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’.
Mom 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.
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.
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!
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook
This recipe is one of the most important ones here at Betty’s Cook Nook:
- The original recipe scan (below) receives high marks for “most interesting recipe shape.” I have no idea why the graphic artist placed a human finger in the middle of the recipe when in fact he/she should have included a caricature of a smiling Texas armadillo driving a tractor pulling a wagonful of these delicious armadillo eggs! ;)
- This recipe further proves that armadillos do lay eggs; they just need a little help in the kitchen.
- This is the 1st family recipe calling for Shake ‘n Bake. #score!
- My Cousin Julie shared this recipe with me from her Mom Delores’ cookbook (my Mom Betty’s sister). I’m confident my Mom would have loved these spicy armadillo eggs because she loved jalapeños as much as Diet Coke, tea with freshly sliced lemon and crabbing at the Texas Coast (not necessarily in that order).
Let’s make eggs!
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Canned jalapeños. I’m a big fan of anything fresh so if you choose to go fresh for this recipe, change the pepper-wrapping technique below; simply cut-off the end of the jalapeño, seed it, then drop your block of cheese into the pepper and wrap.
♥ When there’s a 3-alarm fire in your mouth nothing simmers the heat better than ranch dressing. Try dipping your armadillo eggs in a bit of ranch dip and you’ll see what I mean!
♥ These are best enjoyed fresh but they can be refrigerated for a day or two.
♥ Love sausage? You might also try Mom’s spicy sausage ball recipe. Eating these will make your day brighter, I’m sure of it!
½ pound | monterey jack cheese, grated
½ pound | hot bulk texas sausage
1 ½ cups | buttermilk biscuit mix
15 medium | canned jalapeños
½ pound | monterey jack cheese, cubed
1 box | kraft shake ‘n bake for pork
2 | cage free eggs, beaten
ii. what to do
1. MAKE DOUGH: Mix the grated cheese and sausage. Add the biscuit mix ½ cup at a time until thoroughly mixed. The sausage mixture will become a very stiff dough and should be kneaded several minutes. Set aside.
2. FORM EGG: Pinch off a bit of cheese-sausage mixture and pat it into a flat pancake about ¼ inch thick. Slit and seed a jalapeño. Stuff the jalapeño with a cube of cheese and pinch the pepper closed around the cheese. Place the cheese-stuffed jalapeño in the middle of the pancake and wrap it completely with dough, making sure that all edges and ends are sealed completely. Roll the dough-covered jalapeño back and forth in your hands and form an egg shape.
3. COAT & DIP EGG: Roll each egg in Shake ‘n Bake until coated. Dip the armadillo egg into the beaten egg mixture then roll them once again in Shake ‘n Bake then place your readied egg on a foil-lined baking tray. Continue steps 1-3 until you’re all done prepping your eggs.
4. BAKE YOUR EGGS: Preheat your oven to 300°F. Place your armadillo eggs into the oven and bake 20-25 minutes. If the cheese begins to bubble out of the eggs, remove them from the oven – they should be done! The eggs will seem soft to the touch but after cooling a bit they will crust nicely. Serve them slightly warm.
Makes 15 Armadillo Eggs
Here’s a scan of the original recipe!
No Beans About It
Those who know my passion for chili know that I insist that the best chili on the planet is the chili that contains beans. My hips don’t lie.
Right or wrong this sweet bowl of red texas style chili recipe does not have beans and there’s something about it that I absolutely loved … I nervously shelled about $20 for the steak to the folks at HEB and I’m happy to report that it was absolutely delicious! I learned tonight that I actually prefer this type of chili meat over ground anything (even chili ground) so this recipe taught me never to say never in the kitchen.
foodie tips ~
♥ Salad Oil? It’s not salad dressing; more like veggie oil, olive oil and the like. Read more about salad oil here.
♥ Sorry, onion lovers! To avoid “the burpies” we deviated from this recipe and included all of the onions all at once vs. using some fresh on top to garnish. Feel free to keep it raw and real (note Jill’s recipe card below for details).
♥ Chili Lover? Check out my other family favorite – Kiker’s Kicker Award-Winning Pot Licker Chili recipe. Yay, food awards … I’m important!
♥ For the dismount also consider serving with saltines or tortilla chips. It keeps you honest.
3 ½ – 4 pounds | boneless beef chuck blade steak
¼ cup | salad oil
2 cups | onions, chopped
3 medium | green peppers, diced
4 cloves | garlic, crushed
2 28-ounce cans | tomatoes
12-ounce can | tomato paste
2 cups | water
⅓ cup | chili powder
¼ cup | sugar
2 tablespoons | salt
2 teaspoons | oregano leaves
¾ teaspoon | cracked black pepper
to garnish | monterey jack cheese, shredded
ii. what to do
1. Cut steak into ½” cubes.
2. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Cook the meat cubes in clusters ⅓ at a time until it’s all browned. Let’s have a look, shall we?
What a simply delightful video, yes?
3. Remove the meat and set aside, reserving the drippings in the dutch oven.
4. To the drippings add the onions, green peppers and garlic. Cook 10 minutes.
5. Return the meat to the dutch oven and add the next eight ingredients (except the cheese, which is a garnish).
6. Heat to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer at least 1 ½ hours. This gives you enough time to play some Asteroids, Donkey Kong, Burgertime or Galaga.
7. When serving, sprinkle with the cheese and more fresh onion, if desired.
Yields 12 servings. Or 6 hungry Texans.
Below is a scan of the original chili recipe Mom scored from Jill Root.
Who Is Jill Root?
Jill Root was a great lady. She was the mother-in-law of my much, much oldest brother Tim. After my Dad died, Jill, Mom (Betty), Tim and I spent many Christmases together with the rest of the Root family, so I can promise you she had a heart of gold. You can read more about Jill here.
Thank you Jill for this recipe! I found a way to make my chili even better (coming soon).
Go Loco For Taco
The idea of “magic” was something I was obsessed with when I was in 5th grade. I dreamed of being a professional magician after seeing a store display on Broadway Avenue… a mechanical magician who could perform tricks compliments of his table, a cup and a few eye-shifty shenanigans.
Oh, yeah… I was hooked.
Magically obsessed, one day I drug my Dad and best friend Sean to Central Park Mall to a magic shop. My eyes rest upon on a magic kit and I knew in a blink it was meant for me.
Dad selflessly bought me and Sean each the magic cred (I remember triple digits, so it was a big deal ~ especially in the 70s).
Back at our upstairs playroom at 2927 Trailend, complete with black light, cloth-covered table and my instruction manual cleverly tucked underneath, I performed ~ almost flawlessly ~ some of the tricks I could decipher.
This recipe? Totally easy to make. And especially easy and great to eat!
1 pound | ground beef
½ cup | onion, chopped
1 package | taco seasoning mix
4 ounces | chopped green chilies, drained
1¼ cups | milk
¾ cup | bisquick brand baking mix
3 | cage free eggs
2 | red tomatoes, sliced
1 cup | monterey jack or cheddar cheese, shredded
to garnish | ice burg lettuce, chopped
to garnish | red tomato, chopped
0. Preheat oven to 400°F.
1. Grease a 10½” pie plate and set aside.
2. Cook and stir beef and onion until brown; drain, then stir in taco seasoning mix.
3. Spread in pie plate and top with chilies.
4. With a blender or hand mixer, beat milk, baking mix and eggs until smooth; about 1 minute.
5. Pour into pie plate.
6. Bake pie 25 minutes then remove from oven.
7. Top with sliced tomatoes and cheese; return to oven and bake until knife inserted in the pie’s center returns clean (about 10 minutes).
8. Cool 5 minutes then top with sour cream, chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce and cheese.
Serves 6-8 Texans
Great For Breakfast Or Dinner
Foodie Tips ~
♥ Wanna spice up life? Add fresh diced jalapeños to the beef before you cook it. Adventurous!
This recipe is dedicated to my special niece Melissa ~ Her zest for food taught me
the more spice you add to life, the merrier!
~ ♥ ~
If my Mom “Betty” was still alive, I would have made sure she put my own favorite recipe in her cookbook. And better yet, I would have made her some bowls of this great-tasting soup.
I’ve tweaked this recipe over the years, and you can also edit it to please your own personal taste buds. I’ve had several friends say it’s the best tortilla soup they’ve had … plus, it’s easy to make. My secret? Squeezing lime juice on top just after the cheese starts to melt.
As temperatures start to “dip,” what better way to warm-up chilly evenings, than with this all-time favorite tortilla soup recipe? Perfect as an appetizer, or as a main course, one bowl of this soup usually leads to two … or more! Totally a comfort food staple for the Fall Foodie in you.
2 cups | cooked chicken breast (cubed)
1 cup | chopped onion
1 tsp. | olive oil
1 – 4 oz. can | chopped green chilies
1 – 1.25 oz. package | taco seasoning mix ~ the hotter, the better
1 – 16 oz. can | stewed tomatoes
6 cups | chicken broth
1 – 10 oz. package | frozen corn
1/3 cup | fresh chopped cilantro
to taste | tortilla chips, broken into pieces
4 cups | your favorite grated cheese (we prefer pepper jack, monterey jack or cheddar)
1 | avocado
garnish | sour cream
garnish | green onion (scallion)
to taste | fresh ground black pepper
garnish | a squeeze of lime juice
what to do
1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces and place into a medium pot filled with water. Bring to a boil for 5-7 minutes and cook until done. Drain and set aside.
2. In a 5-quart saucepan over medium heat, sauté onion in oil 3 to 4 minutes, until soft.
3. Stir in chilies and the seasoning mix, cook 1 minute.
4. Add tomatoes and juice, breaking them up with a spoon.
5. Stir in broth and bring to a boil.
6. Add corn and chicken, reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes.
7. Top with the cilantro.
8. Spoon into bowls and top with chips, cheese, avocado, and sour cream. Garnish with scallion, black pepper, and a squeeze of lime.
Serves 4-5 hungry folks. The soup refrigerates well; keep the garnish (chips, cheese, avocado, sour cream) as last minute additions.
Founder and “Nostalgic Food Blogger” of Betty’s Cook Nook