Nuthin' But Crab Crab Cakes

8 adult servings and 8 children's servings

These crab cakes are a favorite with the dinner co-op families. Tracy Johnston uses an empty tuna can to form the adult-size crab cakes and a star-shaped cookie cutter to make the kid-size ones. She serves them with cole slaw on the side and remoulade sauce for dipping. Back fin crab meat is a fine choice for this recipe and less expensive than lump.

2 pounds crab meat

3 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 tablespoons dried finely crushed bread crumbs

Red hot pepper sauce to taste, such as Crystal hot sauce

11/2 teaspoons black pepper

1 tablespoon spice blend, such as Emeril's Original Essence (may substitute other seasoning mix, such as Tony Chachere's or Old Bay)

Sea salt to taste

Butter and olive oil for frying

Tasty Remoulade (recipe follows)

In a large bowl, gently fold together the crab, mustard, eggs, mayonnaise, bread crumbs, hot sauce, pepper, spice blend and salt, being careful not to overmix.

Using your hands or an empty tuna can with both ends cut out, form the mixture into crab cakes.

Have ready a large plate lined with paper towels. In a large skillet over medium heat, heat equal amounts of butter and oil until hot. You want enough fat to reach a depth of about 1/4 inch. Add the cakes to the skillet, being careful not to crowd the skillet, and fry until the bottoms are brown. Carefully flip the cakes and fry until the other side is also toasty brown. Transfer to the paper towel to drain. Sprinkle with sea salt. Serve immediately.

Per serving: 120 calories, 13 gm protein, 1 gm carbohydrates, 7 gm fat, 88 mg cholesterol, 2 gm saturated fat, 288 mg sodium, trace dietary fiber

Tasty Remoulade

Makes about 3/4 cup

Tracy Johnston's daughter, Kendall, 3, helps "plate" the crab cakes by artistically swirling the remoulade around the crab.

3/4 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Emeril's Original Essence (may substitute other seasoning mix, such as Tony Chachere's or Old Bay)

Red hot pepper sauce to taste, such as Crystal hot sauce

A few drops water

In a bowl, combine the mayonnaise, spice blend, red hot pepper sauce and just a few drops of water. If necessary, add additional water to attain the desired consistency, a few drops at a time. Put it in a squeeze bottle and allow the kids to decorate the plates.

Per serving (based on 16): 76 calories, trace protein, trace carbohydrates, 8 gm fat, 4 mg cholesterol, 1 gm saturated fat, 123 mg sodium, 0 gm dietary fiber

Popeye Pockets

8 adult and 8 children's servings

Tracy Johnston serves these calzone-like pockets as a side dish with roast chicken. Use the refrigerated pie crust dough that comes in squares and can be unfolded; you can usually find them in the dairy case. These pockets can be folded up, free-form style and baked on a baking sheet, but an even easier method is to bake them in a muffin tin.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, chopped (about 11/2 cups)

20 ounces fresh baby spinach (four 5-ounce bags)

15 ounces ricotta cheese

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese, plus additional for sprinkling (optional)

Two 15-ounce boxes refrigerated pie crust, each containing 2 crusts (preferably Pillsbury)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Have ready 2 oiled baking sheets.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the oil. Add the onion and cook until softened, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the spinach in handfuls, allowing 1 handful to cook down somewhat before adding another handful. Cook until the spinach is completely wilted. Remove from the heat and drain off any excess liquid.

Add the ricotta, mozzarella and, if desired, Parmesan cheeses. Return the skillet to medium-low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the cheese melts and is completely incorporated. Remove from the heat; set aside.

Unfold the pie crusts and cut each crust into 4 circles, each about 5 inches in diameter. (May use a plastic takeout container lid or overturned bowl to trace the circle.) Spoon a heaping spoonful of the spinach mixture in the center of each pastry circle then fold the crust edges up and over the filling without actually pulling the crust completely over the filling. Transfer to the baking sheet. (Alternatively, may press the crust gently into an oiled muffin tin, then spoon the filling in the center, letting the edges come up around filling.) Sprinkle the top with a little Parmesan, if desired. Bake the pockets for about 20 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Per serving: 221 calories, 8 gm protein, 13 gm carbohydrates, 15 gm fat, 24 mg cholesterol, 7 gm saturated fat, 257 mg sodium, 4 gm dietary fiber

Pizza on planning night.