known as ragù (no not the jar sauce!). It is a hearty sauce with ground beef or pork, pancetta, tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrots and celery. The sauce is sometimes enhanced by adding a little bit of wine, cream and seasoning. This sauce originated in Bologna, Italy where the natives traditionally serve it with freshly made tagliatelle and their traditionally green lasagna. Spaghetti alla Bolognese is a form that is popular outside of Italy which consists of a meat sauce served on a bed of spaghetti with a good sprinkling of grated Parmigiano cheese. What is really funny about this version is that it never really existed in Bologna, where the sauce is always served with tagliatelle or lasagna (egg pastas). Spaghetti is a durum wheat pasta from Naples.

Spaghetti Bolognese

CARBONARA: Carbonara is another popular sauce that is usually made with eggs, cream, Parmesan cheese and bits of bacon. Many times this sauce also has green peas in it as well. Usually served with spaghetti it is also used on fettuccine, rigatoni or bucatini. Recipes vary but all agree that cheese, eggs, cured fatty pork (pancetta) and black pepper are basic. Origins of this dish are obscure and it has many legends about it. It was created in the middle of the 20th century so it’s not that old as far as sauces go.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

CLAM SAUCE: The most popular clam sauce is the white version. Usually served with linguine this popular sauce has minced clams, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. There is also a thin tomato sauce with minced clams. You don’t usually see this recipe on menus much. Some versions use whole clams and hot pepper flakes.

Linguine with Clam Sauce

GENOVESE/PESTO: I don’t think I’ve ever really heard of a Genovese sauce before. Most of us know this sauce as Pesto. The name means it originates from Genoa (imagine that!), which is a coastal city in NW Italy. Genovese/Pesto sauce is an uncooked sauce traditionally made of fresh basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. It didn’t really become popular in North America until the 1980s and 1990s.

Fettuccine with Pesto Sauce

GREMOLATA: Ok here is another sauce I never heard of anywhere. It is more of a chopped herb condiment. It’s typically made of garlic, parsley, and lemon zest. Traditionally it’s used as an accompaniment to the Italian classic Osso Buco (braised veal shank). The citrus element in this actually makes it a great addition to seafood dishes as well!

Gremolata Sauce

MARINARA: This is the classic Italian tomato sauce. It’s seasoned with onions, garlic and oregano, and basil. It’s a favorite on pasta, pizza and meats. This is another sauce that has many variations. Some of them even call for adding capers, olives and spices. Italians refer to marinara only in association with other recipes. Spaghetti alla marinara literally translates to mariner’s spaghetti. However, tomato sauce is called salsa al pomodoro which includes marinara sauce as well as other tomato-based sauce. Marinara sauce was invented by cooks aboard Neapolitan ships in the mid-1500s after the Spaniards introduced the tomato (a New World vegetable) to Europe! This is a very easy sauce to make and it resists spoiling due to the high acid content of the tomatoes. This is why it was ideal for lengthy sea voyages hundreds of years before we had refrigeration! This sauce is great on so many pastas as well as chicken, pork, veal, fish, you name it!

Ravioli Marinara

MORE SAUCES NEXT SUNDAY!!

Mediterranean Dip With Toasted Pita Chips

This dip is a little bit Greek and Italian, hence the Mediterranean reference. It’s a much healthier dip than the ones laden with mayonnaise and sour cream. Not that those dips aren’t good, it’s just that we can’t eat them all the time. This dip uses canellini beans which have fiber, a good thing. It can be served with toasted pita chips or crostini, or any sturdy chip. I will also include a recipe to make your own Toasted Pita Chips. It’s so easy! And if you use the low carb pita chips you can save more calories and add more fiber! But if you don’t have to worry about calories or fiber go all the way with the full fat stuff! (I wish I could!)

DIP

INGREDIENTS:

1 can (15oz.) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

4 ounces feta cheese (I use light Feta)

1 container (6-7 oz.) plain Greek-style yogurt (any brand is fine)

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

¼ cup finely chopped fresh dill

1 large clove garlic, minced

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


DIRECTIONS:

1. In a food processor put the beans, feta cheese, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice. Puree until smooth.

2. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped dill. Season with the salt and pepper as you like.

Serve right away or store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Makes 2 cups


TOASTED PITA CHIPS

INGREDIENTS

8 Pita Rounds

olive oil

dried oregano

garlic powder

coarse salt and freshly ground pepper


DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Split the pita rounds horizontally, then cut each piece in half. Or just cut into wedge shapes and separate the pita. Depends on how big you want the chips

2. Brush with olive oil and season with the oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper.

3. Bake on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet, until golden brown, 12-15 minutes.

**UPDATE: 7/12/10** I just made this dip and chips. Delicious! So tasty and the chips came out great! Though I may have put too much salt on them, but then again, I love salt.

Sour Cream & Onion Tilapia

I made this dish for the first time last night and it was incredibly delicious! Quick, easy and healthy. Usually when I make tilapia I fry it with panko bread crumbs but I had just cleaned the stove and didn’t want the mess of oil all over it again! So I looked around online for tilapia recipes that were baked. I found quite a bit but none of them had everything I wanted so I took a little bit from a few of them and came up with this recipe. There were no leftovers and there was a request to make it again! Always a good thing! It is a light and refreshing twist on a baked fish dish. And did I mention it was really easy and quick? I wish I had leftovers for lunch! Cleanup was also a snap because it was all in one dish. I just served it with some veggies and dinner was served!

Sour Cream & Onion Tilapia

INGREDIENTS:

6-8 tilapia fillets

salt and pepper

½ cup light sour cream

1/3 cup light mayonnaise

2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh dill (1 tsp dried)

2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley (1 tsp dried)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Parmesan Cheese for topping

DIRECTIONS:

1. Heat oven to 350º. Grease or spray a 13×9 inch baking dish or baking dish large enough to hold the tilapia in a single layer.

2. Place tilapia in the baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Combine remaining ingredients (except for parmesan cheese) and spread evenly over the fillets. Sprinkle the parmesan cheese evenly over the fillets.

4. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork. When done you can broil for a couple of minutes to brown the cheese on top if you wish.

Serves 3-4

Cheryl’s Cheesecake

From the first time I tried this recipe I was in love. This is such a delicious New York style version. My friend Cheryl is like another sister or cousin and I am so happy she shared this recipe with me so many years ago! (At my first bridal shower I believe!) It is a simple plain, cheesy, creamy cake. I love to top it with my favorite fruit such as fresh strawberries! It is not a low-calorie dessert so if you were looking for one stop reading now! You will also need a good spring-form pan for this, a must for anyone making a cheesecake.

INGREDIENTS:

4- 8 ounce tubs of whipped cream cheese

¼ pound of unsalted butter

16 ounces sour cream (1 pint)

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1½ cups sugar

5 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

1. Allow cream cheese, sour cream and butter to come to room temperature. In a large bowl, blend together all ingredients except sugar.

2. Beat eggs into mixture one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

3. Pour mixture into a greased 10″ spring-form pan. Place spring-form pan into a large roasting pan that has been half filled with hot water.

4. Bake in a 375ºF oven for one hour. Cool in oven for 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven and continue to cool.

5. When cool remove from spring-form pan carefully. Serve plain or top with your favorite fruit topping!

Greek Dipping Sauce

I just came up with this recipe while looking for something to do with the crème fraîche I had just made a few days before. (Thanks Wendy!) I was having fish for dinner that night and usually I make my own tartar sauce but I wanted something different this time. This is what I cam up with. We used it on top of our pan-fried tilapia. But it’s perfect with fresh veggies as a dip or a sauce for lamb or anything you want to put it on!

Greek Dipping Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup crème fraîche* (recipe below)

6 oz. container Greek non-fat plain yogurt

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

½ cucumber, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

1-2 cloves garlic (use 2 if you really like garlic)

1 teaspoon dried dill

juice of 1/2 lemon

DIRECTIONS:

Put all ingredients in food processor and blend until all ingredients are mixed well.

Makes about 2 cups

CREME FRAICHE RECIPE

This recipe is courtesy of my friend Wendy Larsen.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups heavy cream

¼ cup buttermilk

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place ingredients into a clean sterilized jar with a tight lid. Shake to combine and let stand at room temperature until thick, 24-48 hours.

2. Once thickened shake gently and then chill until you are ready to use it. Keeps up to 2 weeks in refrigerator.


**As Wendy told me, yes it is strange to have this sit on counter for 24-48 hours but it works and you won’t get sick. Don’t worry! It’s very cool once it’s all thickened!

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