Deliciously Frugal: Salmon Patties & Perfect Baked Potatoes

One of my fondest memories growing up was the night my grandmother came to our house and cooked for us. Her specialty for those nights was a big batch of salmon patties, created with canned salmon and saltine crackers from the pantry, with a side of her fried potatoes. My mom always served it with a little mayo for dipping and we always left the table clutching our bellies.

While catching up on my DVR recordings, I caught an episode of  Ten Dollar Dinners that featured the almighty salmon patty. I loved the uniqueness of the recipe and amazingly had everything already in my pantry to make this dish.

What made this recipe such a standout for me happened to be the  unique ingredients that were added in. The use of lemon zest within the patty and a baked potato to stretch the salmon made it one of those recipes I just had to try. The breadcrumb coating made with Italian breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan made this taste like something served at a fancy seafood restaurant and a little squirt of fresh lemon juice turned this can of salmon into something spectacular, barely resembling its formerly boring canned self!

To get the kids on board, we deemed the evening, “Crabby Patty Night,”  as any night with Sponge Bob Squarepants made it a little bit cooler. The kids devoured their patties, paired with my favorite baked brown rice, and roasted green beans on the side. My husband couldn’t stop eating them and I couldn’t believe that one can of salmon could be stretched that far for four people. We even had one patty leftover, which will go on top of my salad for a yummy weekday lunch.

I have modified the recipe because the patties were a little too wet for proper patties, I increased the lemon zest, prefer the taste of Italian breadcrumbs over the regular version, omitted bacon and onion in the patty, switched the cooking oil, decreased the mayo, and mixed in a little breadcrumbs to help hold them together and also to add some texture. Basically, I made my own version that was a little bit lighter and held together a little easier, but made a patty that was just as flavorful!  I will include the link to the original recipe, if you don’t want to try my version, but I recommend these adaptions for a great patty success story!

Salmon Cakes (Adapted from Food Network)

1 egg
1/4  cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs (mixed into the patty mixture)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 lemon, zested
1 (14-ounce) can wild salmon, checked for large bones
1 baked or boiled russet potato, peeled, and fluffed with a fork (please see my notes below for a great baked potato)
1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup canola oil

Mix the egg, mayonnaise, mustard, sugar, and lemon zest in a bowl. Add the salmon, potato, and 1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs,  mixing gently after each addition. Form the mixture into 12 small patties using an ice cream scoop for even 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 canola 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 love, love, love eating baked potatoes for a yummy summertime lunched paired with a big salad and a cold-brewed iced coffee. Baked potatoes wrapped in tin foil are a big no-no for me. I like mine drizzled with a tiny bit of olive oil and sprinkled liberally with a little coarse salt. Bake these at 400 for one hour and you will have the perfect potato every single time.

The bonus is that after you rub these potatoes with the olive oil and salt, you can give your hands a salty scrub before you rinse them off!

The Perfect Baked Potato

Baking potatoes
Olive oil
Coarse Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash baked potatoes thoroughly and prick eight to twelve times with a fork. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt over the potatoes. Rub, rub, rub.  Bake the potatoes uncovered on a cookie sheet for one hour  or until the skin feels crisp and the skin is soft.

Try to make a few extra baked potatoes whenever you bake any. These are great to pop into lunches or can be diced and fried up for perfectly fried potatoes to go along with your breakfast or for a cheap side dish.

What is your favorite frugal pantry item you like to keep on hand? Feel free to share any recipes or ideas for saving with pantry ingredients!

Published April 12, 2010 by:

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of You can read all about her here.

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