Seasonal Feast: Spring Edition

Spring brings with it the hope of renewal as trees and flowers bud anew. I am always looking forward to learning about the turns life may take throughout the rest of the year as the season springs to life. The beauty of the first flower peeking through the barren ground as it appears once again is a perfect example of how life grows. It is this optimism that we should grasp onto whenever we are dealing with doing things a little differently because of a change in our life or the life of those we love. Creativity is the key to navigating change successfully. This Spring Edition of the Seasonal Feast focuses on some easy  recipes that can be incorporated into your daily life or included in a spring family gathering. Simple modifications to address specific dysphagia needs are included for inclusion of everyone at your table. Enjoy the season!

Spring Feast Menu

Fresh Fish Patties
Texture Friendly Tacos

Honey Balsamic Goat Cheese Spread
Smoked Turkey Spread

Blueberry Crumble
Gelato – Strawberry, Peach and Banana

Fresh Fish Patties

In order to outline how to prepare this protein, I will guide you through the fish patties using salmon. You can substitute other fish, however, such as fresh tuna or a mild white fish. Stay away from canned tuna as it does not translate well in this recipe. Salmon patties, however, can be made with canned salmon or an easy to bake piece of salmon from the grocery store. The results will be very similar. Enjoying a dish as tasty as this with dysphagia can be challenging, however baking instead of frying helps to retain the moisture so vital for those suffering from dysphagia. Using cupcake tins enhances the easiness of this recipe as they can all be cooked at the same time without attention necessary with individual frying. Evolving over the years, this recipe has been a family staple. Freezing in baggies is simple to bring out one or two for a quick lunch that simply requires defrosting in the microwave for a minute or two and heating for another minute! Quick, easy, and tasty for everyone!

Prep Time: 15 min for canned, 1 Hour for fresh

Cook Time: 30 -45 min

Total Time: 1hr – 1hr 45mins

Servings: 12


2 lb fresh salmon filet or 3 cans of salmon filet
– If using Tuna or another white fish, you will need approximately 6-8 tuna steaks to equal 2 lb.
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
1-2 C Old Fashioned Oats – not quick cooking – soaked in milk and drained prior to using
6 eggs – 3 whole and 3 egg whites only
½ onion
3 celery stalks
1 small zucchini
Olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preparing the Salmon Patties (Fresh salmon)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees

Rinse a 2 lb salmon filet with water and pat dry with paper towels.

Roll out two sheets of foil that are twice the length of the piece of salmon. With like sides together, fold one side of the foil pieces together and fold over a second time and crease to make one wider piece of foil. Lay that foil on a cookie sheet, shiny side down. Spray with Pam or Olive oil.

Lay the salmon filet, skin side down, on the foil and spray with olive oil.

Squeeze the juice of one lemon onto the salmon and salt and pepper to taste.

Fold the foil ends up over each end of the filet and crease together on top, leaving an inch or more of air space. Take the lengthwise sides and fold them together, encapsulating the filet in a foil pouch.

Place the salmon, still on the cookie sheet, into the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how you like your salmon to be done. I find that well done salmon holds up in the patties better than more rare preparations.

* If using tuna in this recipe, saute the tuna steaks in a frying pan with olive oil, making sure to brown all sides of the steak. Squeeze the lemon over the tuna steaks during this cooking process. The rest of the process is the same.

* If using a mild white fish, saute the white fish in a frying pan with some olive oil in the bottom. You do not want it to be fried, however you do want it to be cooked throughout and mildly browned. The rest of the process is the same.

*If using canned salmon, open 3 large cans of salmon filet for next step

In the meantime, prepare the ingredients for the salmon patties:

Measure 1-2C old fashioned oats and soak in milk to soften.

Crack 6 eggs – I use 3 whole and 3 egg whites only to make the consistency softer and fluffier

Dice ½ onion, optional

Dice 1 red pepper and 1 yellow pepper into small pieces

Clean 3 celery stalks and cut into small pieces

Clean 1 small zucchini, peeled and cut into small pieces (this adds much needed moisture)

Add a shot of olive oil to the mixture

Mix the above ingredients together until moist.

Spray your cupcake or muffin tin with Pam or olive oil

Spoon generous portions into the muffin tins

Bake for 30-45 minutes depending on how large the tins are, and until a fork comes out clean

For freezing, lay a one gallon baggie on the counter. Place the salmon patty muffins in the baggie, standing next to each other without overlapping. Place on a plate or cookie sheet to keep the baggie level and place in the freezer. Once they are frozen, hold the baggie by the top and store. They keep for 3-4 months in the freezer.

Regular Consistency: Prepare as written. If you’d like to add more vegetables, consider adding spinach and mushrooms to the mix. Do not add, however, if anyone with dysphagia will be eating this version as the added vegetables may dry out the consistency a bit and present a choking hazard.

Mechanical Soft Consistency: Prepare as written, however be sure that you are cutting the vegetables up into small pieces. In addition, with the peppers, celery and onions, saute them in a little olive oil prior to adding them to the mixture so that they will incorporate into the salmon patty with less chewing required. Also consider using celery powder instead of chunks of celery to cut down on the chewing required if fatigue is an issue during eating.

Puree Consistency: Making salmon patties into a consistency that will be easy to eat requires more of a souffle’ consistency. To achieve this and maintain the taste for anyone else wanting to enjoy this treat, simply substitute a few ingredients and add a few more egg whites. Replace the celery with a few dashes of celery salt or powder, and replace the onions with onion flakes. Remove the peppers from the recipe, and keep in the peeled zucchini, although lightly saute it in a bit of olive oil prior to adding it to the recipe. Drain the milk from the oats, but make sure they have soaked for at least 15-20 minutes. Finally, add two more egg whites and beat into a fluffy- frothy consistency in order to add that souffle texture to the patties. Prior to eating, add some honey, syrup, or ketchup to the top of the muffin prior to smashing with a fork to keep it moist. Finally, under cook by about 10 minutes so that the fork comes out slightly moist. This assures that the consistency breaks down quickly when put into the mouth for chewing.

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