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

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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

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

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

The Verde Burger

This weekend I went on a salsa-making rampage. This led to the need to use it and thus The Verde Burger was born. I call it The Verde because it is full of tasty green things – a thick turkey patty stuffed with avocado and diced jalapeño and drenched in freshly made salsa verde, which, of course, gets its color from the tomatillos and Serrano peppers used to make it. Add slices of Monterey jack cheese and juicy beefsteak tomato, and you got yourself a party.

Verde Turkey Burgers

The Verde Burger

Ingredients

For the patties…

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 large, ripe avocado, cut into small chunks
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

For the rest..

  • 4 Onion hamburger buns (Orowheat has nice ones if your grocery store bakery doesn’t have any)
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato, cut into 4 thick slices
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde, prepared in advance

Optional:

  • 4 leafs of romaine or other leafy, dark green lettuce
  •  Thin slices of red onion
  • Roasted pasilla pepper fillets

Prep

  • Heat up your grill – cast iron griddle, George Forman electric grill, or outdoor grills all work just fine.
  • Combine all the ingredients for the patties and form into 4, thick burgers.
  • Grill the burger patties.
  • Layer the bun with a slice of tomato, the patty, and smother in salsa. You can add your optional garnishes next, if using.

How do I get the perfect burger?

  • Flip the patties only once so each side gets browned.
  • DON’T PRESS on the patties or otherwise fiddle with them beyond the one flip. You will lose all the juices.
  • Don’t overcook. 155 – 160 degrees internal temp is enough. They will finish cooking as they rest.
  • Add your cheese slices right before you remove the patties from the grill. They will melt from the internal heat and not become rubbery or overly melted this way.

I dedicate this burger to Kermit the Frog. It’s not easy being green, but at least he’s got color- coordinated eats.

~Nom On

Perfect BLT

The perfect BLT: Bacon loves tomato

I don’t know what it is about a BLT that just screams perfection, but they can do. You see it on the menu or realize you have some tomato in your veggie drawer about to go to wasted veggie heaven so you think BLT…. and it’s super lackluster. The promise of simple greatness is there, your current sandwich stinks though. Like all simple dishes, it comes down to ingredients and prep. Let me show you the way; bacon loves tomato.

Perfect BLT

Ingredients

  • Onion hamburger buns or onion deli rolls – the fatter and fluffier, the better
  • Thick cut bacon – if a package has more than 9 slices, its false advertising
  • Ripe beefsteak tomatoes – squishy and ready to explode from the farmers market is best
  • Leafy green lettuce – Iceberg is watery and flavorless, so use it only if you can’t get romaine or any other dark green, leafy lettuce
  • Mayo or miracle whip

Prep

  • Either pan-fry or bake your bacon to about 155 – 160 degrees. Let rest.
    Note: Generally there are instructions on the package if you want to bake and I follow those, but reduce the time by a minute or two. You NEVER cook bacon to a full 165 degrees because it continues to cook through its internal heat and will ruin the flavor and texture. 
  • Slice your tomato to resemble a hamburger patty; thick and juicy. Dust each slice with salt and pepper. Tomato loves salt and soaks it up, so be liberal.
  • Rinse and tear your lettuce in large, ragged chunks.
  • Lightly toast the buns, face down to get a little texture to absorb the mayo.
  • Add mayo liberally to top and bottom bun. If it oozes out a little with each bite, that’s about right.
  • Layer bottom bun with lettuce, bacon, tomato, then top bun.

What stuff should I not add to my BLT?

  • cheese
  • avocado
  • mustard, ketchup, or hot sauce (ewww…)
  • fried egg or egg salad
  • tuna or chicken salad
  • deli meat

Look, I appreciate the desire to garnish. I have made my BLT with many of these things and realized I now have an egg  salad sandwich with bacon. Or a turkey club. If you start adding the stuff listed above, it’s not a BLT. You’ll be missing the point.

Serve with pickles and the usual picnic lunch sides. While chewing, raise hand in whatever hail Mary, peace and love, praise Jesus, party on, or namaste salute you feel is appropriate as your BLT craving is thus satisfied.

~Nom On