The Chicken Nuggets that Weren’t

Last night we had some old favorites at our house. I’m so familiar with salmon patties that I can practically cook them in my sleep. Nothing could go wrong with that, right? Um….yeah.

Although last night was relatively uneventful compared to most nights, I did manage to burn my fingers more than once and my pot of potatoes overflowed. By the time my children started asking for snacks, drinks, and dinner every two minutes, I was feeling my eye twitching every time they came into the kitchen. Then Ella, my three year old, walked in and said, “What are we having for dinner?” After my son told her salmon she immediately turned her nose up and started to whine. I quickly caught her attention and told her we were actually having “giant chicken nuggets” (which is exactly what my son thought they were until last year). It is slightly deceiving, but I go with whatever works!

Let’s get started! Here’s what you will need for the salmon patties. Well…and oil, but you get the drift. This recipe is very reasonable on the wallet.

A few important notes:

  1. Get boneless and skinless. If not, you’ll be like me the first time I made these and spend an hour trying to pick the minuscule bits of skin and bones out before just throwing it all away and screaming in frustration.
  2.  I have used different brands and noticed some of them need more or less cornmeal. Just be warned that all brands are different and what works for Double “Q” may not necessarily work for another brand (in terms of cornmeal amounts needed and such).

I mixed together two cans of salmon in medium-sized bowl. I always drain one and just dump in the second one with liquid and all. I added in two eggs and used a fork to mix the eggs and salmon together and then I added in the 1/4 cup of cornmeal and mixed well. Last night I added in an extra 1/8 cup. I usually know it’s “ready” when I push it all to one side of the bowl and it doesn’t automatically slide back into place.

After mixing them up, drop them by small spoonfuls into a skillet of hot oil. You can make bigger ones if you want. I vary on sizes.

It’s time to flip when they turn golden brown on the sides!

Once they are done, they should look like this on the inside:

As a side I also made cheesy smashed potatoes. I washed and sliced five UN-peeled potatoes and boiled them while I made the salmon patties. I then added a little milk, a Tbsp of butter, and a handful of cheese and mashed them up. The skin is just extra nutrients and it’s so much easier than peeling it. I also used my trusty Pampered Chef steamer (no, I don’t sell it- I just adore this product) to steam frozen broccoli in the microwave.

All in all it was a fast and easy dinner!Oh and my three year old still thinks we had chicken nuggets. And she ate every. last. one.

*Disclaimer: I make these pretty plain. You may want to add more seasonings, but we prefer them this way. This should be considered a base recipe by most.

Salmon Patties

  • 2 Cans of boneless, skinless Salmon- ONE drained (I prefer Double “Q”)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 C of cornmeal (may need an extra 1/8 C occasionally)
  • olive oil

Combine regular can of salmon and drained can. Add eggs. Mix together with a fork. Add in cornmeal and mix well. If needed, add extra cornmeal. Heat olive oil in skillet on medium to medium/high heat. Drop spoonfuls of salmon mixture into hot skillet. Turn patties when the edges turn golden brown. Once patties are done, move to a paper-towel covered plate to soak up any extra oil. Serve.

Cheesy Smashed Potatoes

  • 5-6 washed, un-peeled potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 2-3 Tbsp milk
  • “handful” of shredded sharp cheddar cheese (real technical measurements here…)

Slice potatoes and add to a large pot of boiling water. Let potatoes boil until they are tender and easily mashed with  fork. Drain and return to pot. Add in milk and butter and mash by hand. After butter melts, add in a handful of cheese and hand mash.

 

Archives- Day 8- It Smells Like an Aquarium in Here

Original Post- March 9, 2011

Unfortunately, I missed two days. We had a TERRIBLE day on Friday and I wasn’t feeling well so we ate out. Saturday night, I pulled out the chicken I was originally going to cook on Friday and it smelled kinda funky so we ate out again. I felt terribly guilty both nights. I’m being held accountable with this blog. That is a blessing and a curse. It’s great because it keeps me on track and keeps me motivated. It’s awful because I know that there are a few of you that are sweet enough to keep reading these and I don’t want to give up now. I’m almost a third of the way done! Plus, I’m really starting to enjoy the kitchen. Scary thought, yes?

Sunday night rolled around and guess what- I have NOTHING thawed out. I quickly thought up a few options.

  1. I could find something and thaw it, but there wasn’t much time left to do so because it was already getting on the late side of dinner.
  2. I could go pick something up, but I did not want fast food again. That is the whole point of the 30 Day Challenge.
  3. I could use that thing in my head that was hurting me so bad on Friday!

I decided upon #3 and got busy searching around my kitchen for ingredients. I found: frozen fish fillets, egg noodles, tomato, carrots, onions, frozen broccoli, and parsley. I also found some Cajun seasoning. My brain goes into “Chopped” & “Iron Chef” mode (exactly where it doesn’t have much business being in the first place) and I started thinking of all the possibilities. However, let me back up for a minute to the fish…

Fish may very well be my enemy. Not really, but I’m very scared to cook it or have it in my house. My dad got food poisoning from eating fish. I don’t remember it, but evidently he had a very nasty case of it, and has not eaten fish since. Because of this, I don’t remember my mom ever cooking fish. My grandmother would fry some up occasionally when my grandfather used to go fishing and I think that is were I developed my love of catfish. Then, I started eating salmon because Russ’ family makes it occasionally and I didn’t want to be rude. It turned out to be really good, but I’ve never cooked it for Russ although I want too. I’m just scared of temperature issues or the fish going bad and making my family sick. I opted for the frozen fish fillets from Sam’s when I went on my crazy meat shopping spree. I figured we would start with the easiest and progress from there.

Back to Day 8, I preheated the oven to what the frozen fish bag said and I washed the fish fillets and put them in a pan. From here, there were no other directions listed except cook time. I pulled out some Cajun seasoning,  sprinkled some on the fish, threw the pan into the oven, and prayed for the best . I was cooking the egg noodles when I decided to steam the broccoli as well. Then I got an idea. I steamed the carrots, sauted the onions, and cut up the tomato and parsley. I did all of this and once the noodles were drained, I threw the veggies and noodles back into the pot and poured about 3/4 to 1 cup of Italian dressing on top and mixed it all together. It wasn’t by any means drenched because I had made half a bag of egg noodles. It was just enough to be really good though. I’ve never made any kind of pasta salad so I was happy with my first attempt. The fish came out pretty well. I took them out of the oven and they were flaky on the fork, but I got a little apprehensive and stuck them in the oven for another couple of minutes to be sure (and they ended up overcooked…). I found some strawberries, blueberries, and grapes in the fridge. I washed the fruit and cut up the strawberries and made a fruit salad as well. It was pretty interesting to say the least. The whole meal took probably 20 minutes and I did it without a recipe!

The result? The fish was a little spicier than I liked, but it was pretty good. The fruit salad was a big hit. We are big fruit eaters.  The pasta salad was mine and Russ’ favorite part of the meal. Getting Andrea to eat it was like pulling teeth, but we got her to eat about half before we just gave up. I had enough to have leftovers as well. I didn’t get pictures, but all in all, it was a good night other than the smell. We discovered that our house smells like an aquarium afterwards!

Russ walked outside to take the trash out or get something out of his car, but I just caught his face when he walked back in. Here’s our conversation:

R: Do you smell that?
K: What exactly is that?
R: That nasty smell. Is it from the fish? UGH!
K: (I go around sniffing) EWWWW. It stinks in here like nasty aquarium.

I spent the next 10 minutes cleaning up everything pertaining to the fish. The pan, the aluminum foil, the little bits left on the plates, the one fillet that we couldn’t eat. I didn’t just throw it away. I Ziplocked that mess. Yuck. And then I took the trash out the following morning because I guess I was afraid the zipper lock would melt away from the nastiness. I’m glad it didn’t smell like at first or we would have made a fast-food trip for sure!

Happy Cooking! 🙂