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Category Archives: What’s for Dinner

WFD: Pecan-crusted Salmon Patties

Salmon is a staple at our house, and often when we have leftovers I form them into salmon patties to serve for dinner the next day.  Last night was one of those nights, but I was missing the almond flour to use as a binder in the salmon patties, so had to think outside the box (I cannot use normal breadcrumbs or crackers!).  I wanted a nice crisp coating to the patties, so I made the mixture a bit wet, and used finely ground pecans as an outside coating to keep everything together.  Then, I baked them in the oven instead of fried them in olive oil, and served them with homemade Alfredo sauce.  Whole-wheat spiral noodles with Alfredo sauce, fresh grapefruit, and a salad finished off the meal.  Voila!!!  A dinner that the whole family loved!

So here’s what I did:

Pecan-crusted Salmon Patties

“Salmon Patties” is really a dish where you can toss in a ton of different things, and they usually turn out great.  I don’t usually measure for these, so my quantities are best guess.  🙂  I used my Ninja to finely chop most of the ingredients.

  • For last nights patties, I had some Parmesan cheese and Tillamonk White Cheddar (about 1/8 cup each) that I started with (I just throw the chunk of cheese in the Ninja and it turns out great!)
  • Then I added some leftover quick crackers (less than 1/8 cup ground up)
  • I wanted to sneak in some veggies so I took two stalks of limp celery (a good use of something that is soon to be thrown out!), and hand-chopped them fine
  • 2 eggs and some salt and pepper came next
  • Last came the salmon, which I put in the Ninja until it was crumbled fine, and then mixed everything by hand in a bowl
  • I took about a cup of pecans and ground them up fine.  Then, I formed palm-sized patties (they wanted to fall apart because of the lack of a binder, so be careful) and pressed them into the ground pecans on both sides

Place the salmon patties on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.  The bottom of the patties got nice and crisp, but I wanted a crisp on the top as well.  So, I turned the oven to high-broil for a few minutes.  That’s it!

Alfredo sauce

This is a great replica of Alfredo sauce, and my entire family loved it last night!  I served it over the salmon patties, and for the kiddos poured some over whole-wheat noodles.  They thought it was great!

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup dripped yogurt or yogurt cheese
  • 3/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan.  Add the yogurt one dollop at a time, whisking each one until smooth.  Keep the heat up and add the parmesan cheese.  Cook over meduim-high heat, stirring often, until it’s time to serve.  Generally I make this about 10 minutes before I want to serve dinner.  If you let it sit for too long, it might separate.

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WFD: Vanilla Cupcakes

Yes, that’s right.  For dinner tonight I had Vanilla Cupcakes.  Now, before you go and shake a finger at me :), hear me out.  It was my daughter’s 8th birthday party, and 15 minutes before the 7 girls were to arrive I realized that I had NOTHING that I could eat to keep me going through the 4-hour party.  I had a recipe from http://www.elanaspantry.com for Vanilla Cupcakes that I wanted to try and it looked super easy, so I put it together for my “dinner.”  I hoped that it would be a good “grab and go” food for the night, and I was not disappointed!

My first impression is that these are a cross between a muffin flavor and a cupcake.  Not a true cupcake in my mind because they just were not sweet enough.  Regardless, they were super easy to eat, and kept me going.  Each muffin had the equivalent of a 1/2 egg, plus honey and almond flour, so I figure I was eating pretty healthy.  🙂

Here’s the recipe of what I did:

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/4 almond flour

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

6 eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup-ish (add more for more sweetness) honey

1 teaspoon vanilla

I simply mixed this all together and poured it into my cupcake tin.  You’ll want to grease the tin very well, or use cupcake liners (papers?  little baking cups?  sorry….brain freeze on the name!)  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.  I would think you could frost these with some sweet concoction, and they almost would make you think you were eating “real” cupcakes.  Regardless, they were a great treat for me tonight when I needed something to put in my belly.  🙂

 

WFD: Almond-flour Chicken Fingers

Last night I tried another recipe from my new cookbook:  “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.”  This time I tried the Chicken Fingers, and they were amazing!  (The picture is of my plate last night…the first serving.)  My family doesn’t do well when I put something too weird in front of them, and so I keep looking for “Crohn’s safe” recipes that don’t rock the boat too much.  Even my husband thought this one was great!  Along with the chicken, I served baked applesauce, cauliflower-cheddar mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies.  Again, I did not serve your normal bread side-dish with this meal as I feel that is an unnecessary component, and my family didn’t miss it at all!

Chicken Fingers: This recipe is pretty standard, how you would make any fried chicken fingers.  The differences were that I used grapeseed and olive oils in the pan, and almond flour for the crust.  This is so much healthier than using white flour or saltine crackers for the crust.  I found the trick to getting a good crisp crust on these was to only turn them once, halfway through the approximately 8 minutes cooking time.

Cauliflower Cheddar Mashed Potatoes: I used to love mashed potatoes, and so this is a great substitute for me.  I simply take a head of cauliflower and steam it until soft.  Drain the water off.  I added 1/4 cup real butter (not margarine!) and a dollop of my homemade yogurt, and then blended it thoroughly with my immersion blender.  At first these were pretty tasteless, so I had to add approximately 2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper.  Once everything was well blended and smooth, I added about 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese and stirred that in.  The result is something that has a texture similar to mashed potatoes, and doesn’t miss the mark too much on flavor.  Next time maybe I’ll put some chives and bacon bits in it, and see if I can create an “overloaded baked potato” flavor.  🙂

Baked Applesauce: This is a variation of my normal baked apples.  With this I cut up 4 or 5 apples, it doesn’t matter which kind, and place them in a pan.  I’ll drizzle about 1/4 cup or less honey on top, and sprinkle with cinnamon.  I bake it for about 30 minutes at 350, and then stir when it’s done.  The apples sometimes fall apart, and sometimes not.
If I want a more “applesauce” consistency I’ll mash the apples up really well, or throw the whole thing in my blender.  Either way, it’s a good way to eat apples as it feels like dessert and not your fruit serving.  🙂

Steamed Veggies: Well, this is pretty standard, so I don’t need to write much on this.  I buy the big bag of veggies from Costco, “Broccoli Normandy,” for those nights I don’t want to be fancy.  My family loves the combination of veggies and will gobble them up!

Review: This dinner was a huge success!  I was able to fill my plate up (a semi-rare treat for me!), and the kiddos really liked it.  I’m finding myself now making about 2 dinners a week that have just meat, veggies, and fruit.  If the table seems like it will be a bit bare, I just think through fixing another veggie or serving another fruit, like I did tonight.  My goal is to wean my family off of the processed white/wheat bread, and their body’s addiction to that.  I think we all do better without that stuff in our system!  I know my kids eat that stuff at school everyday for lunch, but if I can at least get one good meal in them a day, I am happy.  I know my cooking is simple at this point in time, but I hope I’m giving you ideas on how you can change things, little by little, towards healthier eating.  🙂

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2010 in Crohn's Journal, What's for Dinner

 

WFD: Chicken Pot Pie

Yep, you heard me right.  Tonight, I made an SCD-legal chicken pot pie for the family!  I just picked up a new cookbook called The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook, and saw this recipe. This is a great book for anyone wanting to get away from all the white-flour recipes.  There are a few things that she uses freely (like agave nectar as a sweetener) that I have to substitute for, but on the whole the recipes are sound and healthy.  The author and her son have Celiac Disease, and so out of necessity she began creating these wonderful recipes.  It is cheap on Amazon, and well worth the money.  You can also check out her blog at http://www.elanaspantry.com/ for more recipes and ideas.

In the future I’m going to call this recipe Pam’s Goulash, even though I’m not sure what goulash is.  I just think of that word when something is kinda like a stew, and you just throw a bunch of things in!  🙂

Anyway…..

This didn’t have the “pie” consistency that you would normally have with a pot pie, because the crust was made from almond flour and not white flour.  I was a bit disappointed in my crust in that it didn’t hold up, and instead acted almost like crackers do when you put them in chili.  Still, the result was very delicious!

Since this recipe came from a book that I purchased, I cannot put it down here in full, though I’m sure I will play with the recipe to make it my own, and then I can share!  But right now I can tell you that, in addition to the almond flour crust, I made a wonderful pie filling that consisted of onions, chicken, carrots, celery, parsley, and frozen peas.  I used turkey stock and coconut flour as a thickener, and it worked pretty well.  The only seasonings were a teaspoon of salt and some pepper sprinkled on top.  I was amazed at how full the flavor was with just these simple ingredients!

I didn’t take a picture because it didn’t look too pretty.  But it tasted very yummy!  The real test isn’t from my kids (who are picky to begin with), but with my born-and-bred American husband who was raised on good ol’ American food!  If you want down-home comfort food, you go see my mother-in-law.  She makes those dishes the best!  Well, my husband proclaimed this a success.  He loved the flavor and the consistency, and it filled him up.  Now THAT is a successful dinner, especially considering my husband is one who was raised with the idea that you HAVE to have some sort of bread or starch with dinner!

Along with the pot pie I served a simple iceberg lettuce salad and a cantaloupe/apple salad.  The table looked a bit empty, but we all left with our bellies full, which is the end goal for me!

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2010 in Crohn's Journal, What's for Dinner

 

WFD: Salmon, apples, broccoli

What’s For Dinner?

With my new supply of resources for food I was able to get some Salmon last week that was pretty inexpensive.  I love to have fish at least once a week, and it felt really great to get back to that for this week!  My salmon meals are often pretty simple, but are always a wonderful and filling dinner.  This is a picture of my dinner plate last night (how I ate for having Crohn’s), and here’s what I did:

Salmon: I took a nice sized fillet and broiled it for about 3 minutes first.  In the past I have not cooked salmon with the skin on (though I’ve just found out that cooking with the skin on can have it’s benefits!), and this is a great way to get it off.  After broiling for a short time, the skin just peels right off.  Tonight I took a few big pats of butter and threw them on the bottom of the pan to melt, then added two big spoonfuls of minced garlic to the butter.  I set the salmon on top of my “garlic butter.”  I then took a large lemon, first did a titch of lemon zest on top of the fillet, and then juiced the lemon right into the pan.  Finally, I drizzled probably about 1/4 cup of honey over the fish.  At 350 this took about 15 minutes to cook.

Apples: My baked apples are very simple, and thankfully my family has not gotten bored of them yet!  I took 4-5 meduim apples (various kinds), peeled them and sliced them up.  After placing them in an oven-safe dish, I drizzled about 1/4 cup of honey on top and sprinkled with cinnamon.  I cook this, lid on or off doesn’t matter, at 350 for about 20-30 minutes.  A shorter time frame will have crisper apples.  A longer time-frame will make this almost into baked applesauce as the apples will just about fall apart when you stir!

Broccoli: Of course, the broccoli is nothing fancy.  My family loves broccoli, and it’s so good for them, so I serve this as often as I can.  I’ve found that my family will eat more of it if I put a bit of cheddar cheese on top, so that’s what I do!  I simply steam them until mostly soft and then melt the butter on top.  Instant yummy veggies for my family!

Review: I had planned to serve brown rice with this meal, for my non-SCD family.  But the rice didn’t get done in time so I just eliminated it.  My kids actually didn’t even miss not having a starch for dinner!  We each just had the apples, salmon, and broccoli, and that filled us up.  I loved the flavor of the salmon tonight.  It had a tangy-sweetness that was delicious!  When I served it I took some of the juice from the bottom of the pan and drizzled it on top of the portions, and that gave an even more intense flavor.  This meal is a great example of how a person can eat a full meal without serving bread or rice or potatoes.  Our society has told us that we need something like that with our meals, but truly, most of us….don’t!  And if one is still hungry, like my son was, a second helping of veggies or fruit never hurt anyone!

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2010 in Crohn's Journal, What's for Dinner

 

WFD: Fajitas and apples

I’m starting a new category on my blog titled, “What’s for Dinner.”  In it I’ll be posting the menu I serve on certain nights, along with recipes.  My hope is that it gives people ideas on how to feed their families healthy meals that incorporate more fresh foods instead of high-processed crud.

I had picked up a ton of small green peppers from the food bank last week, and needed to do something with them.  So, I decided to make fajitas last night.  I made the meat, veggies, salsa, and tortillas according to my diet.  The rest of the family had flour tortillas for their fajitas.  Since everything else was going to be warm, I served cool Granny Smith Apple slices as a side.  That was it!  The picture is my fajita that I assembled, and will tell you about later in this post.  Yum!

Flank Steak: I marinated the flank steak for about an hour with a mixture of oil, garlic, onions, hot peppers, salt, and pepper.  I turned the steak a few times to get a good coating on each side.  I then thew it on the BBQ for about 20 minutes and sliced it thin to serve.

Veggies: I took green peppers and onions and sautéed them in the leftover marinade from the flank steak.  This took about 5 minutes as my family wouldn’t eat them if they were too crispy.

Salsa: I cut up and mixed together two small tomatoes, one small green pepper, 1/2 of a small hot pepper, 1 tablespoon white onion, and 1 garlic clove.  I then added 1 tablespoon dried cilantro, oregano, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste.  Last I added 1 tablespoon each white vinegar and honey, mixed well, and let it sit in the fridge for an hour so the flavors could mix.

Tortillas: For legal tortillas using almond flour, I added 1/3 cup almond flour with 1 egg and water (a few tablespoons) until the consistency was somewhat runny.  I then added a pat of butter to a hot pan and poured a small amount in to cover the bottom of the pan.  I cooked it until I could flip it.  This made two small tortillas, but probably could have made three.

My fajita (pictured): For my fajita, I set the tortilla open-faced on my plate, and slathered a good amount of dripped yogurt (which to me tastes like sour cream!) all over the bottom.  I then layered a few strips of flank steak, veggies, salsa, and olives on top of that, in that order.  I topped it off with a bit of cheddar cheese.  It was….amazing!

Review: This dinner took me about 1 1/2 hours to prepare because I was doing it all on the fly….creating as I went.  Next time I’ll try to think ahead more.  I wanted a more bold flavor in the salsa and with the meat, but overall the taste was very satisfying!

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2010 in Crohn's Journal, What's for Dinner