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weeknight meal

Salmon Cakes

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When the founder of your studio is an Alaskan Commerical Fisherman, you get a lot of salmon recipes. Here’s her favorite salmon cake go-to for easy dinners. Make slider buns for little fish burgers, wrap them in lettuce for a low-cal option, or just eat them plain with a salad. These are a hit with everyone!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
  • 2 tablespoons dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons panko
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cut half of the salmon into 1/4-inch pieces. Put in a large bowl. Cut the rest of the salmon into chunks; transfer the chunks to a food processor along with the mustard, mayonnaiselemon juice, lemon zest and cayenne. Pulse to make a paste.

Add the pureed salmon mixture to the bowl with the diced salmon. Add the scallions, 2 tablespoons panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and black pepper to taste. Gently mix until just combined.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Divide the salmon mixture into 4 mounds on the parchment paper. With damp hands, pat into 4-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick patties. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.

Spread the remaining 1 cup panko on a plate. Press both sides of the salmon patties in the panko. Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until browned on the bottom, 3 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary. Turn and cook until the other side is browned and the patties feel springy in the center, 3 more minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain; season with salt.

Niki’s favorite yogurt “tarter” sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ English or pickling cucumber
  • 1 tablespoon of dry dill or 2 tablespoons of fresh.
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • the zest of one yellow lemon
    Place everything in a food processor or using a hand blender purée into well combined.

Keep it chilled.

Zoodles (Zucchini Spaghetti)

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My absolute favorite quick dinner has to be zoodles. If you’re not familiar, zoodles are zucchini noodles that replace traditional pasta- I think they taste even better! Zoodles are a breeze to make, add an extra serving of veggies into your dinner, and don’t leave you feeling stuffed afterward like other pasta dishes might. Pick up a few zucchinis from the store and a spiralizer of your choice (I like the kitchen aid attachment, but there are hundreds of options in every price range) and get to Zoodling!

There are countless versions of Spaghetti Zoodles. Sometimes I add ground turkey, sometimes I go veggie only (it depends on whether my husband has any input). Sometimes I make my own sauce and sometimes I pick up a jar from wholefoods- play with it to see what works for you and your family.

Weeknight Zoodles:

Time to table: 25-30 minutes. Serves 4

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add turkey breast, pepper, garlic, Italian seasoning, ground black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes (if you like heat…which I don’t). Cook until turkey is lightly browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Move to a strainer and set aside.

While the turkey is cooking, Spiralize your zoodles- following the instructions on your particular spiralizer. Important* After you’ve turned the zucchini into zoodles, pour them into a colander with salt to draw water out and let them drain for at least 15 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water- you don’t want all that water in your sauce!

Add your veggies to the turkey pan with 1 tsp oil. Saute until tender crisp. Add your pasta sauce (I make mine in a big batch and use it throughout the week for 2 or 3 different meals. If you opt to buy yours, look for one that is low in sugar like Thrive Organic Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce. Read the labels!) Add your cooked turkey and mix.

In a different sauce pan or even a wok, heat 2 tsp oil until shimmering. Pour your zoodles into the pan (but not the excess water!). Cook for only 2-3 minutes. You still want them to crunch slightly. Overcooked zoodles are soggy.

Plate your zoodles and spoon the sauce on top. Voila, a healthier take on spaghetti!