barbequed shrimp

barbequed shrimp recipe from betty's cook nook
Checking The Box

As I sit to write this post I think to myself “How well do I really know things about shrimp?”

Turns out not very well!

Why? Well, as a child of 8 who had an unforgettable unpleasant experience with oysters, I’ve since found seafood literally quite fishy, meaning I typically run from it. Batter it up, fry it, and top it with some fresh squeezed lemon or tartar sauce and I’ll come running back. While crab, grilled salmon, Luby’s fried fish, lobster mac and cheese, even some ceviche are right at home in my belly, my list of “no thank yous” include shrimp cocktail, seafood salad, and the likes of anything resembling octopus and squid. Don’t even get me started about a fish served with a head and a glaring, glazed eye. N.O.

So in the end my knowledge of seafood is what I’d call a short story. Two ships that passed in the night. An un-love affair.

A Fish By Any Other Name

When I established this cooking blog I wanted to organize it identically to how Mom organized the sections in her cookbook. Despite my goal there have been recipes that break convention and this recipe is one of them; the only possible two categories this recipe would likely fit under is “appetizers” or “meats poultry and fish.” So I thought: “Check meats poultry and fish!”

Not. So. Fast.

I turned to Google and started researching to find out what, really, is a shrimp?! I came across posts that:

  • Criticized shrimp as being “bottom feeders” that are high in cholesterol
  • Praised shrimp for being a healthy alternative to meat and poultry
  • Described shrimp as being more closely related to spiders, grasshoppers and crabs than to fish
  • And one post that skewered shrimp for exacerbating climate change. Wow, really?

In the end a shrimp is factually a 10-legged crustacean. And since saying “I’m eating crustacean tonight!” sounds plain ol’ #awkward, most people just settle on referring to shrimp as seafood. So there we go … *POOF* … I just created a seafood category box at right!

Shrimping On The Barbie

Before we dive into Mom and Dad’s shrimp recipe below, let’s watch a memorable throwback with this 1980s commercial featuring Paul Hogan who is better remembered as Crocodile Dundee. The phrase “slip another shrimp on the barbie?” It came from this: * Caution: the “shrimp” on the barbie at the end of this commercial is monstrously ginormous. But maybe it’s a prawn? And is a prawn a shrimp? Oh, that’s a foodie research story best served for another day. :)

foodie tips ~

  Don’t watch the above video with closed captioning tuned on … unless you want a good laugh.

  You probably know who had the bright idea to cloak his shrimp in bacon in the picture above. That’s right!

  Do not overcook this shrimp, per Mom’s note below!

i. ingredientsbarbequed shrimp on the grill

1 cup | salad oil
1 teaspoon | salt
3 tablespoons | parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon | dried basil leaves
2 cloves | garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon | catsup
1 teaspoon | pepper
1 tablespoon | wine vinegar
2 pounds | shrimp, shelled and deveined

ii. what to do

1. Combine the first eight ingredients above to make your marinade. Pour over the shrimp and cover. Refrigerate 2-3 hours.

2. Thread shrimp on skewers and place on the barbie. Grill 3 minutes over coals, basting with the marinade.

barbequed shrimp on the grill from betty's cook nook

3. Turn and grill 5 minutes more, basting several times.

Mom said my Dad always got raves from guests for this dish. Enjoy!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Mom and Dad's Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe

Mom and Dad’s Original Barbequed Shrimp Recipe


king crab appetizer puffs

King Crab Appetizer Puffs

Let’s Get Crabby

In my younger years I spent most summers visiting the Texas Coast at Port Aransas. My Dad loved to wade fish and my Mom loved to crab. Port A’s north and south jetties are where I learned to maneuver the giant granite blocks that extended into the sea. There were countless nooks and crannies where the sea met the granite boulders and this was the special place my Mom “Betty” loved to go crabbin’.

The Joys Of Coastal LivingMom would bait her crab net with a small piece of chicken and lower it into the water and wait a bit. Moving very slow and being extra quiet we’d quickly raise the nets to see if we had caught a crab – two if we were lucky! Females went back into the water and the males we’d take back to our short-term home at Executive Keys to boil and create some crab delicacies.

foodie tips ~

 This yields about 3 dozen appetizers. You can half the ingredient quantities if you’re just having a snack. They are best consumed fresh but don’t reheat them in the microwave – only the oven, so they will be crispy!

 I couldn’t find King Crab at my local HEB so I substituted it with plain ol’ crab.

i. ingredients

1 package (6-8 ounces) | frozen crab, thawed
2 tablespoons | butter (my grandmother insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
¼ cup | green onions, sliced
1 cup | fresh mushrooms, chopped
1 cup | monterey jack cheese, shredded
3 ounce package | cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup | mayonnaise
2 tablespoons | parsley, minced
¼ pound | phyllo pastry sheets
¼ cup | more melted butter

ii. what to do

0. Preheat oven to 350°F.

1. Drain and slice the crab. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the onions and sauté them 1 minute. Add the mushrooms and sauté 1 minute longer. Combine the mushroom-onion mixture with the crab, cheeses, mayonnaise and parsley.

2. Spread phyllo sheets out in layers, two at a time (we did 3 layers because we love the crisp of phyllo). Cut each group of two into strips about 2 inches by 10 inches.

How To Make King Crab Appetizers

Look at the butter! Mmm – BUTTER!

3. Brush each phyllo strip with melted butter. Mmm … butter! Spoon a scant tablespoon of filling onto the end of the phyllo strip. Fold the pasty over the crab filling to form a triangle. Continue folding into triangles as you would a flag for the length of the strip. Seal the seam with a little more butter.

4. Place seam side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until crisp and golden.

Serve these hot!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

King Crab Appetizer Puffs Recipe

A Scan Of Mom’s “Crabetizer” Recipe

King Crab Appetizer Puff Recipe

They kinda look like crabs already. Next time I’ll fashion these just right!


crabbie canapés

A Crab Canapé Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Fresh From The Sea : Canned Crab

Per Wiki a canapé is a type of hors d’œuvre, a small, prepared and usually decorative food, held in the fingers and often eaten in one bite. The name comes from the French word for “couch”, drawing on the analogy that the garnish sits atop the bread as people do a couch.

i'm too tasty to be crabby!So let’s read between the lines – you eat these canapés with your fingers while sitting on the couch? Oui, oui, parfait – yes, yes, perfect! I’m in!

You can read more about my family’s love for the Texas Coast here … including some nuggets about why I’m not a huge fan of seafood. But I have to admit – these were quite good and while you eat hors d’oeuvres in one bite the two of us almost ate all 36 canapés in one sitting. That says a lot! #cryforhelp

Snap, snap – let’s get to this recipe (pun intended)!

foodie tips ~

  Canned crab? Yeah, all I can say is “it was the 1970s.” A time before everything farm-to-fork fresh was expected. The 70s were a time when speed to market (or in this case speed to belly) was key. There’s no doubt my parents loved fresh seafood because we spent many summers crabbin’ and fishin’ at the Texas Coast. See the crabby pic below!

  I had a difficult time finding the Old English Sharp Cheddar Cheese Spread (below). I discovered after some online research that it’s hard to find in stores but you can order it from the folks at Amazon.com. I found its kissin’ cousin – Kaukauna Spreadable Cheese from Wisconsin at my local HEB. Hint: After scouring the aisles for the creamy cheese stuff I finally found it in the refrigerated section by the deli.

  I like these canapés broiled until just a little toasted black develops here and there. The result was a crispy, bubbly texture that complimented the nook and crannies with the cheese and crab mixture.

  You don’t have to broil these all at once. In fact there wasn’t a way for my pan to hold 12 prepared english muffins halves *and* fit in my freezer. We prepared these in two batches and you’ll find these are best enjoyed warm, which works out perfectly for entertaining.

i. ingredients

1 stick | butter or oleo (my Grandmother Nanny insisted on Falfurrias brand butter)
1 jar (5 ounces) | Kraft brand Old English Sharp Cheddar Cheese Spread (see substitute above)
1 ½ teaspoon | mayonnaise
½ teaspoon | garlic salt
½ teaspoon | Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
1 can | crabmeat (or shrimp) – we used Chicken of the Sea
| Thomas’ english muffins, split
to garnish | green onions, sliced (optional)

ii. what to do

1. Let the butter (or oleo) and cheese spread soften to room temperature – about 30 minutes or more. 

2. Mix the butter and cheese spread together with the mayonnaise, garlic salt and seasoned salt until creamy. Gently fold-in the crabmeat (or shrimp) and combine.

3. Spread the crab mixture on the split English muffins and place them on a cookie sheet that will fit into your freezer. Freeze for about 10 minutes so the crab mixture sets well.

Crabbie Canapés Going Into The Freezer

Crabbie Canapés Going Into The Freezer

4. After chilling, cut the muffins into ⅙-ths. You can broil them now or freeze them for later use. If freezing, I inserted a piece of wax paper between laters to prevent the crab mixture from sticking together.

5. To Serve: broil the crabbie canapes until they are bubbly crisp. You can garnish with some sliced green onions, which I thought added a tasty texture.

Yield: 36 Crabbie Canapes

A Crabbie Canapé Recipe From Betty's Cook Nook

Crabbie Canapés ~ Fresh From The Oven

I hope you enjoy this recipe!

~ Patrick

Betty’s Son
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook

Here’s a scan of the original recipe from Mom’s cookbook – she received it from a family friend named Gere Cahill who lived down the street in the La Fiesta Apartments. I remember Gere always dropped off Christmas presents for us every Christmas Day and he had me over to swim a few times, which was tons of fun. His gifts live on thanks to this recipe.

A Scan Of Mom's Crab Canape Recipe

Texas Crab Master

My Dad hypnotizing a live crab at the Texas Coast, July 1975.


crab supper pie

tasty crab supper pieGot Crabs?

Each summer, the Kiker Family of 5 usually found our feet in the warm and sandy beach of the Texas Coast…

…Dad sporting his silver anti-reflective hat, Mom wearing her hand-painted denim shirt and a straw hat wrapped with a brown burlap ribbon. Me? I was reluctantly wearing zinc oxide on my nose and face… and a sunburn omom's beach hat by mymom's beach hat by my pool. no kidding. in the background, left-to-right, are harley and boomer, the wunderlabs! pool. no kidding. n the rest of me.

Here in Port Aransas, you’d find Dad, Tim and Roger fishing in the Gulf. And Mom? You’d find her (and alternating family members and friends) at the South Jetty with nets in hand.

We Were Crabbin’

There on the jetties, I spent many a day darting amongst the giant rocks looking for floating treasure… yet our favorite treasured time was checking the traps to see if we might have caught gold; crabs. Female crabs went back in the water, but males, we would keep. Mom would boil them rosy red later in the day back at our hotel (usually Executive Keys) and transform them into seafood spectacular.

You can learn more about our adventures at the South Texas Coast (and why I’m working on my sea foodie status) here and here.

In the meantime, grab a couple of fresh crabs (or canned ones if you’re celebrating the simplicity of the 70s) and give props to the kissin’ cousin of la quiche… Crab Supper Pie!

Even though I don’t love seafood without a disclaimer, there are a few dishes I love (fried shrimp, grilled salmon creamy nutty tuna)… and now creamy, crunchy crab supper pie.

Let’s Go Crabbin’

i. ingredients

1 cup | natural Swiss cheese, shredded
9-inch | pastry shell, unbaked
7½ ounce can | crab meat, drained and flaked
| green onions, sliced with tops
| eggs, beaten
1 cup | light cream*
½ teaspoon | salt
½ teaspoon | grated lemon peel
¼ teaspoon | dry mustard
dash | mace
¼ cup | sliced almonds

ii. what to do

0. Preheat ovencrab supper pie... going into the oven!
to 325°F.

1. Sprinkle cheese evenly over the bottom of the pastry shell.

2. Top with crab meat and sprinkle with green onion.

3. Combine eggs, cream, salt, lemon peel, dry mustard and mace. Pour over crab meat.

4. Top with sliced almonds.

5. Bake in a slow-oven (at 325°F), for about 45 minutes or until set.

6. Remove from oven and let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 6

Great For Breakfast Or Dinner

finutoFoodie Tip ~

Despite the fact I’m not a Sea Foodie at heart, I added more canned crab because it was sold in 6 ounce cans (not 7½ ounce cans). The result? Uber meaty crab pie!

Mace? I had never heard of this as a seasoning but turns out that mace is not something you spray in someone’s eyes… it’s a warm spice that’s a milder cousin to nutmeg. Think pepper + cinnamon. It’s about $9.00/bottle, so get ready for this nutmeg substitute!

Family Fun Fact ~

A “Port A” ritual was for mom to get her chicken gizzard fixin’ and for us… a bean burger on Mustang Isle.

While most folks cringe when hearing me speak of a “bean burger,” relax… it’s a beef burger topped with refried beans, cheddar cheese and fritos… something we enjoyed back home in S.A. at Sills Snack Snack on Austin Highway. Later on at college I found a replica at College Station’s Deluxe Burger bar (now closed).

Golden times.

mom's crab supper pie recipe clipping






creamy nutty tuna

mom's creamy nutty tunaNutty?

Get in line.

Mom loved tuna.

And me? I’m not a fan of seafood since an oyster-eating challenge at the age of 8 (a wretching story, indeed).

So when I break outside my comfort zones of pasta and chicken with reckless abandon for frutti di mare, I know when I’ve had an amazing dish when I want more.

Amazingly, I sat down with this delicious dish of nutty tuna… and turned it into a meal.

Between us, I was actually seen licking the spoon.

i. ingredients

small block | cream cheese (about 3-4 ounces)
1-5 oz. can | white tuna
1-2.25 oz. can | ripe (black) olives, chopped
1/2 cup | texas pecans, chopped
to serve | box o’ triscuits

ii. what to do

0. This one’s pretty easy. You mix everything in a bowl.

1. Place on serving dish and step back… hungry eaters will surround!

Foodie Tip ~

  You might try using whipped cream cheese for an extra creamy taste… and if you’re allergic to seafood, try using canned chicken. Mom would approve.

mom's original creamy nutty tuna recipe