Caribbean-Style Crab Cakes

Well, if you haven’t realized it already – tomorrow is Valentine’s Day! (And seriously, if you haven’t – it basically means you never leave your house, turn on your radio, tv or computer – so those of you who I am addressing aren’t even reading this)

Now, I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day – yes, even when I was single. I loved getting together with my girlfriends and eating ice cream, drinking wine and hanging out. Yes, even when 3 of us went to dinner at a nice restaurant and the server kept asking us if anybody else was joining us…

Well, now that I’m a married woman – the day holds a little more significance. I know it’s a “Hallmark” holiday, but what’s wrong with a day dedicated to love?

I still don’t understand going to a favorite restaurant to be served from a limited menu at double the cost, but that could just be because I tend to be a homebody sometimes. As I’ve said before, nothing beats enjoying a nice fancy meal consumed in the comfort of clothing that involves an elastic waistband.

So if you’re thinking like me (terrifying, I know) and want a special meal in – look no further friends. I bring you a recipe for Caribbean-style crab cakes. You could half the recipe and pair a crab cake with a small steak, or just make the whole batch paired with some roasted parmesan asparagus.

I usually prepare this recipe as an appetizer that makes about 16 servings, but it is just as delicious made just for 2. Now a few of the variations here were to make this recipe Weight Watchers friendly – like Fiber One crumbs – so the mixture is a little more “wet” than most crab cakes.

Caribbean-Style Crab Cakes (Serves 2 for meal / 8 WW points per serving; Makes 16 mini cakes for appetizer / 1 WW point each)

Ingredients

8 oz. crab meat (I go for the “specialty” kind – smaller pieces make it easier)

1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced

1/4 cup green onion, diced

1 Tbsp. Caribbean jerk seasoning

1 tsp. dried parsley

3/4 cup ground Fiber One bran cereal

1 Tbsp. honey

1/4 cup egg beaters

1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. margarine

Cayenne pepper for garnish

2 Tbsp. apricot jam

1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice

Begin by chopping the bell pepper and onion. Add to bowl with crab meat, Caribbean seasoning, parsley and cereal crumbs.

Dry Ingredients

Then add in mayonnaise, honey and egg. Mix together until all ingredients are incorporated. Form into 4 large patties – I had some leftover to prevent the patties from being too massive. (You can also form into 16 small patties for appetizers – start with a scoop the size of a ping-pong ball and work it into a patty.) Refrigerate until ready to cook.

Wet ingredients

Heat 1 Tbsp. margarine over medium in a large skillet. When margarine is hot, add crab cakes. Cook 5-7 minutes on medium-low and then flip, cooking an additional 5-7 minutes.

CakesCooked

While cakes are cooking, whisk together apricot and lime.

Apricot Lime

Add crab cakes to plate and sprinkle with a small amount of cayenne pepper.

Plated

Then top with a dollop of apricot-lime sauce…

Cake with Sauce

and devour with a glass of crisp white wine.

Close Up

Have a happy Valentine’s Day everybody!

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Crispy Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Gravy

I feel like 2013 has been one big party so far – especially coming on the tails of the holidays. We rang in the new year with a fun trip and awesome wedding, had a nice long weekend, I celebrated my birthday, and we just enjoyed a fun send-off weekend for the husband before he went back to studying.

So now it’s back to being low-key for a little, which I’m totally okay with. Gives me more time to spend conjuring up recipes – and of course, cooking them!

With Valentine’s Day coming up next week, I figured I’d share a super yummy, easy and healthy recipe that you can share with your special someone. Some people prefer going out to a big fancy romantic dinner for the occasion, but there is nothing better to me than enjoying a nice glass of wine with a delicious homemade dinner in the comfort of your pajamas. I know, I know – I’m such a catch.

This is a great recipe because it’s simple to throw together and pairs great with anything. I paired it with some roasted brussel sprouts and mashed potatoes.

Crispy Pork Chops with Caramelized Onion Gravy (serves 2 / 11 WW pts. per serving)

Ingredients

For the Pork Chops:

2 4-5 oz. lean, center-cut pork chops

2/3 cup whole wheat panko crumbs

1 Tbsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. dried rosemary

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. canola oil

For Gravy:

2 1/2 Tbsp. chopped onion

1 tsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. white whole wheat flour

1/2 cup fat-free milk

1 Tbsp. chicken broth

1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. onion salt

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine bread crumbs, parsley, rosemary, salt and pepper in a shallow dish and mix to combine. In another dish, add flour and in another add your egg white.

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Place pork chops between wax paper (we were out – pardon the foil) and using a meat mallet, pound to about 1/8 inch thickness. Season chops with salt and pepper on both sides and dredge in flour, coating lightly. Then dip chops in egg white, shaking off any excess. Then press chops into bread crumb mixture, ensuring a good coating.

20130121_190308[1]Coating

Heat 1 Tbsp. canola oil in a skillet on medium-low. Add chops and cook 5-7 minutes before flipping and cooking another 5-7 minutes. Once breading is lightly browned, place chops on a lightly greased baking pan and place in the oven for 10 minutes.

SkilletCooked Chops

While the chops are in the oven, it’s time to start your gravy. Begin by sautéing the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. While the onions are cooking, whisk together flour and milk in a small bowl. Reduce heat on onions to medium-low. Then, add milk mixture to the onions and whisk to combine. This should thicken up pretty quickly. When it does, whisk in chicken broth, pepper and onion salt. 

OnionsPepperGravy

Distribute gravy between two places and top with your pork chop – and voila, a fancy, delicious meal that will please guys and gals alike for a celebratory occasion!
Plated

And who doesn’t like a good reason to celebrate?

Close up

Have a great weekend y’all!

A Week of Celebration

Do you know what tomorrow is? I mean, other than the day that adorable little Phil will tell us when Spring is set to arrive.

Tomorrow is my blog’s birthday! Or is it anniversary?

Let’s go with birthday since that’s the theme of the week. On Monday I said farewell to my 20’s – so today, as a way of celebrating this lovely occasion, my blog will say farewell to something too. Have you figured out the surprise? Check the top of your computer screen:

www.cookingonthebrightside.com

My blog has its’ own domain name now! Very nerdy of me to be excited about, I know, but hey – if you’ve been with me for a year, you expect it by now, right?

Have no fear – any older links will still take you to your favorite recipe. Now it’s just abbreviated, which means it’s easier to remember for when you’re passing it along to your friends. (Wink wink).

In addition to tomorrow being a very special day for my blog – Sunday is a very special day  for football lovers (like myself) and for food lovers (um, duh) and for those of us who just enjoy fun celebratory occasions in general.

So if you’re hosting a party for 50 on Sunday or just getting together with a small group and maybe tuning in to the Puppy Bowl – here’s a little recipe roundup for your menu planning!

Pre Game

AppCollage

Buffalo Chicken Potato Skins

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffa-faux Chicken Tenders

Mexican Dip

Skinny Faux-Fried Mozzarella Sticks

The Main Event

Main Course Collage

Buffalo Chicken Soft Tacos

Buffalo Chicken Soup

BBQ Chicken Stromboli

Cheeseburger Soup

Pizza Soup

Spicy Pulled Beef

Turkey Beer Chili

Of course, you can always jazz your party up with a fun theme. I’m talking about New Orleans. So serve up some festively Cajun recipes and throw back a Louisiana-brewed beer  (might I recommend Abita? Light and Amber are delicious!) and you’ll feel like you’re celebrating in the Big Easy!

Lagniappe (translation: a little something extra)

CajunCollage

“Fried Shrimp” with Spicy Sauce (or make some po boys cut up into sliders!)

Cajun Shrimp Casserole

Creole Stew

I hope everybody has a wonderful weekend celebrating – as they say in N’awlins…

“Laissez les bons temps rouler!”