Beach-themed recipes bring taste of summer

By ANDREW M. ARMSTRONG / Recipe Columnist

The start of winter weather has started draining people, at least it has me. Since I am unable to bring the heat, how about a taste of summer instead?

This week in order to warm you up, you should bring something with a taste of paradise to your family meal.

This week I have a few beach-themed recipes. The Ocean Lasagna is a great meal full of classic seafood flavor and a creamy sauce. Salmon Fiesta is a great taste of tropical paradise for somebody on the go. You can fix it up, place in the fridge, add the topping and bake after work.

The Crab and Eggplant Casserole is a good hearty and tasty choice for any true casserole lover. Stay warm and safe from my family to yours.

The Ocean Lasagna

1½ cups of chopped onion

1 cup of chopped mushrooms

1/3 cup of white wine

2 tablespoons of butter

1 package of cream cheese, softened (8 ounces)

1½ cups of cottage cheese

1 egg, beaten

2 teaspoons of dried basil

½ a teaspoon of salt

½ a teaspoon of ground black pepper

2 (10¾ ounce) cans of cream of mushroom soup

1/3 cup of milk

8 lasagna noodles, cooked

¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese

½ cup of sharp American cheese (2 ounces)

1 package of crab (20 ounces)

1 pound of fresh shelled shrimp

(Optional) 2 handfuls of spinach

Preheat oven at 350 degrees. In a large skillet sauté the onions, mushrooms, spinach, butter and wine. Cook till soft but not fully browned. Blend in the next six ingredients. Layer four of the cooked noodles in a greased 13-by-9-by-2-inch baking dish. Spread half of the mixture over the noodles. Add in the milk and soup to the mixture, then the shrimp and crab. Put down the last of the noodles. Then add the rest of the mixture topping the lasagna. Sprinkle the top with parmesan cheese and bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for 45 minutes. The last five minutes, top with the shredded American cheese and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Once removed from the oven let it stand to cool and set for 15 minutes.

Salmon Fiesta

1 can of condensed cheddar cheese soup (11 ounce)

1 large can of cream of mushroom soup (22.6 ounce)

½ a stick of butter

1 small can of mushrooms (4 ounces)

5 tablespoons of milk

1 small can of chopped green chili peppers (4 ounce)

1 jar of pimento (4 ounces)

1 onion, chopped

1 (14¾ ounce) can of salmon or 1 (9 ounce) can of tuna, drained

2½ cups of crushed corn chips or tortilla chips

(Optional) 1 cup of shredded cheese

Preheat the oven at 375 degrees. In a pan lightly sauté the butter, onions, chili peppers and mushrooms. Once cooked combine with the pimentos, soup and milk. Heat and stir until bubbly. If using salmon break into chunks. Stir in your fish of choice either the salmon or the tuna. Stir in 2 cups of the crushed corn chips. Bake uncovered in a greased casserole dish at 375 degrees for 35-45 minutes. The last 10 minutes, top with ½ a cup of crushed corn chips and if desired shredded cheese. 

Crab and Eggplant Casserole

1 pound of crabmeat

2 cups of eggplant

1 jar of pimento (4 ounces)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cups of green onions, chopped

2½ cups of bread crumbs

1 can of cream of shrimp (10½ ounce)

¼ a teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of ground black pepper

1 stick of butter

(Optional) 1 small can of mushrooms (4 ounces)

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Sauté the onions and eggplant in ½ a stick of butter (also add and sauté the mushrooms if choosing to use them). Then mix in the remaining ingredients. Reserve ½ a cup of the bread crumbs. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Spread the remaining bread crumbs on top. Cut the remaining butter into pieces. Randomly place on the topping and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, uncovered.