Published Jan. 30, 2008

Some of the most popular "5:30 Challenge" recipes have used snack chips in some unexpected form. We've coated chicken breasts with barbecued potato chips and tilapia with corn chips. That's why, when I saw a recipe that used crushed potato chips as filler for crab cakes, it immediately piqued my curiosity. The theory is that the crushed chips provide not only the necessary binding, but also add a little crunch and sodium to boot. With crabmeat my all-time favorite indulgence, it took very little convincing for me to try to fashion a "5:30 Challenge" recipe using the chips. It also gave me the opportunity to dangle the special ingredient as a lure for my kids to finally try crab. I had success on both fronts.

Use good-quality crabmeat from the fish department for the best flavor. You don't have to invest in jumbo meat; backfin lump works well. Place the chips in a bag and crush with a rolling pin. If your patties are very thick, after browning you can transfer them to a preheated 350-degree oven for 5 minutes to finish cooking. To make the dish more healthful, I chose baked chips and reduced-fat mayonnaise.

TONIGHT'S SOLUTION: Potato Chip Crab Cakes

TO MAKE THE MEAL: Servewith steamed broccoli and couscous .

If you have a great-tasting main dish recipe that uses no more than five ingredients and can be made in 30 minutes or less, tell us. (Salt, pepper, water and oil for greasing a pan don't count.) We'll send you a 5:30 Challenge apron if we use your recipe. Send recipe to 5:30 Challenge, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Eighth Floor, 72 Marietta St. NW, Atlanta, GA 30303, or e-mail


Potato Chip Crab Cakes

1 egg

2 to 3 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 pound fresh jumbo lump crabmeat, drained

-3/4 cup crushed baked potato chips, about 3 ounces

- In a bowl, beat egg. Add 2 tablespoons mayonnaise and mustard and stir to combine. Add crabmeat and chips and gently stir to combine. If mixture isn't holding together, add additional mayonnaise. Do not overwork the crab, as it breaks into pieces easily. Form into 6 patties and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes. The patties will become firmer upon refrigeration.

- In a large, lightly oiled skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high heat, add the crab cakes and cook undisturbed until the bottoms are golden brown. Flip once and cook until bottoms turn golden and cakes are cooked through.

Makes 6 servings.Nutritional information per serving: 173 calories (percent of calories from fat, 36), 16g protein, 11g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 7g fat (1g saturated), 96mg cholesterol, 346mg sodium.