Friday, March 30, 2012

Turkey Burgers with Cheddar and Smoky Aioli

It's going to be another great weekend for grilling and I have the perfect recipe to throw on the grill - Turkey burgers! These are a bit different than some of the other turkey burgers I've made in the past - the smoky aioli was something new to me and having it mixed right into the burger before grilling added tons of flavor and kept the burgers from drying out.  But, the grilled vegetables on top were the star of this recipe. Don't skip them!

I made a few changes based on what I had on hand. They were made with ground chicken instead of turkey because it was on sale this week.  I also skipped the first step of toasting the cumin and coriander seeds since we don't have a spice grinder. Instead, I used a bit of ground cumin.  I topped with romaine and skipped the pickles. I'm sure these burgers will be on our plates a few times this Spring.

Source: Bon Appetit

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus additional for brushing
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 garlic clove, pressed
  • 1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
  • 4 1/3-inch-thick red onion slices
  • 1 large or 2 small red bell peppers, quartered
  • 4 slices white cheddar cheese or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 sesame-seed hamburger buns
  • Arugula
  • Pickle wedges
  • Corn chips


Toast cumin seeds and coriander seeds in small skillet over medium-high heat until aromatic and slightly darker in color, shaking skillet often, about 1 1/2 minutes. Cool. Finely grind toasted seeds in spice grinder or in mortar with pestle. Whisk mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, fresh lemon juice, smoked paprika, garlic, and ground spices in small bowl. Season aioli to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Aioli can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Place turkey in medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons aioli; mix gently. Using damp hands, divide turkey mixture into 4 equal portions, then form each into scant 3/4-inch-thick patty, about 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Using thumb, make small indentation in center of each burger. DO AHEAD Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Sprinkle burgers with salt and pepper. Brush onion slices and bell pepper pieces with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Grill onions and bell peppers until soft and charred, about 4 minutes per side.

Grill turkey burgers 5 minutes. Turn over; grill until almost cooked through, about 4 minutes. Top each burger with 1 cheese slice and grill until meat is cooked through and cheese melts, about 1 minute longer. Place 1 turkey burger on each of 4 bun bottoms. Arrange grilled red pepper pieces, then grilled red onion slices over. Top each with dollop of aioli and some arugula. Cover burgers with bun tops and serve with pickle wedges and corn chips.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

S'mores Brownies

The recent warm weather trend we're experiencing has brought on the excitement of summer being just around the corner. It won't be long before we're roasting marshmallows over a fire in the back yard and smashing it onto a graham cracker with a big piece of Hershey bar.  Now, the sticky, gooey goodness of s'mores can be made right in your kitchen any time of the year without a campfire.  I used a boxed brownie mix, but you can start with your favorite brownie recipe and once they are done baking, just remove from the oven and top with the marshmallows and graham crackers.  Toast for just a minute under the broiler and then sprinkle the chocolate pieces on top and let sit a while. I doubt many will turn down this combination :)

Source: Food Wanderings in Asia

  • 1 pack Brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 4 graham crackers, cut into chunks
  • 2 Hershey's Milk Chocolate Bars, cut into each segment

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Prepare the brownie mix according to the directions on the box (or use your favorite homemade recipe).
After baking, remove the pan from the oven and set the oven to broil.

Cool brownies for about a minute then sprinkle the marshmallows over the warm brownies. Make sure to cover most of the area. Sprinkle the graham crackers on top of the marshmallows. Broil about 4-5 inches from the heat for 30 seconds to a minute until the marshmallows are golden brown. Watch carefully so that they don't burn. Sprinkle with Hershey's milk chocolate bars.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Shrimp & Mushroom Spaghetti

It's been a couple weeks since we switched to Daylight Saving Time.  I love this time of year.  The weather has been unseasonably warm and fantastic. We've been coming home in the evening and immediately going outside to enjoy the warm temperatures and sunshine.  The downside to doing this every night is that it makes getting dinner on the table that much tougher.  Finding quick, great-tasting recipes, like this one, is going to be key in the coming months.

I selected this recipe from Joelen's blog, What's Cookin, Chicago as part of the Secret Recipe Club-style theme for this edition of the Recipe Swap.   I knew I hit the jackpot when I received Joelen's blog.  The hardest part would be deciding what to make - her blog is amazing and full of pretty much anything you can think of. I selected this pasta dish as something quick and different than our normal pasta with tomato sauce.

Pasta is a guaranteed win with Caitlin. Lately she has been slowly expanding her palate to try new things. I tried to sneak the shrimp past her by using the small salad shrimp - anything tiny or "baby" is usually a hit. Not so much this time.  She did love the pasta, but left the shrimp. Aaron and I both loved the creamy garlicky taste with the mushrooms and pasta. I cut a few calories by omitting the butter in the final step and the flavor wasn't lacking in the least. The sauce didn't thicken as much as I expected, but that's easy enough to fix next time with a little flour. This is also a great recipe that can be easily adapted into similar variations by using different pastas or throwing in some vegetables - maybe asparagus, spinach, bell peppers or broccoli?

Source: What's Cookin, Chicago?

  • 1 (8 ounce) package dry spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 (2 ounces) package cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese + more for serving/garnish
  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp (we used salad shrimp in hopes that my daughter would eat it...didn't work)

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add minced garlic, onions and mushrooms; cook until tender and caramelized.

In the same pan, add the white wine and chicken broth, scraping bits off the bottom of the pan. Stir in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a spoon as it melts and add cream. Stir in the parsley, basil, Parmesan, the remaining butter and raw shrimp. Simmer for 5-7 minutes until slightly thickened and shrimp cooks until pink.

Toss in spaghetti into the pan to combine with shrimp and sauce. Serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese and minced parsley for garnish.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Pastelitos de Guayaba & Queso (Guava and Cheese Pastries)

I'm excited to post this recipe for a special blog party - a Virtual Baby Shower Fiesta for Krystal at Mrs. Regueiro's Plate!  Krystal's blog is one of my favorites that I have been following for the past few years and is full of all kinds of great recipes and photos.  I'm so happy for Krystal and her husband, Eric, and can't wait to find out if their bundle of joy will be a girl or boy. I don't quite understand team green people! :) 

Krystal and her husband come from Filipino and Cuban backgrounds, so all of the participants were asked to make a recipe to fit this theme.  I am not very familiar with either type of cuisine, but after some searching, I found this Cuban dessert that sounded great and would allow me play with some new ingredients, guava and puff pastry, and use my new oven!

The little pastries are very easy to make and taste fantastic.  They almost reminded me of the toaster strudels I used to eat years ago.  The filling is creamy, slightly sweet and fruity, while the pastry is light and flaky. You can make these again and again with different filling flavors and any shape. Be sure visit Joelen's blog: What's Cookin', Chicago? to see the entire collection of recipes for Krystal's shower. Congratulations, Krystal!  Best wishes with your new little love!

Source: 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 sheets puff pastry or homemade pastry
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/2 cream cheese
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Guava paste or jelly (I used guava jelly)

Prepare simple syrup by bringing water and sugar to boil in a small pot and then simmering until sugar dissolves. Cool the syrup.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Whisk the egg. Place half into a small bowl and mix with a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Beat the other half of the egg with cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.

Cut one sheet of puff pastry into 9 squares. On each of the squares place a 1 teaspoon of guava jelly and 1 teaspoon of cream cheese. Cut the other sheet into 9 squares. Cover the squares with the filling and seal the edges with a fork. Brush with egg wash.

Bake for 12 minutes. Take out of the oven and brush with syrup, then bake for 3-5 minutes more or until golden brown. Serve Warm.
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