Rosemary Chicken Burger with Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli

When I see “chicken burger,” I never know exactly what that means.  It is a chicken breast on a bun, or is it ground chicken made into a patty?  I actually love both, but my favorite is when I grind my own chicken breast in the food processor, add some spices and seasonings, and shape it into a patty.  I was reading the Sunday paper, and here it was – my favorite preparation.  So once again, I decided to venture outside my recipe zone and try new source – Pacific Northwest Magazine.  What I loved most about this recipe was that instead of adding olive oil, you could add the oil that the sun-dried tomatoes were packed in – that beautiful red and sweet sun-dried tomato flavored oil.  Come on, what else are you going to do with that oil?  It was perfect.

These burgers were delicious – tons of flavor, and the sun-dried tomato aioli was the perfect complement to the burger.  I was worried that my kids wouldn’t like the rosemary – but I chopped it up finely enough that they didn’t notice the green.  Not that I am trying to hide anything in their food, but if you have ever had to take a tiny piece of parsley out of something delicious that you know your kids will love, you will appreciate the suggestion.

Ingredients

Burgers

  • 1 pound ground organic/free-range chicken breast meat
  • 2 tablespoons minced sun-dried tomatoes (in oil or reconstituted in warm water)
  • 2 sprigs rosemary (pull needles from woody stalk, chop)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (or use the oil from sun-dried tomatoes)
  • 4 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

Aioli

  • 1 clove garlic (minced or squeezed through a garlic press)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon sun-dried tomato, minced (in oil, or reconstituted in warm water)
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste

Preparation

Burgers

Combine the meat, sun-dried tomatoes, rosemary, garlic, olive oil, bread crumbs, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. To test the flavor make a peanut-sized patty and brown in a hot pan. Adjust seasonings if desired. Form into four equal patties and place on wax paper in the refrigerator until ready to cook. Cook burgers on a hot charbroiler, outdoor grill or pan until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve on a whole-wheat bun with lettuce, tomato, onion and sun-dried tomato aioli.

Aioli

Whisk the garlic, lemon juice, sun-dried tomatoes, mayonnaise, salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Makes 4 burgers.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Rosemary Chicken Burgers

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Apricot Scones

There is a reason most of my recipes come from Bon Appetit and Cooking Light – they have a test kitchen, and supposedly make all the recipes they publish.  I actually believe them, because 90% of the time, the recipes I choose are right on.  A friend of mine pointed out that I am good at reading recipes, and knowing which ones will come out – I take that as a huge compliment, but I also know that most of the recipes are just accurate.

Every once in a while I find a recipe from a different source.  That is when I really use my cooking/baking brain to figure out if I think the ingredients will come together in perfect harmony to make a successful final product.  Every week in my market basket, they provide a handful of recipes based on the seasonal produce you are receiving.  I have to say, the majority of the recipes I am either not interested in, or they are so basic, I have my own version already.  I have been getting a lot of apricots lately – and I noticed a recipe for apricot scones in my box.  I looked at the 4 apricots from the previous week still sitting there, and the 4 new ones I just received, and knew what I had to do.  I tried this recipe – and I have to say, I did not think they would come out at all – the batter was so wet, I really had to add a lot of flour to roll them out – but they were fantastic.  Right out of the oven, they were soft and fluffy, and just the right sweetness.  I would make them again in a second – thanks for the great recipe Full Circle Farm!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1 cup diced fresh apricots
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Preparation

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine and mix flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add butter and cut into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal.  Add apricots and toss until pieces are coated with flour mixture.   Reserve 1 tablespoon milk; mix remaining milk and eggs together and lightly blend.  Add milk mixture to flour mixture and stir until moistened.  On a lightly floured service, knead dough gently about 10 times.  Pat dough into a 3/4-inch thick round; cut into 8 wedge-shaped pieces.  Place dough on lightly oiled baking sheet; brush with reserved milk and sprinkle with remaining sugar.  Bake at 450 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, or until lightly brown and wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.

Makes 8 scones.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Apricot Scones

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Summer Barley Salad

I have really started to like making salads out of barley.  It is much healthier than pasta, and has a great nutty flavor.  I have never much been into cold rice salads, so this is a perfect alternative.  I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and I was so excited – I had been thinking about all the barley I had in the pantry, and how I was going to use it.

The first time I made barley, it turned out almost like a risotto – and even though when mixed with the rest of the ingredients, it still tasted great – for some reason I was just not satisfied with the texture.  The next time I made barley, I decided to rinse it after I was finished cooking.  That definitely did the trick – and the barley didn’t all stick together.  From now on, I always rinse the barley after I am done cooking it.  Not only does it cool the barley off, but the grains don’t stick to each other, and allows all the other ingredients to mingle in just the right way.

Now I just need to get my kids to start eating it…and when I do, then I know I was successful.  Even though the kids didn’t like this salad, all the adults I served it to LOVED it.  There were hardly any leftovers, and there were only 4 adults.  The flavors were wonderful, just perfect along side the grilled steak we had for dinner.  This is definitely a summer salad keeper.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2  cups  uncooked pearl barley
  • 1  cup  fresh corn kernels (about 2 ears)
  • 1  cup  diced seeded plum tomato (about 2 small)
  • 1/2  cup  chopped green onions
  • 1/4  cup  chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 20  kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
  • 3  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 3/4  cup  (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

Preparation

Cook barley according to package directions, omitting salt. Drain and rinse with cold water; drain. Cool completely. Combine barley, corn, and next 4 ingredients (through kalamata olives) in a bowl. Combine juice and next 4 ingredients (through garlic), stirring well with a whisk; drizzle over barley mixture. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with cheese.

Serves 8 as a side dish.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Summer Barley Salad

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Greek-Style Pork Chops

Summer to me is synonymous with grilling – even if it is cold and rainy outside.  For some reason, the fact that it is summer encourages me to buy meat at the market that tastes great on the grill.  My husband is the grill master of the house.  So, I have a confession to make…I don’t even know how to use the grill, or turn it on.  I really rely on him to do the grilling, which means I can spend more time baking.  We all win.

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and it looked so simple, I had to make it right away – especially because my market basket just happened to come with all the other ingredients.  Everything about this dish was terrific.  The yogurt gave the pork just a little extra punch, and it also went perfectly with the cucumber tomato salad.  The next night I served the rest of the salad with the leftover yogurt, and it made a wonderful dressing.  If you don’t have a grill, you could easily do the pork in a grill pan on the stove – but it is summer (at least in spirit here), so at my house we grill outside.

Ingredients

  • 2  tablespoons  red wine vinegar, divided
  • 1  teaspoon  dried oregano
  • 2  teaspoons  olive oil, divided
  • 2  garlic cloves, minced
  • 4  (4-ounce) boneless center-cut loin pork chops
  • 3/4  cup  plain fat-free Greek-style yogurt
  • 1  tablespoon  chopped fresh dill
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt, divided
  • 1 1/2  cups  diced plum tomatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 1  cup  diced seeded cucumber
  • 1/2  cup  diced red onion
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Combine 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, oregano, 1 teaspoon olive oil, and garlic in a zip-top plastic bag. Add pork to bag, and seal. Marinate for 20 minutes at room temperature, turning after 10 minutes. Combine remaining 1 tablespoon vinegar, remaining 1 teaspoon oil, yogurt, 1 tablespoon dill, and 1/8 teaspoon salt, stirring well with a whisk. Cover and chill. Combine tomatoes, cucumber, and onion. Sprinkle tomato mixture with 1/8 teaspoon salt; toss to combine.

Heat a grill. Remove pork from bag, and discard marinade. Sprinkle both sides of pork evenly with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add pork to grill, and cook for 4 minutes on each side or until desired degree of doneness. Remove pork from grill, and let stand for 2 minutes. Place 3/4 cup tomato mixture on each of 4 plates, and top each serving with 1 pork chop and about 3 tablespoons yogurt mixture.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Greek-Style Pork Chops

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Lately the bananas in our house have been an after-thought.  The market basket has been bringing lots of fresh stone fruit that is so appealing, the bananas seem to lag behind.  By the time the stone fruit is gone, the bananas are past their prime.  At least this is what my husband has been telling me – part of me thinks this is just a ploy to constantly have fresh banana bread in the house.

After making banana bread a few weeks in a row, I was ready for something new.  I saw this recipe a while ago in Bon Appetit, and all I had to do was read the ingredients for the peanut butter frosting, and I knew it would be a winner.  These cupcakes were outstanding.  The cupcakes were extremely moist and very dense – with a wonderfully strong banana flavor.  The frosting?  PERFECT!!  What could be better than peanut butter cream cheese frosting??  Nothing I tell you, absolutely nothing.  Yes, I am obsessed with cream cheese frosting – and it is not often that you would catch me taking spoonfuls of frosting since I pretty much only like marshmallow or cream cheese frosting – but let me tell you – I could not get enough.  The frosting had a hint of peanut butter, and was creamy and delicious.  I even used light cream cheese, and it was still over the top.

The next time you have some overripe bananas, instead of making banana bread, try this recipe.  Or better yet, just make the frosting, you don’t even need the overripe bananas.

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 very ripe large bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk

Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 8-ounce package light cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
  • Chopped lightly salted roasted peanuts (optional)

Preparation

Cupcakes

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Line 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Mash bananas with fork in another medium bowl until smooth. Mix sour cream and vanilla into bananas.

Using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg and egg yolk and beat until well blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions alternately with banana-sour cream mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with flour mixture and beating just until blended after each addition. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (generous 1/4 cup for each).

Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center of each comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack and let cool completely.

Frosting

Sift powdered sugar into large bowl. Add cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter. Using electric mixer, beat mixture until smooth. Spread frosting over top of cupcakes, dividing equally. Sprinkle lightly with chopped peanuts, if desired. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Frosting

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Peach Crisp

I love it when people invite us over for dinner, I ask what I can bring, and they say dessert.  Recipes start filling my brain – from chocolate to fruit, brownies to cookies, it just doesn’t end.  Usually I end up going to the pantry and finding some recipe that I have not made before, but I am dying to try.

This scenario played out exactly the other weekend.  I looked at all the fruit sitting on my counter, and decided that I must make a crisp.  After all, I didn’t want all those delicious apricots, plums and peaches sitting there to go bad.  I found a perfect crisp recipe from Cooking Light that I was excited to try, and I was set.  Now, somewhere between making that decision, and actually making the dessert – something happened.  I ended up at Cost-Co, and a tray of peaches were staring at me in the face.  I decided that if I used up all the fruit I had in the house, I would need to buy more – and somehow I convinced myself to buy this ridiculously large flat.

Two hours before we were supposed to be at our friend’s house – I started making the crisp.  That’s when everything really went wrong.  I started cutting up the peaches that I thought were ripe, and they were not.  I tried to take a few from Cost-co to use – but those were not much better.  I had to make a quick decision…try and get as many peaches as I could to make half a batch of crisp, then make some chocolate chip cookies to supplement.  I was really hoping that when the crisp cooked, that the peaches would soften, and no one would know they were not ripe.  That was exactly what happened.  The crisp was fantastic.  And why does the color look so dark?  Because I couldn’t peel the skins, so I left them on – and they cooked beautifully.  The 6 adults polished it off completely – and the kids enjoyed the chocolate chip cookies.  Stay tuned for what I did for the rest of the peaches when they were finally ripe…

Ingredients

  • 8 1/2  cups  sliced peaches
  • 3/4  cup  granulated sugar
  • 3  tablespoons  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  grated whole nutmeg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  cup  old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2  cup  packed brown sugar
  • 3.4  ounces  all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  cup  butter, melted
  • 4  cups  vanilla low-fat ice cream

Preparation

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Spoon fruit mixture into a 13 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Combine oats and next 3 ingredients (through salt) in a bowl. Drizzle with butter, stirring until crumbly. Sprinkle oat mixture over fruit. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until topping is lightly browned and fruit is bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream.

Serves 12.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Peach Crisp

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Guacamole

I love Guacamole – and I have been making it for years – but until last year I was making it the wrong way.  Last year for a team morale event, we went and took a cooking class taught by a local chef.  We chose a mexican theme – and made tamales.  As an added bonus – she showed us how to make some pretty spectacular fresh salsa and guacamole.  When she pulled out the food processor to make the guacamole, I thought there was something wrong.  I had never heard of making guacamole in a food processor.  For some reason, I thought that grinding avocado up would result in somewhat of an avocado disaster.  Boy was I wrong.  It made the creamiest, most delicious guacamole I had ever tasted.

When I am lazy, and I don’t feel like washing a lot of dishes, I still smash the avocados the old-fashioned way…but when I have some fresh cilantro, and I am looking to really make something special,  I use the food processor – and I always vow to never go back again.  The recipe below is the very mild version that I make.  If I am making it for adults only, I add a jalapeno pepper.  If you are looking for some serious heat – add a serrano pepper.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 ripe avocados
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeds removed (optional)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

While the food process is on, drop the garlic into the feeding tube and wait until the garlic is finely minced.  If you are looking for some heat, add the chile pepper.  Add the avocado, cilantro and fresh lime juice.  Mix with the food processor until nice and creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Guacamole

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine