Baked Sushi Casserole

My family loves, LOVES, LOVES sushi.  We love both the sushi with cooked ingredients (especially those with tempura shrimp — YUM!) as well as the ones with raw fish (spicy tuna is a fave).

We especially love the sushi that is either baked or fried and is served piping hot with the saucy filling practically oozing out of the wrapper.  OMG — I’m drooling as I type this.

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Rather than make one sushi roll then bake sliced pieces, this recipe is made casserole style in a 9×13 baking dish.  Serve the baked casserole with sushi wrappers and you have a quick and easy — not to mention inexpensive (or at least not as expensive as buying sushi at a restaurant) — and delicious dish.  This is also great for potlucks too.

While you can use the large sushi wrappers with this dish, my family prefers serving it with the “snack sized” seasoned seaweed wrappers (pictured below).  You can find the smaller wrappers in the Asian aisle of most grocery stores.

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Very little preparation is needed to make this yummy casserole.  Step-by-step instructions and photos follow.  See my complete recipe at the bottom of this post.

First, chop up some imitation crab meat.

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Pre-cooked salad shrimp also cuts on the preparation time.  I prefer to chop these up as well, but you can certainly use them whole since they are rather tiny.

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Place the chopped imitation crab and shrimp into a large mixing bowl.

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Add sour cream, mayo, and furikake to the bowl.

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Furikake is a seasoning consisting of chopped seaweed, sesame seeds, sugar, and a few other spices.  It comes in different flavors; I use the “regular” furikake pictured below.  You can find this in the Asian aisle of your grocery store as well.

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Stir to combine the ingredients for the shrimp and imitation crab mixture.  This is good just as it is, but sometimes I mix in a little squeeze of Sriracha sauce, or if you have it, some Kimchee Base as well to kick it up a notch.

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I love a lot of “meat” in this dish, so into the bowl goes real lump crab meat.  Sometimes the can of crab meat has a few crab shells in it, so if you see any, be sure to pick them out and discard them.

Fold the crab meat into the shrimp and imitation crab mixture.

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As I mentioned above, I love a lot of filling in this dish.  I don’t like using too much rice as I think it detracts from the deliciousness of the filling.

I cooked just two cups of rice for this recipe then spread it in the bottom of a 9×13 pan.  The rice layer is pretty thin — just how my family likes it.  If you like having more rice, by all means, cook more, and create a thicker layer.

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The entire bowl of the shrimp and crab mixture gets spread on top of the rice.  It may seem like too much, but trust me, it’s the PERFECT amount.

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Add more real crab meat to the top of the shrimp and crab mixture.  Hey, I did say I loved a lot of “meat” in this dish. 😉

If you prefer, you can add more salad shrimp instead of crab meat, or splurge and use both! 😀

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More furikake goes on top of everything.  Because I didn’t season the rice or shrimp-crab mixture, the seasoned furikake is where most of the flavor and seasoning comes from.  Do not skimp on this or your casserole will taste quite bland.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 375-degree oven.

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After baking, add as much or as little roe as you like.  We use capelin roe, or masago.  One of my children LOVES extra roe on hers.  She loves it so much that her serving looks completely orange with all the roe she adds.

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This is the brand of Capelin roe or Masago that I buy.  It’s sold frozen in our local Asian supermarket.

Masago

Serve the piping hot casserole with seasoned seaweed and ENJOY!

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Baked Sushi Casserole
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
Crab Mixture:
  • 12 oz imitation crab meat, finely chopped
  • 12 oz cooked salad shrimp, chopped
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup furikake
  • 1 cup real lump crab meat (I use lump claw meat)
Other Ingredients:
  • 2 cups medium grain rice, cooked
  • ½ cup real crab meat (I use lump claw meat)
  • ¼ cup furikake
  • ¼ cup seasoned capelin roe
  • Packages of seasoned seaweed wrappers, for serving with the casserole
Instructions
Make the Crab Mixture:
  1. Place the chopped imitation crab meat and chopped shrimp into a large mixing bowl. Add the mayo, sour cream, and furikake to the bowl. Stir the ingredients together.
  2. Fold the lump crab meat into the shrimp mixture. Set aside.
Layer the Sushi Casserole:
  1. Spread the cooked rice in the bottom of a 9x13 pan.
  2. Spread the crab and shrimp mixture on top of the rice.
  3. Spread the remaining lump crab meat on top of the crab-shrimp mixture.
  4. Sprinkle more furikake on top of the lump crab meat.
Finish it up:
  1. Bake the casserole for 20 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
  2. Top with roe.
  3. Serve with seasoned seaweed wrappers.
ENJOY!

 

Garlic Ginger Vinaigrette

Good salad dressings are quite simple to make.  One of the simplest to make is a vinaigrette, of which the basic components are vinegar and oil.

You can be very creative with this versatile dressing.  Use different flavors of balsamic vinegars, champagne vinegar, or for an oriental flair, try rice vinegar.  If you’d rather have a citrus base for your dressing, try lemon, orange, or grapefruit juice instead of vinegar.

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Various oils can give your vinaigrette a whole new dimension.  Use classic olive oil, or try truffle, sesame, avocado, or spicy chile oil.

Now here’s where you can go wild with the depth favors you can create for your vinaigrette.  Add optional ingredients such as crushed garlic, honey, dried or fresh herbs, fruit purées, or grated cheese.

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If you’d like a creamy vinaigrette, add Dijon mustard, mayo, or try a bit of mashed avocado.  The variations are virtually endless.  Use your creative imagination and go wild.  Who says salad dressings have to be boring?  An added bonus ~ by making it yourself, you know that you’re putting wholesome, natural, quality ingredients into your body.

The inspiration for this vinaigrette is from a favorite Japanese restaurant. To give it that oriental flavor, I use sesame oil, rice vinegar, aji mirin and honey for some sweetness, and for that flavor punch, I add lots of crushed garlic and grated ginger. I also added grated carrots for a bit of added sweetness, and salt and pepper to taste.

imageYou can find my complete recipe below.  Here’s how to make it.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, aji mirin, honey, garlic, ginger, carrots, salt and pepper.  You can add as much — or as little — garlic and ginger as you like.  If you like your dressings sweeter, by all means, add more honey.  That’s the beauty about this type of recipe.  It’s all up to you to add/decrease ingredients to suit your taste.

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What you do need to remember is that basic vinaigrettes contain a ratio of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil. I actually prefer less oil in my vinaigrettes so I use a 1:2 ratio instead.  My recipe uses a one-part mixture of rice vinegar and aji mirin with a two-part mixture of sesame and vegetable oil.

Sesame oil has a very intense flavor and can taste a tad bitter if you use too much of it. I don’t want the bold flavor of the sesame oil to overpower the other flavors in this vinaigrette so I use half sesame and half vegetable oil.

Once you mix your vinegar base together, slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar mixture, vigorously whisking as you pour in order to emulsify the oil into the dressing.

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It’s the vigorous whisking that breaks down the fat molecules in the oil and allows the vinegar to mix with them, creating a smooth dressing that doesn’t separate. You’ve seen those dressings in the store before, the one where all the vinegar and spices have sunk to the bottom of the bottle and all the oil is floating on top.

TIP: To help with the emulsification, whisk in a spoonful of mustard or mayo.

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That’s it!  You now have a delicious vinaigrette in minutes!  This recipe makes a little more than 1 1/2 cups of dressing.  Refrigerate any unused dressing

Pour over your favorite salad greens and ENJOY!

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Garlic Ginger Vinaigrette
 
A vinaigrette packed full of the bold flavors of garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Delicious on salads, this dressing is also good as a marinade for your favorite cuts of meat.
Author:
Recipe type: Sauces & Marinades
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup aji mirin
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup grated carrots
  • ½ teaspoon salt, more or less, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ cup sesame oil
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the rice vinegar, aji mirin, honey, garlic, ginger, carrots, salt and pepper.
  2. Slowly drizzle the oil into the vinegar mixture, vigorously whisking as you pour in order to emulsify the oil into the dressing.

 

Robot Snack Packs

My niece, Chrystina, is always looking for creative ways to make snack time fun for her children.  This time, she and her son, Damian, made Robot Snack Packs for Damian to share with his kindergarten class.

You’ll  need:

  • Applesauce cups for the robot head
  • Juice boxes for the robot body
  • Snack-sized boxes of raisins for robot feet
  • Smarties or Sweet Tarts for robot arms
  • Googly eye stickers
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks (see note)

NOTE:  Parents or adults must supervise and help with this project so that little ones do not get burned with the hot glue gun or glue.  You can use heavy-duty double-sided tape for this project if you’d rather not use hot glue.

To to assemble the robots:

Make the robot head:

Flip up the two side flaps or “wings” of the juice box so that they are laying on top of the box.  Add a small line of glue to each flap.  Turn the applesauce upside down and stick the top to the juice box flaps.

Make the robot feet.

Glue the boxes of raisins to the bottom of the juice box “robot body” to make feet.

Make the robot arms.

Glue one end of the Smarties to the sides of the juice box to make robot arms.

Lastly, stick the eyes on the side of the applesauce “robot head.”

Damian had fun making these.  I’m sure you’ll have fun with your little ones too!  Enjoy!image

 

Mini Chocolate Eclairs (or Cream Puffs)

Homemade eclairs are super easy to make.  They are a French dessert also known as profiteroles, cream puffs, or choux à la crème.  I just call it “delicious.” 😉

This is a great recipe to get your kids to help with.  In fact, they are so easy to make that my daughter (13 years old at the time the photo below was taken) makes them anytime she gets a craving for them.

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These tender pastry cups are so versatile; you can make them into delectable desserts like I’ve done here, or you can create amazing appetizers by filling them with your favorite dips or spreads.

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I like making these into cute, miniature puffs.  I use a small ice cream scoop to create evenly-sized pastries.

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Add these scrumptious treats to your table and your family (or guests) will be delighted and amazed.  Only YOU will know how easy they were to prepare! 😉Cream Puffs - 03

Other options for these delicious treats:

  • Dust the tops with powdered sugar to make Cream Puffs
  • Fill with ice cream for a frozen treat
  • Experiment with different pudding flavors (cheesecake pudding filling is delicious!)
  • Experiment with different extract flavors (try peppermint extract with chocolate pudding)
  • To make this a savory dish, fill with crab dip (or your favorite dip) for an easy appetizer

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

 

Mini Chocolate Eclairs
 
Author:
Ingredients
SHELL:
  • ½ cup unsalted butter (or 1 stick)
  • 1 cup water
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
FILLING:
  • 1 box (3.4 oz.) instant vanilla pudding (plus ingredients to make the pudding, per pkg. directions)
  • 1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip whipped topping
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
  • 1½ teaspoons dark corn syrup
  • 1½ teaspoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Instructions
Make the Shell:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine butter, water, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add flour all at once to boiling liquid, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat and continue stirring until the flour mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
  3. Add eggs, one at a time, into the flour mixture, mixing well after each addition. Continue stirring until the the dough is smooth and not lumpy. Set aside for 15 minutes to allow to thoroughly cool.
  4. After the dough cools, drop by rounded heaping teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, placing dough 23 inches apart. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately split shells in half while hot to allow steam to escape and to keep shells crisp. Cool thoroughly before filling.
Make the Filling:
  1. Follow the directions on the box of pudding. Fold in Cool Whip and almond extract.
  2. Fill cream puff shells with prepared pudding mixture.
Make the Chocolate Topping:
  1. Place all ingredients into a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave on medium heat for 20 seconds; stir the mixture. If the chocolate chips and butter are not completely melted after stirring, microwave for 10 more seconds (and at 10-second intervals if they are still not melted), stirring afterward until the mixture is totally melted and smooth.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

If you’ve stumbled on this recipe by accident, search no more.

Y O U    M U S T    M A K E    T H I S    D E S S E R T……..T O D A Y.

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Sticky toffee pudding is a deliciously decadent dessert.  This is really more of a cake than what you’re probably envisioning as a creamy pudding.

“Pudding” has origins as an English food, with “pudding” referring to either sweet or savory dishes that are steamed or boiled.  Sticky Toffee Pudding is neither steamed nor boiled, however, but rather it is baked in a water bath.

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Don’t let the water bath baking deter you from making this wonderful dessert.  As incredible as it tastes, it is also incredibly easy to make (you can find my complete recipe at the bottom of this post).

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Chances are you have most of the ingredients on hand already — flour, eggs, brown sugar, butter, baking soda, salt, eggs, and vanilla extract.  The only ingredient you most likely need to purchase are whole pitted dates.

You don’t need to buy exotic, expensive dates for this recipe.  The most common type of dates you see in most grocery stores are from California.  This is the type of dates I use.  You can use dried dates for this recipe, but if you can find them, use moist, undried dates.  A 10-ounce bag of dates is the perfect amount for this recipe (or about 1 1/2 cups of chopped dates).

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If dried dates are all you can find, don’t worry, you can still use those.  To rehydrate them, place the dried dates in a bowl and cover it completely with boiling water.  Let the dates sit in the hot water for 15-20 minutes until they plump up; drain the water once rehydrated.  For added flavor, cover the dried dates with rum or your favorite liquor (brandy is good too) instead of boiling water.  Heat the liquor for about 90 seconds in the microwave then pour the hot liquid over the dried dates.

Chop the dates into small pieces.  You don’t have to cut them too small; I actually like the little bit of chewiness in the cake that you get with larger pieces.

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Place the chopped dates into a small pot, along with a bit of water and baking soda.  If you soaked dried dates in some type of liquor, save a half cup of the soaking liquid and discard the rest; place the soaking liquid/liquor into the pot instead of water (see my recipe below).

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Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat.  Turn the heat off once the mixture begins to boil. Leave the dates in the pot to cool. If using dried dates, this step also helps to fully rehydrate them.

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While the dates cool, prepare the cake batter.  First off, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Next, cream butter and brown sugar in a medium sized mixing bowl. You can use a hand-held mixer to do this.

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Add a couple of large eggs and a some vanilla extract to the bowl.

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Mix until creamy.

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Set aside the mixer now.  You don’t want to overmix this batter.  The rest of the mixing will be done using a large mixing spoon or spatula.

Add the cooled dates to the bowl (add all the liquid in the pot as well).

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Stir gently, just until the dates are mixed into the batter.  The batter will be very thin at this point.

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Place the flour and salt in a small bowl.  Use a whisk to mix the flour and salt together then add the mixture to the batter.  Fold the flour into the batter; stop once you incorporate the dry mixture with the wet.  Don’t overmix.

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Spread the batter into a small baking dish (I use a 2-quart, 11×7″ rectangular baking pan).

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Now this is important — place the cake pan in a water bath.

To create a water bath, place the cake pan into a large roasting pan.  Fill the roasting pan with hot water until it comes half-way up the side of the cake pan.

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If you don’t have a large pan to create a water bath, don’t worry.  Instead, place another baking pan half-full of hot water beneath the cake as it bakes.  The purpose of the water bath is to create moisture in the oven as well as to create a milder heat source than the direct heat of the oven so that the “pudding” can cook without cracking on top.

Bake in a 350-degree oven for one hour.  Because not all ovens are alike, your oven may cook faster or slower than others.  To determine if the cake is done, press the middle of the cake with your fingers (be careful — you’re only pressing the cake really quick so you shouldn’t burn yourself, but be careful nonetheless).  The cake should feel firm when you press it.  Additionally, the top of the cake should be a rich brown color.

Leave the cake in the water bath to cool.

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Prepare the sticky toffee sauce while the cake cools.

In a small sauce pan, melt some butter.  Add brown sugar and vanilla extract to the melted butter.

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Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, cooking until the sugar is completely melted.

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Stir in the heavy cream.

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Reduce the heat to low; simmer the sauce for a couple of minutes to thicken it slightly.  Remove the sauce from the heat. The sauce will continue to thicken as it cools.


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Use a skewer or chopstick to poke holes all over the top of the cake (it’s okay if the cake is still warm at this point).

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Pour about 3/4 to 1 cup of the warm, sticky toffee sauce over the top of the cake, filling all of the holes.

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Place any remaining toffee sauce in a small bowl to drizzle over the cake when serving.

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Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or and more sticky toffee sauce drizzled all over. ENJOY!

A scoop of vanilla ice cream is delicious with this too!

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Mmmm mmmm good!

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Sticky Toffee Pudding
 
A rich and decadent cake made with dates and topped with a sweet and flavorful toffee sauce.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Ingredients
Dates:
  • 10 ounces dates, chopped
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
Batter:
  • 1 stick butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Toffee Sauce:
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
Prepare the dates.
  1. Place the chopped dates in a small sauce pan, along with the water and baking soda.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil then remove from the heat. Set aside.
Mix the batter.
  1. Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla extract; mix until creamy.
  2. Fold in the prepared dates, including any liquid in the pot.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add to the butter-date mixture. Fold the flour mixture into the batter; mix just until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix.
Bake the cake.
  1. Pour the batter into a 2-quart, 11x7" baking pan.
  2. Place the pan into a large roasting pan. Add hot water to the roasting pan to create a water wath. The water should come halfway up the side of the cake pan.
  3. Bake in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for one hour.
Make the toffee sauce.
  1. Place the butter in a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Cook until the butter melts.
  2. Add the brown sugar and vanilla to the pan. Cook until the sugar melts.
  3. Stir in the heavy cream; reduce the heat to low and simmer for a couple of minutes to thicken the sauce slightly. Remove from the heat.
Finish the cake.
  1. Poke holes all over the top of the cooled cake.
  2. Pour ¾ to 1 cup of warm toffee sauce over the top of the cake. Set aside to cool completely.
  3. Place any remaining sauce in a small bowl.
Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream; drizzle more toffee sauce over the top. ENJOY!

 

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