Crab-and-Shrimp Cake Sliders

This was one of my entries into the 2014 Mezzetta Make That Sandwich contest.

Crab cake sliders? Is that possible? Yes! And they are calorie-friendly and taste incredible. That is an important combination (calorie budget friendly and delicious.) On my podcast Make Your Someday Today, we talk about how to combine important life features, such as meeting deadlines and still enjoying life.

Crab-and-Shrimp Cake Sliders
Serves 24 sliders

2 dozen small buns
1 jar (drained) Mezzetta Gourmet Deli Roasted Bell Pepper strips & Caramelized Onions
Shredded lettuce

4 egg whites
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup plain, fat-free Greek-style yogurt
½ cup Mezzetta Cocktail Onions, chopped, drained
2 tablespoons Mezzetta Capers, chopped
1 can (6 ounce) lump crab meat, drained

1 can (4 ounces) tiny shrimp, drained
  1. Slice the buns. Set aside.
  2. Combine the first five slider ingredients together.
  3. Fold in crab and shrimp, mixing only until combined.
  4. With clean wet hands, form the mix into ping-pong size balls. You should get approximately 24. Set aside.
  5. Combine the four sauce ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. (At this point, the sliders can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge overnight. The sauce will be better if left to become fully-flavored overnight.)
  6. When ready to cook, pre-heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Spray with cooking spray.
  8. Working in batches, place the crab-and-shrimp balls in the skillet. Gently press to flatten. They should be approximately 2 inches in diameter. Do not crowd them they should not be touching.
  9. Let fry until the edges get golden, then flip. (2-3 minutes per side, depending on the heat and how many are in the skillet.)
  10. Open the buns.
  11. Sprinkle lettuce on the bottom, and top that with Roasted Bell Pepper strips & Caramelized Onions.
  12. Place cooked slider on next, and top with approximately 1 tablespoon sauce.
  13. Serve hot.

Nutritional Data (per slider)
Calories:         27
Fat:                0.1g
Sat fat:           0.0g
Chol:        25.9mg
Sodium:  104.6mg
Carbs:            2.5g
Fiber:             0.1g
Protein:          3.3g

1 cup low fat mayonnaise
12 Mezzetta Garlic Stuffed Olives, sliced
12 Mezzetta Cocktail Onions, coarsely chopped
 ½ ounce Mezzetta Roasted Red Bell Pepper, chopped

Nutritional Data (per tablespoon)
Calories:         31
Fat:                3.1g
Sat fat:           0.3g
Chol:              0mg
Sodium:  166.2mg
Carbs:            1.4g
Fiber:             0.1g
Protein:          0.1g

Soft Shell Shrimp Tacos

Soft Shell Shrimp Tacos

Remember that Red Hot Relish from a couple days ago? Here is a fantastic use for it. I sauteed some shrimp, warmed some soft flour tortillas, and added fresh cilantro and avocado. (Of course, you could use this relish on a pork, chicken or beef taco, too!)

BOOM! A very simple dinner that is healthy and delicious!

(Nutritional data will vary with the tortillas, how much avocado is used and if you add anything else.)

Life is easier when you can combine simple, healthy and delicious. You are more likely to make good decisions when you don’t have to sacrifice one of those characteristics. Planning, prioritization and presentations are key topics in my podcast Make Your Someday Today, where I talk to successful people about how they achieved success and how you can do it, too!

Dublin Lawyer (my version)

Dublin Lawyer
Serves 4

2 tablespoons butter
2 cans crab (or 8 ounces crab meat)
12 ounces cooked shrimp
1/4 cup whiskey
1 cup minced shallot (about 4 large)
1/4 cup half and half
1/4 plain Greek yogurt
Salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste

  1. Melt the butter in a large (10″) non-stick sauce pan.
  2. Saute shallots until they become soft.
  3. Add the cooked shrimp and crab meat. Stir together of medium-high heat.
  4. Add whiskey. Turn heat in high, and CAREFULLY flame the dish.  (This burns off the alcohol and concentrates the flavors.
  5. Stir in half and half and yogurt.  Stir until well mixed.
  6. Season to taste.

Nutritional data:
Calories:        199
Fat:                8.3g
Sat fat:           4.7g
Chol:          127.8mg
Sodium:     703.7mg
Carbs:           8.1g
Fiber:                0g
Protein:        22.8g

Note: I don’t have access to fresh crab. I used canned crab, which increased the sodium content. But the dish was still really tasty and a nice change of pace.  Also, traditionally is only uses crab, but I had shrimp on hand so I used that in addition to the crab.  It worked.

Carrots in Beer and Dill
Serves 4

1 pound bag of baby carrots
1 cup of beer
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon dried dill

  1. Cut the carrots in half the long way.
  2. Place carrots in a non-stick saute pan over medium heat.
  3. Add beer. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat.
  4. Stir occasionally.
  5. If the beer evaporates, add a little more. (It probably won’t need more.)
  6. Just before serving, add a teaspoon butter and dill.  Toss to coat and serve.

Nutritional data:
Calories:         61
Fat:                   1g
Sat fat:           0.6g
Chol:             2.5mg
Sodium:       32.5mg
Carbs:           8.1g
Fiber:            1.3g
Protein:         0.9g

Shrimp and Asparagus on Gnocchi

Shrimp and Asparagus on Gnocchi
Serves 6

1 pound store-bought potato gnocchi (or approximately 60 homemade)
1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 pound raw asparagus, tough ends trimmed off, and cut into 1 inch lengths
2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/2 cup sliced onion
1-2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh squeezed is best, of course)

1.  Bring 1 liter water to a boil. Add gnocchi. Let simmer until they float.  Drain.
2.  Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Carefully add gnocchi.  Saute, stirring often, until the gnocchi begin to brown. Remove from the skillet, cover and keep warm.
3.  Add remaining olive oil to skillet. When hot, add onions.  Cook over medium heat until they turn translucent -4-5 minutes.)
4.  Add garlic. Stir often, for 1-2 minutes. The onions should be just starting to turn brown.
5.  Stir in asparagus, broth and wine, turn heat to medium-high.  Cover and cook until the asparagus are just beginning to get tender.
6.  Add shrimp. Reduce heat to medium. Cover, simmer until the shrimp turned pink and opaque (about 3 minutes.)
7.  Return gnocchi to pan. Add lemon juice. Cook until heated through (about 2 minutes)

Nutritional data:
Calories:         219
Fat:                    5.1g
Sat fat:              0.8g
Chol:                 54mg
Sodium:          481mg
Carbs:            31.8g
Fiber:               3.7g
Protein:            9.6g

Note: This recipe was amde using store-bought, shelf-stable gnocchi. Use that added a lot of sodium. When I make this next, I will make homemade potato gnocchi. (I’ve never done that before and before I make a new dish, I try to make it as easy as possible.)

Grilled Shrimp Scampi

Grilled Shrimp Scampi
Serves 4

2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined, divided into four portions
4 tablespoons butter, softened
8 scallions, chopped (the white and green parts)
6 large garlic cloves, smashed and minced
Black pepper to taste
Crushed Red Pepper (optional, and I did not use it)
4 ounces white wine

1.  Preheat grill to get it hot.
2.  Prepare 4 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil (or 8 sheets of regular foil) about 15 inches long
3.  Combine butter, scallions and garlic in a small bowl. Add black pepper and crushed red pepper (if desired.)
4.  Form each piece of foil into a boat shape. Place a portion of shrimp on the foil. Cover with 1/4 of the butter-scallion mix.
5.  Add 1 ounce of wine and seal each packet tightly.
6.  Place on hot grill for 7-8 minutes.
7.  Open and serve.

Nutritional Data:
Calories:       222
Fat:             12.6g
Sat fat:          7.6g
Chol:            191mg
Sodium:        193mg
Carbs:           3.8g
Fiber:            0.7g
Protein:       17.9g

Paella (my style)

This is not exactly the recipe that you will find in Spain, but is it darn good and will be made again!

Serves 6

3 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1 1/2 cup brown rice, uncooked
1 bell peppers, fire roasted, chopped (if you use store bought peppers, you will need about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup chopped shallot (or onion)
15 green olives, halved
1 pound raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 boneless/skinless chicken thighs, halved
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp saffron

1.  In an aluminum 9×13 pan, combine all ingredients.
2.  Preheat your grill, place pan on grate. (Or preheat your oven to 350F, and place pan in oven.)
3.  When it begins to boil, cover with aluminum foil and seal tightly.
4.  Let it bake for 45 minutes. 
5.  Remove cover and let it rest for 5 minutes.

6.  Stir together and serve.

Nutritional data, per 8 ounce serving:
Calories:     322
Fat:             8.2g
Sat fat:        2.1g
Chol:         120mg
Sodium:     231mg
Carbs:       39.1g
Fiber:          2.8g
Protein:     22.9g

This is what it looks like to fire-roast a bell pepper over the stove in your kitchen.

Turn the burner on high, and place the pepper on the grate.  Turn occasionally.  When charred on all side, place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let it steam itself for 5 minutes. Remove from the bowl and with a butter knife scrape most of the charred skin off.  Use immediately or save in refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

The next time I make this recipe, I will reduce the amount of shrimp and increase the amount of chicken. I might also stir in some smoked oysters right before serving (just an idea.)

Grilled Shrimp and Strawberry-Spinach Salad

Grilled Shrimp and Strawberry-Spinach Salad
Serves 4

Strawberry-Spinach Salad

In an large bowl, toss together:
6 ounces baby spinach
1/2 cup sliced, toasted almonds
8 ounces fresh strawberries, sliced

To toast the almonds, heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add almonds and saute dry (no oil.) Toss occasionally. The almonds are done when they begin to turn light brown.

Make the dressing:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons Splenda (or 5 tablespoons table sugar)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)

Pour dressing over spinach and strawberries. Toss to coat.

This salad does not make a good leftover salad. The spinach wilts, and the strawberries get mushy. Eat it freshly made.

Nutritional data:
Calories:     142
Fat:           10.5g
Sat fat:           1g
Chol:             0mg
Sodium:       39mg
Carbs:         9.8g
Fiber:          3.5g
Protein:       4.5g

Serves 4 (8 ounce portions)

I used 2 pounds of large shrimp (purchased peeled and deveined for ease of preparation), thawed and put in a Ziplock bag. I added 2 tablespoons olive oil and tossed to coat all shrimp.

I preheated my grill and place a vegetable basket on the grill.  When it was hot, I coated it with canola oil, and put the shrimp in the basket. I lightly seasoned the shrimp with Penzey’s Sunny Spain.

I put the lid on the grill, and let them cook for 2 minutes, then stirred them around. I repeated that three time. The shrimp are done when they are white and no longer translucent. (Small shrimp cook faster.)

Nutritional Data:
Calories:     200
Fat:              2g
Sat fat:         0g
Chol:        280mg
Sodium:    270mg
Carbs:          0g
Fiber:            0g
Protein:       38g

Pan-Fried Shrimp and Asian Slaw

I found this recipe in Cooking Light “5 Ingredients, 15 Minutes” from October, 2010.  I linked to the Amazon site, simply so you can see the book, not buy it. Whoever is “selling it” must be not living in the real world. (Why do I say that? Check out the price.)

Cooking Light produces a lot of good cookbooks, and periodicals. We use this one frequently (and it is selling for a realistic price!) If you need new ideas for meals, Cooking Light is a reliable source.
As usual, I modified my version a touch from the written recipe. I used only the egg white and not the entire egg, and I added the spices to the breading. The end result tasted as though the shrimp were deep fried in  vat of oil instead of a skillet with 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Pan-Fried Shrimp
Makes 2 servings (8 ounces each)

1 pound shrimp (if you can buy them P&D–peeled and deveined–that will save you some work)
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 tsp lemon pepper (I used Penzey’s Sunny Spain)
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water

1.  Put the bread crumbs and parsley in a food processor or blender and process until smooth.  Set aside.
2.  Put egg white and water in a medium sized bowl, and whisk together.  Set aside.
3.  Place the bread crumb mix in a 9×13 pan.  Add the lemon pepper and mix together.
4.  Put the shrimp in the egg wash, and mix well, ensuring all shrimp are coated.
5.  Place shrimp in the crumb mixture and toss to coat.
6.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.  When hot, place the shrimp in a single layer in skillet.  Cook for 2-3 minutes per side. 
7.  Remove and serve immediately.

Nutritional data:
Calories:     368
Fat:              9.5g
Sat fat:            1g
Chol:          280mg
Sodium:      388mg
Carbs:        19.1g
Fiber:              1g
Protein:      42.8g

Asian Slaw
Serves 10 (1 1/2 cup portions)

1 head of Napa cabbage, shredded (approximately 10 cups)
1 bag broccoli cole slaw
6 ounces snow pea pods, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch scallion (green onions), sliced thinly, whites and green of the onion

Juice of one lime (2-3 tablespoons)
3 tablespoons sesame oil
8 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tsp fish sauce
5 packets sweetener (I use stevia)

Mix all ingredients together.  Allow to dwell before serving, overnight is best.  Toss together frequently.

Nutritional data:
Calories:       76
Fat:               4.3g
Sat fat:          0.6g
Chol:               0mg
Sodium:         74mg
Carbs:           8.6g
Fiber:            3.7g
Protein:         2.2g