I did not know when I was working on this recipe two years ago how timely it would be today. Our April recipe of the month is Spicy Tuna Salad. This recipe is particularly useful as we social distance and our trips to the grocery store are fewer and farther between. This recipe uses two sources of shelf stable protein – tuna and beans.
When I know I cannot get to the grocery store often, I rely on shelf stable sources of protein. These include tuna and salmon in cans or pouches, canned beans, dried beans and lentils, and canned chicken. If you find yourself reaching for one of these sources of protein to round out a meal this week, here are some ideas for how to use them:
We have many other recipes that can be adapted to using shelf stable sources of protein, if you need help modifying a recipe, please let us know.
There are some weeks when I get to shopping day and I realize that it is not going to happen. Maybe someone is sick, maybe we are snowed in, or maybe I am just too tired. The reason does not matter because the result is the same – I have to make lunch for my two children and I plus supper for all four of us with what is left in the pantry and the refrigerator.
On days like these I depend on recipes like our blackened tuna patties because they are made with ingredients that I keep stocked in my pantry and refrigerator. These staples are always available in my kitchen – tuna, salad dressing, garlic powder, eggs, and bread crumbs. Having the fresh vegetables may be tricky, but I usually come up with something. Once I used some leftover shredded cabbage and it worked great.
To make the tuna patties stir the ingredients together, shape them into four patties, and cook in a skillet heated to medium for about three minutes on each side. My children like to eat these plain with fruit and veggies on the side, my husband likes them as a sandwich, and I prefer them with a salad or coleslaw. Please try out this recipe and enjoy!
Cost Per Serving: $0.51
- 1 can (5 ounces) tuna, packed in water (drained)
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 1/3 cup shredded or diced vegetables (like carrots, celery, peppers, or zucchini)
- 2 tablespoons light salad dressing (like ranch)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 beaten egg
- 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Stir tuna, onion, vegetables, dressing, and garlic powder in a bowl. Mix in the beaten egg.
- Stir the bread crumbs into the mixture. Let the mixture rest for 5 minutes.
- Wash hands. Form the mixture into 4 patties. Each patty should be about 1/3 inch thick and 3 inches wide. Wash hands.
- Heat a skillet to medium. Spray the pan with nonstick cooking spray when it is hot. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes. Turn patties over and cook for 2-3 minutes more. Cook until patties are browned and 145 degrees Fahrenheit inside.*
* Testing Meat
To test thin items—such as hamburger or fish patties, steaks, chops or chicken breast – Insert an instant read thermometer from the side so 2 to 3 inches of the stem is in the center of the food and away from fat or bone.
Grocery stores recognize Lent by putting various kinds of fish on sale. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish) at least two times a week. Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids.
I have been experimenting with cooking and grilling fish, trying to come up with something easy that has good flavor without adding breading and fat. I am trying to avoid the calories in breading, and I hate to pay the extra for someone else to add a little sauce.
Here’s a simple and tasty way to cook fish fillets:
- Turn on the oven; preheat to 400 degrees.
- Line a baking pan with foil (easy clean-up); lay the fillets in the pan.
- Drizzle with olive or canola oil, lemon or lime juice, salt/pepper or other seasonings of your choice.
- Bake about 20 minutes—the fish will flake when it is done. (It is okay to start with frozen fish, it just takes a little longer.)
Try our Pan Fried Tilapia with Orange Sauce or and or Tuna Melt Sandwiches.
-pointers by Peggy
What’s better? What’s cheaper? Canned tuna or salmon?
We checked out costs in central Iowa last week. Cost per ounce varied from
$.10 for chum salmon in a 14.5-ounce can to $.86 for “Smoked Alaskan Pacific Wild Caught Salmon” in a foil package.
Spend Smart Tips
• Avoid the foil packages—those started at .38 per ounce.
• Note that individual serving cans (3-ounce) cost twice as much per ounce as the regular (5-ounce) cans.
• Both canned salmon and tuna provide good amounts of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, and since they are canned, sodium. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.