Don’t Get Crabby! Make These Cakes!

Ever since living in Baltimore, I have become enamored with crab cakes.  However, most of the time when you order them in a restaurant they tend to be more filler – mayo and bread – than actual delicious, good for you crab meat.

But, I’ve got good news for you: you can make them at home, they’re quite easy and they can be healthy and delicious.

(And by the way, if you can’t eat shellfish, you can buy imitation crab which is usually another white fish, like Alaskan Pollock.)

Assemble the ingredients: 1 pound lump crabmeat, 4 egg whites, 1 piece whole wheat bread, Old Bay Seasoning, olive oil.

Mash up the crab meat with a fork, breaking the pieces up.  The smaller they are, the easier your cakes will hold together – although I personally love crab cakes with bigger pieces!  So this is up to you.

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Add the 4 egg whites.

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Pulse 1 piece of whole wheat bread in a food processor or blender and add crumbs.  *You can also skip that step and use 1/2 cup of bread crumbs or panko.

Add in Old Bay seasoning.  This is a must! Ok, if you don’t have this on hand, you can add salt, pepper, a pinch of paprika, mustard and celery seed.  But really… if you’re going to make crab cakes, you should have Old Bay seasoning.

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Shape into patties.  The smaller they are, the easy they will be to flip in your skillet.  Using a pound of crab meat should make about 6-8 patties.

Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a hot pan, and add the crab cakes.  Cook on each side until golden brown.

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I love to serve these on a bed of green lettuce.  They are the perfect complement to greens!

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You can also serve them the old-fashioned way with tartar sauce, but try mixing in some greek yogurt to your mayo to cut down on the mayo.  Once you add in the pickle relish and a squeeze of lemon juice, you won’t pick up on the yogurt at all.

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Then, sit back and enjoy!  I like to pretend I’m sitting at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, about to get ready to go see the O’s play at Camden Yards!

megs and dad at camden Dad & Meg, Camden Yards, 2005

(Stats: I use 2 Tbsp of olive oil total, a Tbsp for each batch of 4.  That’s included in the stats.  Each patty is 100 calories, 4 g fat,  10 g carb, 6.5 g protein.)

Goat Cheese Salad

As I’ve confessed, I like to rip off restaurant favorites and try to healthy them up a bit. One of my favorite meals here in town is a salad with fried goat cheese patties in it. Two places here serve it: 6th & Vine in downtown Winston and Riverburch Lodge. It’s a toss-up as to which one I like better. 6th and Vine might win solely because I usually eat it on their gorgeous back porch, and for better or worse, ambience is half my taste buds!

Anyways, I figured “Fried” + “Cheese” were probably two things I shouldn’t go too crazy with BUT on the other hand, goat cheese is one of the lowest in calories and fats. A few months ago, my Everyday Food magazine featured a recipe on how to make them using panko and it was way easier than I imagined.

I went to work and was so delighted with the results I had to share it. The key is to start with REALLY cold goat cheese, so it slices into nice disks. Then, you just drop each disc into a little bit of egg WHITE. After the egg white bath, they flip over to a bath of either panko crumbs or grind up a slice of WHOLE WHEAT bread.

After that they can go into a pan with just some spray olive oil and abt 1 tsp of oil oil per little disc. They don’t take long to crisp up before you need to flip them. The stats will depend on how much olive oil you use, and how many discs you put on your salad per person. Here’s a quick way to tally it all up.

I put three goat cheese discs on a salad with blueberries, a few chopped almonds, 1 T of olive oil and fresh ground pepper. It was words-fail-me delicious.

Goat Cheese Salad

Goat Cheese Salad

Restaurant Redo: Village Tavern Potato Chips

On our first date, Matt took me to Village Tavern, a favorite restaurant to many here in Winston-Salem. VT became our favorite date night place, and we’ve been there for every important celebration meal since we lived in Winston. After Matt proposed to me in a nearby garden, we walked over to Village Tavern where I found both of our families waiting there as a surprise to celebrate with us. A few weeks ago when we went to VT we were asked to fill out a survey of our experience. One of the questions was “How many times have you visited the Tavern?” We did some quick math and figured out that after 9 years in Winston, we had probably been close to fifty times.

All that is to introduce my at-home VT chips. VT is known for their delicious homemade potato chips – they are so perfectly sliced, and there always seems to be a mixture of some soft chips and some crispy chips. We don’t get the chips every time, as we know they’re not exactly the healthiest choice but they are one of our favorite treats.

So I decided to see if I could master the VT chips at home, and try to health-ify them a little bit. I use 4 oz of potatoes per person (FYI, each 1 oz of raw potato is abt 20 cals) and slice them reeeeeally thin. Laid them out on a cookie sheet, sprayed them down with Pam Olive Oil and baked at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes. A quick sprinkle of Kosher salt and paprika and onion powder and they were done. SO. GOOD.

VT Chips

VT Chips

Don’t worry, VT, we’ll still be back but I’ll definitely be making these chips at home! My next step is to purchase a mandolin so I can make the slices a little more even – that was the only challenge with cooking these because mine were slightly uneven, and some of the slices were still a little undercooked as other ones were getting crispy.

(As you can see, we really went for pretend restaurant at home. These chix soy patties from Morningstar make me feel just like we’re eating another Southern favorite, Chik-Fil-A patties!)

Fave Product: Morningstar Chix Patties

Fave Product: Morningstar Chix Patties

Fake Out

Fake Out

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

For those of you in my group on Wednesday, I promised to post the link here of the Hawaiian Chicken Salad since we ran out of hard copies! I love this recipe – the juice from the pineapple means you use very minimal mayo for the whole dish! This is really yummy served on top of bibb lettuce, or on a toasted piece of whole wheat bread. It’s also a great dish to take to a party, since no one is really going to guess it’s low cal. See below & enjoy!

Hawaiian Chicken Salad

Yield: 4 cups Per ½ cup serving: 90 calories

1/8 tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ cup light mayonnaise
2 cups cooked and diced chicken

½ cup cooked celery
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped green pepper
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice, drained

1. Mix together first three ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, combine chicken, vegetables and pineapple. Toss to mix.
3. Stir in mayonnaise mixture until moistened. Chill 1 hour to blend flavors.

My Secert Weapon

Jamie asked me to publish my recipe for my smashers back in my “fried fish” entry, and although I don’t have a specific recipe that I use, I do have a secret weapon.  It is…. :::drum roll please::::: YOGURT!



I use yogurt in anything that calls for creamy, goopy textures and tastes.  The smashers on that day were requested by my hubby to be “traditional” smashers (read: no subbing cauliflowers in, no swapping goat cheese for butter, and REAL BUTTER PLEASE.)  I just knew I couldn’t make them for-real old school, all butter and whole milk, but I did want to create a creamy, rich taste the way smashers are supposed to be.  So, in went an entire container of yogurt, along with 2 T of butter.  Yup, just 2 T for the whole dish, along with a small pat on the top of the pile for visual appeal when finished.  (An Ellie Krieger “we eat with our eyes” trick.)  It was delish, and hubby was thoroughly satisfied.

I use both the Fage Greek yogurt and Stonyfield plain yogurt in almost any recipe that requires creaminess: I’ve used it in chicken tetrazini and subbed out some of the cream of chicken soup, in mashed potatoes, in making homemade bleu cheese dip, in my aunt’s famous sour cream chicken enchiladas.  There is no creamy recipe in which I am above dumping in an entire thing of yogurt and secretly sneaking out most of the cream, sour cream or whole milk.

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dip... with yogurt!

Homemade Bleu Cheese Dip... with yogurt!

So, there’s my secret!  Smash away!

Smashed potatos: (in my house growing up, smashed meant you leave the skins on)  1# potatos, 2 T butter, 8 oz fage yogurt.   Made 4 servings at 170 calorie each, according to my fave calorie calculator.