BLT Turkey Burgers

Most people choose turkey burgers as the healthier option- I guess I’ll have the turkey burger. I actually just really like turkey burgers. Truly. My husband, like many, thinks turkey burgers are the lesser burger. And one of his big complaints is that he thinks they tend to be dry. So I’ve gone about trying to come up with a turkey burger recipe that would prove to him that the turkey burger can hold its own. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED
* 1lb ground turkey
* 1/8C Greek yogurt
* 1/8C grainy dijon mustard
* 2 green onions, chopped
* 1T Worcestershire sauce
* 1t salt
* 1/2t black pepper
* 1 1/2t garlic powder
* 1/4-1/3C bread crumbs
* 1/4t cayenne pepper
* olive oil
* 8 slices thick cut, applewood smoked bacon
* 1 Roma tomato, cut into thick slices
* 4 leaves butter lettuce
* spicy dill pickle slices
* 4 pretzel buns, split

WHAT TO DO
Mix together the turkey, yogurt, mustard, green onions, Worcestershire, and seasonings in a bowl until well combined. Form into 4 even-sized patties.

Heat a little olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook the burgers 10-12 minutes, flipping once.

Meanwhile, cook your bacon to your liking.

Assemble your burgers: place a leaf of the lettuce on the bottom half of the bun, and place a burger on top. Add pickles and condiments of your preference (I’m not going to tell you whether to use ketchup/mustard/mayo/whatever–do your thing!) on the burger. Then too with two slices of tomato and finish with two strips of bacon. Top bun that baby and enjoy!

Even the Mister was impressed–and had seconds!

Meatless Monday: Tortellini Sorrentina

At the end of high school one of my favorite part-time jobs was at a sweet little Italian spot in town called Pasta e Basta. It was a fresh pasta fast food-like restaurant where you ordered at the counter, choosing first your pasta, then your sauce, etc. The garlic bread was dangerously addictive and sitting in a big bin right beside me at the cash register, and another bonus was a pasta plate of your choice every shift. I almost always ordered the gemelli pasta with a Sorrentina sauce – tomato sauce with fresh mozzarella and basil. So simple, and so perfect. Crisp and acidic with the thick, fresh tomato sauce, balanced with the rich softness of fresh mozzarella, and finally topped with the earthy herbiness of fresh ribbons of basil. Whoa baby. Even just writing about it sends me back to that happy place. That right there–what I just described to you–is easily the best bowl of pasta on the planet. Oddly, I’ve never cooked it before. Never even thought to try. Until tonight. I served my sauce over spinach and cheese tortellini tonight. I wish I’d found gemelli (not an easy pasta to locate). But it’s all about this sauce. When the dinner table at my house is silent, you know you have a winner. When a little person hums while eating, you also know you need to add it to the regular rotation. Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDsorrentina6
*1/4C olive oil
* 4 stems flat leaf parsley
* 2 stems fresh basil (plus more for garnish)
* 1t dried oregano
* 1/2 sweet onion, diced
* 3t minced garlic
* 28oz can whole, peeled tomatoes
* 1t Kosher salt
* 1/2t ground black pepper
* 1/4C half and half (milk or cream would be fine as well – whatever you have; you can also leave this out altogether)
* 8oz package cherry sized fresh mozzarella balls, halved
* 1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 package tortellini (or other pasta of your choosing)

WHAT TO DO
In a large, high-sided, oven-safe pan heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the parsley, basil, and oregano and cook a few minutes, allowing them to infuse the oil with their flavor. When the herbs are crisp, remove them from the pan and discard.

sorrentina1

Add the onion and garlic. Lower the heat and saute until the onion is softened and transparent. Add the tomatoes, crushing each in  your hand as you add it to the pan, as well as the juice from the can. Add the salt and pepper and stir to combine. Simmer about 20 minutes, until the sauce thickens up. Stir in the half and half and remove from heat.

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While the sauce simmers, boil water and cook the pasta to al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and add to the pan with the sauce and stir to coat.

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Sprinkle the fresh mozzarella around the pan and the sprinkle the Parmesan on top of that. Turn the broiler onto high and broil just 5 minutes in the oven, until the cheese melts and the top becomes a little browned and crispy.

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Cut additional basil leaves into thin ribbons for garnishing, serve, and enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: 3-Tomato Soup

I’m back home after a work trip out of town for a few days. I was in sunny Florida (though I’m impressed I even knew anything about the weather, as I was in a Convention Center the whole time), and I came home to a return to winter. Seriously, the tulips that were ready to bud in my yard are in a state of shock and confusion, and if they don’t bloom, I’ll be in a state of something else. It was so very springlike here, so to go back to heavy boots, double socks, and wool hats — not to mention snow! — in March is disappointing, to put it gently. So what else could we do? Grilled cheeses and tomato soup for dinner! But not just any tomato soup. I’ve been working on this one for a while, trying to get an easy, weeknight-friendly, but flavor-deep tomato soup I could depend on. And this is it. And here you go.

WHAT YOU NEED3tomsoup1
* olive oil
* 1/2 a small sweet onion, chopped
* 3t minced garlic
* 1T flour
* 280z can whole peeled tomatoes
* 14.5oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (both Hunt’s and Trader Joe’s have a version, I know for sure)
* 3-4C vegetable broth
* ~1/4C sun dried tomatoes in oil (drained)
* 1/4C half and half
* 1/4C fresh basil, chopped, plus extra leaves for garnish
* 2 bay leaves
* 1t salt
* 1/2t black pepper

WHAT TO DO
Heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pot. Add the onions and garlic and cook about five minutes, until the onions begin to soften and the aromatics are released, but before the garlic burns. Add the flour and stir to fully combine, then add the whole, peeled tomatoes (juice included), crushing each with your fingers before dropping it into the pot. Next add the diced tomatoes, 3 cups of the veggie broth, sun dried tomatoes, and half and half. Stir to combine, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, partially covered, for twenty minutes, allowing the tomatoes to break down.

Remove the pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup. If you don’t have an immersion blender, just transfer the soup in batches to a regular blender.

If the soup seems too thick for your texture, add in the last cup of broth, a little at a time, to thin it out to a consistency you like. Otherwise, add in the fresh basil, bay leaves, salt, and pepper, mix to combine, and taste. Adjust seasonings as needed, and then return to medium-low heat. Simmer another 15 minutes, and serve steaming hot, garnished with a few torn leaves of fresh basil. My Tiny Sous Chef likes cooling it down with a dollop of Greek yogurt stirred through. Mmmmmm…