Greek Turkey Burgers

The summer continues and so do my experiments with burgers. Today I made a low-carb Greek burger with homemade tzaziki sauce and it was quite yummy.

Greek Turkey Burger

Greek Turkey Burgers

Ingredients

  • 16 oz ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 2 oz – 3 oz crumbled feta cheese, depending on how strong you want the feta flavor
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Thick slices of beefsteak tomato, cucumbers, leafy lettuce, and red onion for serving.

Prep

  • Combine the ground turkey, onion, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs together in a medium-sized bowl. Use your fingers and mix well.
  • Fold in your feta cheese crumbles and mix well.
  • Finally fold in your spices. Mix well and form into 4 equally sized patties. Set aside.
  • Heat up your griddle and brush with a little olive oil.
  • Grill the patties for about 4 minutes on each side, or until the patties reach 160 degrees internally. Transfer to a plate and let rest for a couple minutes.

Quick Tzaziki Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yogurt
  • 1 half cucumber, diced
  • 1 large roma tomato, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Prep

  • Combine all your ingredients except the salt and pepper. Mix well.
  • Add in about 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp of pepper and taste.

Note: Tzaziki isn’t meant to be salty, it should taste refreshing. This recipe is by no means a traditional sauce, but it’ll get you the majority of that flavor and it’s quick and easy to prep. Some traditional tzaziki sauces can be very garlic-y and if you like that, add in another fresh garlic clove or add a pinch of garlic powder. 

If you are serving this low-carb, arrange the patties on a bed of leafy lettuce and layer on the sauce. Top with a little more feta, if desired. You can serve with thick slices of tomato, red onion, and cucumber dusted with salt and pepper and a dollop of hummus for dipping. I make my sauces with the veggies and toppings basically folded in so you don’t need to add those extra veggies if you don’t want to. The flavors are all there.

~Nom On

Savory Bacon-Cheddar Muffins

Surprise, surprise! I am posting another recipe for hand held food. These savory little gems are really nice any time of the day. Brunch-y, and lunch-y, and hearty enough for dinner all at the same time. And in a move I didn’t see coming, my 2-yr old took the muffin right out of her dad’s hand and started chowing down. She lives on tomatoes, olives, and fish crackers so intensely picky is she, we did not even think to offer it to her.

Savory Bacon Cheddar Muffins

Savory Bacon-Cheddar Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 cup white onion, chopped
  • 4 oz thick-cut bacon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

Prep

  • Bake your bacon according to package instructions. Drain, dry, and dice roughly. Yields 2/3 cup.
  • While bacon is in the oven, sauté your onions in a tbsp of olive oil until soft and translucent. Set aside.
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  • In a large bowl, mix all your ingredients for the batter, except the bacon, cheese, and onions.
  • Fold in your remaining ingredients gently. Don’t stir too much. The batter should be lumpy but all the ingredients should be mixed in.
  • Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, divide the batter evenly among the 12 cups.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Let the muffins rest for 15 minutes before serving.

I didn’t expect the toddler to like it, but she yanked it right out of daddy’s hand and started chowing down!

Kid Friendly Savory Muffins

What are my garnish options?

  • If the muffins seem a little dry to you, I recommend either a spiced sour cream or a chunky salsa.
  • This may sound nuts, but if you like that savory-sweet-tart combo, I would try serving with sugar-free apple sauce. I was raised eating latkas (savory potato and onion pancakes) with sour cream and apple sauce so I think it could work here, too.
  • These could also just have a few dashes of hot sauce added if you are eating on the road and need some heat.

You should be good to go!

~Nom On

Guacamole Turkey Slides

Well, it’s Friday night and you want to rock something fun, flavorful, but not a ridiculous amount of effort. How about some guac turkey sliders? What I love about guacs and salas is that all your toppings are already in your sauce, so you can get to table with huge flavor, very quickly.

Guacamole Turkey Sliders

Guacamole Turkey Sliders

(Serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp cup grated onion
  • 2 tbsp bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp dried parsley (optional)
  • Guacamole (recipe below)
  • Small hamburger buns or white bread dinner rolls
  • Mayo (optional)

Prep

  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients with your hands.
  • Form into a large, patted spread. With a biscuit cutter, cut out your patties. If you have small hands, like me, you can roll out the patties by hand; your choice.
  • Using an electric grill or a cast-iron griddle, cook your patties for about 4-5 minutes per side. The goal is to get a nice sear on each side and reach an internal temperature of 155-160 degrees. The meat needs to rest and finish cooking from its internal temp.
    Note: Do NOT press the patties while cooking. They lose their juices. 
  • Place on a plate to rest while you prep your guac and toast your buns buns.

Now, prep your guac…

  • 1 very ripe avocado, cubed
  • 1  small, ripe tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 red or white onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 fresh garlic clove, minced
  • Fresh squeezed juice from 1/2 lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Ground cayenne, to taste
  • With a fork, mash and stir the avocado. You can leave it a little chunky.
  • Fold in the tomato, onion, jalapeno, diced garlic and stir.
  • Squeeze in the lime juice and stir.
  • Add in about 1/4 tsp of salt and 1/8 tsp black pepper. Stir and taste.
  • Add in a few shakes of cayenne. Stir and taste.
  • If your quac seems bland, you can add in a little more salt or cayenne, but don’t go to crazy. Ground spices are more potent than freshly chopped peppers so the taste changes quickly.

Note: This mixture is more potent than usual, which is needed for the burger. It’s not a ‘dipping guac.”

Let’s bring it home…

  • Toast your buns or rolls lightly. Add a little mayo on bottom roll, if using.
  • Add the burger patties to each bottom roll.
  • Spoon guacamole in heaping spoonfuls to each slider and top with bun.

I didn’t serve these with a side; they are dense and loaded with flavor. If you really want a side, I’d say go simple like a handful of tortilla chips or a small salad of mixed greens. To me, a Friday night meal is quick eating.

~Nom On

Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini

Mmm….it’s Saturday again and we’re hungry. You know what that means…. Saturday afternoon lunch, ba-by! And on the board this time is a crispy, gooey, cordon bleu panini. Let’s do this.

Chicken Cordon Blue Panini

Chicken Cordon Bleu Panini

Ingredients (per sandwich)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2  thin-cut chicken breast (at the deli, asked for a thin cut or find pre-packaged that is labeled thin cut)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 thick slices french bread per serving (from the bakery)
  • Butter or yogurt butter spread
  • 1 slice alpine lace swiss cheese (from the deli counter)
  • 1 slice black forest ham (from the deli counter)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp Mayo (optional)

Prep

  • Slice your thin cut chicken breast into strips and then cut in half. Season with salt and pepper.
  • In a small pan, heat your olive oil over a medium flame and toss the chicken strips in there. Stir a few times to get a little sear and then cover the pan with a lid. Heat through about 3-4 minutes. Turn off the flame and transfer to a bowl. Set aside.
  • Butter bread slices and place one slice in a pan or on a cast-iron griddle, buttered-side down. Layer with swiss cheese, then ham, then chicken. Top with bread slice.
  • Heat the first side until you get nice grill marks, light brown or black, depending on how much crisp you want on your crust.
  • Flip over and heat the second slice until grilled and cheese is starting to melt.
  • Transfer to a plate or cutting board and remove the bread slice that doesn’t have cheese melted to it. Add either a tbsp of mayo, dijon mustard, or a tsp of each. Add back to your sandwich.

This is a dense and flavorful sandwich so you can just eat the hell out that on its own. Pair with pickles, salt and pepper dusted tomatoes, or even a little salad if eating a sandwich with no side freaks you out.

~Nom On

Egg and Beef Steak Tomato Salad

I don’t know about you, but I am TOTALLY fighting the middle-aged chub these days. I don’t seem to have the discipline to live on 1200 calories like I used to, not with a 2-year old harshing my buzz. How to keep from totally letting go? Well, I like to do a no-carb meal each day and a no-meat meal each day. This dish nails both, and as a bonus it’s light, refreshing, takes advantage of one of our best summer produce, and it’s delicious.

Egg and Beefsteak Tomato Salad

Egg and Beefsteak Tomato Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 large, ripe beefsteak tomato
  • 1 heaping tbsp of Mayo or Miracle Whip
  • 2 tbsp large snipped fresh green onion
  • 1 tbsp snipped fresh dill
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Ground cayenne pepper

Prep

  • In a medium pot, bring water to a rolling boil.
  • Gently spoon eggs into the water and boil for 6 minutes. Set a timer to be precise.
  • When eggs are done, immediately move to a bowl of cold water. Allow eggs to cool down for about 5 minutes.
  • Remove shell from each egg and place in a small mixing bowl. With a fork, mash eggs. Add mayo and mix. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and mix again.
  • Slice beefsteak tomatoes thickly.
  • Arrange your tomatoes so they cover your plate and dust with salt and pepper. Spoon egg salad over the tomatoes. Dust again with a little salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper.
  • Sprinkle green onion and dill over egg salad.

You can serve on its own or with a little side of mixed greens and dressing or some cucumbers like I did. Guilt-free breakfast or lunch!

~Nom On

Chili-Cheese Dip

Generally speaking, I don’t have food addictions. I get on kicks where I will eat a lot of something for a few weeks and move on to my next fixation. Chili-cheese dip seems to be my one constant. I have been making it for so long I have it down to a fine science, and it. is. GOOD. So good I had a guest just take the whole pot off the stove at a party once and sit in a corner, hovering protectively while he shoveled chips heaped with it in his mouth. I think he was even making that weird, growling noise zombies do when they first get infected. Anyway, this dip will solve all your chili-cheese related cravings and situations. Just make sure you have Worcestershire sauce on hand to cure anyone that is starting to turn.

Chili Cheese Dog

Chili-Cheese Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 can Turkey Chili with Beans, your favorite brand.
  • 1 can Ro-Tel Chili Tomatoes – This is the point where you control the heat. There are mild, regular, and hot versions.
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheese – This is where you control the kick. Any cheese melts and you can make your dip smokey, creamy, mellow, or spicy. NO processed cheeses like velvetta and no skim-milk cheese. It has to be real cheese that you shred yourself. The better the quality, the better the dip.

Optional, cold add-ins

  • Chopped red or white onions
  • Cilantro
  • Green Onion
  • Sour Cream

Prep:

  • In a small sauce pan, heat the chili over a medium-low flame.
  • Drain out all the liquid from the canned tomatoes, then stir into the chili.
  • Once the chili mixture starts simmering, give it about a minute and keep stirring. Turn off the heat completely.
  • Fold in your freshly grated cheese and stir until the cheese is totally melted and blended into the chili.
  • Fold in your cold toppings last, if you are using any.
    • Note: If this mixture is intended to smother, a hot dog or fries for example, add you cold toppings AFTER you smother.

Wait, that’s it? 

Yep! The trick is less about the ingredients than the process. You see, melted cheese is completely easy to screw up. It doesn’t microwave and you can’t ever let it come into contact with direct heat. If you have tried to make cheese dips or melted cheese in the past and the end result was an oily, scorched mess, that’s why. Folding the cheese into your already hot chili that is beginning to cool achieves the perfection you’d otherwise need a double broiler for.

I have my dip, now what?

Well, it’s not rocket science, but there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you already have your cheese folded in so if you want to make chili dogs or hamburgers, DON’T add slices of cheese and then smoother. Secondly, as I mentioned before, save your cold toppings for last. Even if you want to serve this as a batch of smothered nachos, sprinkle your onions and sliced green onion around after you smother the tortilla chips. Only fold in the cold toppings if you intend to serve as a dip or just eat straight as a chili.

I don’t like canned chili. Can I use my own?

Yeah, absolutely. But, don’t use a low-sodium, low-fat recipe. There is a time to cut calories and sodium, and chili-cheese day ain’t it. Simply put, the FAT and SALT are what make this dish addictive. If you don’t make your chili with enough of these things, the cheese is going to bland it out like there is no tomorrow and the chili-tomato mixture won’t save you. If you have a really solid chili and have crowd-tested it and been given the thumbs up, by all means, use it! But please add more salt than you would normally so it stands up to that full cup of cheese and extra chili and tomatoes.

Where’s the love for us vegetarians??

I do love you guys! I have a great chili for you right here! Fold in some cheese and ditch the pasta in this recipe if you are looking for a great veggie chili-cheese dip. If you are vegan, just skip the cheese. Enjoy!

So, now you have no reason to stop at a fast food joint the next time you need to get your chili-cheese fix.

~Nom on

Tomato Pasta Soup Base

As a tribute to the spousal unit, I wanted to post this recipe that he taught me. I love it because the base soup is really simple and the flavor is just this mildly salty, lightly tomato-y perfection that you can add ANYTHING to. Want a soup? Just use more water. Want a stew? Use less or toss some corn tortilla chunks in there. Kid’s learning to use a spoon? Use small pasta and make the base thick with a scoop of sour cream. Need to get your vitamins? Use wheat pasta and load it with spinach, zucchini, mushrooms, and shredded chicken. Want a party in your mouth? Add andouille sausage and kidney beans. Need a chili enema because you haven’t pooped in 9 days? Dump some salsa roja in there!

Pasta Soup Base

Tomato Pasta Soup

Ingredients (for the base):

  • 1 cup Pasta (elbow, rotini, small shells, penne)
  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil* (Don’t be cheap alert)
  • 4-6 cups of water, depending on whether you want a soup or stew base. If you will be adding lots of veggies or beans or shredded meat, use 6 cups
  • 4oz Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 to 1 large cube chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 large yellow onion (cut onion in half, don’t chop it up)
  • 1/2 head of garlic (use the half that keeps the cloves held together)
  • Salt to taste

Prep:

  • In a medium-sized pot, add the EVOO and the pasta. Stir to coat and turn on your flame. Don’t make the flame too high as the pasta will brown quickly. Give it a few stirs and keep a close eye. This is not the time to refill your wine glass or go on some philosophical rant. Save that for the simmering part.
  • Once you see the pasta is a lightly fried, add the water, tomato sauce, and aromatics, which are the onion and garlic. If you like herbs, you can experiment with other aromatics like dill or basil, but the garlic and onion are the minimum.
  • Once you get a simmer going, add your bouillon and a little salt.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes to get the pasta nice and soft, especially if this is for young children.
  • Once the base is done, remove the aromatics and discard. Add more salt, a little at a time, until you get it to your liking.

Chef’s Note: I always hated that term ‘to taste’ until I started cooking with spices a lot. Allow me to demystify it for you. ‘To taste’ means you add a little of your seasoning and you stir and give it a taste. Repeat the process until you like the flavor. Be patient here because you can add more, but you can’t remove seasoning. I also realized you can’t really be specific about seasoning because cooks modify ingredients and this changes how much additional seasoning you need to make your food taste, in your specific opinion, groovy.

Now that you have your base, you can store for up to a week. I recommend you prep it Sunday night and have a yummy go-to for lunches or a quick dinner. You can add more seasoning to a serving, a handful of steamed veggies, sour cream if you want a richer base, or even toss in tortilla chips and a little chicken or avocado to a serving. The point is versatility, getting the calories and nutrients you need, and low-cost. The more you keep stuff like this prepped in your fridge, the less you reach for grease-stained sacks handed through a window.

~Nom on

Western Bacon Turkey Cheeseburger

Oh, Carl’s Jr., you cruel eatery. Your food is so disgusting, but man do I love me a western bacon cheeseburger. What to do? Well, make it myself! Duh! I played around with the approach a little and found, as is frequently the case, the trick to really yummy comfort food, is it’s all about ingredients. So, here is the junk food-loving, spousal unit approved, do it yourself version of this addictive burger.

Western Turkey Bacon Burgers

Western Turkey Bacon Cheeseburgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 package Jennie O (or other brand) pre-prepped Turkey Burger Patties (there are options that are pre-seasoned. It’s your choice.)
  • 1 package Orowheat Onion Hamburger Buns (If you have another brand you like, cool. I have just found these to be moist, fluffy, and flavorful.)
  • 1/2 package of the best, thick cut bacon you can afford (*Don’t be cheap alert)
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thickly
  • Large pieces of iceberg lettuce
  • Slices of cheddar cheese (regular or skim)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, sliced thickly
  • Salt, to taste
  • Bbq Sauce – Famous Dave’s Devil’s Spit if you are a spicy-heat fanatic, otherwise just go with your favorite.
  • Mini Dill Pickles, to serve on the side

Prep:

  • Fry your bacon in a cast iron skillet and drain on paper towels to absorb the grease.
  • Grill your turkey burger patties to about 160 degrees. DO NOT press the meat as it cooks, you lose all the juice. Just leave it alone. You can rock an indoor electric grill or an outdoor grill. Whichever you prefer.
  • Top with cheese as the meat rests, NOT while it’s cooking. The cheese scorches if you top while cooking.
  • Toast your onion buns lightly, face down, either on the grill or in a toaster oven.

Once your ingredients are all prepped, just start assembly:

  • Spread a little Bbq sauce on the bottom and top buns. You can add a little mayo to the bottom bun if you like.
  • Layer the lettuce, then patties, then bacon, onion, and tomato, and top with bun.

Serve with a side of dill pickles. You can add chips, potato salad, any picnic-type side really. No drive through necessary; you will be chowing down in 20 minutes!

~Nom on

BL Cherry T Bites

Got the taste of bacon, lettuce, and tomato on your mind? I usually do, too. Here’s another way to get the flavor, but without the carbs. Makes a great appetize, side dish, or snack on a hot day.

BL Cherry Tomatos Bites

BL Cherry T Bites

Ingredients

  • 16 large cherry tomatoes
  • 1 Lb bacon, baked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp of creamy horseradish (optional, just if you want these to be a little spicy)
  • 1/3 cup green onions, chopped
  • 3 tbs freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbs fresh parsley, snipped

Prep

  • Using a serrated knife, cut off the tops of each tomato.
  • Using a melon baller, scoop out the innards of each tomato and discard. Flip the tomatoes upside down and place on a paper towel to dry.
  • Mix the rest of the ingredients.
  • Spoon the mixture equally into the 16 tomatoes and place in a baking dish and cover with lid. Tupperware is another option, just so long as the lid isn’t squishing the toppings.
  • Refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

~Nom On

3-Alarm Chili

I’m at yet another potluck and someone is staring down at my chili with a confused look on their face. “This looks like chili.” “Yeah,” I say, “it is chili.” “uh….with pasta? How does that work?” “It just does,” I assure them. I found the base recipe years ago in a Betty Crocker vegetarian cookbook and I have been hooked ever since. Once people get over their confusion and try, I always get rave reviews and you’ll love it, too. It’s got a great spicy heat that you can turn up a notch or 5, to suit your liking, and the cinnamon in the sauce make it the most comforting and aromatic dish for the cold months. It’s chili-licious!

3 Alarm Turkey Chili

3-Alarm Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or chicken (optional and unneeded really, as the olive oil used to sauté the veggies makes the chili rich already, but if you are in the mood for meaty chili … )
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 medium pepper (Heat Control: Green bell pepper for mild, Passilla or Anaheim for medium, 2 large jalapeño peppers for hot, or 2 Serrano peppers for sadists.)
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 cup taco sauce (Heat Control: The hotter the taco sauce, the hotter the dish. Just be aware that this is the tomato-based taco sauce, NOT a pepper sauce like Tabasco.)
  • 2 cans diced tomatos and chilis, undrained (Heat Control: Ro-Tel sells 4 versions of heat – Mild, Original, Hot, and Lime.)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 ground cinnamon
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 box angel hair pasta

Prep:

  • In a dutch oven or a large, deep skillet, sauté the onions and bell pepper in EVOO until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add into the dutch oven with the turkey.
  • If you want ground turkey or chicken, brown that in a separate skillet. You can either drain it, which I don’t recommend if you got a lean version, or just scrape the whole mess into the dutch oven when its ready.
  • Add in the water, cans of tomato and chiles, sauce and seasonings. Just hold off on the beans and angel hair pasta.
  • Bring to a boil and then reduce to medium-low heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Add in the beans and pasta and return to boiling. Reduce back to medium-high heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes.
  • Serve with garnish assortment so people can doctor their chili up as desired.

Garnish Assortment

  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro, roughly chopped
  • Sliced, fresh jalapeño
  • Pepper sauces: Franks, Tabasco, Tapatillo, and Sriracha

Serving options

  • Dial up the heat when you prepare the chili and serve with tortilla chips, frito scoopers, and Tostito bowls along with a bucket of ice cold, light beer in the summertime. Everyone will have a blast dowsing their scorching mouths and getting a spice-buzz.
  • Keep the heat mild and serve with a skillet cornbread trencher. Instant fall comfort food. There are lots of skillet cornbread recipes ; buttermilk, bacon, southern, northern… Experiment!
  • Like a lot of flavor juxtaposition? I got you covered! Make the chili fairly spicy, not inferno-beer-sloshing-spicy, but enough to make you cough a little. Make a batch of skillet cornbread, but replace the sugar for a 1/4 cup of honey and add in a 1/4 cup of maple syrup. Serve on the side, rather than as a trencher, and everyone can enjoy scooping and dipping and groaning with sweet-savory-heat delight.

Uh, what’s a trencher?

A trencher is an old term that essentially refers to the practice of putting a thick slice of bread in your bowl and drenching it with your chili or stew. You can be all sophisticated with a knife and fork, or pick up the bread and eat the whole mess with your hands. That’s how they did it the medieval days!

What the heck is a dutch oven?

I am including this because I seriously did not understand this term when I first started cooking. I asked people that cooked a lot and surprisingly, I got different answers. Well, I finally have the correct and definitive answer. It’s a deep pot with a tight fitting lid. Here’s the one I own and I love, love, love it. The lid doubles as a skillet, which is uber handy. It’s also economical and will survive a nuclear holocaust.

~Nom On