I made a delicious dinner the other night straight from the show “Ten Dollar Dinners” on Food Network. The host is Melissa D’Arabian, recent Food Network Star winner. I must say I wasn’t a huge fan during the competition, she was a bit too smiley and slightly annoying. But I have to admit her show is pretty good and it inspired me to replicate exactly what she she made, and the dinner turned out beautifully.

The main course was salmon cakes made with…salmon from a can. Yes at first I balked at this, salmon from a can? But I kept an open mind and trust me, they were awesome. Surprising delicious, actually. Potatoes are included in the cake which make them more robust and give them nice texture. I had some issues at first while forming the cake, they were kind of falling apart, but I added more bread crumbs (I used panko) and was a bit more firm in my forming strategy and once in the pan they held together well.

Salmon Cakes (by Mellisa D’Arabian of Food Network)


2 strips bacon, cooked until crispy, crumbled, bacon fat reserved
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 egg
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 lemon, zested
1 (14-ounce) can wild salmon, checked for large bones
1 baked or boiled russet potato, peeled, and fluffed with a fork
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable oil


Heat 1 tablespoon of the reserved bacon fat in a small saute pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Cool the onions for a bit.

Mix the bacon, onion, egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon and potato, mixing gently after each addition. Form the mixture into 12 small patties. In a shallow dish, combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan, and pepper, to taste. Coat the patties in the bread crumb topping.

Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat, and cook the salmon cakes in batches until golden, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add more oil, as necessary. Arrange on a serving platter and serve.

I also made an orzo side dish. Careful with the below recipe, all the reviews say the liquid to orzo ratio is incorrect. I followed it exactly and agree that there was too much liquid. I cooked the orzo until it was done and then strained the rest of the liquid out. I added flavor to an otherwise pretty bland orzo by adding parmesan. I also added zucchini and squash. It ended up being quite tasty.
Orzo with Thyme and Lemon Zest

1 1/2 cups chicken stock or broth

2 cups water
Pinch dried red pepper flakes
1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
3/4 cup orzo
lemon, zested
2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves

In a medium saucepan, add the stock, water, pepper flakes, and garlic and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the orzo, lower the heat, and simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir in lemon zest and thyme leaves. Season with salt, to taste, and transfer to a serving bowl.