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Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger

August 15, 2016


Another option to a beef burger and simply delicious.  Easy enough to serve during the week and lots of topping variations to make it interesting.

The recipe suggests serving with **Tzatziki sauce which I find yummy but it’s optional (recipe follows).  I also served it with crisp bacon, pickles, ketchup and cheese. You could also top the burgers with lettuce, onions, tomato or…. your choice!

I do not use frozen chopped spinach.  Its easy to make your own from fresh.  I also halved the recipe which you will see in parenthesis.  4 burgers are just right for the 3 of us with 1 more for tomorrow’s snack :).   I also am using a block of feta these days and crumbling it my self rather than getting the pre-crumbled container. But either is very good.

Notice the veggie side?  This is something new from Mann’s,  Power Blend Super Food which includes brussels sprouts, napa cabbage, kohlrabi, broccoli, carrots and kale and wow is it yummy!  Tossed it with My Mom’s Coleslaw.  Highly recommend.

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger (from All Recipes)

2 (1) eggs, beaten

2 (1) cloves garlic, minced

4 (2) ounces feta cheese, crumbled

10 (5) ounces fresh spinach

2 (1) pounds of ground turkey

Spray a large non stick fry pan or wok, with canola oil spray and heat pan to medium high.  Add fresh spinach, sauteing and tossing the spinach around until completely wilted. Remove from pan onto a cutting board and allow to cool.  When cool enough to handle, finely chop spinach and then put into a colander or strainer.  Press on the spinach, move it around the colander/strainer and press again doing this several times until most of the liquid is removed.

In a large bowl add  egg, garlic, feta cheese and spinach.  Mix well.  Add turkey and mix again with a large serving fork until completely combined.

Place wax paper on cutting board and spray with canola oil spray.  Divide turkey mixture evenly into 4 balls and place on prepared cutting board (about 6 ounces each burger, a scale helps 🙂 )  Gently press down on each ball to form a burger.  This mixture is very soft so I suggest refrigerating the burgers while you get the rest of the dinner going or while preheating the grill.  It helps a bit.

Heat grill to medium high, ~ 500 degrees.  Lightly oil the grill grate.  Pretty necessary otherwise the burgers will stick.  As I said they are very soft.  You can take a lightly soaked (with olive oil) paper towel and using tongs to hold the paper towel, gently sweep over the grill grate.  Too much oil will cause it to smoke.  I have done all these things:  forgotten to oil the grate, put too much oil on.  But they were still tasty.

Cook turkey burgers for 12 minutes, turning half way through.

Serve on toasted buns (or without, over lettuce or more spinach) with toppings and sides of your choice.

**Tzatziki Sauce (from All Recipes)

I halved the recipe.  Even that makes quite a bit but its great for dipping fresh vegetables.

Use full fat greek yogurt.

I did not use any of the garnishes.

1/2 a lemon juiced is about 1-1/2 tablespoons (half of that would be 2-1/4 teaspoons)

sauteing spinach:




egg, garlic, feta cheese and spinach:



add ground turkey:



forming into burgers:



cooking on the grill:



with cheese and bacon:


with cheese, pickles and ketchup:


with Tzatziki sauce:





Pulled Chicken Sandwiches

August 9, 2016


Easy, scrumptious dinner.  I served them on rolls but I like the idea of serving it over a baked potato, gotta try that!

I followed this recipe exactly and served it with garden fresh beans and corn on the cob.  Coleslaw as a side would be excellent as well.

Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Cooking Light October 2013)

for the chicken:

2 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon salt

1-1/2 to 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs

for the sauce:

2 teaspoons canola oil

1/2 cup finely diced onion

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon chili powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon dry mustard

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoon cider vinegar

Heat your grill on medium high heat.

While the grill is heating, combine the spices for the chicken:  dark brown sugar through the salt.  Place chicken pieces on a cutting board, sprinkle combined spices onto chicken pieces and rub in.  Turn chicken over and repeat.    Place chicken on a canola oil sprayed disposable aluminum cookie sheet.  Set aside while waiting for the grill to heat.

When the grill has come up to heat, place chicken on grill.  Cover and cook chicken for 15 minutes, turning half way through.  Remove chicken onto a clean cutting board and let cool.

While chicken is cooking, start preparing the sauce.  Heat the 2 teaspoons of canola oil in a medium size sauce pan.  Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes until translucent.  Add spices, dark brown sugar through red pepper and cook, stirring into onions, for 30 seconds.  Add ketchup and vinegar.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer very gently for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.   While sauce is simmering, shred chicken with 2 forks.

After 10 minutes of simmering, add the chicken to the sauce.  Stir until chicken is thoroughly coated and cook gently for about 2 minutes.

Serve chicken on toasted rolls.

spices for chicken:


sprinkling spices over chicken:


onto a disposable aluminum cookie sheet:


removed from grill onto a cutting board to cool:


while chicken is cooking, make sauce:


sauteed onions then add spices



then ketchup and vinegar and let simmer:


shred chicken and add to sauce:





Chipotle Meatloaf

July 25, 2016


There are so many different meatloaves out there but this is by far one of my favorites (besides my Mom’s classic meatloaf).  Tons of flavor! My husband and son love it and I have made it numerous times.

I happen to like the mini individual size but you can certainly follow the original recipe for one large meatloaf.  I also have halved the ingredients, which you will see in parenthesis.

This recipe calls for heavy cream but you can substitute half and half.  I even forgot one time to add either and it was still good.   I also have since made the original quantity of ketchup/chipotle chile pepper sauce so that we can have extra to serve with the meatloaves, a definite must 🙂  Also, as you know, I am not a fan of cilantro so I substitute parsley.  And I did not add rosemary either, another herb I am not too fond of.  But please add if you wish.  Amounts are in the original recipe.

Another interesting option I read about while trying desperately to find Applewood Smoked Bacon.  When I made it the first couple of times, I used to be able to find Tommy Moloney’s Applewood Smoked Bacon in Shoprite.  Now I can’t find it anywhere.  When I wanted to make it again I looked up a substitute and lo and behold, I read that there is really not much difference flavor wise between Applewood Smoked and regularly smoked bacon.  So guess what?  I agree.  Just use really good bacon, which in my opinion is Oscar Meyer Naturally Hardwood Smoked.

Just a note about the eggs:  1/2 of 3 eggs is sorta crazy, so that’s why I put 2 eggs as half of 3 eggs.  I did measure and all that to see exactly what a half of an egg would be but realized the little bit of extra egg really doesn’t make that much difference.

Ok, let’s get on with the recipe!

Chipotle Meatloaf (

4 (2) ounces Oscar Meyer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Bacon or apple wood-smoked bacon (if you can find it) 1/4 inch diced

1 (1/2) cup diced onion

1 (1/2) cup heavy cream or half and half

1 (1/2) cup panko

3 (2) large eggs

1/2 (1/4) cup diced celery

3 (1-1/2 teaspoons) tablespoons flat leaf or curly parsley

1 (1-1/2 teaspoons) tablespoon kosher salt

1-1/2 (3/4) teaspoons minced fresh thyme

1-1/4 (1/2 plus 1/8) teaspoons ground ancho chiles

1-1/4 (1/2 plus 1/8) teaspoons smoked paprika

3/4 (1/4 plus 1/8) teaspoon ground black pepper

28 ounces (14) ounces ground beef (85%)


1 cup ketchup

2 tablespoon (1 large mashed with a fork) chipotle chili pepper from canned chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with canola oil spray OR place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the rimmed cookie sheet.  My really favorite thing to do these days.  No mess at all.

Make the sauce by combining the ketchup and the mashed up chili in a small bowl.

Place the first 12 ingredients, bacon through black pepper in a very large bowl.  Stir together with a large serving fork until all incorporated.  Add ground beef and stir with the serving fork until thoroughly combined (I think mixing with your hands compresses the beef too much, I don’t like the texture after it cooks).

Divide beef mixture evenly into 4 mini meatloaves (~ 7 ounces) and place on prepared rimmed cookie sheet.  Put about 1 tablespoon of sauce over the top of the mini meatloaves carefully smoothing it on to the sides as best as possible.  Place in oven and bake for about 40 minutes.

Serve with extra sauce and be prepared to be happy.

make sauce:


first 12 ingredients:


add beef and stir with fork:



divide mixture evenly into 4 loaves:


cover with sauce:












Sweet-Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

June 21, 2016


So yeah I have quite a few stir fries in my repertoire of recipes.  This is why I like them so much.  They are a complete meal:  starch, protein, veggies.  Substitutions for aforementioned ingredients are endless.  You can prep them ahead of time and then the whole thing comes together in a matter of minutes (a little exaggeration here but hey, what the heck).   My husband loves them.

Ok, so this is a really excellent stir fry from Cooking Light.  I have tweaked it ever so slightly but have included a link to the original recipe so you can see the difference and make your own decision.  This stir fry could also pass as a vegetarian meal:  substitute the chicken with tofu OR just put in more vegetables.

Sweet Spicy Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry (Cooking Light September 2012)

4-1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2-1/4 tablespoons lower sodium soy sauce

1-1/2 tablespoon fish sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar

1-1/2 teaspoons chili garlic sauce

1-1/2 teaspoons dark sesame oil

1 tablespoon cornstarch

vegetable oil

1 pound chicken tenders, cut into 1 inch pieces

10 ounces sugar snap peas

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup sliced green onions (optional)

1/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts (optional)

Combine the first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl, brown sugar through cornstarch, and mix thoroughly with a whisk.  Set aside.

Heat a large non stick wok or large non stick skillet over medium high heat.  Add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to pan and heat up for about a minute.  Add chicken and cook for about 4 minutes until chicken is done and slightly brown.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add another 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to pan and add peas, pepper and red onion.  Stir together for a few seconds.  Add about 4 tablespoons of water and cover, steam cooking for about 1 minute until vegetables are crisp tender.  Stir in chicken.  Then add sauce stirring for 1 minute until sauce thickens and chicken is heated through.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with optional green onions and dry roasted peanuts.  Serve over rice.

mise en place:


cook chicken and set aside:



stir fry/steam vegetables:




add sauce:


add chicken:


optional garnish:



with garnish or without:






Apple Muffins II

May 30, 2016


These are yummy!! The first time I made them was 8 years ago (you’ve got to be kidding me :/) and I commented “Best apple muffin recipe so far” haha! guess I was testing quite a few back then.  Anyway, just a few changes on my part.  They are touted as being “healthy” but ahem, maybe because of the whole wheat flour? I don’t know but just make them, you will like them too.

I did not adhere to her mixing directions because I always make quick bread (a muffin is classified as this) by mixing the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients.  To me, this makes the best textured muffin.  I never have whole wheat pastry flour on hand, so I substituted King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour.  I also doubled the topping and the apples.  This made it the best apple muffin.

So this is very interesting to me.  When I was much younger, and I mean living with my parents younger, Saco Pantry Cultured Buttermilk was a staple in our household because either fresh buttermilk was too difficult to get or it cost too much money at the time, I don’t know.  But it is now coming back as THE thing to use.  So I decided to try it again.  I cannot tell the difference between fresh and the dry in the end product.  So I am putting it in my list of ingredients as a choice.  Once it’s opened the dry buttermilk must be stored in the refrigerator just like the liquid.  But it lasts virtually forever, so you might want to give it a try.

Apple Muffins by Ellie Krieger, Food Network 2008

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs

1 cup unsweetened (natural) applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup buttermilk ***

2 Golden Delicious apples


1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon cinnamon

***OR you can use Saco Pantry Cultured Buttermilk (dry):  3 tablespoons of dry buttermilk, 3/4 cups water.  Add dry buttermilk to dry ingredients, add water to liquid ingredients.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with canola oil spray and set aside.

In a small bowl mix together the topping:  brown sugar, pecans and cinnamon.  If the pecans are not small enough, break them up into ~1/4 inch pieces.

Peel, core and cut the apples into 1/4 inch pieces.  Set aside.  See the picture below, it will help in cutting them into even pieces.

In a very large bowl, place the dry ingredients:  brown sugar, the 2 flours, baking soda, and salt.  Stir together with a whisk, breaking up any large pieces of brown sugar with your fingers.  Then add the apple pieces, lightly tossing them with the dry ingredients until evenly dispersed.

Put the liquid ingredients, vegetable oil, eggs, applesauce, vanilla and buttermilk, into a medium bowl and whisk together.

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, gently mixing until just incorporated.  Do not over mix.

Put batter evenly into muffin pan and sprinkle each muffin  with ~1 tablespoon of topping.  Place in oven and bake for about 25 minutes.

Place muffins on a cooling rack and cool for about an hour.  Gently slide a knife or small metal spatula, under the top that has cooked on top of the muffin pan.  Then, using the knife or spatula,  releasing the muffin.  Remove and place on cooling rack

Because of the extra apple, the muffins will spill over the top a bit when they are baking.  If you don’t like this (I like that part, because it’s a bit crispy, crunchy) you can either make the muffins with just one apple or place the extra batter into a few more muffins tins.

This is the dry buttermilk:


the applesauce.  I love the individual containers (I know, a bit wasteful because of the packaging) because each containers is just slightly under a 1/2 cup and I don’t have a sticky jar of applesauce in my refrigerator that gets moldy and then I have to throw it out.


muffin pan prepped:


take a quarter of peeled, cored apple, and slice horizontally into 3 sections:


slice the apple vertically into 1/4 inch slices:


then cut through apple into nice 1/4 inch pieces:



012 (2)

liquid and dry ingredients and then mix together:




fill muffins tins then sprinkle with topping:

013 (2)

014 (2)

out of the oven :

015 (2)

removed and onto the cooling rack:




















































































































































Sesame Chicken with Broccoli

May 15, 2016


A lesson to be learned, time and again:  go with the recipe as written, eat and then make changes to suit your taste.

I had a bad experience with pan frying cornstarch coated chicken in the past and really thought this recipe would go the same .  I was fully prepared to make it my way.  But after reading all the comments and re-reading the recipe one more time, I decided to go for it.  Thankfully I did because this turned out to be one yummy dish.

I used only one pound of chicken tenders for the 3 of us, kept the rest of the ingredients the same and it was a perfect amount.  4 people? 2 pounds of chicken tenders.

The directions say to steam the broccoli using a steam basket, which I don’t have.  If you do, feel free to follow the directions in the original recipe.  Otherwise you can use my method.

(Quick) Sesame Chicken with Broccoli adapted ever so slightly from Rhoda Boone Epicurious February 2016

8 cups broccoli florets

6 tablespoons cornstarch

few grounds of fresh black peppercorns

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1-2 pounds chicken tenders, cut into 1 inch chunks

vegetable oil

5 tablespoons of honey

4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

3/4 to 1 tablespoon of chili garlic sauce or Sriracha (I prefer chili garlic sauce because to me it has more flavor than the Sriracha.  Sriracha is just heat to me and no flavor)

1 large clove of garlic, finely grated

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger

1-1/2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

for  the garnish:

1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds

2 scallions, thinly sliced

Heat 1 -2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large non-stick fry pan over medium high.   Add the broccoli florets and quickly stir fry for 30 seconds.  Then put in about 4 tablespoons of water and cover pan with top.  Let broccoli steam for 4-5 minutes until crisp tender and water has evaporated (might need to add 1-2  tablespoon more during steaming, so check half way through).  Place broccoli in large stainless steel bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, add cornstarch, pepper and salt and whisk together.  Add chicken (1 pound at a time) and toss until thoroughly coated.  Add another 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the heated fry pan.  Remove chicken with a slotted spoon, shaking a bit to remove excess cornstarch mixture.  Add to fry pan and cook until chicken is light brown and a nice crust forms, for about 5 minutes, turning halfway through.  Remove chicken to plate and set aside.  If using another pound of chicken repeat procedure.

Combine honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt in medium bowl.  Whisk to combine and add to heated skillet, cooking for 1 minute until slightly thickened.  Add cooked chicken and stir into sauce, cooking for about 2 minutes until chicken is heated through.  Add broccoli and gently stir into sauce and chicken.  Remove from heat and serve immediately, over rice, garnished with a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds and scallions.

mis en place:


my new 12 inch fry pan, isn’t it beautiful ? came with a glass top too 🙂


and this is how I cook my rice! love it, compliments of my daughter, thanks Sarah!!


steaming the broccoli:


Tossing the chicken in the cornstarch mixture:


cooking chicken and setting aside:



cooking sauce and adding chicken back in:



then broccoli:





Sweet Potato Puree with Smoked Paprika

May 9, 2016


If you don’t like sweet potatoes you must try these. They will make you a convert.  Yum, yum, yummy is all I can say about this super easy, delicious side.

And if you LIKE sweet potatoes, well you will love these.

I have made them so many times this year I can’t count.  My husband and son love them which is always a motivating factor.

Smoked paprika is the secret weapon here.  Feel free, once you have tasted, to amp up the smoked paprika and or the cayenne to your taste.  I just happen to like them just the way they are.

A Potato Ricer (this is what I have) is very helpful here but not 100% essential.  They are just a bit more lumpy if you whip them with a hand held mixer.  The potato ricer eliminates all lumps.  It’s great for potatoes as well, of course 🙂

The pictures below are of half the recipe.  Just right for 3 people with a little bit leftover (for tomorrow, cold, yum!)  But I have written the recipe in the full amount with 1/2 measures in parenthesis.

Sweet Potato Puree with Smoked Paprika Gourmet November 2005

3 pounds (1 1/2) sweet potatoes

2 ounces (1 ounce) butter , cut up

1/3 cup(1/2 of 1/3, beats me what that measurement is, sorry)  heavy cream

1/4 teaspoon(1/8)  sweet or hot smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon (1/8)  salt

1/8 teaspoon(1/16)  cayenne

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Wash sweet potatoes and poke about 5-6 holes into each potato with a very sharp knife.  Place sweet potatoes on shallow pan (rimmed cookie sheet or smaller) lined with aluminum foil.  Don’t forget the aluminum foil.  You will thank me.  Place in oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes until very soft when inserted with a sharp knife.

Place butter, paprika, salt and cayenne into a medium bowl.  Place ricer over bowl.

When potatoes are done, place on a cutting board. Working with one potato at a time (they are very hot), with a serrated knife, cut off ends.  Then slice the skin once down the potato with the serrated knife.  Carefully peal away the skin, using just the knife if possible.  Sometimes I very quickly grab the skin and pull it off.  Once all the skin is off, slice potato into 5 to 6 thick slices and place into ricer.  Process potato using ricer.  Do this with each sweet potato.

When finished, mix everything together with a rubber spatula.  Add the heavy cream and mix again.

Place into a microwave safe glass container and serve right away or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, microwaving for 1-2 minutes until hot.

sweet potatoes ready to peel, butter, paprika, salt, and cayenne in bowl


peeling the potato:


processing with potato ricer:


one down:


mixing dry ingredients, butter and riced sweet potatoes, then adding heavy cream:


place in microwaveable dish:


yum ( served them with breaded chicken tenders and peas):