Main Dish – Scalloped Salmon – by guest blogger, Kelly Quinn!

Hello Cookbook blog fans! As you know, Holy Week is upon us and as Julie mentioned previously, it is a busy time in their home. I am honored to be the guest blogger this week, which will hopefully lighten her load a bit, as she is always helping to lighten mine! Julie’s blog has really inspired myself and numerous others at our church, in our community here and around the country. I kidded her initially it was like Julie and Julia all over again but I love the religious twist she has taken with it!  Hats off to Julie for this ambitious project, cooking her way through the cookbook this year!

I thought I’d share another of the Preschool Table Prayers that my children have grown to love at Immanuel Lutheran Early Childhood Learning Center.  The very talented Karen Krause, extended care program director, classroom aide and the best Lutheran Irish dancer I’ve ever seen, is the mastermind behind these clever prayers.  She recently came up with one from Frozen, which I passed on to Julie to share here another time.  Here are a few:

Jingle Bell Prayer:
Thank You, God.
Thank You, God.
Thank You God, for food.
We love You. We love You.
We thank You, God, for food

Spiderman Prayer:

By Your hand, all are fed.
Thank You, Lord for this daily bread.
Gracious God, You are good.
And we thank You for all this food.
Great God, You give us all we need.

I couldn’t resist inserting this picture of my son with Spidey!

Sean

Star Wars Prayer:
Thank You, Thank You, Father.
Thank You, Spirit. Thank You, Son.
For the food that we eat,
The drink that we drink and
All You have done. Amen

My nephew and niece when they weren’t using the force against each other!

kids
Scalloped Salmon, aka Cracker Salmon, aka “Mama’s Salmon”

Here is a vintage, family favorite recipe from our cookbook that originated from my Great Grandmother, Katherine Coggins McDonough.  She was a 2nd generation Irish-American and although she had passed away before I was born,  I feel I know her from the stories about “Mama”, as my grandmother and the rest of us refer to her.  Mama has become famous for her saying, such as, “Don’t stretch a mile or you will have to walk all the way back” and “Invite company over as it is a great excuse to get your house in order”.

This recipe is often prepared on Fridays, especially during Lent, when my family typically fasts from meat.  I have great memories of my grandmother and her sister, Mary, who lived in an adjoining house, making this for family gatherings.  These sisters thought that St. Luke wrote the story of Jesus visiting Martha and Mary for them! Aunt Mary was typically the one who was fun loving and always had time for a visit, and my grandmother (Kathryn) was more of the” Martha type”- yes, as in Martha Stewart!   I can still see the two of them sitting in my Gram’s kitchen having a Manhattan while they were waiting for the dinner to cook.

kelly's
Here they are, relaxing with the newspaper before they settled in for the night- usually around 1 or 2 am!

I believe their mother (my great grandmother) used saltines to make this and crushed them under pieces of wax paper with a rolling pin.  Salmon is a staple in the Irish diet, especially among the coastal regions, and I’m sure the canned salmon was much easier to find in land-locked Northeastern Pennsylvania, where they settled.

can

Fast forward to 2014, my young kids love to get involved in making this by putting  some Ritz/club type crackers into a ziplock bag and using whatever is available to crush them- the unopened can of salmon, their fists, a  toy hammer, etc  Safe way to get out your frustrations! I must admit their version of the recipe is a little heavier on the cracker side than Mama’s was!

kelly's 2

Any kind of cracker works fine, I once only had animal crackers in the house and it turned out great! Both kids are good helpers layering the salmon, white sauce and crackers in the pan prior to baking.

kelly's 3

I am a firm believer that getting kids involved in the preparation makes them more likely to try new foods. I guess that is how I wound up teaching kids’ cooking classes playfully named, “Health’s Kitchen” for the Elmhurst Park District!

Kelly's 5

The white sauce has lightened up a lot since Mama made it too. My mother, Kathryn Mary Moran, has taught me a lot of tricks in cutting back on fat and calories by using skim milk, flour and margarine to make the sauce. My mother also turned me onto the idea of draining the “juice” from the canned fish in with the milk for the white sauce to keep more of the heart healthy omega-3’s in the recipe. We also use our hands to crush the tiny edible bones in the canned salmon and keep it with the salmon vs. picking them out as the previous generations did, since that boosts the calcium content, another important dietary feature of this recipe, as osteoporosis runs in the family.

I love to serve it with a tossed salad, some boiled red potatoes and sautéed asparagus.

Thanks for reading everyone! It was fun to be a blogger for a day.
-Kelly Quinn

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