Sunday, March 29, 2015

Spice It Up Burger

Perhaps you live in an area that doesn't carry exotic foods or vegetables; or maybe, you aren't interested in new ingredients, but would like some new flavors or ways of cooking your common foods nonetheless. 

A great way to change things up is thru a collection of spices and condiments that take your food to a whole new place! Spice up the mayo, or use something other than ketchup, or, change the flavor profile with spices other than salt & pepper!

I found a great addition to my spice collection called "Ethiopian BERBERE" after reading Marcus Samuellsons' memoir 'Yes, Chef'. I then, decided it would make my California Dreamin' Burger with bacon and Heinz 57 Sauce incredible and awesome!

Key to this turkey burger is making the patties "diner-thin" so that they're coated in flavor while the meat comes to room temperature...then piling on the goodness after you have seared them in a touch of bacon fat to perfection. Feeling extra hungry...make it a double!  

California Dreamin' Burger Spiced Up

Large skillet
Wax paper or Seran wrap
Flat plate or surface or rolling pin 
Large mouth

Multi-Grain Hamburger Rolls, toasted
1-2 lbs ground turkey breast
6-8 slices bacon
1 avocado, sliced
6-8 slices Swiss Cheese
Ethiopian Berbere spice

Red Onion, thinly sliced
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Peppers, thinly sliced
JalapeƱos, thinly sliced

Lemonaise or Mayo
Heinz 57 Sauce

1. Wash your hands.
2. Sear the bacon and drain. 

3. Wipe the skillet to remove excess bacon drippings. Do not wash skillet!
4. Form your thin patties and season with salt, pepper and Berbere. 

5. Prep remaining veggies. 
6. Toast the rolls.

7. Heat skillet and sear turkey patties 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown.

8. Layer Swiss Cheese on patties just before finishing. 
9. Start building this thing!

10. Don't forget the Heinz 57 Sauce. The crowning moment!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

3 Step Coconut Macaroons

Need some sugar in your life quickly? A backup dessert? Or something to take to dinner? Say no more! 3 Steps, that's it!

Check it out!
(Adapted from Fresh Flavor Fast / Martha Stewart cookbook)

3 Step Coconut-Lime Macaroons

Baking sheets
Parchment paper
Mixing bowl

3 large eggwhites
14 oz shredded, sweetened coconut
1/2 cup sugar (I use 1/3 cup)
Pinch of salt

1-2 tsp zest of lime

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat oven to 350F.
3. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper.
4. Borrow a hand mixer with adequate power to beat egg whites.

5. Step 1: Whisk together egg whites, sugar, and salt until foamy and frothy.
6. Step 2: With a fork, stir in coconut (and zest if using).
7. Step 3: Form small peaked mounds of batter on the baking sheet. 

8. Bake @ 350F x 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

9. Once they are done, cool on wire rack (if you have one).

10. Dip in chocolate sauce for extra flair and goodness. Use Boston Cupcake recipe.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

March Madness: Buffalo Chicken Dip

How are your NCAA Bracket selections stacking up? One of the best things about March Madness are the surprises and upsets often coming down to fractions of a second! No one is safe! Fingernails turn to nubbins. Folks lose sleep. And champions arise from the ashes of what looked like a done deal. 

Don't miss sharing the excitement from one game to the next as we approach the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four. Use your cooking skills to bring rivals and allies together with some good food to celebrate wins or drown your sorrows! 

Try some fantastic appetizers from the Appetizer Page like Spicy JalapeƱo-Cheddar Roll-upsArtichoke Dip With A KickParty SlidersMini Muffin SnackersLil Smokie SkewersChicken Satay Skewers with Almond Butter Dipping SauceBagel & Lox Appetizer, or this super simple Buffalo Chicken Dip with Ritz crackers, Wheat Thins, Tortilla Chips, and celery and carrots!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Oven-proof 8" x 8" pyrex dish
PAM Spray
Mixing Bowl

1 Roasted Chicken, de-boned (2 cups)
1 (8oz) package cream cheese 
1/2 cup Frank's Red Hot Pepper Sauce or Texas Pete's 
1/2 cup Ranch or Blue Cheese Salad Dressing
1/2 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated (or Mozzarella) 
1/2 cup green onions (optional)

--cracker assortment
--celery, carrots, other dipping veggies
--tortilla chips or scoops
--extra hot sauce

1. Wash your hands.
2. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees.
3. Spray your oven-proof dish.
4. Combine salad dressing, cream cheese and hot sauce into a smooth mixture.

5. Add chicken.

6. Add cheeses and green onions (if using).

7. Pour into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with some cheddar or mozzarella.

8. Bake until brown and bubbly. Approx 20 minutes.

9. Make your spread with hot dip and condiments.

10. Text your friends to stop by and watch the games.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Instant Rice Plan B

College is all about Plan B in so many ways--life, finances, grades, relationships, dreams, food and getting food. Try to keep something in your "pantry", even if it is small…maybe, some grains, canned and boxed foods…and don't forget, the freezer!

'The Kitchen' TV show from Food Network recently featured some cool ideas with rice, in particular, "instant rice", and what you might do with it--from pesto to veggies to the recipe I am featuring today. I am not sure I get the benefit of 'instant rice' (other than the pre-packaged / -portioned component of it and option to microwave it) because the Original Uncle Ben's Instant Rice takes 20 minutes on the stovetop--no different than regular rice.

Maybe it's flavor or the convenience. You choose!  Of course, if you are experiencing the dog days of a 'very tight budget', even this particular recipe might not be possible except for plain rice; otherwise, it is quite good and serves two people well!

Instant Rice Plan B

5-quart saucepan
Mixing Bowl

2 bags Instant Rice (2 cups)
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup grated parmesan
4 slices thick-cut or 8 slices regular bacon, chopped, seared and drained
2 Tbls butter
1/4 lemon juice with zest of 1lemon

1. Wash your hands.
2. Cook chopped bacon in nonstick skillet and drain on paper towels.

3. Prep the lemon zest, lemon juice, peas, and grate the cheese.

4. Boil the rice bags for 10 minutes as per package instructions. 
5. Drain rice bags and pour rice into your mixing bowl.

6. Add butter, cheese, lemon juice and zest. 
7. Add peas and bacon.

8. Season to taste w salt and pepper.

Stir it up! 
No need to be stranded when it comes to food, even on a college budget!