The Killer Burger

I like to name burgers the same way I like to name my nonexistant children. I want to give them a name that sets them apart and makes them stick out from the other burgers that are mundanely named. Although I can’t take credit for the name of this burger, I do think it appropriate to keep the name because the name says it all! I have this habit, when I’m menu planning for the following week, to look up recipes that sound good and are the healthier option. Take ground turkey burgers for example, when I found <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/killer-turkey-burgers.html” target=”_blank”>Anne’s Killer Turkey Burger, I got all excited and proud of my choice of choosing white meat over red meat. But then reality struck and my desire for an all beef burger patty commandeered my desire to get the healthier meat. What I’m trying to say is I can’t stand ground turkey! Give it to me roasted and on a croissant sandwich with mayo but DO NOT give it to me in a form of a burger! That being said, I’m sure the turkey burger is outstanding in this recipe and don’t let my close-minded thinking deter you from trying the original recipe. (more…)

Don’t let the picture fool you. It may look like just the run of the mill burger but it’s so much more. This burger was so flavorful and perfect, I had dreams about it last night! I think it’s a great idea to throw these babies on the grill and add fresh toppings like ripe tomatoes, sweet red onion, and crisp, green lettuce. You really don’t need much embellishment for the amount of flavor you are going to get! Side note: Due to laziness and forgetfulness, I did not add the water chestnuts or the fresh ginger (I’m really disappointed with myself on that one!) but if you do, let me know what you think! This recipe also introduces us to Sriracha’s cousin, Sambal Oelek, a wonderful chili paste that you will be tempted to put on everything! Now, let us take a moment of thankfulness for Anne Burrell and her ingenious burger! Happy Burger making, guys!

BLTA “Spring” Rolls with 3 Dipping Sauces

I’ve been asked a lot lately what is the premise of my blog? Or rather, what kind of food do I make? These questions stump me because I haven’t really thought about it. I just blog about the things that matter to me most. I make food that I eat and think that you would enjoy. Does it need to be more than that? Maybe. But until then, I’m going to keep making meals that make us both feel special. Cool? Cool. If you need a theme to follow then these spring rolls are really going to throw you for a loop. Don’t worry! It will be fun! (more…)

I do have measurements for this recipe but the best part is…do what you want! How many times in life are you told to do that? Adjust to what you like: a little more avocado (always), a little less bacon (never). Whatever floats your boat! I will say make a few to practice with first. Things can get a little tricky but also can be easily mastered. As you can see with the ones I made, perfection isn’t the goal but yumminess is. ¬†We ate these for dinner but they would be sublime as an appetizer or a fun snack!

Check out our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: My grocery store had these adorable little lettuces but any salad mix would work too! Bean sprouts, red onion, heirloom tomatoes (because they were leftover from this), avocado, red pepper, rice paper, bacon (bow down), and asparagus. Can I tell you a secret? I cooked my asparagus in my bacon grease. I don’t believe in waste.

Rice paper is where this madness begins. Soak it and lay it onto a damp cloth. Most rice paper wrappers will have the directions on them. Let’s load up on the goodies! Don’t see your favorite veggie here? Add it! Are we getting carried away? Let’s roll that little guy.

We move onto our 3 dipping sauces. Why 3? Because I’m OCD and I like things in threes. You could totally do one or two. Take mayo, green chilies, garlic, pepper and salt. I know, I know. That’s a lot of mayo. Where is my greek yogurt/mayo combo? Well, when I make a sauce and put mayo in the title, I really mean it. Pulse that baby!

Another fun sauce is basil with sun dried tomatoes. Add a little extra virgin olive oil if it gets too thick. A pinch of pepper never hurt anyone here. Pulse.

Our avocado, lime, Sriacha sauce is exactly what it sounds like. I added the bright red Sriacha with the green avocado and pulsed together. Don’t be like me. Just pulse the avocado, lime, and a little greek yogurt to soften things up a bit. Drizzle with Sriacha once you have put the avocado sauce in a dish or else your pretty, ripe, green avocados turn a puke green. Sorry…

I love the playfulness of this dish. We use our hands to dip and enjoy. I’m sure this will be a fun change from the usual weeknight casserole or salad. The bacon is staring at you. Say hi! Happy “spring” roll making!

Almond Apricot Chicken Salad

Chicken salad. It’s been around since before our parents were parents and their parents were parents. It’s constantly being reinvented into many different delicious combinations. Tarragon, apples, pecans, curry, and mayo-less are just a few of the newer renditions of the classic. Chicken salad appeals to the old and young; older people are reminded of their childhood, eating it between 2 slices of Wonderbread. Younger foodies are appealed by it’s inexpensive price tag and it’s endless options. I, for one, love chicken salad. I like to make a batch on Sunday and enjoy it for the next couple of days. I like it on toast, with crackers and apples, in lettuce wraps, and sometimes, straight out of the bowl with a fork (when no one is looking). (more…)

I was at a party a few months back and someone brought chicken salad as a snack. I couldn’t get over how genius and refreshingly vintage that was. For my house warming party last weekend, I decided to add it to my repertoire. I am always looking for new pairings for my beloved chicken salad and when I get the chance, I like to add fresh fruit. Apricots add a pleasant sweet note, while the almonds add a crunch and the dill is a good reminder it’s Summer. This salad is great with chips, in a lettuce wrap, or on your favorite sandwich bread. In this recipe, I show what kind of chicken I used but really use whatever you like. Rotisserie chicken is a great foundation for a stellar chicken salad!

Let’s check out our exhaustive ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: Sliced almonds, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, crushed garlic (fresh or jarred), cubed or shredded chicken, red onion, sugar, fresh apricots (have you tried these?), fresh dill, and white wine vinegar (not pictured but always in our hearts?).

This recipe might be hard for you. Just have patience with it. Ok, ready? Throw everything into a large mixing bowl and, um, mix! Taste for seasoning. A bit of salt and pepper are key here.

Chicken salad is light, easy, and great for the hot summer months (when are those coming, again?) I need to go rest after this tiresome and long post. Happy salad making!

Sweet Red Pepper Coleslaw

I had some left over roasted peppers that have been staring me down every time I opened my fridge but guiltily, I closed the door. I didn’t know what to do with them and I didn’t want them to know it. Then, it hit me: when in doubt, make a sauce! If I blend the peppers, they will disappear and leave behind a nice flavor and beautiful color. I think they were happy to leave that cold fridge! Personify much? Moving on… (more…)

As you can probably tell, I like my coleslaw. There are so many variations, it literally makes me go crazy. I just think there are few things better than a hot/cold combination. Chicken, hot off the skillet, paired with a cooling, creamy slaw, like I did here. Or tangy, smokey slow-cooked barbecue topped with a sweet, crunchy coleslaw.
After making my Summer Peach Barbecue Sauce and realizing the intense smokey, slightly spicy flavor needed a sweet contrast, I turned to this guy.

Let’s check out our ingredient line up! I did my usual greek yogurt/mayo combo, which makes for a thinner dressing. If you want a thicker dressing, add more mayo than yogurt. Or go nuts and add all mayo and no yogurt. You know yourself. Do what you like! And whatever you do, don’t regret using mayo. Ever.

From Top Left to Right:Shredded green cabbage, red onion, honey, lemon, garlic, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, roasted red peppers, and white wine vinegar. And no, that’s not make believe vinegar, it’s really there!

Here comes the most exhausting part: throw everything, except for the cabbage and red onion, into the blender and… wait for it…blend! I also chose to throw some lime basil in there last minute. Look at those adorable little leaves! You could also do regular basil if you feel so inclined. Don’t forget to season! Blend first then taste to see how much you need to add.

Put your cabbage and red onion in a mixing bowl. Drizzle with the dressing. Look at that light pink color! Purdy!

Toss everything together! This is a yummy side dish to any cook out or BBQ and you don’t feel carb guilty eating it. If you make the dressing with all mayo, it can make a great sandwich spread if you have any left over! Happy slaw making!

Thai Marinated Chicken with a Mango Slaw

Something really weird has been happening to me as of late. I’m bored with everything I cook! I don’t even repeat recipes, like ever, and I still feel bored. Maybe it’s time for me to spread my little culinary wings and try something incredibly new. Whenever I feel home cook’s block, I try to look for something Asian. Asian flavors are the perfect balance of sweet and salty, savory and spicy. Plus, it makes me use ingredients I don’t normally run to day to day. I went through a stir-fry craze a few months back; eating it once to twice a week. It wore out its welcome real fast and I haven’t returned to the world of high heat skillets and soy sauce combos. (more…)

As I was menu planning for this week, I was desperately looking for some inspiration to get me out of my rut. I found this recipe and boy, did the wheels start turning. The recommended side for this dish is a mango slaw, made with fresh mangoes, red peppers, and cashews. I didn’t have fresh mangoes so I had to whip up my own mango slaw. Once I get my slippery hands on some mangoes, I might revisit that side dish. One thing to note, my husband absolutely despises eating any meat with their bones still in (now you can see how I get bored!). So instead of the chicken legs, I used chicken tenderloins and cooked them, in a skillet, over medium high heat for a few minutes. For the lovely marinade recipe, simply go here. Whichever cut of chicken you prefer, this Thai marinated chicken and mango slaw combo will brighten the darkest of bored eating days. Enjoy!

 

Here’s our ingredient line up for our mango slaw:

From Left to Right: fresh limes, thawed mango (I only had frozen for snacking, of course!), green onions, cilantro, mint, rice vinegar, mayo (just a tad), mango chutney, and crunchy broccoli slaw. Let’s take a minute and admire these outrageous colors. Thank you and continue.

Our dressing for the coleslaw comes first! In a bowl, whisk lime juice, rice vinegar, mayo, mango chutney, and a little bit of salt and pepper. We are looking for a few things here so give it a taste! This dressing can end up being pretty sweet so adjust according to your tastes. Add more of whatever you think the dressing needs. Also, if the dressing is too thick for you, add a bit more lime juice until it becomes the consistency you want. I would have a picture for you but to be honest, I couldn’t find a pretty picture of the white, clumpy (because of the yummy chutney) dressing. Moving on…

In a larger bowl, throw in your broccoli slaw, diced mango, chopped cilantro and mint, sliced green onions, and as many dashes of red pepper flake you can stand. Sweet and spicy, anyone? I should note that I am completely obsessed with broccoli slaw! But, if you want to substitute with the beloved cabbage combo, be my guest!

Pour the dressing over the bowl of slaw and mix thoroughly. Season with a pinch of salt. Although this recipe is for chicken, this slaw would go lovely with some grilled fish or pork as well.

I also ate this chicken with a sweet Thai chili sauce but totally missed the chance for a Sriracha take over. We are trying to watch our carbs so we ate this by itself. But I really wanted to eat this scrumptiousness stuffed in a warm tortilla. Could you do me a favor? Please, please, please eat this as a taco! A Thai taco! Do you really want anything else for dinner? Happy dinner making!

Balsamic Caesar Wedge Salad

Remember when eating salads meant you were on a diet? It didn’t matter what came on the salad, as long as it was a salad, you were eating healthy. I would be sitting there with my family and as they all ordered burgers and pasta, I would give a disappointed look to our waiter when he asked what I wanted to eat. “I’ll have the buffalo chicken salad with blue cheese dressing, I guess.” Wow! What a sacrifice! I was trying to lose weight and obviously choosing the calorie appropriate meal. I’ve come a long way in my salad eating repertoire and normally, I stick to the vinaigrettes. But when I’m craving something a little more decadent in a salad, I turn to this guy. I really enjoy salads in the summer: minimal cooking, crisp lettuce, a luscious dressing. This recipe is my favorite salad dressing. It’s a creamy Caesar, which I prefer over an oily one and it’s perfect for a weeknight meal or as a side dish. The iceberg wedge is drenched in tangy balsamic Caesar dressing and topped with crunchy, salty bacon. By roasting the tomatoes, their flavor is deeper and more sophisticated for a salad. Enjoy!

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Let’s check out our ingredient line up!

From Left to Right: Mayonnaise (always and forever), iceberg lettuce, greek yogurt, lemon, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, bacon, anchovies, garlic, and tomatoes. I used heirloom but any smallish tomato works!

We begin with our tomatoes! Put them on a sheet pan and toss with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place them in the oven to roast for about 20-25 minutes. They will look like this gloriousness when they are done. Spell check didn’t like that I said gloriousness.

Next, we take our ingredients for the dressing: yogurt, mayo, balsamic, garlic (this is really garlicky so one clove might be your style), parmesan, anchovies, lemon, salt and pepper. And here comes the best part: we just throw it all into the blender! No pre-cutting or mincing! Genius! Just blend until smooth and creamy. I added some olive oil for flavor and to stretch the dressing a bit. Totally optional! Also, taste and adjust to what you like in a Caesar. Make sure you add plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

All we have left to do is assemble our salad! Put one of the wedges on a plate, drizzle with the dressing, top with crumbled bacon and roasted tomatoes. This salad is perfect along side grilled chicken or seared steak.

If you want to make this for a cookout this weekend, just put the dressing in a container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Easy peasy! I hope you guys have a great 4th of July; filled with good food, great company, and thankful reflections.

Steakhouse Potato Salad

I’m that person at a cookout who has a plate completely piled high with carby sides. Potato salad, macaroni salad, potato chips, and mac and cheese all make the cut with a measly hot dog clinging to the edge of my plate, begging for its life. Of course, the whole focus of a cookout is the protein because, duh, we’re at a cookout. But no one gets excited for a cookout if there isn’t a plastic cloth covered table, displaying the endless possibilities of sides. Mac and cheese dog anyone? I’ll save that for another day. This gem has been a “must make” for any cookout I go to for the last couple of years. I make it and I know I will be coming home with an empty bowl. This recipe is broken down into 3 easy steps: roasted potatoes, caramelized onions, and cheese. Don’t you wish all of life was this simple?

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Let’s check out our ingredient line up!

From Left to Right: We got olive oil, butter, garlic, yellow onion, mayonnaise, greek yogurt, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, red and white small potatoes, blue cheese, and parsley.

We will start with our potatoes. Depending on their size, quarter or halve them so they are all close to the same size. Place on a sheet pan.

Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Mix so everything is evenly covered and arrange them cut side down. Make sure they are all in one layer so they roast evenly. If your pan seems crowded, move the party to another sheet pan so the potatoes can roast and not steam. Put them in the hot oven and cook until fork tender; turning once during the cooking time.

As the potatoes cook, let’s start on the onions. Heat the butter in a medium sized skillet over medium low heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and pepper. We’re layering our seasoning, people! Cook onions until golden brown. Make sure you stir those onions every couple of minutes so they don’t burn! After onions are caramelized, add garlic and cook one more minute. Just a minute!

Add the balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced and thickened. about 2-3 minutes.

The last thing we need to assemble here is the blue cheese dressing. We take the mayonnaise, greek yogurt, dijon, blue cheese, parsley, and black pepper. They are placed in a bowl and simply stirred. Black pepper is key in this recipe since there is a lot of saltiness going on (I’m definitely not complaining). Let’s gather everything!

Grab a large serving bowl and combine potatoes, onions, and blue cheese dressing. Mix and taste for seasoning. THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE! Sprinkle parsley as the garnish.

Don’t you just want to plunge your face into that? Also, this potato salad is best served right away or at room temp. Once you put it in the fridge, it all goes downhill from there; the potatoes get weird. Trust me. Enjoy!