BellyGrowling for Crabcakes

from Jan

In December 2015, after an embarrassing week of dining out, I wrote a post about frugal ways to spend less when dining out. One thought I had in that post was to try making at home the dish one of us was craving from a restaurant. Well, 3 months later (better late than never), I tried it. As a result, there is a new format for BellyGrowling in this post. I will attempt to make the dish that one of us wanted from the restaurant, describe the experience, estimate the money saved, and honestly assess the experiment. 

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This week, my belly was growling for crabcakes.  I have never cooked crabcakes and rarely get them when we are out because they are so expensive!  But, I do love them.  I searched online for a recipe and found about 4,000 of them!  Yikes!  I narrowed my search by limiting it to recipes that baked the crabcakes and then eventually settled on my trusted recipe source, Cooking Light.   

Here is the recipe on which I based my crabcakes:  http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/panko-crusted-crab-cake-bites-with-roasted-pepper-chive-aioli 

Ingredients I had at home: 

Red pepper – a substitute for the celery 

Dill – a substitute for the chives 

Mayonnaise 

Egg 

Mustard 

Crushed Puffins cereal – a gluten-free substitute for the panko 

Hot sauce – omitted 

Ingredients I needed to buy: 

Cooked crab -- $10.99 

Corn on the cob (side dish) -- $3 

The recipe 

As you see above, I made a few substitutions in the recipe in order to not purchase new items.  The biggest change I made was that I did not "coat" the crabcakes in panko as suggested in step 3 of the recipe. 

Total cost:  $13.99 

Full disclosure: The real cost may actually be $27.99 depending on how you look at things.  As I was taking the baking pan out of the oven for the second batch of crabcakes, the pan shattered as I placed it on the stovetop.  Fortunately, 8 crabcakes were already cooked and there were only 4 in this batch.  I am not one to collect kitchenware , so I debated getting a new one, trying to make due with the disposable aluminum pans, or going without.  I decided to get a new one which cost me $14.99. 

Savings 

The last time I got crabcakes, the meal included 2 crabcakes, potatoes, and a vegetable and cost $29.  And, that does not include the cost of meals for Jeremy and Joshua.  Let's very conservatively add in another $45 for their meals which brings the total food bill to $74.  Add tip and tax (no beverages, appetizers, dessert), and the total restaurant bill is around $100. 

TOTAL SAVINGS: $87 (or maybe $72 depending on how you count the baking dish expense) 

The results 

After the baking dish shattering incident and spending lots of time cleaning it up, we decided that a pizza was in order.  I wrapped up the non-glass crabcakes and kept them in the fridge until the next day.  I'm not sure if this had an impact on the results.   

Overall, Jeremy and I enjoyed the crabcakes.  I felt they were a bit soggy, but I think a lot of this was because they sat in the fridge for a day.  Joshua tried them, but did not like them.  To be fair, he really has never like crabcakes.  I would like to try this recipe again, hopefully with less drama and more crispiness!