Monday, February 1, 2016

Imitation Crab Cakes

Gluten Free Imitation Crab Cakes

These imitation Crab cakes are a delicious affordable alternative to the real thing when you can’t afford the crab meat that can run from $20 - $30 per pound or more. 

When you're following a gluten free diet you do need to be careful when choosing an imitation crab brand since many do contain gluten.  I used Trans-Ocean brand which is made with pollock and found it to be pretty tasty.    

Before you scoff at the use of imitation crab, I find it a far better choice for people on a limited budget than stuffing your real crab cakes with so much filler that you can’t even find the crab. You wont have that problem with these. 

This recipe has impressed my guests on more than one occasion.  It also makes a nice stuffing for fish fillets.

Imitation Crab Cakes
Prep time: 10
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Servings: 4

  • (1) 8oz package gluten free imitation crab, (divided 7oz & 1 oz)
  • 2 slices bread, crusts removed (I used Schar’s gluten free artisan white) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp A1 sauce
  • ¼ tsp old bay
  • 1 heaping tsp crushed cherry peppers in vinegar
  • paprika, cayenne or old bay seasoning (optional garnish)

Video Tutorial: 

  1. In the bowl of a food processor add about 7 oz of the imitation crab which has been broken apart and pulse until you have the large chunks broken down into about ½ inch pieces then transfer to a medium bowl.
  2. Add the remaining 1 oz of crab meat to the food processor with the bread and process until they’re both very fine. 
  3. Add the egg, mayonnaise, A1 sauce, and old bay and process until you have a smooth paste then add this mixture to the crab.
  4. Add the crushed cherry peppers in vinegar to add some kick and stir to combine. 
  5. Once you have a homogeneous mixture smooth it out in the bowl and divide the circle into however many portions you are making.  (I made four) 
  6. Chill to make the mixture easier to form into cakes then form into patties using the rubber spatula to help shape them.  The rubber spatula is also useful to help scoop them up and get them into the pan.
  7. To fry them, preheat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet to a medium low heat then add a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon or so of butter and carefully add the crab cakes to the pan.
  8. Don’t attempt to move them for 3 or 4 minutes so that you won’t disturb the crust that is forming then turn them over and let them go for another 3 minutes or so and once they’re golden brown on the second side, they’re ready to serve.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Girl Scout Samoa Cookie Bars

Gluten Free Samoa Cookie Bars

So the Girl Scouts are at it again.  Scattered around the neighborhood you’ll find them peddling all those classic cookies that you can’t have because you're on a gluten free diet.

One of my all-time faves is their Samoa cookies otherwise known as Caramel Delights.

Yes there are other copycat versions out there.  But my version is super easy since instead of trying to duplicate the look of the original, I opted to save work and capture the flavor in a much easier cookie bar.

Just wait until you see how simple these are.

Samoa Cookie Bars - Girl Scout Inspired
Prep time: 15 min
Bake Time: 25-27 min (total of both steps)
Servings: 30

  • 8 oz sweetened flaked coconut, toasted (divided 2/3 & 1/3 the batch)
  • (1) 13.4 oz can of dulce de leche (I used Nestle brand)
  • (1) 15oz pkg. sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker gluten free sugar cookie mix)
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 5 oz mini chocolate chips (divided 3 oz & 2 oz)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF (or 175ºC) and line a 9x12 in pan with parchment overhanging the 2 long edges and sprayed with non-stick spray.
  2. To toast the coconut, in a large dry skillet over a medium add the coconut and stir constantly until it’s a deep golden color with a few browned bits then remove from the heat and divide into 2/3 and 1/3.
  3. In a large bowl mix two thirds of the toasted coconut with the entire can of dulce de leche until you have a homogenous paste and set aside.
  4. Prepare the cookie mix according to the package instructions using ½ cup of butter, 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla. Once you have a crumbly dough, stir in 3 oz of mini chocolate chips and press the dough evenly over the bottom of the prepared pan then bake the bottom layer for 20-22 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Once the cookie layer is finished spoon small dollops of the coconut mixture over the entire surface then use a small offset spatula to carefully spread it out until you have complete edge to edge coverage then sprinkle on the remaining toasted coconut and shake the pan for even distribution then bake for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. When the cookie bars come out of the oven, allow them to cool then melt the 2 oz of chocolate with about a tablespoon of coconut oil and mix until smooth.
  7. Load the chocolate into a Ziploc bag and snip off a tiny corner then drizzle the chocolate over the surface of the bars.
  8. Refrigerate to set the chocolate then cut into desired sizes and serve. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Buffalo Chicken Dip Lightened Up

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Lighter Low Carb Recipe

You want to have a banging Super Bowl party but you’re still trying to cling to your New Year’s resolutions right?  

So what do you serve?  

I feel your pain people.

In this recipe I’ve lightened up my original buffalo chicken dip and managed to trim the recipe by over 500 calories.  

With a small switch of Neufchatel cheese instead of using regular cream cheese, I’ve trimmed 240 calories.  Then I slashed another 300 calories by replacing the cup of full fat sour cream with low fat Greek yogurt instead.

Have no fear folks, the bold flavors and creamy consistency of this one, will make it very tough to spot the calorie cuts.  And you can further your fitness efforts by serving your dip with a full array of crudité.  Raw veggies are always a more nutritious, lower calorie alternative to the chips and crackers.  

But don’t skip the crackers and chips if you don’t want your guests to know there’s a lighter dish hiding in plain sight with the other Super Bowl fare.   

Bottom line is that with a few small cuts and a little discipline you’ll be reaching your goals before you know it. 

Buffalo Chicken Dip
Prep time: 10
Bake Time: 20
Servings: 6-8

  • 8 oz low fat cream cheese, softened
  • 7 oz Greek yogurt (low fat 2%)
  • 4 oz crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 cups finely shredded cooked chicken breast
  • ¾ cup hot sauce (I like Franks)
  • paprika, for garnish
  • 2 tbsp sour cream, for garnish

Video Tutorial: 

  1. Combine all of the dip ingredients and mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Empty the mixture into a small greased oval baking dish and smooth the top.
  3. To make the dip look like a football sprinkle the top with smoked paprika and bake in a preheated to 350ºF (or 175ºC) oven for 30 minutes.
  4. To draw the football laces, load the sour cream into a Ziploc bag then snip off a small corner and draw on the football lace design,
  5. Serve immediately with crackers, corn chips, or crudité.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Maple Mustard Ribs

Maple Mustard Ribs

With football season in full swing, there are countless foods that fit the bill nicely when you have a crowd coming.  Between the chili recipes, nachos, wings and the like, there’s a lot to choose from when you’re putting together a game-day spread. 

For me, ribs rise to the top of the list for game-day grub that everyone loves.  If they weren’t so pricey, they’d be on the menu every week.

My maple mustard ribs, with their sweet tangy flavor are a nice twist on classic barbecue ribs.

The recipe itself starts with prepping the ribs and applying the dry rub the day before which means there is little work left to do on the big day.  Actually you could even do the oven roasting a day ahead of time since the ribs are even easier to slice perfectly from the chilled state then they can be reheated, sauced, and severed on game-day. 

You’ll have everyone begging for more when this one hits the table

Maple Mustard Ribs
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings: 6 - 8

  • 2 racks of St Louis style ribs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • ¼  cup mustard
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

Video Tutorial: 

  1. To prepare the ribs slice off the two smallest ribs from the end then flip over the rack and remove the skirt both of which should be saved for another use.  Remove the sliver skin membrane that covers the rack on the underside and discard. (see my video tutorial) 
  2. To make the dry rub in a medium bowl combine the brown sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne and stir to combine.
  3. Place the ribs into a large baking dish sprayed with nonstick spray and rub both sides of each rack with the dry rub reserving 2 tablespoons of the rub to make the glazing sauce.  
  4. Once the ribs are completely covered with the dry rub, position them with the thicker side of the rack towards the outer edge of the pan and the meaty side face down in the pan then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours but overnight is better.
  5. To make the glaze add the mustard and maple syrup to the reserved dry rub and stir until well combined then refrigerate until needed.
  6. Bake the ribs from room temperature covered for 2 ½ hours in an oven preheated to 325ºF (or 163ºC)
  7. Baste the underside of the ribs with the glaze then place them onto a foil lined baking sheet sprayed with nonstick spray and paint the tops heavily with the glaze.
  8. Broil the ribs with the oven rack positioned in the middle of the oven for 5-7 minutes watching them carefully to ensure that they don’t burn. 
  9. Let them rest for ten minutes then slice them between the bones and serve.   

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