More Canned Salmon

I took another walk through my recipe folders last week.  I am eagerly anticipating the start of our veggie CSA in a couple of short weeks, and I started mentally flagging recipes for our early vegetables (lettuce wraps, broccoli, beets, spinach).  While browsing, I came upon several quick and easy recipes that are on the healthier end of the spectrum (cake decorating class really took its toll!)

My in-laws took us out to a really nice place for our anniversary last Saturday, so I knew we’d need a lighter lunch that day.  Since canned salmon is my new love, this salmon cake was perfect, and it was an easy entrée for Client as well.  We also have eight or nine flat-leaf parsley plants that have returned to the garden this year, so I am trying to use as much as I can before we plant the actual garden and have to dig up most of those volunteers.  This recipe is from the October 2015 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

Salmon Patties with Parsley Mayo


(3)5 ounce pouches skinless, boneless pink salmon
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup finely chopped red sweet pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped green onions
1 egg, lightly beaten

1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
Nonstick cooking spray
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar

1 teaspoon bottled hot pepper sauce


  1. In a medium bowl combine salmon, bread crumbs, sweet pepper, green onions, egg, 2 tablespoons of the mayonnaise, and the mustard. Shape into eight 2 1/2-inch patties (about 1/3 cup each).
  2. Coat a very large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add patties and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until browned. Coat patty tops with nonstick cooking spray; turn. Cook 4 to 5 minutes more or until browned and cooked through (160 degrees F.).
  3. For parsley mayo, in a small bowl stir together the remaining mayonnaise, parsley, lemon juice, and hot sauce. Serve patties with parsley mayo.

Nutrition Facts (Salmon Patties with Parsley Mayo)

Per serving:

422 cal
33 g fat (7 g sat. fat, 19 g polyunsaturated fat,7 g monounsatured fat),
99 mg chol
852 mg sodium
8 g carb
1 g fiber
2 g sugar
22 g protein 
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

I used 2 cans (7 oz each) of salmon.  I didn’t have any panko breadcrumbs, and remembering that a recent crab cake seemed a little dry when I used homemade breadcrumbs instead of panko, I reduced the amount to 1/3 cup.  I swapped out half of the mayo for Greek yogurt in the cake and the sauce and shaved off close to 70 calories.  The cakes needed a little tenderness to keep them well-formed, but they went into the pan easily enough off a mini spatula.  I completely forgot to spray the patties before I flipped them, but they didn’t stick when I took them out or get too browned.


Verdict:  The cakes were perfect.  They were meaty and crisp, and though they seemed small, they didn’t have much filler.  Though I could have eaten more, I didn’t need to.  The mayo was creamy, lemony, herby, and had just a hint of a kick.  You could adjust the hot sauce up or down according to your preference, and substitute chives or tarragon as the herb component as well.  These would be great with a small salad but I was pleased with the plate as described.  I will definitely make these again (I mean, I still have at least 7 cans of salmon).


Clearance Veggies!

Husband came home with a trunkload of clearance treasures the other night.  Pork chops, sirloin steak, and a small pork roast went immediately to the freezer, but the bags of pre-cut broccoli and cauliflower went into this gem that I was planning to make with freezer broccoli.  Scroll down in the linked feature for the original recipe from Prevention Magazine, October 2015.

Orange Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry


PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes

¼ c fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp less-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp all-fruit orange marmalade
1 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp canola oil
½ lb organic chicken tenders, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
1 lb organic broccoli crowns, chopped into florets
½ organic red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
1 scallion, sliced + more for serving
1 clove garlic, minced
1½ tsp minced fresh ginger
Pinch of red-pepper flakes + more for serving

1. STIR orange juice, soy sauce, marmalade, and cornstarch in small bowl until blended. Set aside.
2. HEAT oil over medium-high heat in a wok or nonstick skillet Add chicken and cook, stirring until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. With slotted spoon, transfer chicken to plate.
3. ADD broccoli to wok and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes. Increase heat to high, add bell pepper, and continue cooking, stirring frequently, about 2 minutes. Transfer vegetables to plate with chicken.
4. REDUCE heat to medium high and add scallion, garlic, ginger, and red-pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add orange sauce to pan and cook until slightly thickened, about 30 seconds. Return chicken and vegetables to wok, and toss to coat and warm through. Serve with additional scallions and red-pepper flakes, if desired.

NUTRITION (per serving) 378 cal, 32 g pro, 26 g carb, 8 g fiber, 10 g sugars, 18 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 468 mg sodium

I mixed apricot preserves with my orange juice.  I keep low sugar apricot preserves on hand for several meals I make for Client, so I didn’t want to buy orange marmalade for just this one meal.  I used chicken thighs and yellow mini peppers because I had them on hand.  The rest of the meal (except for the cauliflower with my broccoli) I prepared according to the original recipe.


Verdict:  Thumbs up!  This recipe was very easy to make despite the multiple layers of “cook and transfer to a plate.”  The veggies remained crisp-tender, just the way I like them, and the sauce was salty from the soy and sweet from the preserves.  The peppers added a nice pop of sweetness, too.  Simple enough for a weeknight, especially if you use mostly pre-cut  veggies like I did.  For variety, you could add carrots, mushrooms, pea pods, or any other vegetables here if desired. You could also serve with rice or soba noodles if you wanted, but we ate it just as it was (almost out of the wok!). Bring on the chopsticks!


Throwback Weather, or Mother Nature is Cruel

This week’s weather has been unbearable.  Three days of rain, followed by one gorgeous day of sunshine and 60 degree temps, followed by a weekend of windy, cloudy, dreary, 40 degree blah.  I’ve also caught some sort of ick from the germ monsters in my class (or possibly my husband), so I’m in rather a foul mood.  I needed something easy to lift my spirits, or drown my sorrows, as it were.  This DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte fit the bill, and since the weather is like the first notes of a blustery Autumn, it’s doubly appropriate.  The recipe was adapted from Frugal Dreamer’s blog in the Chicago Tribune’s November 7, 2010 issue.

DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte

Note: Adapted from the blog

Servings: 2

2 cups milk
3 tablespoons canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for garnish
1 cup strong brewed coffee
Whipped cream
Cinnamon, optional

Combine milk, pumpkin and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until steaming. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice. Whisk the mixture until foamy. Transfer into two mugs, filling each only half way; top with coffee. Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a dash of pumpkin pie spice or cinnamon.

I was not about to mess around with a saucepan on the stove.  The milk, coffee, and pumpkin went into a glass measuring cup for 3 minutes in the microwave, after which I added the pumpkin spice and vanilla.  After a quick whisk, I poured it in an Irish coffee mug and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon.


Verdict:  Delicious.  I don’t treat myself to whipped cream atop my beverages very often, and I did really enjoy it.  The whipped cream added plenty of sweetness.  There is absolutely no need to add 2 tablespoons of additional sugar to this recipe (oh my, I even sound cranky today!).  I’m not sure how different the latte would taste by adding the coffee after mixing all the other ingredients, but I’ll try that next time (there’s probably some important reason that baristas know).

The spices really came through, but the pumpkin didn’t stand out to me.  It was there, especially the more I drank, but it was a subtle aftertaste.  I did notice as this coffee sat that layers started to separate, which was very mesmerizing (I actually stared and watched as it happened).  You might want to keep a spoon handy to stir it up if you are a lingerer.  It was also tricky to keep the spices blended, but it wasn’t an unpleasant situation.  I wonder if blending the spices into the pumpkin would keep them from floating around and getting left behind?

I will definitely make this again, especially now that I have an open can of pumpkin in the refrigerator.  Confession:  I also made this recipe last night but used a shot of pumpkin vodka instead of actual pumpkin. I slept really well last night as a result.  It was tasty that way, too, but I wouldn’t recommend it for early mornings.  ♥

Tuna Salad 2.0

As a child, I was never a big fan of tuna (or any fish, for that matter).  I think my mom tricked me into eating fish sandwiches by saying they were chicken patties.  I can’t exactly remember when I started eating fish, but the suggestion to eat fish at least once a week is one I try to put into place in our household.  We love salmon in any preparation, cod is my favorite for fish tacos, and we sneak shrimp into a variety of healthy dishes.

I came across this tuna salad makeover in the pile, and I needed a quick and easy dish earlier in the week while husband was recovering from a sudden cold or sinus outbreak (I’ve managed to avoid it so far). Swapping out a lot of the mayo for Greek yogurt cuts about 18 grams of fat over a restaurant version of the popular classic.  I enjoyed the addition of veggies for extra color, crunch factor, and fiber.


YIELD: 4 main-dish servings, 2 1/2 cups


2 cans chunk light tuna in water
2 medium stalks celery
1 medium carrot
½ medium red pepper
¼ c. light mayonnaise
3 tbsp. nonfat plain yogurt
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


  1. In medium bowl, combine tuna, celery, carrot, red pepper, mayonnaise, yogurt, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

It’s weird that the ingredient list neglects to mention that your vegetables should be chopped or sliced.  I sliced everything with the exception of the carrot, which I ran through the food processor.  I used a couple of mini-peppers from a veggie tray we had taken to a family lunch (one red, one yellow).  I used olive oil mayo and plain non-fat Greek yogurt (clearance score!).  I did have fresh lemons in the house, but used bottled lemon juice just as a convenience.


Verdict:  a winner!  The salad came together beautifully– the tuna was meaty (Costco) and broke apart and blended well.  Husband had his sandwich on toasted multi-grain bread, while I finished the last hoagie roll from our tuna burgers made the week before.  The flavors were fresh and crunchy and the dressing was light and creamy.  I completely forgot the pepper, but it wasn’t really necessary– the salad wasn’t bland at all.  I took the leftovers to lunch later in the week– a scoop over a green salad one day, and another sandwich a different day.   I would make this again in a heartbeat.  Just for more color and added veggies, I would probably add lettuce and tomatoes (the tuna was really good in the green salad with a little Italian dressing). While you could make adjustments for different flavors and spice levels, I was really happy with the salad just as it’s presented here.  Yum!  A pretty painless way to be more healthy.

Thai Tuna Football Burgers

Well, meeting #1 was postponed yesterday so I treated myself to a laundry marathon and an extra day of cooking!  This recipe for Thai-style Tuna Burgers is from an issue of Better Homes and Gardens, May, 2013.  I’ve never thought about tuna as being a burger– steaks, yes. Salad, of course!  But this was a new idea, which is probably why I saved the recipe in the first place.

Thai-Style Tuna Burger


1/3 cup mayonnaise with olive oil
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 eggs, beaten

1 cup panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon Asian chili sauce (Sriracha sauce)
(2) 5 ounce cans wild albacore tuna or solid white albacore tuna in water*
1/4 cup very thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 small ciabatta buns, halved and toasted

1/3 cup pea shoots or micro greens
2 miniature sweet peppers, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. In a small bowl combine mayonnaise and ginger; transfer 2 Tbsp. to a large bowl. Cover remaining mayonnaise mixture and chill. To the same large bowl add eggs, panko, fish sauce, and Asian chili sauce. Flake tuna and add to bowl. Add celery and green onion and stir. Let stand 10 minutes. With wet hands, shape tuna mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick patties.

Place tuna patties on a greased or foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes or until done (160 degrees F).

To serve, spread ciabatta halves with remaining mayonnaise mixture. Add a tuna patty to bottom half of each bun, bottom side up. Top with pea shoots or micro-greens, thinly sliced peppers, and top buns. Makes 4 servings.

From the Test Kitchen

*Wild Planet tuna does not need to be drained. If using a brand packed in oil or water, drain tuna.

Nutrition Facts (Thai-Style Tuna Burger)

          Per serving:     391 calories
          18 g fat (3 g sat. fat, 5 g polyunsaturated fat, 4 g monounsatured fat),
          118 mg cholesterol   1066 mg sodium   25 g carb   2 g fiber   2 g sugar
        28 g protein (Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet)


Since I had already chopped the green onions and celery Sunday (when I made the Creole dish), the prep for this was really quick.  I didn’t have quite enough green onion, so I added some fresh chives to make up the difference.   We don’t have Sriracha, but we do have Thai red curry paste, so I substituted one tablespoon of that in place of the Sriracha.  I also couldn’t locate any panko bread crumbs in my pantry, so I used up some of my stash of homemade bread crumbs.  I rehydrated some refrigerated ginger I’d previously minced and neglected to cover, made the mayo, tossed everything else in the bowl, and started a load of laundry while the 10 minute standing time ticked by.  The mixture looked a little dry–probably because of my finely ground breadcrumbs– and I toyed with throwing some additional egg white in there, but decided to leave it.

The football shape came about because our sandwich buns (clean out the freezer whenever possible) were mini-Italian rolls, not because NFL town was in Chicago this weekend (the rolls promptly fell over as soon as the burgers sat on them, hence, the tilted burger picture).  It took about 15 minutes for the burgers to reach 160º, but my oven was still preheating (425º) when I put the baking sheet in the oven.  We didn’t have microgreens or pea shoots, so I tore up some cilantro and we used that as the garnish.

Verdict:  Tasty, but nothing stood out to make these tuna burgers “Thai.”  The ginger was very evident, but the spice was completely lacking.  I would consider putting the chili paste in the mayo as well as in the burger mixture next time.  I think a generous squeeze of lime and some grated carrot in the mix would also brighten the flavor and improve the Thai profile.  Husband said he didn’t use enough of the mayo, and agreed about the spice level.  The texture wasn’t too dry or too wet– at least using the wrong breadcrumbs didn’t make the burgers crumbly or keep them from sticking together.  If I didn’t have panko in the future, I still might back off the regular breadcrumbs a little (maybe 3/4 cup instead of a cup).  We both really liked this meal, but would definitely tinker with the ingredients the next time we make it.

Jazz Fest and Creole Cooking

Whilst rummaging through the cabinet that holds the smaller, magazine weight cookbooks that refuse to sit properly on our cookbook shelf, I came across another file folder with a random assortment of recipes.  Discouraged and excited at the discovery of a pile hiding from the pile, I sat down with a strong cup of coffee and dug in.  I managed to find a handful that went right into the recycling bin– complex or less-than-exciting dishes that didn’t interest me anymore.  The others I pulled for the week are on the quick and easy side (I have meetings 4 days out of 5 this week and will be home to cook only 2 nights).

A friend of mine was in New Orleans for Jazz Fest this weekend, so the first recipe at the start of the busy week is a tribute to NOLA.  I remember a delightful gumbo I made with our smoked turkey leftovers the weekend after Thanksgiving.  It went over well with Husband and Client, so here’s hoping this dish will be another hit.  I can’t believe I found this recipe on Family Circle‘s website– it’s from October of 2009 (oldest recipe yet!).

Creole Shrimp & Rice
Makes: 4 servings
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 14 mins


3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
3 teaspoons Creole seasoning (such as McCormick)
2 large green peppers, seeded and chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped
3 ribs celery, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes
4 1/2 cups cooked white rice


Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp and season with 1 teaspoon of the Creole seasoning. Saute for 2 minutes per side. Remove to a plate.

Add remaining tablespoon oil, the peppers, onion, celery and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scrape up any browned bits in bottom of skillet. Add tomatoes and remaining 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning. Break up tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon. Simmer, covered, for 5 minutes.

Stir in shrimp and heat through. Serve with cooked rice.

Nutrition Information for Creole Shrimp & Rice
Servings Per Recipe: 4

PER SERVING: 504 cal., 12 g total fat (2 g sat. fat), 126 mg chol., 919 mg sodium, 77 g carb. (5 g fiber), 22 g pro.

I thought we had several partially used bags of frozen shrimp from a recent Cooking Light shrimp and pasta with vodka sauce, so this recipe was a good opportunity to get them used up.  When I went digging through the freezer(s), I only found 4 ounces of shrimp.  Plan B: 4 ounces of shrimp and 8 ounces of an Angus kielbasa that husband scored for 99 cents (I was thinking that the sausage would work a la red beans and rice).  I used one green pepper and one orange pepper for a little more color, and diced tomatoes instead of stewed, just because that’s what I buy in bulk and always have on hand.  Brown rice is my go-to for anything that isn’t risotto or rice pudding, and I started up the rice cooker as I began my prep (it takes longer, but the health benefits are worth it).

The sodium content in this recipe is staggering.  We have 2 salt-free seasoning blends from a local spice shop that I thought would work for this dish: Cajun seasoning and a Florida seasoned pepper.  I went with the Cajun because the smoky paprika smell was much more vibrant than the Florida pepper, which smelled earthy and a little cheesy.

I often joke with people about recipes that are “quick and easy”.  Looking at all the chopped vegetables in this recipe, I knew that even with my culinary school knife skills, there was no way this prep would be done in 15 minutes.  15 minutes is accurate only if you have a bunch of minions behind the scenes preparing your mis en place.  But since I had to wait for the rice to cook anyway, I took it in stride.  I wasn’t pressed for time– it was actually a therapeutic slow down after a busy weekend.

When I looked at the volume of food this recipe made, I knew right away that this could (and should) serve at least 6 people.  I recalculated the calories (even with the addition of the beef sausage) and got it down to 337.  Taking into account that brown rice saves about 40 calories per cup, that shaved off another 20 or so.

So once the prep was done, this dish did come together quickly. I sauteed the shrimp and the sausage (sliced) according to the recipe (stirring and tossing, not turning over; my shrimp are tiny) because they were frozen.  In step 2, I didn’t put the garlic in with the vegetables until after 3 minutes because the garlic tends to burn after a short time in the skillet.


Verdict:  A definite keeper!  Husband and I both really liked the flavors.  My favorite bites were the ones with tomatoes, while he loved the addition of the sausage.  We devoured this dinner quickly, despite having been out to a late brunch with my family and not being overly hungry.  The smaller portion size was plenty filling.  I think stewed tomatoes may have made more of a sauce, but it didn’t bother me that there wasn’t a lot of liquid.  The heat from the seasoning more than made up for the lack of salt (also added by the sausage).  I will surely make this again. I think it would go over well with a crowd, but not require you to be away from your guests for a long time to pull it together, as long as you did all your vegetable chopping and rice cooking ahead.