{Salmon Cakes & Basil Parmesan Orzo}


HI!

The NewlyNabors started the week with a visit from Papa McD for dinner on Monday.  Papa McD has been away for a while, so I wanted to welcome him home with a delicious home cooked meal, and since the last two times he had come over we had delicious chicken & dumplings, I wanted to cook something anything other than that for him and my sweet husband who has been subject to my chicken and dumplings, though delicious as they are, far too frequently lately.  Besides, it still feels a little like summer, so I thought something fun and summery might be a good way to go this time.

I decided to browse my lovely Pinterest board, {Tounge Tasties}, that has gone untouched for far too long.  On it, I found a link for 8 salmon recipes and also a recipe for Basil Parmesan Orzo. (The orzo recipe is from Tasty Kitchen, The Pioneer Woman's.recipe website where people from kitchens all over can add recipes.  That's where I got the Homemade Chicken & Dumpling recipe too!)  I decided both sounded pretty light and moderately healthy.  From the delicious selection of 8 salmon ideas, I selected Salmon Cakes.  Okay people, don't turn your noses up just yet.  My Dad loves crab cakes, so I figured it couldn't be so bad to use salmon instead of crab and end up with great results.  I should have thought though that the key to good crab cakes is the spice or peppers that they use in the cakes, and frankly bell peppers upset my stomach.  I pretty much say no to peppers, much to my husband's dismay.  Nevertheless, they ended up being pretty tasty, and they only took 25 minutes to make which was a win in my book!  The orzo took about the same time, and I sauteed some squash to add an additional vegetable to the meal (there is chopped baby spinach in the salmon cakes).

Salmon Cake Recipe:
Ingredients:

  • 2 pouches (6 oz each) skinless, boneless, pink salmon
  • 1 can (14.5 oz each) Hunt's Diced Tomatoes with Basil, Garlic, and Oregano, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup Egg Beaters Original
  • 1/2 cup dry seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
1) Combine all ingredients, except oil, in a medium bowl.  Shape mixture into 6 patties, about 1/2-inch thick.

So, the only salmon I could get at Wal-Mart (first bad call of the evening - get your fresh fish elsewhere) was a bag of frozen salmon in pouches, but they were pink, skinless, and boneless, so I figured it would work.  To thaw the salmon, I put the pouches in a bowl of cold water and let them sit until I needed them to add them to the mixture.  They need to be able to separate into pieces rather easily since you're just combining them into your salmon cake mixture.  Second error of the evening, since I was wearing white pants I was being particularly careful about avoiding getting the can of tomatoes on me at all, including juice splatters, so I didn't exactly drain the tomatoes as much as they needed.  If you're going to make these bad boys, DEFINITELY drain the can completely.  Too much excess liquid made the cakes hard to keep together.  I did use more breadcrumbs and that helped to soak up the excess a little.  Yes, very little, but some.  Additionally, I used unseasoned bread crumbs because we had two packages of Panko BreadCrumbs in our pantry and I wanted at least one box gone.  Thus, there wasn't an overwhelming amount of flavor in the cakes.  Though it doesn't call for salt and pepper, or even garlic powder, I should have added a little something something to make them more flavorful.  Finally, I made my patties a litttttttttle too large and they cooked out the outsides, but had a hard time cooking thoroughly in the center.  We ended up having to put them in the oven to finish the cooking process.

2) Heat oil in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Cook salmon cakes 4 to 5 minutes or until browned.  Turn carefully and cook 4 to 5 minutes more or until cooked through.

I assume all of this would have been a little easier had I actually followed my instructions thoroughly.  They ended up tasting a little fishy which I primarily top off to them being frozen initially, as well as the lack of additional seasoning on my part.  I also think a nice sauce would have been a good addition to the cakes, but I couldn't figure out what people normally eat with their crab cakes.  Horseradish?  yuck.  Lemon butter sauce?  yum.  Garlic Aoili?  YUM.  I'll have to try something with them next time.  If you try these and have a good sauce buddy, holla atcha girl in the comments section.

This is what they were supposed to look like.  Mine looked a little different, but still tasty!
The orzo was a piece of cake!

Basil Parmesan Orzo
Ingredients:
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/2 cup Orzo
  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used chicken - it was yummo!)
  • 6 tablespoons Fresh Chopped Basil
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
1) Melt the butter over medium heat.
2) Add the orzo and saute for a few minutes, until the orzo starts to get golden brown.
3) Add the broth and cover to simmer for 20 minutes, until all the broth has been absorbed.

Keep an eye on this part.  I noticed after 15 minutes my broth was all gone and my orzo was starting to stick and burn on the bottom.  Don't be a victim of burned orzo!

4) Remove from the heat, add the basil and Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.


TOLD YOU!  Easy peasy.  You didn't believe me did you?

All the while, I had cut my squash into thin circles and tossed them lightly with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, covered them, and let them steam on low while I made the rest of the dinner.  They looked kind of scary because I think I let them steam for too long, but they tasted excellent, so absolutely no one minded.  (I also made sure I collected most of the scary ones on to my plate.)

I think I'll try to make these again when I can get fresh salmon, or maybe I'll experiment with smoked salmon sometime since Ryan doesn't like fish that tastes "fishy".  We enjoyed the evening catching up with Papa McD, playing with the border collies, and the boys watched a little Monday Night Football to end the evening while I made our kitchen sparkly.

Have you tried any new easy weeknight meals recently?  Share them with me!  But remember... no peppers!


Happy Thursday, friends!

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