Lump Crab Cocktail

This is an easy, but fancy thing that I make for quiet nights at home.  Usually with a nice glass of bubbly or as an appetizer before a steak dinner.  The lump crab is a little pricey, so we reserve this one for special occasions.  This recipe is quick and easy to put together, but it goes a long way.   If its more than a party of 2, you can add lettuce to the bottom on the glasses to make the crab go further or these would be gorgeous in martini glasses.

  • I lb can of LUMP crab meat (make sure it says "lump")
  • lemon wedges

Empty to crab into a bowl and gently, toss with your hands to be sure that there are no shells. Be careful not to break up the lumps.    Lightly sprinkle with juice of 1/2 a lemon.

For the quick cocktail sauce:

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2-3 splashes of hot sauce (how hot to do you like it?)
  • 2 tbsp. horseradish
  • 2-3 splashes of Worchestershire sauce
  • zest of the lemon, juice of the lemon

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To assemble:

In a glass, add lettuce leaves (optional), spoon in cocktail sauce, top with some of the crab. Add a lemon wedge for garnish. 


xo & a pinch, 

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Pineapple St~Germain Martini

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And just like that, its summer!  

Scroll down, our last post is about cozy, rich French onion soup.  What a difference a day (or two) makes!  

We've been revisiting our old friend, St~Germain by adding it to practically every drink we make.  Its so versatile, but also special.  Here, we're celebrating the promise of tropical weather- a little sunshine in a glass!

  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 1 ozSt~Germain Elderflower Liquor
  • 1 1/2 oz vodka
  • 1/2 oz pineapple juice

Shake all ingredients with ice and pour into a chilled martini glass.   Garnish with pineapple or lime slice.

Feet up, deep breath, sip... & repeat!


Measure & Pinch

* Thank you Red Bliss at Home for the gorgeous Gold Nexus Coaster Set. They are simply stunning!


The Classics: Fried Chicken Cutlets (with a little zest)

Now I'm not about to suggest that fried chicken cutlets are the key to a healthy marriage, but they certainly help to keep husbands happy.  Well mine, at least.  Pete loves breaded, fried anything, but chicken cutlets are his favorite.  He loves them and they make him happy.  I think they bring back childhood memories or something. The love is real and true.

Me on the other hand, I try my very best to eat light and healthy.  Really, I do!   Being over 40 and carrying around a post-baby/no-time-to-work-out body will do that to a girl. But diet-bending a bit for love is worth extra calories, painful splatter, greasy paper towels and pan and entire kitchen...

I have to admit, pan fried chicken cutlets are truly delicious.  To these,  I add fresh parsley and lemon zest to the bread crumb mixture to take them to a zippy new level.   At the end, when they are resting, I add a lemon spritz and parsley garnish. They taste so fresh & light, it makes you completely forget that you're eating something that's been dredged in breading and FRIED IN OIL!!!!   

Make a big batch because you'll use them later in the week when your husband is mad about your AMEX bill, or use them for sandwiches, salads, etc.  They're magically zesty & delicious.

What you'll need:

  • 6 chicken cutlets, pounded out under clear wrap or in a large plastic food bag
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked with a splash of water
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice for seasoning
  • 1 cup vegetable oil

What you'll do:

Add oil to large, stainless skillet and heat on medium-high.  Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, add eggs and splash of water, salt and pepper, whisk.  In a second shallow bowl or rimmed plate, add bread crumbs, cheese, 1/2 of the parsley and lemon zest.

Salt and pepper your chicken cutlets, then dredge each cutlet in the egg and then into the bread crumbs and place in the hot skillet.

Don't crowd your pan, it will reduce the heat. Rather, brown the chicken in batches.  Once browned on each side, set on a plate with sheets of paper towel to absorb the excess oil.    Once all of the chicken is browned, place on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes.  Then, sprinkle with remaining chopped parsley and lemon.

How do you make your chicken cutlets?  Do they inspire your other half to do dishes?

xo & a pinch,





Mushroom Pizza Bites

Like most humans that walk that earth and eat, I LOVE pizza.  I love all pizza.  I love pizza with mushrooms, pepperoni, peppers, sausage, arugula, pineapple, meatball, lobster- anything.   I love a white pie, a dessert pie, a clam pie.   You get the picture.   Unfortunately, pizza = carbs.  

So, when those pizza cravings come (daily), I love these little bites.  They're easy, versatile, pizza-y and carb-free.  I know, sauce and cheese on a mushroom, does not a pizza make. But with your favorite toppings, these may hold you over until the delivery guy arrives.  

Heres what you'll need for this "non-recipe" recipe:

  • 8-10 mushrooms, cleaned, stems discarded
  • olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • garlic salt, about 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 cup marinara sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • basil, torn for garnish
  • red pepper flakes  
  • dried oregano  

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2.  On a sheet pan, covered with parchment paper (or not) place mushrooms in pile.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle garlic salt and toss.  Arrange on the pan, mushroom ribs facing up. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes.

3.  Remove from the oven and carefully pat mushrooms dry with a paper towel.  Add a teaspoon of sauce to each mushroom and top with cheese.  Bake again for another 5-8 minutes.  Turn the oven on broil for the last 3 minutes to brown the cheese.

4. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Top with red pepper flakes, dried oregano and torn basil, if you'd like.  

Cravings satiated! 

xo & a pinch,


Bacon-Wrapped Dates

The crowd-pleaser award goes to....  the Bacon-Wrapped Date!

This is hands-down the easiest, best, 2 ingredient, sweet & spicy, warm, fall-like little bite that everyone loves.  Well, everyone that enjoys bacon wrapped around a sweet, chewy little morsel of heaven.

Here's what you'll need for a dozen:

  • 12 pitted dates.   (if they aren't pitted, just slice open and remove pit)
  • 6 slices of bacon, each slice cut in half.

Here's what you do:

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with foil.

2.  Wrap each date with a 1/2 slice of bacon.   Place on foil-lined pan with the seam of the bacon on the bottom.

3.  Bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until bacon is crisp.

 4. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving. The sweet chewy date will be delicious, but scorching hot!

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

You can also prepare these ahead and keep covered with foil until you are ready to bake.

These are a scrumptious bite with pre-dinner cocktails or bubbles!

Cheers!  Happy Holidays!


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Arnold Palmer Bar

For my step-son's 16th birthday celebration, we created an Arnold Palmer bar.   Iced tea, lemonade, ice and fruity add-ins!  Its hardly a recipe.  We didn't even brew the tea or squeeze lemons, but tiny effort sometimes bears festive results.  The birthday boy loved it. He loves a good Arnold Palmer and he's actually a golf caddy, so perfect!

For our bar, we had a pitcher of lemonade, a pitcher of iced tea and ice.   For our add-ins we chopped fresh cherries, raspberries and peaches.   We sprinkled a bit of sugar on them so that they macerate and get a little saucy.  We also sliced lemons & limes and picked mint from the garden.  The Ball jars are perfect for this because you do your little prep-work early, cover them up for the day, twist them open when your ready to set up and Voila! Instant Iced Tea Party! 

What add-ins would you use?

Oh, and did you know that a vodka-spiked Arnold Palmer is called a John Daly? 

Happy Summer!

xo & a pinch,



Stove Top Clam Bake

It was a gorgeous summer weekend here on the Jersey Shore.  From Friday to Sunday, we were in swim suits, slathered in sunscreen, eating ice cream and burgers, swimming, playing games, enjoying time with family and friends.  For us, its what summer is all about and we are truly grateful for these wonderful times. 

On Saturday, we celebrated my step-son's 16th birthday and this is what we served- a back yard clam bake!  All the deliciousness with no sand in your pants!  

Once you clean your seafood and do your chopping, it only takes about 30 minutes before you have a knock-out classic New England clam bake from your stovetop.  The end result is totally festive and shouts out "HAPPY SUMMER!" 

Heres what you'll need to generously serve 8-10 people.  We used two large platters. Only one is pictured here:

  • 6 dozen clams, washed
  • 4 dozen shrimp, shelled and deveined
  • 4 polish kielbasa, chopped into chunks (we used Hillshire Farms)
  • 10 ears of corn, husked and halved
  • 3 lbs of red potatoes, chopped into 1 inch chunks
  • parsley, a large bunch, chopped
  • garlic,  5 large cloves, chopped
  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 1  28 oz. box of chicken broth or seafood stock
  • Old Bay seasoning, 1 tsp
  • red pepper flakes,  1/2 tsp
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • salt, 1 tsp

1.   In a very large pot, over high heat add wine, stock, garlic, Old Bay, red pepper flakes, salt, 1/2 of the parsley.  Bring to a boil.

2.  Add potatoes, corn & kielbasa. Cover to cook for 10 minutes.

3.  Add shrimp. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes until opaque.

4.  Stir everything and add clams. Cover for 10 minutes or until clams are opened.  

5.  To serve, use a large slotted spoon to scoop everything into a large serving platter.   Spoon some broth over the entire dish.  Garnish with lemons and parsley.

6.  Accept kudos, compliments and maybe even, applause from your guests.


Happy Summer!!

xo & a pinch,