Make My Dinner

by Cate on December 13, 2007

Many moons age, there was a show on the Food Network called Ready, Set, Cook, hosted by Sissy Biggers. It was one of the first cooking shows I really got hooked on after Rachael Ray’s 30 Minute Meals. Two contestants would receive various ingredients and in a timed competition, had to make dishes on the fly with the ingredients. Years later, the show moved to the wee hours of the morning and eventually was dropped. ‘Tis a shame. It was then replaced by another show and I can’t for the life of me remember the name. Male host this time, same general premise and after revealing the ingredients, he would say “Make my dinner.” Anyone remember that one? It’s not still on, is it?

So now in our own little version on Sweetnicks… the ingredients include any type of fish, shellfish or otherwise, and you’re making appetizers. What would you make?

Regular readers know that we do the Feast of Seven Fishes, an Italian tradition, on Christmas Eve. Usually I make a Cioppino (seafood stew), because it’s easy and can quickly bang out 4-5 of the fish in one fell swoop. The only problem with that is that there ends up being very little on the table and it doesn’t seem very feast-like or like Christmas Eve.

When my mom did Christmas Eve, she would have seven separate fish dishes. While I don’t think my energy level nor my mid-kitchen renovation can handle that, I’d like to find a happy medium. I am closerthanthis to making a Standing Rib Roast as a main course, and she suggested then doing the 7 fish as appetizers, which seems like a happy medium … very feast like and special for the holidays, and managing to get all the fish in.

So that’s where we are … I have already decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Smoked Salmon Dip and Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs, Scallop Casserole, Spuma di Tonno and I think Roasted Oysters. So that takes care of 5 fish, leaving 2 more to go. Whatcha got? Your best fish/seafood appetizer, spill it.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Robyn December 13, 2007 at 4:32 am

What about crab wontons? I think I’ve seen a recipe on the BB in the last couple of months.

Reply December 13, 2007 at 2:06 pm

The other day I made some very tasty crab nachos. You could make a more refined variation with the tortilla chip “cups”, individually topped with a creamy crab & olive mixture and cheese. Kick it up with some lime and cilantro. Broil & serve!

Jennifer / Midwest Neurotica


Snarkmeister December 13, 2007 at 4:16 pm

Crab cakes, definitely. I love Barefoot Contessa’s recipe – it’s got tons of flavor and isn’t as heavy on the mayo/breadcrumbs. BC’s crab cakes


TD December 13, 2007 at 4:24 pm

Carmelized Onion and Anchovy Tarts (from Donna Hay Magazine)

Cook 6 large onions cut in thin slices in 1/4 cup olive oil, 20-25 mins until carmelized. Add 1/2 c sherry vinegar, 1/2 c brown sugar, salt and pepper, and cook another 5 mins until thick and syrupy. Cut 2-7oz sheets of puff pastry (frozen, that has been thawed) in half the long way and place on a baking sheet. Score a 1/2″ border around each rectangle, then spread each with onion mixture, and top with 1/3 c pitted kalamata olives (halved), 12 anchovy fillets, and thyme leaves (from 12 sprigs). Brush pastry edges with 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten, and bake for 12-15 mins in a 390 degree (F) oven until pastry is crisped and golden. Cut in small slices to serve.

Subtle, but still fish, and anchovies are a little different–not what one would expect. And you can never go wrong with Donna Hay–she’s AMAZING. Plus, you can’t really go wrong with puff pastry!! :)


Anonymous December 13, 2007 at 6:46 pm

I made this last week for a Christmas party and it went over better than I expected…it went fast! I’ll be making it again this weekend for a football party!

Shrimp and Pancetta Pizza

1/4 lb. frozen cooked salad shrimp, thawed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can Pillsbury Refrigerated Pizza Crust
3 oz. sliced pancetta or 3 slices bacon
1/2 cup Alfredo pasta sauce
5 oz. (1 1/4 cups) shredded mozzarella cheese
1 medium Italian plum tomato
3 tablespoons fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves

1. Heat oven to 400°F. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. In medium bowl, mix thawed shrimp, oil and garlic until coated; set aside.
2. Unroll dough; place on sprayed cookie sheet. Starting at center, press out dough into 14×9-inch rectangle. Bake at 400°F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown.
3. Meanwhile, in 8-inch skillet, cook pancetta over medium heat until crisp; drain on paper towels.
4. Remove partially baked crust from oven. Spread Alfredo sauce over crust. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Return to oven; bake 6 to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges are golden brown. Meanwhile, chop pancetta, seed and finely chop tomato, and chop parsley.
5. Remove pizza from oven. Top pizza evenly with shrimp, pancetta and tomato. Return to oven; bake an additional 3 minutes or until shrimp is thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with parsley. Cut into squares. Serve warm.

Makes about 16 squares.


Anonymous December 13, 2007 at 6:52 pm

I was just looking over your menu again and thought this might go good too since you don’t have a clam recipe yet. They’re very easy to throw together too. I only use about half the butter they call for and they’re fine.

Clam Stuffed Mushrooms

20 fresh mushrooms, stems removed
2 (6.5 ounce) cans minced clams, drained
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 small onion, finely chopped
3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons dried parsley
2 tablespoons Italian-style seasoning
ground black pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups butter, melted
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.
Arrange mushroom caps hollow side up in the baking dish.
In a medium bowl, mix together minced clams, garlic, Parmesan cheese, onion, bread crumbs, green bell pepper, parsley, Italian-style seasoning and black pepper. Slowly stir in approximately 1/2 the butter, enough to make the mixture slightly moist.
Generously fill the mushroom caps with the clam mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with remaining butter.
Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until lightly browned.


Anonymous December 13, 2007 at 7:28 pm

Fried Calamari or Losbter Bisque

The Sister In-Law


Alisha December 13, 2007 at 7:45 pm

Sorry don’t have any suggestions for you but had to chime in that I remember that show .. it was so goofy but in a good way. (Back when the Food Network was about cooking instead of showmanship.) I also love Chef du Jour and got some great recipes from that.

Alisha (Cook. Craft. Enjoy)


Mrs. OrioleGal9 December 13, 2007 at 9:54 pm

I too was going to say Crab cakes/balls or a hot crab dip. I don’t have a recipe but a crab bruschetta would be wonderful as well.

Also, what about mussels in garlic sauce?


Tanya December 14, 2007 at 12:20 am

Gambos al Ajillo? (Spanish shrimp in butter-garlic sauce with a little paprika, traditionally served with a little bread to mop it up)

Reply December 14, 2007 at 5:47 pm

Our family has a killer clam spaghetti recipe that is not like anything I’ve ever seen at a restaurant or in a cookbook. It was my grandpa’s recipe and is basically an onion based sauce, cooked low and slow until golden and sweet, then spices, clamjuice, mushrooms and clams and then fresh parm cheese tossed with linquini. I can send you the recipe if you like.


Anonymous December 14, 2007 at 7:59 pm

What was that dish you made you go the recipe from Legal Seafood? That was great! And you said it was easy. Was it clams?

The Neighbors (wife)


krhm December 17, 2007 at 9:20 pm

I buy really good crab cakes ready to go at the grocery store, then stem a box of baby portobellos. Stuff with pieces of crab cake and top with a little grated cheese. Bake for about 15 minutes at 375. It’s super easy and tastes great!


Cate December 18, 2007 at 2:19 am

LOL, ok you guys totally made it 10 times harder now… my goal this week is to finally nail down the menu. Thanks for all the awesome suggestions!


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