Crab Dip

This is, without a doubt, the single most requested recipe I get asked to make by friends and family.

Having tried many crab dip recipes over the years, I can tell you that this is the ultimate Spicy Crab Dip. The recipe is adapted from Emeril Lagasse’s original Hot Jalapeño Crab Dip recipe, to whom I am eternally grateful for creating this easy and delicious dip. I have altered the quantity of some of Emeril’s ingredients, and the directions, to arrive at what I think is crab perfection.  It turns me into a star cook every time.

Ok, lets get down to it.  Selecting your crab.

You want a good crab dip? Use good crab. It’s just that simple.

I know this is not always possible for those of you who don’t have access to a good fish shop, but fortunately for me, we have several around these parts- which means fresh crab is the only acceptable option for me. And for that reason alone, I remain a coastal citizen.

Alright, fresh crab- check.

Now, what kind of crab to use? Claw, backfin, lump, jumbo lump. The options are overwhelming! Actually, no they are not.

Let me repeat a little something I said earlier… You want a good crab dip? Use good crab. It’s just that simple.

And so, jumbo lump is the way to go. Nothing makes a feaster more happy than getting a big ole’ meaty lump of fresh crab and only jumbo lump will do that. When jumbo isn’t an option, lump does the job fantastically, and what Emeril calls for in his original recipe, but avoid claw and backfin meat for this recipe. They do have their place in other recipes, but not this one.

Next, picking a hot sauce. When the recipe calls for hot sauce, use hot sauce- not Tabasco sauce, not Sriracha sauce. Got it? They are not the same thing! Tabasco nor Sriracha should ever be used as a substitute for hot sauce and vise versa in a recipe. They have different flavor profiles and their measurements do not equal each other. For example, a tablespoon of hot sauce is not equal to a tablespoon of Tabasco sauce in a recipe. So in order to achieve the desired result for this gem of a recipe, be sure to use a hot sauce like Frank’s Red Hot Sauce or Chilula Original Hot Sauce. 

The rest of the ingredients are pretty straight forward and don’t require much introduction- mayonnaise, garlic, jalapeño jack cheese, pickled jalapeños and parmesan cheese. So there you have it- everything you need to make this amazing crab dip.

But… hold up a second. A dip is only as good as whatever you dip it with. The ‘dip’ and the ‘dipper’ need to be in perfect culinary harmony. So, no crackers, no chips, no vegetables here. This recipe needs homemade toast points.

The toasts used to take me a while to baste each one with just the right amount of olive oil and it was, simply put, a pain in the ass. I’ve since figured out a trick that makes these toasts super easy and quick to make, while also cutting out a few calories. Instead of basting the toasts in olive oil, I simply use a good olive oil spray. It works out brilliantly and I no longer have an excuse not to make them.

Time to get your dip on!

Ultimate Spicy Crab Dip
Ingredients
  • 1 lb Jumbo lump or lump crabmeat, picked over for shells and cartilage
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1/3 lb Monterey Jack cheese with jalapenos, grated
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp Hot Sauce, such as Franks
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup diced jarred jalapeños (up to half a cup depending on taste)
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Crouton Points
  • 1 French baguette- sliced into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • salt & fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F

  2. Combine the garlic, jalapenos, Monterey Jack, Worcestershire, hot sauce, salt, and mayonnaise in a medium-size mixing bowl. Gently mix in the crab.

  3. Spoon the mixture into a 9x9 or other medium-size, shallow baking dish. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly on the top.

  4. Bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serving with the croutons

Crouton Points
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. Arrange the bread slices on the baking sheet and spray them with olive oil spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip and repeat.

  3. Bake until the croutons are lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before serving.

Tuna Stuffed Pepperdews

The definition of Tapas loosely translates to “small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar.” My definition is more like “little bites of deliciousness inspired by the Mediterranean.’

Tapas are fantastic and the true essence of Feast and Merriment. They bring people together to share in bites of savory and salty over cocktails. This recipe for tuna stuffed peppadews is ridiculously easy and takes only 3 ingredients! Those 3 ingredients produce a bite that is equal parts sweet, spicy, salty and savory. The pepper dews are both sweet and spicy and they work tremendously well to balance the brininess of the tuna and tartness of the marinara sauce. I challenge you to find another recipe that packs as much flavor with so few ingredients.

I like to serve these with Manchego cheese, olives, and Macrona almonds. Perfect for movie night!

Tuna Stuffed Peppers
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Ingredients
  • 12 peppadew peppers in brine
  • 1 jar of high quality tuna fish
  • 1 cup your favorite marinara sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

  2. Stuff each pepper with tuna fish and arrange on an oven proof dish so that peppers are snug enough to stand up. (Tip cut a tiny piece off the bottom of the pepper if it is having trouble standing to give it a flat surface) 

  3. Top peppers with marinara sauce and bake for about 7-10 minutes or until heated through. 

  4. Serve hot.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail

Imake tons of Shrimp Cocktail. Why? Because people love it. I love it. When you serve shrimp cocktail, every last piece gets eaten, every time. People. Love. Shrimp. Cocktail.

Roasted Shrimp CocktailBut I take issue with the quality of most of the shrimp cocktail that is being served out there. Water logged, flavorless excuses for shrimp are not how this delicate seafood should be served. Shrimp Cocktail should be meaty, dry, and slightly briny. It should have tons of flavor all on its own. It should not be wet, and without flavor like those horrid shrimp rings at the grocery store- those just hurt my soul.

It’s very easy to take Shrimp Cocktail to a whole other level, so why not do it? All it takes is good quality shrimp and this recipe.One of the most delicious Shrimp Cocktail recipes out there is Alton Brown’s The Shrimp Cocktail. It’s truly fabulous, but it requires a brine bath which adds extra ingredients, time and steps.

Since we’re not looking for any more work than necessary when cooking, I rarely make Alton’s recipe and instead I recommend Ina’s Garten’s Roasted Shrimp Cocktail. It couldn’t be easier and is equally as satisfying.

Roasted Shrimp Cocktail
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
7 mins
Total Time
17 mins
 

Roasting shrimp elevates the flavor of the shrimp and brings this simple, classic dish to a whole new level! 

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Seafood
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs 12 to 15-count shrimp
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • your favorite cocktail sauce
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Peel and devein the shrimp, leaving the tails on. (Or take 'em off if you prefer!) 

  3. Toss them in a bowl with the Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper. Spread them in a single layer on a sheet pan. 

  4. Roast for about 8 minutes, flipping once, just until pink and firm and cooked through. Set aside to cool.

  5. Serve with lemon wedges and your favorite cocktail sauce. 

Recipe Notes

These can be made up to a day in advance. Store in a glass, air tight container. 

caesar dressing

Apparently, lettuce likes summer rain because I’ve had a bumper crop of lettuce this season and that’s about the only think I am loving about this wet season that we are having.

With so many leafy varieties doing so well in our garden this year, I’ve really had a chance to work on matching the different textures and flavors of the varietals with different meals, and finding the perfect dressings to accompany them. The delicate, silky nature of the butter lettuce and red oak varieties take well to simple dressings like a lemon vinaigrette. Anything more than a squeeze of fresh lemon, splash of olive oil, salt and pepper overpowers the delicate eaves.. When I match those varieties with a heavier meal, like chicken parmesan, I find the meal to be harmonious. On the other hand, the romaine is hearty and can stand up to a bolder flavor and a thicker texture- which is why it’s the preferred lettuce choice for a classic, tangy caesar dressing.Caesar dressing is very, very popular. I am confident that it is the most common item on menus across the country, meaning that just about every restaurant has a version of caesar salad on it. Given it’s popularity, it amazes, and disappoints me, that nine out of ten times I order it, it’s really not impressive. Some places serve more of a vinaigrette version, while others are garlic forward and creamy, some with raw egg, others with cream. Personally, I like a tangy, creamy, salty caesar. I don’t see how it can be any other way.

Having never made homemade caesar dressing before, I really wasn’t sure where to start or how to select a good recipe. So I decided to make three versions, one of which contained no egg. I was hoping I was going to like it the no egg version but unfortunately it came in last in the taste test. You simply need the egg.

The winning recipe turned out to be Michael Chirarello’s recipe. Over time I have tweaked it slightly to create a version that we really enjoy.

Caesar Salad Dressing
Prep Time
10 mins
 
Course: condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: dressing
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg yolk- at room temperature
  • 1.5 tablespoons of dijon mustard
  • A dash of dry mustard if you have it.
  • 4 quality anchovy filets
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • dash worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup good quality parmesan cheese. I like a parmesan/romano mix
Instructions
  1. Place the egg yolk, mustard, anchovies, garlic, vinegar, lemon juice, and a dash of Worcestershire sauce in a blender or food processor. Blend until pureed. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a slow stream. If the dressing stops moving in the blender, stop the machine, add the warm water and then continue until all the oil is added. To finish, add the cheese and pulse to incorporate. Taste and adjust your seasonings.

  2. Toss with Romaine lettuce leave and croutons, if desired. 

Italian Style stuffed zucchini

Zucchini is an extremely versatile vegetable that grows easily and abundantly in the summer months. One of the many dishes you can make with this Italian squash is to stuff it. It makes for individual portions and you can get extremely creative with your stuffings.

This particular version of stuffed zucchini is inspired by classic baked stuffed shells. Rather than stuff the pasta shells with a ricotta mixture and topped with tomato sauce, I stuff zucchinis. The zucchini adds texture and introduces a vegetable element, both which  are typically absent from the original dish.  The flavors are reminiscent of a vegetable lasagna, but better.In addition to this dish tasting really good, there are actually quite a few other reasons I love this recipe.

  • It’s carb and gluten free
  • It’s super easy to make
  • It can be made in advance (always a fan)
  • It’s great to make for a party
  • It travels well
  • It’s inexpensive
  • Served as individual portions

Serve the Italian style stuffed zucchini along side a simple salad of mixed greens. Mmm, Mmm Good!

  • This is a great starter recipe for those just learning their way around the kitchen.
  • Pierce a few spots in the bottom of the zucchini to let excess liquid drain out so the inside isn’t soggy.

Ricotta Stuffed Zucchini
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 

Stuffed zucchinis are an excellent party dish because they can be prepared in advance and baked right before serving. They stay hot for a long time and are easy to serve as individual portions.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • 3 Zucchini
  • 2 cups Ricotta cheese
  • 1 Large egg
  • 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup Frozen Spinach (drained & dried of all excess water)
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • Your favorite marinara sauce
  • shredded parmesan cheese for topping (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F.

  2. Slice the zucchini in half longways. 

    Slicing a Zucchini lengthwise
  3. Hollow them out into ‘zucchini boats.’ You want to leave about a 1/2 inch of flesh.

    Making Zucchini shells
  4. Pierce the zucchini using a thin pairing knife to allow excess moisture to drain.

    Piercing a zucchini
  5. Season with Salt & Pepper

    Seasoning zucchini with salt & pepper
  6. Combine ricotta, egg, grated parmesan, spinach, pinch of salt & pepper and mix well. 

    cheese stuffing for zucchini
  7. Stuff cheese mixture generously into the zucchini halves. 

    ricotta cheese in zucchini shells
  8. Spoon marinara sauce over zucchini and bake for about 30 minutes or until you can piece the zucchini easily with a knife, but are firm enough to still hold their shape. Add cheese for the last few minutes of cooking. 

    stuffed zucchini in oven
  9. Let zucchini rest for about 10 minutes and garnish with shredded parmesan, if using. 

    Zucchini stuffed with ricotta cheese
Recipe Notes

These can be prepared up to 24 in advance. To do so, stuff zucchini and store in refrigerator until ready to bake and serve. 

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken

Ihave THE BEST game day recipe you’ll ever need! It is actually unbelievable that this recipe only requires two ingredients. Thats right- I said TWO! Chicken breasts and hot sauce. (Okay, you need water too, but hopefully you have a running faucet and I don’t need to include that as an ingredient.)slow cooker buffalo chickenSlow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is really simple to make. Literally, anyone can do it so you have no excuse not to serve up some home-cooking at your Super Bowl party this weekend. (I’m talking to all you lazy bones out there.)

All you need to do is add boneless chicken breasts to a slow cooker, combine equal parts water and hot sauce (NOT Tabasco or Sriracha) and pour over the chicken until just covered. Turn your crockpot on low for about 6 hours until chicken falls apart easily with a fork. Drain, shred, top with extra hot sauce if desired and serve!If you want a guaranteed WIN on game day, Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is it! It does not get any easier than this and you won’t believe the outcome. Seriously.When I first tested this recipe (many, many years ago), I thought there would be no way boneless, white meat chicken, cooked for hours, wouldn’t be dry and bland. I was wrong- plain and simple. It is juicy, satisfying and without the toppings, fat free. I don’t think it gets better than that.For a party, serve this with potato slider buns, lettuce and blue cheese dressing and let everyone make their own sliders.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
 

If you want a guaranteed WIN on game day, Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken is it! It does not get any easier than this and you won’t believe the outcome.

Course: Appetizer, finger food, game day, Main Course, party food
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buffalo, chicken, crock pot, easy appetizer, sliders
Ingredients
  • 4-6 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Your favorite fixings like rolls, blue cheese & lettuce
Instructions
  1. Place chicken in bowl of slow cooker. 

  2. Combine hot sauce and water in a measuring cup and mix to combine. Pour over and toss with the chicken. 

  3. The chicken should be submerged. If you need more continue to add equal parts hot sauce and water until chicken is just covered. 

  4. Cover and cook in slow cooker for 4-6 hours on low until the meat easily shreds with a fork. 

  5. Drain meat and shred chicken. (if you want it extra spicy, toss with more hot sauce or your favorite wings sauce at this stage. Be sure to add in small qualities and taste. Or serve on the side.)

  6. Serve with slider buns, romaine lettuce (cut to size), blue cheese dressing, and whatever other toppings you like! (Cheese and chopped scallions are also great toppings!)

Recipe Notes

This recipe is scalable based on your crowd. 4 average sized boneless chicken breasts will make 10-12 sliders based on how much you fill them. 

egg muffins

It wasn’t too long ago that I had friends coming in from out of town and I was planning a simple brunch for us to enjoy at home. While doing the shopping, I came across individual frittatas begin sold in a disposable muffin tin for a price too high to believe! This is what inspired this make ahead breakfast idea and ever since that first try, I have been hooked on making my own egg muffins, or more eloquently named, individual egg frittatas.The flavor combinations are endless. Here is a list of some of my “go-to” combinations.

  • Spinach, tomato and feta
  • Ham, caramelized onion and swiss
  • Mushroom, spinach and gruyere
  • Bacon, potato and cheddar
  • Broccoli & cheddar

The thing I love about making individual egg frittatas is that you can make several days worth at once and just simply reheat as needed. Of course you can reheat in the microwave, however I prefer them reheated them in the convection oven at 350 for about 6 – 8 minutes.

  • Save yourself the time and frustration and learn from my mistakes – use a silicone muffin pan to bake these in to prevent them from sticking and breaking the frittata.

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This is the silicone muffin tin that I decided to purchase and that I use weekly to make my mini egg frittatas with. It works like a dream and the egg never sticks to the pan. They pop right out!Buy Now

  • These individual egg frittatas are great for kids and adults and can even be eaten on the go.
  • I especially make these when I know I have a busy work week so I have no excuse not to eat a homemade breakfast.

Mini Egg Frittatas
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Course: Breakfast
Keyword: breakfast, brunch, eggs
Servings: 6 portions
Ingredients
  • 6 large eggs (preferably organic)
  • 6 tablespoons any combination of cooked meats or vegetables (sliced or diced)
  • 6 tbsp shredded cheese of choice (approximately)
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

  2. Spray a 6 cup Silicone muffin tray lightly with olive oil spray. Set aside. 

  3. Whisk 4 large or extra large eggs.

  4. Fill each cup 2/3 of the way up with egg mixture. (The eggs puff up considerably when cooking so DO NOT OVERFILL.)

  5. Add your cooked and seasoned meats, vegetables and cheeses to each egg cup. Swirl in ingredients lightly using a toothpick to distribute.

  6. Cook for about 20-22 minutes.

  7. Remove from pan and serve immediatly, or remove and let individual frittats cool on a baking rack then store in fridgerator for up to 3 days for reheating.

Basil Pesto in Jars

Sometimes you just can’t keep up with Basil’s speedy growth habits and you have to keep harvesting it it will go to seed before you know it. So what is one to do with all the summer’s sweet basil? The answer is Pesto!

At the end of each growing season I actually feel a loss when the Basil decides it has had enough producing and cashes it in for the year! But during the summer months we get to enjoy its prolific leaves in abundance. However, you need to keep an eye on your basil and keep it from going to seed. Once that happens, the leaves become bitter and are no longer good to use in recipes.The best part about making homemade Pesto is that it makes a lot and it freezes remarkably well, giving you the opportunity to enjoy its herbaceous flavor for months to come. I make sure to grow plenty of fresh genovese style basil so that I can make enough pesto to last through the winter.There are many, many pesto recipes out there which I originally found quite interesting because pesto only requires a handful of ingredients- how many variations could there be? Well, over time, I have learned that pesto is personal! You can take the exact same ingredients as someone else and the result can be astonishingly different. The freshness, the kind of basil, the quality, and the quantities all come together and produce a similar, yet notably different result. You have to make it yours, and make it just the way you like it.

I have tried many recipes over time and I continually come back to Ina Garten’s pesto recipe as my base, and then I tweak it to my taste.  I usually use less oil than the Contessa calls for, and occasionally I substitute the pignoli nuts for walnuts. The most important thing is to taste for seasoning and be sure to use the best quality ingredients that you can.

  • When tasting, keep in mind that your flavors will marry after sitting together after being blended, and that parmesan cheese is naturally salty so keep that in mind when adjusting your seasonings.
  • After transferring the pesto to your storage containers of choice, top with a thin layer of olive oil, cover and store until ready to use. This will keep it from spoiling and keep the color bright green.

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All salt is not created equal. The type of salt you cook with will absolutely impact your finished meal. If a recipe calls for 1 tbs kosher salt, which is what “better quality” recipes would assume you would be cooking with, and you use 1 tbs iodine salt then your final dish is likely to be way much more salty than the recipe intended. I only cook with Mortons Course Kosher Salt. Ever. That is why I can recommend it with confidence. Whatever you choose to cook with, be mindful and remember you can always put the salt in, but you can’t take the salt out! Buy Now

Basil Pesto
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

Use pesto as a sandwich spread, on pasta or toss with vegetables. Pesto has endless uses, freezes well in small portions and makes a great gift. 

Cuisine: Italian
Ingredients
  • .5 cup pignoli or walnuts (It's very important to make sure to use fresh nuts)
  • 2-3 tbsp chopped fresh garlic (Amount depends on intensity of the garlic & your taste preference)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed down lightly
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1.5 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup good quality, fresh grated parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Add the nuts and garlic into a food processor using the blade attachment. Process fro about 15 seconds.

  2. Add the basil, salt and pepper. 

  3. With the processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil through the feed tube and blend until the pesto is pureed well. 

  4. Add the parmesan and puree for about one minute.

  5. Use immediately or portion into air tight containers filling almost to the top. Add a thin layer of olive oil to the top to seal out any extra air and then secure with lid and freeze. 

Roasted Parmesan Broccoli

You can steam them, sauté them, grill them, but my favorite thing to do with almost all vegetables is roast them! After I discovered Ina Garten’s Roasted Brussel Sprout recipe, which led me to Giada De Laurentis’s Roasted Fennel with Parmesan recipe, I soon discovered that I could roast just about any vegetable.

I also discovered that I preferred eating vegetables this way. And what’s more? Nothing could be easier than tossing your favorite vegetable on a baking pan with some olive oil, salt and pepper and walking away.The recipe is just about the same for almost all vegetables. Toss vegetables in olive oil, salt, pepper, and my favorite addition- red chili flakes. Bake at 425 for about 10-15 minuets.  Flip.  Continue roasting for about another 10 min. The type of vegetable you use and how you prefer your vegetables cooked will determine timing.

When you are ready to serve, try topping with some parmesan or a squeeze of fresh lemon. Whatever vegetable you prefer, give roasting your veggies a try!I promise, you won’t steam another head of cauliflower ever again!

Here are some the recipes I started with that helped me become the happy roaster that I am today!