Sweet and Smokey Barbecue Turkey Burgers

This was one of those “Oh crap, it’s 4pm, and I have nothing planned for dinner – what’s in the fridge and what can I make with it??” ideas, and my husband and I both loved it. Normally, I don’t really enjoy turkey burgers, as they tend to be dry and kind of tasteless. But, I’ve discovered that by using a turkey with a little more fat (93/7, as opposed to the usual 99% fat free ground turkey breast), and adding lots of delicious seasonings to the burgers themselves, they’re actually REALLY good. Of course, a pile of tasty toppings doesn’t hurt, either!

Sweet and Smokey Barbecue Turkey Burgers

Sweet and Smokey Barbecue Turkey Burgers
serves 4

1 lb ground turkey (93% lean, 7% fat)
1 small shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
2 t worcestershire
2 t dijon mustard
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp smoked salt (or kosher salt)
4 slices muenster cheese
Sweet barbecue sauce (I like Sweet Baby Ray’s)
6 slices of bacon, cooked crisp, and cut in half
one large, sweet onion, cut into thin half-moons
olive oil
4 hamburger buns or English muffins

1.) Start by heating a skillet over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the hot pan, and then add your onions and a large pinch of kosher salt. Cook the onions, tossing frequently, until the edges are nice and brown, and the onions have softened. Lower your heat to low, and continue to stir the onions every couple minutes (as your burgers cook), until they are a deep brown.

2.) While the onions are cooking, make your burgers. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, shallot, garlic, worcestershire, dijon, black pepper, and smoked salt, using your hands to gently mix all the ingredients. Form into 4 thin, equal-sized patties, and set aside.

3.) Heat a grill pan or griddle over medium heat. Lightly spray with olive oil, and add your burgers to the pan, making sure they’re not too crowded. Cook for about 5 minutes on the first side, until the bottoms are golden brown, and release from the pan easily.

4.) Once you’ve flipped the burgers, let them cook for another 3 minutes; then, add some barbecue sauce to the top of each burger, and top with a slice of cheese. Use a piece of foil to loosely tent the pan, and let the burgers cook for another 2-3 minutes, until the cheese is nice and melted, and the burgers are cooked through.

5.) Spread some barbecue sauce on the bottom of each of your hamburger buns or English muffins (we used English muffins because that was what we had on hand, and we didn’t want to go to the store – I actually really liked themr, as they held up well to all the messiness of these burgers, without getting soggy). Top with a burger, a pile of caramelized onions, and 1.5 strips of bacon.

Sweet and Smokey Barbecue Turkey Burgers

These burgers were definite winners. The turkey was moist and flavorful, and the sweet onions and barbecue sauce worked perfectly with the smoky, salty bacon. Of course, you could substitute ground beef for the ground turkey, if you’d prefer… either way, these burgers would be great for a crowd, or just as a quick, weeknight meal!

Can you believe I forgot to sign off on my last post??
Tina

Sweet Potato Hash with Poached Eggs

This past Saturday, I spent a good portion of the morning sitting in bed, browsing Pinterest, and watching the Food Network; I was looking for breakfast ideas, and dreading the thought of getting up and having to figure something out (despite the fact that my stomach was growling, LOUDLY). I didn’t want anything sweet (pancakes, french toast, etc), and I didn’t want an egg sandwich (my go-to weekend breakfast), and I didn’t have any tortillas on hand for breakfast tacos. I thought about the leftover honey chipotle turkey meatballs in the fridge, and how I wanted to use them up so they wouldn’t go to waste… but the idea of mixing them into scrambled eggs or piling them into an omelette seemed unappealing. Then I remembered the giant sweet potato I had sitting on the counter, and thought: what about a sweet potato hash?? I always have peppers and onions on hand, the sweet potato was big enough for two people, and I could beef the whole thing up with some chopped up leftover meatballs and a poached egg on top! And just like that, a breakfast decision had been made!

A few notes before we get started:

– The key to making a hash that isn’t going to take all day to cook is to cut everything into relatively small chunks. I’ve found that a 1/2″ dice is small enough to cook fairly quickly, but not so small that it doesn’t still feel hearty and substantial.

– Always add your items to the pan in order of how long they take to cook. This way, everything ends up nicely cooked, without half your ingredients being mushy or under-cooked.

– Don’t be scared of poaching eggs. Here is a brief tutorial to help you:

1.) Use a wide pot or pan, so your eggs have room to move.

2.) Heat your water until small bubbles form all over the bottom of the pan, and they are very gently bubbling to the surface; you want the water to be very warm, but with very little surface movement.

3.) Crack one egg into a small dish. Before you drop the egg into the water, take a spatula and gently swirl the water in a counter-clockwise direction – then immediately slide the egg into the water. This circular movement in the water will help the egg white sort of wrap itself around the egg, and prevent the egg from spreading out all over the pan.

See how the egg white is kind of swirling around itself, and the egg yolk?

4.) Once your first egg has had a chance to start to cook a bit (maybe 30 seconds), you can add a second egg to the pan (using the same method described above).

5.) Let the eggs cook for about 3 minutes each, until the egg white are mostly firmed up, but there is still give where the yolk is (be very, very careful when you’re working with the egg, so that you don’t broke the yolk)!

6.) Remove each egg with a slotted spoon, and slide it onto a paper towel, just for a second. Immediately move the egg to your dish, and serve!

7.) A perfectly poached egg will have a fairly firm (but not rubbery) white, and a totally liquid yolk. The yolk will coat the rest of your dish, and create a fabulous, rich sauce.

8.) It will likely take a few tries to get it right – mess with the temperature setting of your burner, the cooking time, etc. Eventually you’ll get it right!

 

Sweet Potato Hash (with meatballs and poached eggs)
serves 2

1 large sweet potato, or two medium, cut into a 1/2″ dice
1/4 of a medium sweet onion, cut into a 1/2″ dice
1/2 of a red bed pepper, cut into a 1/2″ dice
about 1/2lb of leftover meat of any variety, diced
olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 eggs

(This recipe is hugely adaptable. If you don’t like sweet potatoes, use white potatoes. If you hate red bell pepper, use a green bell pepper. If you have leftover chicken breast/meatloaf/pork/whatever, dice that up and use it. It’s an excellent way to clean out the fridge!)

1.) Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 2T of olive oil to the pan (enough so that the bottom of the pan is coated). Add your sweet potatoes to the pan.

2.) Allow the potatoes to cook for 2-3 minutes before you start stirring them, so the bottoms get nice and brown and crunchy. Stir the potatoes every couple minutes, so that all sides have a chance to get brown. (Please do not be afraid to use the full 2T of oil, here – if you don’t have enough oil, the potatoes will just burn, instead of getting nice and brown and crunchy.)

3.) Once the potatoes are nicely browned, check them for doneness. If they’re still pretty hard, grab a piece of foil and a cup with about 2T of water in it; pour the water into the pan, and quickly cover the pan with the foil (you don’t need to wrap the pan with foil, just lay the foil down on top). This will gently steam the potatoes, and help them keep through. You can leave the foil in place for 2-3 minutes.

4.) Put your egg-poaching pot on the heat, so the water can start to get warm. When the potatoes have softened (but aren’t totally done), push them off to the sides of the pan, to create a clear spot in the middle. Add a touch more oil (about a teaspoon), and toss in your onions and peppers. Leave them undisturbed for a minute or so, so they start to brown, and then toss them in with the potatoes. Add spices, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes, until the onions and peppers are softened.

5.) Drop your eggs into the water to poach. Meanwhile, clear the middle of your hash pan, add another teaspoon of oil, and add your diced meat. Allow that to brown up on one side, and then toss with the rest of the hash, cooking until the meat is warmed through.

6.) Spoon your hash into bowls, and top with a poached egg. Cut into the egg, and let the yolk spill out over your hash (Crist is cringing right now – she hates runny eggs). Mix everything up, so all the hash gets coated in the liquid gold egg yolk. Devour.

Delicious, runny egg yolk! (And a super blurry photo – YOU try taking a photo with your right hand while cutting into an egg with your left.)

As I mentioned before, you can adapt this recipe in a million ways! You can use whatever potatoes and vegetables and meat you want; it’s a great way to use up whatever is in your fridge. I found the sweetness of the sweet potatoes to balance nicely with the chipotle glaze on the meatballs; and the whole dish was hearty, and filling, and pretty darn healthy, too! I almost can’t wait until next weekend, so I can dream up a new version of this!

Don’t be scared of runny eggs,
Tina

I’m Going On A Little Trip…

In case we haven’t mentioned it recently – I am headed to South Carolina to visit Crist this week! Tomorrow, in fact. I am pretty excited to enjoy one last weekend of warm weather (our overnight temps in the Mitten are starting to dip into the 30s… I think that means summer has officially made its exit), eat some fried green tomatoes, and spend some quality time with my favorite Southern belles! It should be a lovely, fun, and relaxing weekend, and I can’t wait!

However, in my absence… my husband still needs to eat. And since he’s not a big fan of cooking (in general, frying an egg is as far as he’ll voluntarily take his culinary skills), I like to try and leave plenty of food for him when I go out of town. My goal this week was to cook up some delicious dinners, that would also provide us with plenty of leftovers – that way, I can be fairly certain that my husband will have at least one meal a day that does NOT consist of cereal.

A quick run through my archives here on the blog, and I had a great menu planned to feed us this week, and to keep my husband from starving this weekend. Here’s what I’m leaving him:

Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs
These are one of our FAVORITE dishes. The flavors are insanely delicious, they’re easy to make, and they still taste fantastic heated up as leftovers. We like to make open-faced meatball subs out of these, so I’ll leave him a baguette, and some brief instructions on how to broil some cheese on top without burning the meatballs to a crisp.

Spinach and Artichoke Lasagna
As far as lasagnas go, this one is pretty quick to make – not too cumbersome for a weeknight. The spinach and artichokes keep the filling super light and fresh, and the flavors just get better and better as it sits in the fridge. This one will give us dinner tonight, and at least 3 or 4 meals worth of leftovers!

So many layers of deliciousness!

Barbecue Chicken Salad with Chipotle Ranch Dressing
This one is easy – all I have to do is grill up some chicken, dice it and toss it with barbecue sauce, pre-chop some vegetables and romaine, and mix up a batch of the dressing. That way, it’s all sitting in the fridge, just waiting to be thrown into a bowl and devoured!

Oktoberfest Chili
With our weather taking a turn, and lots of chilly, drizzly days up ahead, I LOVE to have a big batch of chili sitting in the fridge. It takes no time to throw together, makes the house smell amazing as it simmers on the stove, and can be heated up in minutes! (Here’s hoping there is some chili left for me when I return home on Monday!)

Oatmeal Heath Bar Cookies
If I have the time before I head to the airport, I’ll also whip up a batch of these cookies. They are chewy, and moist, and full of buttery toffee bits… come to think of it, I will probably need to smuggle a few out of the house in my carry-on. A girl needs plane snacks, you know??

Well, let’s hope that all that can keep my husband fed for a long weekend! I hate to think of him staring, wide-eyed into the (packed full) fridge, and declaring that there’s nothing to eat.

South Carolina, here I come!
Tina

Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

Well friends, I am back with yet another meatball recipe; and, like those that came before it, it is crazy, stupid delicious. It was one of the best dinners we’ve had in a while, and I can definitely see these meatballs making their way onto our table a lot, in the near future.

 

 

I had seen a couple recipes around the internet for honey chipotle turkey meatballs; and because you all know I cannot just read a recipe and USE it, I decided to just take the idea and make my own meatballs! Per usual, I just got to throwin’ stuff in a bowl, mixed it all together, and crossed my fingers… and wouldn’t you know it, it WORKED. I did my best to approximate the amounts of each ingredient I used so that I could give you a more accurate recipe than “Just use some of this, and then a little of that.” Because I’m nice like that.

Honey Chipotle Turkey Meatballs
serves 4-6

For the meatballs:
1 pound ground turkey
1/2 cup sweet onion, diced fine (I used 1/4 of a GIANT onion)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T minced fresh parsley
2 T heavy cream
1 egg
1/2 t kosher salt
1/4 t black pepper
1 T honey
1 chipotle pepper, minced
2/3 cup plain breadcrumbs

For the glaze:
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 T honey
2-3 chipotle peppers minced
1-2 T adobo sauce, from the chipotles
1 T sweet bbq sauce
pinch each of salt and pepper

1.) Start by preheating your oven to 375°. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all the meatball components EXCEPT the turkey and breadcrumbs. Once everything is well-combined, add your turkey, and use your hands to gently mix everything into the turkey (being careful not to overmix).

 

 

2.) Begin by adding 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs to the meatball mixture; gently mix that in and see how wet it is. If it’s still too wet and gloppy, you can add more breadcrumbs. If it seems like it’s still moist, but not too wet, leave it as is.

3.) Roll your turkey mixture into 1.5-2″ meatballs. I got 20 meatballs out of my mixture. Set them to the side to rest for a minute.

 

 

4.) Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add about 2 T of canola oil to it. While that is heating, go ahead and whisk together all the ingredients for your glaze.

5.) When the skillet is hot, add your meatballs to it (I ended up doing mine in two batches, so as not to crowd the pan, which would result in them not browning). Brown them for about 2 minutes, then flip to another side to brown for 2 more minutes, and then flip to another side to brown for a final 2 minutes. As the meatballs are done browning, remove them to a foil-lined baking dish.

6.) When all your meatballs are browned, go ahead and brush them with the glaze, and then pop them into the 375° oven for about 10 minutes, until they’re cooked through.

7.) When you pull the meatballs out of the oven, give them a final brush with your glaze, and they’re done!

(Side note: if you don’t want to mess with browning them on a stovetop, you can skip that step – just line the meatballs up on a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes, or until they’re cooked through. Personally, I prefer to brown them first, because I love the little crunchy/caramelized bits you get from browning, but it’s not necessary.)

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I LOVE the combination of anything sweet and spicy – and this recipe is PERFECT for me. The chipotles deliver just a slight edge of heat, and the honey thickens the glaze up and gives the outside of the meatballs a sweet crunch. You can serve them on their own (with a side of some garlicky snap peas, and maybe some brown rice or mac and cheese) – but I decided to make mini open-face meatball subs out of them. I halved a ciabatta roll (I buy the 8-packs at Sam’s Club, then wrap them individually and freeze them, which makes them perfect for meals like this), covered the surface of the bread with halved meatballs and extra glaze, and then topped that with some muenster cheese. A few minutes under the broiler to melt and brown the cheese, and we were all set! I served them with a small salad of cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers, and it was the perfect meal.

 

 

It should be noted that my husband was so enamored by these meatballs that he actually requested I make him a SECOND sub, once he had finished his first. So, I think that was a good sign.

Apparently I will never tire of making new varieties of meatballs,
Tina