My Favorite Main Dishes
Spaghetti Trinidad, Chicken Picata, Braised Short Ribs, Spinach Fettucine w/Feta Cheese, Scallops Mediterranean, White Pizza, California Roll Sushi, Baked Chicken w/ Broccoli in Curry Sauce, Homemade Pesto Sauce, Allison's Crab Cakes, Steamed Blue Crabs, Fried Soft Shell Crabs, Quiche Lorraine, Spinach Quiche, Fresh Basil & Cilantro Pesto for Pasta, Crab Imperial, Maryland Crab Cakes, Robin's Crab Cakes

Spaghetti Trinidad (My own recipe.)
1 box spaghetti
1 pkg. bacon
olive oil
1 onion
garlic cloves, to suit your taste
baby carrots, sliced into thin coins
1 green pepper
salt & pepper to taste
parmesan Cheese

Fry bacon, cool, drain, crumble, set aside. Start salted, boiling water for spaghetti. Heat olive oil. Saute onion, thin sliced baby carrots, green pepper and fresh garlic clove. Drain pasta. Toss all ingredients together, add more olive oil, fresh ground salt and pepper and be very generous with parmesan cheese. This dish is great the first day and spectacular the second day. There will never be leftovers of this dish!

Why I call this dish "Spaghetti Trinidad". When I was about 8 years old, we had a maid named Juliana, who was from Trinidad. She used to make a dish we dubbed "Spanish Spaghetti".  Early in my marriage, I was fantasizing about this long ago forgotten taste. I went into the kitchen and started playing around, trying to remember what it tasted like. This is the dish that I came up with and I *think* it's exactly what she used to make us. I renamed the dish in honor of where Juliana was from and wonder whatever happened to her from time to time.

Patti's Chicken Piccata
Chicken Breasts
1 or 2 lemons
Fresh Ground Salt & Pepper
Canola Oil

Bone and pound chicken to 1/4 inch.
Put as much salt & pepper as you prefer into the flour and dredge the chicken. Heat oil in cast iron pan, cook chicken and when almost done, sprinkle lemon juice and capers.
This dish has to be done in batches and the chicken cooks quickly. I place the cooked chicken on a plate with aluminum foil to keep it hot.

This is a great dish even my kids will eat. If everyone is in the kitchen when I'm preparing it, they stand around like vultures and can hardly wait until it's done.

Robin's favorite recipe for:
Braised Short Ribs

Short Ribs for 4 people (about 2 lbs)
Garlic powder
Ground Rosemary
Salt and pepper
Teriyaki Sauce (see bottom)

Season short ribs with garlic powder and ground rosemary, salt and pepper. Cover ribs and then refrigerate for a few hours to marinate. (or overnight)

When ready, sear the meat on all sides in a cast iron pan, place in roasting pan with lid.

Pour one cup of Teriyaki sauce over meat, then bake low and slow for 3 hours at 275 with lid on.

When done there will be a lot of liquid left over at the bottom of the pan. Drain off liquid stock and then separate fat for gravy (use a fat separator). Simmer gently to enhance  thicken the left over stock for gravy.

Serve over rice.

Make your own Teriyaki Sauce:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup sweet rice wine vinegar (aka Mirin)
2 tablespoons sugar

Spinach Fettucine w/Feta Cheese
6 ounces spinach fettucine,
broken into 3-4 inch pieces
2 tbs. olive oil
6 green onions, chopped
1 box (10 ounces) frozen Chopped Spinach
2 tbs. water
1/2 pound low-fat ricotta cheese
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg (optional)
In a large pot, cook fettucine according to package directions; rinse under water; drain well. Keep warm.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; coat surface of pan well. Add onions and sauté.
Reduce heat to low; add spinach and water. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes or until spinach is tender.
Add ricotta, feta and nutmeg. Simmer about 3 minutes, stirring until cheeses are creamy and smooth. Add more water if necessary.
Add cooked fettucine; toss to coat with cheese mixture and heat through.

Scallops Mediterranean
1/4 cup flour
1 Garlic clove
1 fresh lemon
Parmesan cheese
1 lb scallops

Wash scallops and drain, roll in flour. Saute minced garlic for one minute in butter in cast iron pan. Add scallops, squeeze fresh lemon juice while cooking and when almost done (scallops turn white) sprinkle on the parmesan cheese. Serve with pasta of choice.

White Pizza

Homemade Pizza Dough
(Takes 2 and a half hours prep time until ready to use. Plan on making the dough earlier.)

3 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water (like a hot bath)
1 tablespoon yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tsp salt

Options: Add basil,  oregano or powdered garlic to dough for added flavor.

I use my Cuisinart food processor with dough blade, you could use a bread machine.

To the food processor:
First add warm water, then salt and honey. Mix for a few seconds and then add the yeast. Let sit for a few minutes.  Mix in a cup or so of flour, pulse a few times, then add olive oil. Add the rest of the flour. Turn on and let it go until you have a one giant ball rolling around the bowl.  If too dry, add water by the tablespoonful. If too wet, add small amounts of flour.

Throw some flour on the counter or cutting board and knead for a minute or two.  Place the dough in a covered bowl and store in a warm area to rise.

After an hour or so the dough should have doubled in size.  Knead the dough for 3-5 minutes.  Cover and let rise for one more hour.

Roll out the dough. (I use a pizza stone made by Pampered Chef, it works great.)  For a real pizza feel, add some corn meal to the pizza stone before you lay out the dough.

Now to the the white part of a White Pizza, but a word first, this is my recipe. I looked all over to see if there a basic, classic White Pizza recipe and could fine none. Every single recipe is different.
So here is my rendition and I must say, it is delish! Bon Appetit!

1 8 oz container of Ricotta cheese
1/2 container of FRESH mozzarella from Deli section.
(chop the cheese coarsely)  or use
1 cup shredded mozzarella (the regular kind)
1/2 cup shredded or chopped provolone
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped garlic
1 tsp Oregano

In a bowl, combine:
Ricotta, garlic, salt, half of the parmesan, mix until spreadable.

Roll the dough out and place on baking stone. Create an edge with dough. Sprinkle a tablespoon of olive oil on dough.

Spread the Ricotta mixture on the dough. Then add the fresh mozzarella and chopped provolone. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan, add salt to your liking, then Oregano.

I added grape tomatoes at the end, you could add anything else you like, such as ham, onions, olives...

Bake at 375° F for about 25 minutes on the lower half of the oven. (To brown the crust.)
Click to see photos enlarged:

white pizza
White Pizza BEFORE baking

white pizza
White Pizza AFTER baking

California Rolls (Sushi)
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup warm cooked rice
2 tbs. sesame seeds
1/2 cooked crabmeat or surimi
3 tbs red caviar
1/2 cup avocado
Wasabi paste

To prepare rice for this or any sushi dish, rice must be pickled. Combine vinegar and sugar in an enamel saucepan and bring to boil. Cook, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat. Stir 2 tbs. of vinegar-sugar mixture into the cooked, still warm, rice. Warm rice absorbs the mixture more completely. Stir sesame seeds into rice.

Making sushi is an art form. I tried to do it the traditional way, using that bamboo roller. If you do it this way, lay a sheet of seaweed then rice and ingredients. Roll with bamboo and cut with very sharp knife into bite size pieces.

A simple method would be:

Press pickled rice into a square on a serving platter. Cut rice into squares, Press each square lightly so that rice clings. Press a bit of crabmeat, caviar, avocado and top with a bit of wasabi paste. Dip into soy sauce and enjoy!

Baked Chicken w/ Broccoli in Curry Sauce
6 cooked, boneless chicken breasts
2 cups cooked Broccoli
1 Can of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 C Mayonnaise
Mozzarella Cheese and or combo of mild cheddar
Curry Powder

Preheat oven to 350.

Gently boil the chicken breasts and let cool. Cut into large bite size chunks.

Cut up broccoli into individual florettes, steam or microwave to partial doneness. If you like crunchy broc at the end of the dish, omit prior cooking.

In a large bowl, mix soup & mayo mixture, add a bit of milk if you wish it to blend easier.

Add the chicken and broccoli into the soup mixture in the large bowl, mix and coat ingredients well.

Then pour into casserole baking dish. Top with cheese and then sprinkle with curry powder (heavy or lightly depending on your taste for curry). Cover with foil. Bake for 1 hour at 350. Uncover foil last 10 minutes of cooking. Kids will eat this dish.

Robin's Homemade Pesto Sauce
Tons of Basil (hand fulls)
Tons of Parsley
Fresh Garlic Cloves, as much as you like.
Salt & Pepper
Pine Nuts or Pecans
Olive Oil
Parmesan Cheese

This recipe is a family favorite. Throw all ingredients into food processor. Use any amount of each ingredients to your
own particular taste. No matter the proportions, it always comes out tasting the same. When I'm out of pinenuts, I use pecans and it adds a hearty, meaty flavor.

Great on homemade pasta or use as a dip.

Allison's Maryland Crab Cakes
1 lb. Maryland Blue Claw Crab Meat
12 Saltine Crackers, crumbled
2 tbs Mayonnaise
1 tbs. Grey Poupon mustard
1 egg
Old Bay seasoning, according to taste
Maggi Seasoning - 5 drops or more to taste.

Clean crab; mix all ingredients. Form into patties. Bake on baking sheets, sprayed with Pam. Dot each crab cake with margarine. Bake at 400 for20 minutes or until browned. Serve with fresh lemon, tartar or/and cocktail sauce.

Steamed Blue Crabs
1/2 cup seafood seasoning
1/2 cup salt
3 cups white vinegar
3 cups beer (or water)
3 dozen live Maryland Blue hard crabs
Mix seasonings, vinegar and beer (or water) well. Put one-half crabs in a very large pot with rack and TIGHT fitting lid. Pour one-half of seasoning mixture over top. Add rest of crabs and remaining liquid. Steam covered, until crabs turn bright red color, about 20 to 30 minutes. Serve hot or cold. Serves 9-12, depending on the size of the crabs.

Fried Soft Shell Crabs
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
12 Maryland soft shell crabs, cleaned
fat or oil, for frying
Mix together flour and seafood seasoning. Dredge crabs in flour mixture to coat well.

In large fry pan or electric skillet, heat about 1/2 inch cooking oil to 375 degrees Farenheit. Add crabs and turn heat down to 350 degrees. Cook crabs until browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Serves 6 (2 crabs each).

Quiche Lorraine
1 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cups chopped ham  or 1/2 lb cooked, crumbled bacon
6 eggs
1 cup milk  (cream works too, much richer and of course more fattening)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar (or any cheese mixture you prefer)
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
Optional: Fresh ground pepper
No need to salt as ham is salty, or salt to taste.

Saute ham and onions in butter or light olive oil, set aside to cool.
Beat together eggs. Add milk, beat.
Put pie crust on baking sheet.
Add cheese as first layer;
add cooled ham and onions
Pour egg mixture into pie crust.

Bake 350° about 45 minutes. Check by inserting knife, if it's clean, it's done and should be golden brown on top.
Serve with dollop of sour cream.

Spinach Quiche
1 9-inch deep dish frozen pie crust
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 box frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed
mushrooms are optional and good
6 eggs
1 cup milk  (cream works too, much richer and of course, more fattening)
1/2 cup swiss cheese or feta cheese
1/2 cup mozzarella

Saute spinach and onions with olive oil and/or butter, salt and pepper to taste, set aside to cool slightly.

Beat together eggs. Add milk, beat.
Put pie crust on baking sheet.
Add combined cheese as first layer;
add cooled spinach and onions
Pour egg mixture into pie crust.
Sprinkle with nutmeg and bake.

Bake 350° about 45 minutes. Check by inserting knife, if it's clean, it's done and should be golden brown on top.
Serve with dollop of sour cream.

Fresh Basil & Cilantro Pesto for Pasta
Fresh Basil,
Fresh Cilantro
Olive Oil
Fresh Parmesan Cheese
Fresh Garlic to suit your taste
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Directions: Chop by hand fresh basil & cilantro, then add to remaining ingredients.

Use as much garlic as you prefer.

Or my preferred method: dump all contents into a food processor. Can be used as a dip for french bread and veggies or as a sauce on pasta.

Crab Imperial
2 pounds Maryland backfin crabmeat
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons chopped pimento
2 teaspoons whole capers
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
6 drops liquid hot pepper sauce
8 aluminum or ceramic scallop shaped baking shells
8 tablespoons mayonnaise
paprika for garnish

Remove all cartilage from crabmeat. Place crabmeat in a large bowl. Mix mayonnaise, pimento, capers, Worcestershire sauce, salt and liquid hot pepper sauce together and blend well. Pour over crabmeat and toss LIGHTLY. Divide crabmeat between eight scallop shells and top each shell with one tablespoon mayonnaise. Sprinkle with paprika. Place shells on cookie sheet or shallow baking pan and bake for 20 minutes in 375 degree Farenheit oven. Serve at once.
Makes 8 servings.

Maryland Crab Cakes
1 pound Maryland crabmeat (pasteurized or fresh)
1/2 cup cracker crumbs or bread crumbs
2 eggs (or 1 large)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dry mustard
Carefully remove all cartilage from crabmeat. In a bowl, mix together eggs, mayonnaise, seafood seasoning, white pepper, Worcestershire sauce and dry mustard. Add crabmeat; mix evenly and gently. Add cracker crumbs evenly. Shape into 6 cakes. Deep fry in oil at 350 degrees Farenheit for 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown. Or saute in a frying pan with a little oil for 5 minutes on each side.

Robin's Crab Cakes
1 lb lump crab meat (cleaned)
1 egg
1/2 cup mayo
1/2 cup bread crumbs (can be seasoned or unseasoned)
1 level tsp of Old Bay --less or more to your taste
Combine, gently toss, try not to break large lumps...
Instructions:Form crab cakes, then take another cup of bread crumbs, place in bowl, and roll the formed crab cake in bread crumbs.

Place on rack in baking sheet or directly in pan if you prefer.
Melt a half stick of butter and add 1 tsp of fresh crushed garlic to melted butter. Pour evenly over each crab cake (6 med size or 4 large size)

Bake in 350 oven for 20 minutes or Broil --BUT WATCH CAREFULLY-- to prevent burning for 7-10 minutes.

(I prefer baking for 20 minutes, the bread crumb coating should be a golden brown. The bread crumbs help keep the crab cake together.)

My favorite thing to make for dinner is reservations !