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The title of this blog entry is kind of a misnomer—it should be The Bad Daddy Cooks—Christmas Eve Recipes. I didn’t cook any of these except the struffoli. (Really, who wants me messing up a holiday meal?) 🤷🏻‍♀️ I’ve included all the recipes, except for the easy, self-explanatory dishes like bacon wrapped scallops and fried calamari.

Here’s all you need for your own kick ass Christmas Eve meal.

Crab Corn Chowder: (He adapted this one from several different recipes)
8 oz of lump crab meat
2 slices of bacon
2 jalapenos (no seeds or ribs), minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp sugar
16 oz of frozen corn kernels
1 cup half and half (divided)
1 or 2 red-skinned potaotes
2 cups of chicken broth
2 TBSP of flour
1 cup of whole milk

Set a large pot (like a spaghetti pot) over medium heat. Add bacon and cook till crisp. Transfer to a paper towel when cooked.
Add jalapeno, onion, garlic, carrot, celery salt, pepper, and sugar to the bacon fat. Cook, stirring occasionally until veggies have softened. Add corn and cook for a few more minutes. Take about 3/4 cup of corn mixture and add to 3/4 cup of half and half in the blender—blend and set aside. Add potatoes to the pot. Cook for a few minutes and then add chicken broth. Boil until potatoes are tender. Whisk the 1/4 cup of half and half and flour together. Add to pot and stir constantly until chowder thickens. Pour pureed mix in pot. Add milk, crab meat and bacon. Cook another few minutes until heated.

Lobster Mac & Cheese: (He got this from one of the many cooking classes he’s taken. 🙄)

1 box of elbow pasta (we used the large elbows)
4 cups whole milk
8 TBSP of unsalted butter
1/2 cup of onion, chopped (WHAT?!?!?! I don’t like onion! He tricked me!)
4 cups of Gruyere cheese, grated
2 cups of sharp cheddar, grated
4 oz of Velveta, cubed
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp of dry mustard
1 lb of cooked lobster meat, cut up in bite sized pieces
1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
3 TBSP of butter

Preheat oven to 350. (Side note: I told hubby to preheat to 400 because our oven SUCKS, but he didn’t listen, so that resulted in the meal taking about a half hour longer to cook. 😒)The instructions also said to grease the baking dish with butter, which we forgot to do and it turned out fine and with less butter. We could all use less butter, right?)
Cook pasta al-dente and set aside. Heat milk in sauce pan, but do not boil. in a separate pot, melt 8 TBSP of butter. Add onions and cook till softened. Add flour and whisk without browning butter. Add milk and whisk. Cook till thickened. Off heat, add cheeses and whisk until melted. Add salt, pepper and dry mustard. Add pasta and lobster and stir to combine. Pour into dish.
Make the crumb topping by melting 3 TBSP of butter and combine with bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top of mac and cheese. Bake for an hour or until sauce is bubbly and crumb topping is browning.

Bang Bang Shrimp:

1 cup of buttermilk
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch (here’s where I “messed” up—we had 1/2 cup…somebody didn’t bother to tell me that we were doubling this recipe. 🤔)
1 egg
1 TBSP of hot sauce
1 lb of shrimp (we used “large”…they were ginormous.)
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup Panko bread crumbs (we should own stock in Panko bread crumbs)
1/4 cup mayo
2 TBSP sweet chili sauce
1 TBSP honey
2 tsp of hot sauce

Make the sauce by whisking the mayo, chili sauce, honey and hot sauce together. (This keeps well in the fridge for days.) Meanwhile, heat fryer (if you use the air fryer, I’m sure it’s healthier—we used the deep fryer.)
Whisk buttermilk, flour, cornstarch, egg, hot sauce and salt and pepper in a bowl. Dip the shrimp one at a time in this mixture and then dredge in bread crumbs. (This is VERY messy and time consuming—allow yourself at least one hour for this task—no, I’m not kidding. 😬) Fry it up and serve it hot.

Crab Cakes:
(Also adapted from a cooking class recipe—I only see these cooking class recipes once or twice a year. Good thing he got an apron from the teacher for the student who takes the most classes…insert eyeroll here.)🙄

1 cup mayo
2 eggs, beaten
2 TBSP Dijon mustard
2 TBSP lemon juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
3 TBSP parsley, finely chopped
40 Ritz crackers, crushed (I also hate Ritz crackers so I didn’t eat this one…I heard it was good, though)
2 lbs of lump crab meat

Whisk mayo, egg, mustard, lemon juice, red pepper, and parsley. In another bowl, toss crabmeat with crackers. Fold into mayo mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Scoop crab mixture into 1/4 cup mounds and pat into patties. Fry in deep fryer, air fryer, skillet—whatever you have.

(I found a recipe on Pinterest, but I’ve scaled it back considerably because the original recipe made a billion honey balls and took me 7 hours to make. This now makes about one plate full and takes around two hours—less if you have a fryer.)

2 cups flour

3 Tbs butter

1/8 cup sugar

3/4 tsp baking powder

pinch of salt

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup honey

1 container multi-colored non-pareil

Mix the butter and flour together with your hands in a bowl until butter is in small bits. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt, stirring to incorporate. Add eggs and vanilla, and stir until a dough forms. Knead a few times, then leave in bowl to rest for 1/2 hour in fridge. Roll out dough in ropes—cut into 1/4 inch pieces and roll the pieces into balls. Fry up in small batches (they will expand as they cook). Heat up honey in a saucepan and then toss cooked balls in the honey. Stack into a pyramid shape, add remaining honey to the top, and sprinkle with non-pareils.

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