Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl

Every now and then I like to share things with you that aren’t exactly “recipes” but are just the random bowl meals that I make out of things found in my fridge. I’ve discovered so many great flavor combinations by experimenting with these bowl meals and I hope they inspire you as well. This Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl is my most recent favorite. It’s light and fresh for this early summer heat, but still filling enough to serve as a whole meal (for me, at least).

What’s In This Bowl

This cottage cheese crab bowl was inspired by the classic sushi roll, the California roll, which contains crab (or often times imitation crab), cucumber, and avocado. I had been seeing imitation crab every time I stopped and Aldi and I eventually started craving it, so I bought a pack, I grabbed a cucumber, and threw them on top of the cottage cheese I had in my fridge. I also went a step further and sprinkled on a little bit of Everything Bagel Seasoning, and a light drizzle of sriracha for fun. It’s not fancy, but it’s soooo good!

P.S. If you have avocado on hand, it would go marvelously with these flavors, just like it does in the California roll. 

What is Everything Bagel Seasoning?

Everything bagel seasoning has been taking the food market by storm lately. It’s basically the mix of ingredients that you’d find on top of an “everything” bagel, or sesame seeds, poppy seeds, flakey salt, dehydrated garlic, and dehydrated onion. I’m not sure who marketed this seasoning blend first, but the first time I saw it was at Trader Joes. It’s gotten so popular lately that several other grocery stores are now making their own version, including Kroger and Aldi. 

What is Imitation Crab?

Imitation crab might throw some people off, and I totally get it. Imitation crab is basically fish that has been processed to taste and look more like crab. It’s probably not the most wholesome choice of proteins, but it’s so much less expensive than real crab and since I only eat it maybe once a year, I’m not going to sweat it. I’m all about everything in moderation, and I encourage everyone to make the food choices that they are comfortable with. Here is a great article from Healthline breaking down exactly what imitation crab is and how it compares to real crab, so you can decide for yourself: What is Imitation Crab and Should I Eat It?

Can I Substitute…

The whole idea of a “bowl meal” is that you allow yourself to be a little experimental, throw in whatever you have, and just go with it. So, can you substitute the imitation crab? Sure, go with what you have. Maybe a soft boiled egg, some canned tuna, real crab, cooked salmon, or smoked salmon. Can you substitute the Everything Bagel Seasoning? Sure, maybe try some plain sesame seeds, or just some freshly cracked pepper and flakey sea salt. Can you substitute the cottage cheese? Sure, try a bed of rice, or maybe some fresh greens. I can’t guarantee you’ll like any of these substitutes, but the point is that you try it and see for yourself. 🙂

Close up of a bite of Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl on a fork

 
Overhead view of a Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl with a black fork in the side

Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl

This Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl is the perfect light, fresh, and filling lunch for summer. It also meal preps well, so pack a few to take to work for lunch! 
Total Cost $1.21 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 0 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Calories 149.2kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese $0.27
  • 1/2 cup chopped cucumber $0.32
  • 1/3 cup imitation crab $0.58
  • 1/4 tsp everything bagel seasoning $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp sriracha $0.02

Instructions

  • Add the cottage cheese, chopped cucumber, and crab meat to a bowl. Top with everything bagel seasoning and a light drizzle of sriracha.
  • Serve immediately, or refrigerate until ready to eat, up to four days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 149.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 15.4g | Protein: 15.7g | Fat: 2.8g | Sodium: 710.4mg | Fiber: 0.8g

Want more bowl meals? Check out our bowl meal category! 

How to Make Cottage Cheese Crab Bowls – Step by Step Photos

Sliced cucumber on a cutting board with a knife

Chop about a ½ cup cucumber. Depending on the girth of your cucumber, you may want to either halve or quarter the slices to make them bite-sized.

Imitation crab meat package

This is the imitation crab meat that I got at Aldi. You can usually find it in the seafood department in grocery stores, but at Aldi it’s with the seasonal refrigerated items. So I’m not sure if they’ll continue to carry this item forever.

Everything bagel seasoning bottle

And here is the everything bagel seasoning I used. I’ve used different brands and each seems to have a different salt content, so you may just want to add your seasoning to the bowl according to your tastes. I find that this one from Aldi has a lot more salt than the one from Kroger (I prefer the less salt version). 

Adding everything bagel seasoning to the crab bowl

To make the cottage cheese crab bowl, start with ½ cup cottage cheese, add ½ cup chopped cucumber, about ⅓ cup of the imitation crab, and then sprinkle on some of the everything bagel seasoning (I used ¼ tsp, but would have used more if it had less salt).

cottage cheese crab bowl being drizzled with sriracha

Finally, drizzle a little sriracha on top.

Finished Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl with a black fork in the side

Then enjoy! This bowl meal preps really well, so feel free to make a few for easy grab and go lunches later in the week!

The post Cottage Cheese Crab Bowl appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Borracho Beans

These Borracho beans (“Drunken” beans) are simmered in dark bear to create a bold and flavorful broth with pinto beans, bacon, chilis and spices. They can be made with dried or canned pinto beans and cooked on the stove-top, slow cooker or in the instant pot.

Serve them as a main dish or side dish alongside Chiles Relleno, Mexican Tamales, Chicken Enchiladas and more!

There’s a restaurant near my house that serves incredible Borracho Beans and I’ve been determined to make my own that are just as good! I adapted these from my tried and true Charro Beans recipe and they’re a total winner!

Continue reading “Borracho Beans”

To Die For Ooey Gooey S’mores Bars

Ooey Gooey S’mores Bars are a delicious treat inspired by campfire s’mores with melty marshmallow, a buttery graham cracker crust, and a rich-sweet chocolate.  These satisfying and easy to make bars are irresistible!

If you love s’mores then be sure to try Nutella s’mores bars too!  My family loves the creamy chocolate Nutella flavor and anything made with it is worth trying in our opinion!

Ooey Gooey S’mores Bars

Last weekend we went to a friend’s house for a barbecue.  We roasted marshmallows around their fire pit and everyone made s’mores.  It was so much fun!   Now, you know that I pride myself on being able to make a pretty fantastic s’more! However, my youngest really struggled.  After a few marshmallows dropped into the fire pit and a few caught fire, finally I got the idea to make a more practical version of this classic treat.  One that would still have all the classic marshmallow chocolate and graham cracker flavors without the hassle of the fire.

These ooey gooey bars are so quick and easy.  They are perfect for those of us with no patience for waiting for the perfect marshmallow, and those who want leftovers that can be eaten for days.  And let me tell you, the texture of biting into this ooey gooey s’mores bar is unbelievable!  It has the chewy graham cracker crust, and a warm, rich chocolate layer with marshmallow oozing out of every bite.   Such an amazing dessert that everyone will be craving all summer!!

Ingredients for Ooey Gooey S’mores Bars

These ingredients are all staples in my pantry.  I find that with these basics I am ready to make most of the desserts my family loves the most!

  • Graham crackers: The sweet and crunchy crust of the s’mores bars. (UK readers use digestive biscuits if you can’t find graham crackers)
  • All purpose flour: Combine together with graham crackers and salt.
  • Salt: Adjust to your taste depending on preference and the butter you use.
  • Butter: Softened to easily mix together with graham crackers. If you use unsalted add a bit of salt so the bar is not too sweet.
  • Brown Sugar: Rich sweetness mixed in to the chewy cracker crust.
  • Vanilla Extract: Brings out the other flavors and add its own richness into the graham cracker crust.
  • Hershey Bar’s: Hershey’s is my favorite, but any kind will work.
  • Marshmallow fluff: Sweet gooey marshmallow

How to Make Ooey Gooey S’Mores Bars

These yummy treats are so easy to make and even easier to disappear! The hardest part is waiting for these babies to cool! Sometimes I even put them in the freezer to speed up the process!

  1. Prep: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  2. Crush graham crackers:  In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker sheets until finely ground without any lumps. Combine it with the flour and salt and set aside.
  3. Make Crust: Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the graham cracker and flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
  4. Form Layers:Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of your 8×8 inch pan. Lay the Hershey Bars evenly across the bottom. Using a small spoon dollop the marshmallow fluff evenly on top of the nutella. Crumble the remaining dough on top. I would kind of pat the dough flat with my hands and lay it on top and spread it on top. Some of the marshmallow will peek through.
  5. Bake: Place in oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let them completely cool before cutting. They can still be a little warm and are amazing!

 

Steps to make Ooey Gooey S'mores bars.

More S’Mores Please!

I couldn’t believe how easy it was to create such a sweet, transportable s’mores dessert!  In what felt like no time I was serving these delicious treats up and everyone was amazed at how delicious they were! To make the most perfect version for your friends and family (or for yourself…self care is so important!) consider these things I learned when making mine.

  • Chocolate: Use any chocolate you have.  To me the Hershey’s Chocolate bar is the exact chocolate flavor I am looking for in a s’mores dessert.  However, any chocolate bar that you love will work great!
  • Add Peanut Butter: I experimented with adding in peanut butter and crunchy peanut butter. I have to say I loved the creamy!  I would advise melting the peanut butter slightly so it easier to spread over the chocolate layer.
  • Garnish: Add some chocolate chips on the top for an impressive presentation.  It is totally not necessary for taste, but it looks great!
  • Parchment Paper: To get a great layer of graham cracker on the top of your bars form the dough on a piece of parchment paper then carefully flip onto the top of the marshmallow fluff.  It will be easier than trying to spread it on top of the sticky fluff.
  • Graham Cracker: Be sure when you crush the graham crackers you have no big chunks left.

Serving S’Mores:

Although usually a great sign of a well made s’more is a messy face, this s’mores bar is meant to look a little more put together.  So here are my tips for having great looking s’mores bars in addition to their fantastic taste!

  • Cool: Let the bars cool completely before cutting into them. (I recommend chilling in the refrigerator overnight) Otherwise, you will have a hot mess of marshmallow fluff and chocolate.  Delicious, but not so pretty.
  • Parchment Paper: After the bars have cooled, using the edge of the parchment paper lift the bars out of the baking dish.  Then, cut into small squares.
  • Store: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-5 days.

S'Mores bars cut in squares and in rows.

Don’t Forget these S’mores Desserts Too:

  • No Bake S’mores Pie
  • S’mores Fudge Pops
  • Gooey S’mores Cookies
  • S’mores Brownies
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup S’mores
  • S’mores Dip

Print

To Die For Ooey Gooey S’mores Bars

Ooey Gooey S’mores Bars are a delicious treat inspired by campfire s’mores with melty marshmallow, a buttery graham cracker crust, and a rich-sweet chocolate.  These satisfying and easy to make bars are irresistible!
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Keyword smores bars
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 12 Pieces
Calories 272kcal
Author Alyssa Rivers

Ingredients

  • 9 sheets graham crackers
  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter softened
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 Hershey Bar’s
  • 1/2 jar marshmallow fluff 7 oz.

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 8×8 inch pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  • In a food processor, pulse the graham cracker sheets until finely ground without any lumps. Combine it with the flour and salt and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Add the graham cracker and flour mixture and mix until incorporated.
  • Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of your 8×8 inch pan. Lay the Hershey Bars evenly across the bottom. Using a small spoon dollop the marshmallow fluff evenly on top of the hersheys chocolate pieces. Crumble the remaining dough on top. I would kind of pat the dough flat with my hands and lay it on top and spread it on top. Some of the marshmallow will peek through.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Let them completely cool before cutting. They can still be a little warm and are amazing!

Nutrition

Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 41mg | Sodium: 306mg | Potassium: 51mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 473IU | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg

S’mores bars stacked on top of each other.

 

Zucchini Bread

This recipe makes a single beautiful loaf of walnut studded zucchini bread. And a sizable one at that. For years I would load my zucchini bread batter with all manner of zest, spice, and whatnot. But that’s not how I roll anymore. Over the years I began to prefer this pared-down and more minimalist version. Moist, just sweet enough and loaded with toasted walnuts inside and out, it has a sweet nut-crusted top, requires just one pan and is a rustic stunner. If you’re looking for a go-to zucchini bread recipe, give this a shot.

A Few Zucchini Bread Tips

Pre-grate & Freeze Excess Zucchini: When you have more zucchini than you know what to do with, grate it and divide 2 1/2 cup portions into freezer bags. Thaw and use with this recipe later in the year.

Too Much: If you’ve baked more zucchini bread than you can eat, slice it, divide with parchment paper, and freeze in baggies. When you’re ready for it, thaw and toast (or toast in a pan with a bit of butter).

Accurate Baking Time: A cake tester is important here. This is a big loaf and you want to make sure the interior is cooked though. If cake batter is visible on your tester keep baking in 7-10 minute increments. 

Yellow Summer Squash Are OK Too! You can basically use any summer squash you like here. Classic green-skinned zucchini are most typical, but you can also use eight-ball squash, patty pan, crooked neck squash, etc. I like to leave the skins on all of them for the color-flecks they lend to the batter. One thing to keep an eye out for is any squash that has developed seeds. Just scoop those out prior too grating.

Variations

My Special Zucchini Bread: This is the more maximalist version of zucchini bread I’ve featured here since 2008. To the batter add: the zest of 2 lemons, 1/4 cup poppy seeds, 1/3 cup finely chopped crystalized ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon favorite curry powder. So fragrant!

All the Zests Zucchini Bread: Add the zest of 3 limes, 2 oranges, and 3 lemons. Consider swapping almond extract for the vanilla extract.

Basil & Lemon Zucchini Bread: Add 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil and zest of two lemons to the we ingredients. You can use Italian or lemon basil.

Zucchini Oat Bread: An idea I haven’t tested yet, but want to mention it in case someone wants to give it a try. Swap 1/3 cup of the flour for old-fashioned oats.

Raz el Hanout Zucchini Bread: I’ve baked a delicious version using a Raz el Hanout spice blend, highly recommended! Just add 1 tablespoon of Raz el Hanout to your dry ingredients.

Zucchini Bread Muffins: Yes, you can make muffins! Fill lined muffin tins 2/3 full – 3/4 if you’re living on the edge! And bake until golden and cooked through.

More Zucchini Ideas

If you have a garden that is anything like ours, it’s putting off an incredible number of zucchini right now. Take a look at these zucchini recipes. I’ve been trying to come up with more recipes that put a real dent in the zucchini supply. So far, this Pasta with Smashed Zucchini Cream is a favorite, and this Grilled Zucchini & Bread Salad is perfect for summer & using up extra sourdough at the end of the week. And we love this Simple Sauteed Zucchini, especially with a little side action of this favorite pesto.

Enjoy! And please leave notes in the comments if you have other variations you like.

Continue reading Zucchini Bread on 101 Cookbooks

New Orleans Gumbo

This New Orleans Gumbo is a southern classic! It is full of sausage, shrimp, the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables, okra, and a dark roux. Enjoy the flavors of Louisiana in this comforting Creole dish!

Every region of the country has their signature dish and Gumbo is the star of Louisiana. This soup is so full of flavor and comfort. For more southern favorites, try Beignets, Southern Hush puppies, and Shrimp Creole.

A bowl of New Orleans Gumbo and rice topped with scallions.

New Orleans Gumbo

You many not be able to travel to the south and enjoy all the yummy comfort food but you can still enjoy it in your own home! This gumbo is actually quite easy to make. The hardest thing is being patient with cooking the roux but you can do it!

What is Gumbo?

Gumbo is a popular Louisiana soup and is actually the state’s official cuisine. Gumbo can be Cajun or Creole but almost all are made with a dark roux, a combination of meat and shellfish, Creole or Cajun Seasoning, and the “holy trinity” of vegetables- green bell pepper, onion, and celery.

A stew of shrimp, okra, tomatoes, and sausage in a pot.

How to make Gumbo:

A good gumbo takes time and attention, especially in the beginning, but it pays off.

  1. Make the Roux– Heat butter over medium-low heat in a large deep pot. When melted, whisk in the flour a little at a time and then continue to cook, stirring constantly (Don’t walk away!), until it is as dark as chocolate, about 30-40 minutes.
  2. Add the onions, peppers, and celery and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  3. Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
  4. Add the okra and simmer another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a skillet with oil over medium high heat and cook sausage 2-3 minutes per side.
  5. Stir the sausage and raw shrimp into the gumbo and simmer another 4-5 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
  6. Serve over white rice and garnish with scallions.

Process shots of making a dark roux; mixing in celery, onion, and green bell pepper; and adding in tomatoes and seasoning.

What is the difference between Creole and Cajun Gumbo?

Cajun gumbo uses oil for the roux and does not contain any tomatoes. A Creole Gumbo typically contains tomatoes and uses butter in the roux. The recipe below uses tomatoes, tomato sauce, and butter so it is a Creole version.

Can it be made in advance?

The roux can be make up to 4 days in advance and then stored in the fridge. Making the roux in advance will save you a lot of time since that is where the bulk of your undivided attention is needed.

Like with any soup or stew, gumbo tastes best the next day so making it in advance works great.

Tips for making the best Gumbo:

  • Do not rush or shorten the cooking time of your roux. The darker the roux, the more depth of flavor your gumbo will have.
  • Do not burn your roux. Cooking the roux requires your full attention so make it when you don’t have distractions. You can always store it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it in your soup.
  • Use okra! It is delicious and helps to thicken the broth. Fresh okra isn’t as readily available around the country but you should be able to find frozen okra in your local grocery store and it works just as well.

A pot of authentic Gumbo made up of okra, tomatoes, shrimp, and sausage.

More southern classics you’ll love!

  • Easy Sausage Balls
  • Cajun Popcorn Shrimp
  • Chicken Fried Steak
  • Easy Shrimp Creole
  • Cajun Garlic Shrimp and Grits

A bowl of shrimp, sausage, and okra gumbo over rice.

Print

New Orleans Gumbo

This New Orleans Gumbo Recipe is a southern classic! It is full of sausage, shrimp, the “Holy Trinity” of vegetables, okra, and a dark roux. Enjoy the flavors of Louisiana in this comforting Creole dish!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword Gumbo recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 8 People
Calories 397kcal
Author Melanie Dueck

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup yellow onion chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 cup celery chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning (without salt)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen okra sliced 1/2″ thick
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 12 ounces Andouille sausage sliced into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1 pound raw shrimp peeled and deveined
  • 4 scallions sliced
  • cooked basmati rice

Instructions

  • Heat butter over medium-low heat in a large deep pot. When melted, whisk in the flour a little at a time and then continue to cook, stirring constantly, until as dark as chocolate, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Add the onions, peppers, and celery and cook for 6-8 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook another minute.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaves, Cajun seasoning, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer uncovered for 45 minutes.
  • Add the okra and simmer another 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat a skillet with oil over medium high heat and cook sausage 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Stir the sausage and raw shrimp into the gumbo and simmer another 4-5 minutes or until shrimp is pink and cooked through.
  • Serve over white rice and garnish with scallions.

Nutrition

Calories: 397kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 209mg | Sodium: 1889mg | Potassium: 739mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1684IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 175mg | Iron: 4mg