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.)

Fish Tacos

This is a pretty sneaky fab meal.  It’s easy to put together, but it will impres.  The key to making it healthier is the way you bread and cook the fish.  Typically, fish tacos are heavily breaded and fried.  To make it healthier, the swaps are easy and basic: egg whites for the dredge, panko for the crust and minimal amounts of olive oil to pan-fry. 

Let’s get to it.

Start with a light flavored white fish – cod is ideal, but anything without any overpowering flavor will work. You’ll want to buy about 3-4 oz per person.  Cut your fish into 1×1 inch chunks and toss them into a ziploc bag.


You can marinade them a number of different ways, but my favorite marinade comes from Guy Fieri (Food Network).  It does involve tequila, but you can leave that out if you don’t want your fish to have too much fun before you cook ’em.

Marinade (inspired by Guy Fieri):

  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tsp of Tequila
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • generous pinch of salt + pepper


Mix these together and then pour over the fish in the ziploc bag.  Let it chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.


Start prepping your tortillas.  I use my grill pan and just get them a little toasty.  You can also microwave them for a few (15-ish) seconds.  Cover them with a paper towel and sprinkle a bit of water on them.  You still want them fold-able like a taco, but this will just warm them up.


Prepare any other toppings you want for your tacos.  I like to put out sour cream, guacamole, salsa, some chopped up cilantro and a cabbage slaw.  (I’m not going to give you the recipe of the one you’ll see pictured though, because it was no bueno.) 

Once the fish has marinated, it’s time to dredge and cook.  This goes quickly so have EVERYTHING else ready to go.  (Set the table, etc.)  Get a frying pan out and add about 1 Tbsp per serving of 3-4 oz of fish.  You can eyeball it – if you think you can get away with less, go for it.  You definitely should not need more than that. 

Get out 3 more plastic bags.  Fill one with flour, one with egg whites (or skim milk) and one with panko bread crumbs.


If you’re not familiar with Panko, this is a Japanese type of bread crumb.  You can find it in the section with the other bread crumbs.  It’s super crunchy and tastes great, but is lower in calories than a traditional bread crumb.  It’ll give your fish a really crunchy coating even without deep frying.

Transfer the fish to the flour and shake.  To the egg whites and shake.  To the panko and shake.  Feel free to dance around a little bit while you’re shaking, it helps.  Trust me, I’m an expert.

Once you’ve done the last step, get your stove a-crankin.  Once it’s hot (oil starts popping), add your fish in.  Make sure to move the fish around and flip them – the key to do this with less oil is to have high heat and keep ‘em moving.  Once you feel them starting to firm up, sacrifice one and cut it open to check.  They should no longer have a sheen on the inside and should be kind of flakey.


Once they are done, you are ready to eat!  Serve them up with the warm tortillas and toppings.  And, if you need something to do with all that leftover tequila, I just so happen to know the perfect beverage to use it up.



Recap (Serving Size: 2 people, 2 tacos each)

6-8 oz of white fish, marinated in:

  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 tsp of Tequila
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • generous pinch of salt + pepper
  • Tossed with:

    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 4 egg whites
    • 1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

    Pan-Fry in:

    • 1-2 Tbsp of Olive Oil (Less is more.  You can always add more as you go if you need to.)

    Serve with:

    • Warm tortillas (grill til crispy but still flexible or microwave for 15 seconds)
    • Sour Cream
    • Guacamole
    • Salsa
    • Cabbage Slaw
    • Margaritas


    (Calorie stats are going to vary depending on how much flour or panko you use, as well as any toppings and how many tortillas you have.  I found on average a 2-taco meal with a T of guac shared between the two was about 550 calories.)

    Shrimp + Grits, Ya’ll

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    Oh my gosh, ya’ll.  This one was on the BEST meals I have ever made.  And the best part was, it was pretty much on accident.  In the busyness of the holiday weekend, I didn’t do any meal planning.  This entire week I’ve been throwing together meals from our freezer, eeking out every last bit of creativity I have.  (I don’t recommend this as a regular strategy.) Yesterday I discovered a few packs of grits in our pantry, and with a bag of frozen shrimp, a bag of frozen corn and some goat cheese…. DINNER!

    It was incredible.

    To make: make grits per package directions and add in 1-2 oz goat cheese per person.  (I used about 4 oz for the 2 of us, and it definitely give it enough flavor.)  Add in the frozen corn while it’s cooking.

    I cooked the shrimp with about 1/4 cup of light beer (3 “glugs” is literally how I measure) and salt, pepper and chili flakes.  Right before they’re ready to serve, I added another 1/4 cup (3 more glugs) of barbeque sauce.  The one I used is Sweet Baby Ray’s.

    That’s it – it’s literally just heat and eat.  And prepare to sit back and receive the compliments!

    (Not bad for a New Yorker, right?)

    Salmon & Simple Sauce

    My husband voted this “best dinner in our new house”… so you’re receiving this recipe with very high marks from the dinner critic! (We’ve been in our new house since May, so that’s about 4 months of dinners!)

    If you’re nervous about cooking fish, I understand. It’s taken me almost 4 years of cooking to really feel comfortable with recognizing when it’s done, and it turns out fish cooks a lot faster than I ever realized. But the health benefits and taste make it worthwhile, so start practicing! Harris Teeter had wild-caught Alaskan salmon sale last week, so I couldn’t resist these beautiful guys.

    Salmon Fillets

    Salmon Fillets

    I seasoned the salmon with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and then roasted it at 450 degrees (pre-heated oven) for about 10 minutes. You can tell it’s done when you stick the figure in, give it a slight twist and it starts to flake.
    While the salmon is cooking, I whisked together 2 tablespoons of yellow mustard, 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard*, 2 tsp of brown sugar and a small chopped up green onion. When the salmon was done, I just poured the mixture over the top of it.
    I served it with a green salad, as well as roasted squash and steamed green beans. The whole meal took about fifteen minutes from fridge to table. I’m not sure whether to be delighted or depressed that all these time-consuming recipes I’ve done in the past were beat out by this fifteen minute, five ingredient all-star. But I definitely know it will be a staple in the future.

    Salmon with Simple Sauce

    Salmon with Simple Sauce

    If you’re not a fish eater, the sauce would be delicious poured over pork chops or turkey breast as well.

    *I only had dijonnaise, which worked just fine and gave it a slightly creamier texture.

    Take That, Fried Fish.

    There’s one thing I’ve noticed about living in the South and that is folks down here looove them some fried *INSERT ANY FOOD HERE.* Most notably, however, are fried fish (accompanied by the oh so delicious hush puppies.) This is my version, that involves very little frying and very much spices. The key to cutting back your frying is to ramp up your spices so your tastebuds still have something to dance about.

    Catfish, Corn & Smashers

    Catfish, Corn & Smashers

    These are catfish fillets, but I’ve done the same with tilapia. I use a spice called Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seafood Seasoning, but that’s only because I came across it at TJ Maxx’s one time and it was on sale. *Shrugs* You could use any kind of seasoning blend, I’d definitely recommend having some garlic, onion, and paprika and/or chili powder in it. Sprinkle liberally and toss the little guys in a well-sprayed (with Pam or Olive Oil) pan with just a tsp of olive oil extra per fillet. THAT’S IT.

    I pair this with a starch and a veggie (although I’d say that corn is more of a starch than a veggie, but it was Valentine’s Day and Hubby prefers corn over broccoli, so two starches in this pic.) It’s super easy, fast and healthy. Which pretty much knocks out all the good excuses to not eat healthy. So, take that, fried fish!*

    *No, unfortunately I have found no healthy switch for hush puppies.