Bacon Turkey Burgers

Early turkey burgers were definitely not the most exciting of meals.      For most part, they were dry, tasteless, fat free patties with an unappealing beige color. In the 1970’s, people became aware of the fact that by substituting ground turkey for ground beef made a burger that was a whole lot healthier.

The ‘secret’ we all know, to cooking moist and flavorful turkey burgers is by adding enough moisture to replace the fat they lack. Eggs and breadcrumbs, traditionally used to moisten and bind are good, but a little imagination can add a whole lot more flavor as well as eye appeal. Before adding vegetables, saute them for a few minutes and use a heavier hand with fresh herbs if you choose to use them. Turkey burgers require delicate handling so a heavy, cast iron skillet or one of those ‘Gotham Steel’ copper grills you can place on your barbecue would work great.

I came across this recipe for BACON TURKEY BURGERS  on website called lisasdinnertimedish.com  It combines the turkey with bacon, zucchini and onion. I found it to be real good — not to dry with a hint of the smoky bacon flavor. Well worth trying.

Bacon Turkey Burgers
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Bacon Turkey Burgers
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
8-10
Servings
8-10
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy; drain on paper towel. Reserve 1 Tbsp bacon grease. Finely chop bacon, onion, garlic & shred zucchini. Heat bacon grease that remained in skillet & saute onion & garlic until tender.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients & mix with your hands until everything is combined. DO NOT OVER MIX as it tends to make the burgers tough. Form mixture into 8-10 patties.
  3. TO BAKE; transfer patties to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 F. for 15 minutes or until cooked. TO FRY: saute patties on a large griddle or in a large skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes per side, until browned. TO BARBECUE: refer to blog information above.
Share this Recipe

Rhubarb Orange Pork Country Ribs

There is definitely more to rhubarb than just dessert. While rhubarb is generally treated as a fruit, it has also made many popular appearances in recipes of the day as a savory ingredient.

Braised in chicken stock with a little brown sugar makes a nice side dish for pork, lamb or fish. In sauces, it teams well with onion, sugar and star anise and tarragon for salmon or trout. If your serving pork, onion, sugar, cinnamon, allspice and cloves all pair well with rhubarb.

In September, 2016, I posted a recipe for Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Rhubarb Chutney. It became real popular with my blog followers so I thought I would share another pork/rhubarb idea. This recipe was one of those newspaper clippings from yesteryear that is still in my ‘file’ today.

Rhubarb Orange Pork Country Ribs
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Rhubarb Orange Pork Country Ribs
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Trim excess fat from short ribs; cut into serving size pieces. Place some of the fat in a heavy skillet & heat until skillet is well greased. Discard any remaining pieces.
  2. Combine flour, salt & pepper in a plastic bag. Place short ribs in bag & shake to coat evenly; reserve any extra flour. Place ribs in skillet & brown slowly on both sides. Transfer to a shallow baking dish, making a single layer.
  3. Top ribs with slices of onion, orange & celery. Toss rhubarb, sugar, reserved flour mixture & cloves together & sprinkle over all. Add water to the baking pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake 35 minutes or until ribs are tender. Uncover & continue baking 10 minutes longer.
Recipe Notes
  • The original recipe used pork chops but our preference is with pork country style ribs instead.
Share this Recipe

Victoria Day – Canada’s Ode to Summer

Victoria Day is the distinctly Canadian holiday that officially wraps up winter. Even if the date marks the informal start of summer, you could be planning for a backyard barbecue or an impromptu indoor shut-in due to an array of snow, sleet, rain or hail.

Although we are well into the 21st century, in Canada we still celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday over 100 years after her passing. The only other country in the Commonwealth to observe this celebration is Scotland. This is our oldest statuary holiday in Canada and is celebrated annually on the Monday preceding May 25th. In the maritime provinces it is a non-statuary ‘general’ holiday and in Quebec, ‘National Patriots Day’ is observed instead.

While we might hang onto the British queen’s name for old times sake, the tradition of Victoria Day is truly Canadian and has everything to do with the end of the cold weather and short days, and a lot to do with some great food.

My choice of food for today’s blog should work well with your own ‘barbecue’ meal. It is APPLE-TURKEY SAUSAGE ROLLS  and STUFFED POTATO SKINS.

Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls / Stuffed Potato Skins
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
8-12
Servings
8-12
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls / Stuffed Potato Skins
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
8-12
Servings
8-12
Ingredients
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls
Servings:
Instructions
Apple-Turkey Sausage Rolls
  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, saute apple, onion, sage, thyme & allspice in olive oil for 5 minutes. Apples & onions should be soft but not browned. Remove from heat & set aside to cool for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl, combine cooled apple mixture with ground turkey, salt & pepper. Using your hands, gently mix until everything is evenly combined, making sure not to overwork the mixture.
  4. Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a lightly floured work surface, cut crosswise to make three long, strips ((about 10 x 3.5" each) Brush a line of mustard down the middle of each strip. Divide filling into 3 equal portions. Roll into sausage shapes & place down the middle of each pastry rectangle. Brush edges firmly to seal.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange the rolls, seam side down, on prepared baking sheet. Brush with remaining beaten egg, & sprinkle with poppy seeds. Cover with plastic wrap & place in the freezer to firm up, about 15 minutes.
  6. Using a very sharp knife, cut each roll into 8 bite-sized pieces & arrange 1" apart on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown & sausage is cooked through.
Stuffed Potato Skins
  1. Microwave potatoes, uncovered, on high for 14-17 minutes or until tender but firm, turning once. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp, leaving a 1/4" shell ( pulp can be used elsewhere).
  2. Combine oil & hot pepper sauce; brush over potato shells. Cut each potato shell in half lengthwise again. Place on baking sheets coated with baking spray. Sprinkle with the tomato, bacon, onion & cheese. Bake at 450 F. for 12-14 minutes or until heated through & cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream.
Share this Recipe

Mushroom Quiche Lorraine

Are you aware that today, May 20th, the USA celebrates ‘National Quiche Lorraine Day’. It is one of their many ‘fun food holidays’. Who makes up these holidays is not clear but it gives a great excuse to enjoy this classic quiche.

In a strict sense, there are no national holidays in the United States. Each of the 50 states has jurisdiction over its own holidays. The federal government proclaimed ten holidays that most states observe on the same dates. These are called ‘legal’ or ‘public’ holidays.

Fun food holidays usually originate from and are promoted by industry groups, clubs, health organizations and occasionally individuals.

Over 50 years ago, Julia Child introduced us to French cuisine with her cooking series, The French Chef, on PBS television. Among the many dishes she introduced was the original or classic Quiche Lorraine.  

Quiche Lorraine (named for the Lorraine region of France) was originally an open pie with a filling of custard and smoked bacon. It was only later that cheese was added to this quiche. Today we have many variants to the original that include a wide variety of ingredients. Myself, I could eat quiche anytime, for any meal. This fun food holiday sure seems like a great idea. To our quiche Lorraine I am adding some mushrooms for a little extra flavor since we both enjoy them.

Mushroom Quiche Lorraine
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
2-4
Servings
2-4
Mushroom Quiche Lorraine
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
2-4
Servings
2-4
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a skillet, fry bacon. Remove from skillet & lay on paper towel. In bacon drippings, saute mushrooms, onions & garlic until moisture evaporates. Crumble bacon. Grate cheese.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, salt, pepper & thyme. In the bottom of quiche shell place half of the grated cheese. Top with bacon, mushrooms, green onion & garlic. Carefully pour egg mixture over all. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until quiche tests done in center. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • If your using milk it will take a bit longer to bake but does cut down those calories.
Share this Recipe

Savory Portobello & Pork Crepe Stacks

Savored for centuries, crepes are popular not only throughout France but worldwide. Crepe making has evolved from being cooked on large cast- iron hot plates heated over a wood fire in a fireplace to pans or griddles that are gas or electrically heated.

Around the 12th century, buckwheat  was introduced to Brittany, France from the east. Buckwheat could thrive on the  desolate, rocky Breton moors and was high in fiber, protein and essential amino acids. At that point, all crepes were being made from buckwheat flour. White flour crepes appeared only at the turn of the 20th century when white flour became affordable.

Almost every country in the world has its own name and adaptation of crepes including Italian crespelle, Hungarian palacsintas,  Jewish blintzes, Scandinavian plattars,  Russian blini  and Greek kreps.

Although crepes are simple in concept, by creating fillings that are complex in flavors, takes this entree to a whole new level.

 On July 25/2016, I posted a blog featuring both sweet and savory crepes you might enjoy to read. For something different today, I made ‘crepe stacks’ which have a savory filling of my own ‘design’. Hope you find time to make some.

Savory Portobello & Pork Crepe Stacks
Yum
Print Recipe
Smoked Gouda cheese gives such a nice flavor to these crepes.
Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Savory Portobello & Pork Crepe Stacks
Yum
Print Recipe
Smoked Gouda cheese gives such a nice flavor to these crepes.
Servings
2-3
Servings
2-3
Ingredients
Crepes
Gouda Sauce
Filling
Servings:
Instructions
Crepes
  1. In a large container with a cover, beat eggs well on medium speed. Gradually add dry ingredients alternately with milk & oil. Beat until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before cooking.
Gouda Sauce
  1. In a saucepan, melt margarine; add flour while stirring for a couple of minutes. Gradually whisk in milk, chicken broth & spices. Add cheese; cook, stirring until cheese is melted. Set aside to cool slightly then place in food processor. Process until smooth & fluffy.
Filling
  1. In a bowl, combine water & seasonings. Add ground pork & mix well. In a skillet, saute mushroom slices in margarine; remove from skillet & set aside. Scramble fry pork until no longer pink. Spoon onto paper towels to drain. Add to Gouda sauce.
To Assemble:
  1. Place one crepe on each dinner plate. Top with slices of sauteed mushrooms & some pork/Gouda sauce. Repeat 3 more times on each plate. Garnish if you prefer. It may be necessary to reheat for a couple of minutes in the microwave before serving.
Share this Recipe

Oven Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

The key components needed when preparing a baked pasta meal lies in selecting a good durum wheat pasta, tossed through a rich, creamy sauce with the addition of proper seasonings and the right cheeses.

Baked spaghetti is more accommodating to busy schedules than stove top pastas. Part of the charm of a baked pasta dish is being able to assemble it completely and refrigerate until time to bake. The results will be good but not great. You are better off making the components ahead of time — saute the vegetables, cook (meat) sauce, combine the cheeses, boil the pasta and then combine everything just before baking.

Oven baked pasta has a long history with many variations. Ingredients will vary depending on regional traditions and approaches. A few things that always work for me are; choosing a good durum or egg pasta, cook it al dente, season each element of the dish, be generous with the sauce but go easy on the cheese and if you choose to use a crumb topping, make your own and keep it coarse.

Today’s BAKED SPAGHETTI with MEAT SAUCE  recipe is a very simple one I used many years ago in the restaurant industry. It was put out by the Campbell’s  soup company and worked well in the commercial setting. It can be changed up with beef, pork or chicken, all with good results.

Oven Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Yum
Print Recipe
Very filling as well as satisfying.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Oven Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Yum
Print Recipe
Very filling as well as satisfying.
Servings
6
Servings
6
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. In a large pot, cook spaghetti in salted boiling water for 8-10 minutes or until al dente; drain & set aside. In a medium skillet, brown meat with onion, green pepper, garlic & spices.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 F. Add soups & water to skillet & stir. Combine pasta with 'meat sauce' mixture, mixing well.
  3. Spread mixture into a 9 x 9-inch baking dish; top with shredded cheddar & sprinkle Parmesan over all. Bake for 20-25 minutes & serve.
Share this Recipe

Oven Barbecued Chicken

Its only March, so BBQ season is till a few months away. Some would claim that good ‘barbecued’ food can only come from the grill, not the oven. But what about during our winter months or times when you just don’t feel like firing up the grill or you’re out of propane? Let’s face it, nothing can replace a good outdoor barbecue, but..

The key to oven BBQ chicken is to start with bone-in pieces. Chicken leg quarters are fairly fatty in comparison to chicken breast so it takes a lot to dry a chicken leg out. Which brings me to a recipe I clipped from a newspaper back in 1970 for OVEN BARBECUED CHICKEN. The ingredient list is rather lengthy but all pretty common place items. Brion likes this meal served with roasted potatoes.

In the month of March our family celebrates three birthdays. Today, March 21st would have been my Dad’s. He passed away at the age of 92, 12 years ago. Our Dad was a man of discipline; love was closely associated with duty and commitment for him. He was confident in who he was and didn’t demonstrate any need to conform to what we might have wanted him to do. Everything he undertook was driven by his commitment to honor and provide for the family that he loved.

                   IT IS WITH MUCH LOVE OUR FAMILY IS HONORING THIS DAY                                                 IN THE MEMORY OF OUR WONDERFUL DAD

 

Oven Barbecued Chicken
Yum
Print Recipe
Just right for one of those 'meat & potatoes' kind of meals.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Oven Barbecued Chicken
Yum
Print Recipe
Just right for one of those 'meat & potatoes' kind of meals.
Servings
4
Servings
4
Ingredients
BBQ Sauce
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Have available a large baking dish that will hold chicken in a single layer. Combine flour, 1 tsp salt, paprika & 1/4 tsp pepper in a heavy plastic bag. Place chicken in bag & shake to coat evenly. In a heavy, large skillet, heat margarine & oil.
  2. Add chicken & brown slowly on all sides; place in baking dish. Add onion & garlic to pan; cook gently for 3 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients, cover & simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Pour this mixture over chicken, cover the pan & bake 15 minutes. Turn chicken legs, cover again & bake about 15 minutes more. Remove cover & continue baking until legs are tender, basting often with sauce, about 20 minutes.
Share this Recipe

German Schupfnudeln – Potato Finger Noodles

I treasure these old recipes, such precious pieces of German history that have been passed down for generations. Researching food history is a subject I will probably never stop enjoying.

In the 17th century when the potato first came to Europe and Germany, people started developing the recipe for these potato finger noodles with the use of a ‘potato ricer’. The name schupfnudeln  combines the cooking technique with their appearance. Traditionally, given their distinctive ovoid shape through hand rolling. The noodles are a nice alternative to pasta, rice or regular potatoes. There is no universal recipe for this dish, as there are many different regional versions on how to prepare them. The dough is kneaded then rolled into a long, thin cylinder. This roll is cut into pieces about half an inch in width then rolled into the typical shape. Afterwards they are cooked in salted boiling water and lightly pan fried.

Schupfnudeln are made and eaten all over southern Germany. As well as being served in restaurants, you will find them in the Christmas markets and at beer festivals. Whether served sweet or savory, it is necessary that the comparatively flavorless noodles incorporate the flavor of other ingredients. I find them a great compliment to German cabbage rolls or kohlrouladen.

German Schupfnudeln - Potato Finger Noodles
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
80 noodles
Servings
80 noodles
German Schupfnudeln - Potato Finger Noodles
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
80 noodles
Servings
80 noodles
Ingredients
Servings: noodles
Instructions
  1. Previous Day - boil potatoes with skins on in salted water until tender, 35 - 40 minutes. Peel potatoes & either pass through a ricer or grate on a fine grater. Your end result should yield 3 1/2 cups of mashed potatoes. Refrigerate overnight.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk egg together with onion; stir into potatoes. Sprinkle in the flour, salt & pepper, mixing to form a dough. Turn dough onto floured surface & knead for about a minute. Dough should be fairly soft. Roll dough into a long noodle. Divide into 5 even pieces, cut each piece into eights, then pinch each piece in half giving you 80 noodles.
  3. With floured hands, roll each piece into a 4-inch noodle with the middle a little thicker than the ends. Boil noodles for a few minutes before frying. In a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add noodles in batches so they are not crowded & saute until all sides are nicely browned. Transfer the noodles to a paper-lined plate to drain off any excess butter.
Share this Recipe

Ham & Split Pea Soup

Soups are for all occasions; from an elegant fruit soup at the start of a meal to a stick-to-your-ribs, homemade chowder or gumbo that is a meal in itself.

Homemade soups need need little attention, cooking by themselves. Most soups freeze well so they are an easy supper to pull from the freezer. At our house, we don’t eat a lot of ham but it’s nice once in a while. Even though there are just the two of us, I like to buy about 1.3 kg. This generally gives me enough for three different meals such as a glazed roast ham supper, pizza and a split pea/ham soup. 

Split pea soup has been around for thousands of years. There are records of this soup being made and sold by street vendors in Greek and Roman societies.

This particular recipe has a delicious variety of healthful ingredients. Making it a day in advance allows the flavors to develop nicely. Of course, nothing rounds out a soup meal in winter better than a bread item. Warm, parmesan scones or bread sticks seem to be our favorites since they can be made and baked in about half an hour just before suppertime.

Ham & Split Pea Soup / Parmesan Scones
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
5-6
Servings
5-6
Ham & Split Pea Soup / Parmesan Scones
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
5-6
Servings
5-6
Ingredients
Parmesan Scones
Servings:
Instructions
Ham & Split Pea Soup
  1. In a large stockpot, combine water, split peas, barley, bay leaves, soy sauce, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, sage, & cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover & simmer for about 45 minutes. Add onion & chicken broth. Cover & simmer until onion is tender, about 10 minutes. Discard bay leaves & stir in diced ham.
Parmesan Scones
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line baking sheet with a small piece of parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine flour, parmesan, baking powder & soda. With fingers, work in margarine until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in sour cream OR buttermilk until a soft dough forms; gently kneading until no longer sticky.
  2. Place ball of dough on the parchment paper & press into a 5" (12.7 cm) circle about 3/4" (1.9 cm) thick. Score top to make 6 wedges. Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Re-cut into wedges & serve.
Share this Recipe

Savoring Greece

January is kind of a different month — all the holiday hoopla is done for another year, in our part of the country its fairly cold, bringing on the winter ‘blaas’. I have numerous friends that say they find themselves feeling a bit ‘down’ at this time. That being said, It seemed the perfect time to be a ‘mental traveler”. I’d like to share an experience Brion & I had which was totally amazing.

Your day begins in central Greece. A misty fog blankets the Kalambaka Valley as the tour takes you to your morning destination.

Here, in the shadow of the Pindus Mountains and just beyond the town of Kalambaka, massive gray colored pinnacles rise out of the valley towards the sky. Over thousands of years, this landscape has been sculpted by wind and water into a strange and breathtaking sight. Perched miraculously on the tops of these pinnacles are monasteries. The area is called  METEORA   and literally means ‘columns in the sky’.

The sandstone peaks were first inhabited by Byzantine hermits in the 11th century, who clamored up the rocks to be alone with God. Though it is unknown how the first hermits reached the tops of these vertical rock faces, it is likely that pegs were hammered into tiny gaps in the rocks. Around 1382 the first monastery was built. By the 1500’s, 24 monasteries were built on these sheer cliffs, but by the 19th century most had fallen to ruin.

Because there were no steps, the main access to the monasteries was by means of a net that was hitched over a hook and hoisted up by rope and a hand cranked windlass to winch towers over hanging the chasm. Monks descended in nets or on a retractable rope ladders up to 40 meters long to the fertile valley below to grow grapes, corn and potatoes.

The natural rock buildings blend so evenly with the scenery, they are hard to spot at first. Only the red tile roofs give them away. Centuries of weather have caused natural streaking of the rock which acts as a camouflage. In the 1920’s, roads, pathways and stairs were built to make today’s remaining six monasteries more accessible as they are now largely dependent on tourist donations.

Inside the walls of these monasteries, life goes on as it has for more than 900 years. Wine is still made in giant oak vats where the monks climb in with bare feet to crush grapes. Most of the carpentry and masonry tools are hand made in the same style as their ancestors. Terracotta pots/bowls are fired by hand pumped bellows on a furnace. Traditional icons are painted using hand ground pigments bonded with egg yolk to make tempera paint that was common in the middle ages.

Among the existing monasteries is a convent called Saint Stephen’s that was built in 1798. The occupying nuns are courteous and friendly, but no visitor gets past them with bare shoulders or knees. Novices holding piles of blue aprons and capes meet the visitors at the gate. Anyone not meeting the exacting dress code must don the local sackcloth or be turned away.

To experience this rare geographical phenomenon is something you will not forget easily. If you have the opportunity be sure to take it. In the meantime I hope you have enjoyed this mental journey I have taken you on.

Now, in keeping with the food part of the blog, I made a savory  GREEK SPANAKOPITA PASTA  meal. Easy, quick and tasty.

Savory Greek Spanakopita Pasta
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
6-8
Servings
6-8
Savory Greek Spanakopita Pasta
Yum
Print Recipe
Servings
6-8
Servings
6-8
Ingredients
Pasta
Servings:
Instructions
Pasta
  1. Cook pasta in salted boiling water 8-10 minutes, until al dente. Drain & set aside.
Cheese Sauce
  1. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, heat the milk until hot but not boiling. Combine flour & butter in another saucepan. Whisk until the mixture has gently bubbled for 2 minutes, being careful not to brown the flour.
  2. Begin to add the hot milk to the flour mixture a little at a time while whisking vigorously. Continue to add the milk until it is fully incorporated. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce heat to low; simmer, stirring constantly, until it thickens, 6-8 minutes ( it will resemble heavy cream). Crumble the feta cheese & add to hot sauce, whisking until smooth. Add dill & pepper; stir. Remove from heat & let cool.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 F. Squeeze water from frozen, thawed spinach. Toss the pasta, cheese sauce, spinach, ricotta & garlic in a large bowl until well combined. Taste to see if any more salt & pepper is needed.
  4. Place in a casserole dish & top with Parmesan Cheese. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until cheese browns a little.
Recipe Notes
  • If you prefer to make this a day ahead of baking, cover well & refrigerate.
  • If you do not care for feta cheese you can substitute 285 grams of either Gorgonzola or mozzarella in place of the 140 grams of feta.
Share this Recipe