Southwest Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce

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This was another burger that helped feed our work crew during the re-do. (Which, is almost done!) We cooked these up the first day, so I was able to make the patties up before things were really a disaster so it worked out well.

If you’re looking for something different from a typical burger, this is a really great option. Packed with black beans and corn, the patties themselves were really good. And the chipotle yogurt sauce and mashed avocado played off each other really well and were a great accompaniment!

Southwest Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Yogurt Sauce
(from The Roasted Root)
Serves 4

for the chipotle yogurt sauce:
6 oz. plain greek yogurt
3 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped, plus 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce
1 Tbsp. lime juice
Salt, to taste

for the burger patties:
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup fresh corn kernels
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 lb. ground turkey

for serving:
Burger buns
1 avocado, mashed

Prepare the chipotle yogurt sauce by mixing together the yogurt, chopped chilis and adobo sauce until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Add the onion and cook for about 8 minutes, until it begins to soften. Add the jalapeno, garlic, salt and cumin and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook until plumped, about another 3-5 minutes. Add the black beans and cook until heated through. Remove pan from heat and let cool to room temperature.

Combined the cooled mixture with ground turkey, mixing until well combined. Divide into 4 equal balls and form each ball into a patty.

Grill over medium heat for 6-8 minutes per side, until cooked through.

Serve patties on toasted buns with mashed avocado and chipotle yogurt sauce.


Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

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Yesterday was my husband’s birthday – the official kick off of our “celebrating season”. Within the next few weeks we’ll also celebrate my birthday and our anniversary. And next year we’ll be adding Father’s Day and baby boy’s birthday to this. Of course, this is on top of any graduations and weddings that are prevelant this time of year. It gets busy, to say the least. It also means we end up eating a lot of “celebrating” food.

When I asked Mark what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, he said none. It was just going to be us celebrating and he didn’t want a whole cake for the two of us. I can’t really blame him – but the idea of no birthday cake just didn’t fly with me. The solution was obviously just to make a smaller cake.

This one was chocolate and peanut butter – the birthday boy’s favorite – and sized for two. Perfect!


Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Layer Cake

(adapted from Picky Palate)
Serves 2-4

For the cake:
1/2 cup flour
2 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
2 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocoalte chips

For the icing:
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, for decoration

Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Grease a large ramikin (or any other bowl/pan you want to use).

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt and baking soda.

In a microwave safe bowl, microwave the semi-sweet chocoate chips at half-power for 30 second intervals, until melted.

Add in the eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla extract and melted chocolate chips into the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Transfer batter to greased ramikin and bake until a knife inserted comes out clean – the time will vary based on your pan, for me it was 45-50 minutes.

Let it cool for 10 minutes before removing from ramikin to cool completely.

Slice the cake in half to make two layers.

In a medium bowl, stir together the peanut butter, powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Adjust the amount of powdered sugar or milk to get desired consistancy.

Spread about 1/3 cup of the icing on top of one of the laters and then place the other layer on top. Use remaining frosting to cover the cake. Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over as decoration, as desired.


Queso Burgers

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It’s sort of amazing that we always want what we can’t have. On a normal week, I’d kill to have a night of takeout and not have to cook. With the kitchen torn apart and plans to get takeout, there’s nothing I want more than to be able to cook dinner. Of course.

What have we been eating while the kitchen is a mess? Burgers. Lots and lots of burgers. They’ve been easy to put together and throw on the grill without actually needing the kitchen.

This is one of the burger variations we liked best. It’s a basic burger patty (in a pinch, you could totally buy pre-made pattys) topped with queso. So simple and yet really, really tasty.

Queso Burgers
(from The Recipe Critic)
Serves 6

1½ lb. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. Velveeta, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 10 oz can diced tomatoes with jalapenos, undrained
6 hamburger buns

Divide the ground sirloin equally into 6 balls, form into patties and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium heat, about 4-5 minutes per side, until they reach desired doneness.

In a microwave safe bowl, combine the Velveta and diced tomatoes. Microwave on high for 2 minutes and then stir. Continue to microwave in 30 second – 1 minute intervals, stirring between, until the cheese is fully melted and well combined.

Serve burgers topped with queso.


State of the Kitchen Update

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The kitchen redo is marching on!

Over Memorial Day weekend, our parents came down and helped us start re-staining the cabinets (or, helped Mark – I’m not very useful at this point in the pregnancy!). The cabinets themselves are done now – the doors need a little more work before they can go back up. This past weekend, Mark painted the room – we’re loving the blue so much more than the mauve that was there! Last night, Mark and a few neighbors moved the refrigerator and stove into the dining room. The plummer is currently here unhooking the dishwasher so that can be moved too.

At this point, the dining room is the dumping ground for everything – and it’s looking lovely. When you look at the mess in there, it’s easy to forget how much progress we’re making!

Tomorrow, installers are coming to begin lay the new tile floor in the kitchen. By the end of the week, floors should be done and appliances should be reinstalled – which will make everything more useable! By next weekend, we should be rehanging the cabinet doors and refilling the cabinets. (I’ll get my dining room back!)

We currently have a new countertop and a new over-the-oven microwave on order. Both should come in and get installed sometime this month. After that the only big to-do is to pick out and install a backsplash – but we may table that until after baby boy is born so we don’t end up dropping it mid-project if he decides to come a little early.

That said, not much cooking has been going on. I’m itching to get back to my normal routine! (And, start stocking the freezer for the little guy’s arrival!)


Flank Steak Pinwheels

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This recipe came from a magazine I got while in college. I made it a few times that summer and then pretty much forgot about it. I don’t know what made me think of it the other day, but I decided I needed to make it again. I tore my office apart looking for that magazine, only to come up empty handed.

And then it occurred to me that it’s 2014 and I could probably find it on the internet. Thank you, internet!

This is a dish that looks fancy but is actually pretty quick and easy – and now that the recipe has resurfaced, I’m sure it’s one we’ll make regularly. If you’re still looking for something fun to grill up this weekend, I recommend these!

Flank Steak Pinwheels
(slightly adapted from Taste of Home)
Serves 4

8 slices of bacon
1 1/2 lbs. flank steak
4 cups fresh baby spinach
7 oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained
3 oz. cream cheese
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup shredded horseradish cheese (or blue cheese)

Place bacon on a microwave-safe plate lined with paper towels. Cover with another paper towel and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, until partially cooked.

Butterfly the steak and open it so it lies flat. Pound out to 1/4″ thick. Cover with spinach and red peppers. Roll up, jelly-roll style. Wrap the bacon strips around the beef and secure with toothpicks or skewers. Slice between the bacon slices, making 8 pinwheels.

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Grill for 5-7 minutes per side.

While the pinwheels grill, combine cream cheese, milk, butter and pepper in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook on low, whisking regularly, until smooth. Whisk in cheese and stir until melted.

Serve pinwheels with cheese sauce.


Honey Mustard Roasted Potatoes

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When I saw these on Pinterest, my first thought was, how have I not thought of this before?

Roasted potatoes are a staple side around here. And I love honey mustard everything. Combined? It was bound to be a hit.

Needless to say, these will be in our regular rotation from now on.

Honey Mustard Roasted Potatoes
(from Busy in Brooklyn)
Serves 4-6 as a side

2 lbs. red potatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1-2 Tbsp. honey
Salt, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.

Wash, dry and chop the potatoes into 1″ chunks. Add to a bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients. Pour over potatoes and toss to coat. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, tossing occasionally, until golden brown and soft.


Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs

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I really, really adore grilling weather. Now that it’s warm enough to grill, I get super annoyed when we have rainy weeks. It’s like, c’mon Mother Nature! We’ve only got limited time to begin with!

I’m also feeling a bit of a time crunch because I don’t know how cooking will go once baby boy arrives. I don’t want to set too many expectations for things to do after – so I’m trying to tackle some of my must-make recipes now. Of course, kabobs always seem to top the list.

These were another huge hit. Unlike some of the other kabobs I’ve made, these are flavored with spices instead of sauce which makes them a bit healthier. We loaded the skewers with veggies and served them with rice for a full meal.

Chili-Lime Chicken Kabobs
(from Allrecipes.com)
Serves 4

3 Tbsp. oilve oil
1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 lime, juice
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
Cayenne pepper, to taste
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
Veggies – we used two bell peppers and a zucchini

In a bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, lime juice and spices. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Chop veggies into bite-sized peices.

Preheat the grill for medium-high heat.  Thread chicken and veggies onto skewers.

Grill for 10-15 minutes, turning halfway through, until the juices run clear.


What’s New in the Kitchen

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When we moved into this house four years ago, we knew we’d redo the kitchen at some point. We also knew it wasn’t a project we’d tackle immediately – the existing kitchen is totally function-able and we wanted to make sure we saved up enough to do it right.

We’ve been working on things – slowly. I picked out (and bought) a dark stain for the cabinets about a year ago. A few months ago, our stove died so we had picked out new appliances – but it magically came back to life without intervention a few days later so we pushed off the purchase. We picked out a paint color to replace the dark mauve (it’s the second blue down on the paint chip in the picture below).

And then, last Friday, our fridge died. It was definitely not worth fixing (the motherboard died) so we took it as a sign we finally needed to get going on this kitchen renovation thing and went and ordered all new appliances. We spent about five days without a fridge and then another two days without a stove as we waited for the plumber to come run a gas line for it (the old stove was electric).

But, now I’ve got this beauty in my kitchen:

I’m really excited about it. I love that we’ve converted to gas (although, I imagine there will be a learning curve with it!) and I’m over the moon that we splurged for the double ovens. We definitely wouldn’t have been able to fit two ovens in our kitchen otherwise, so this seems like such a great option. We also got a new fridge and dishwasher – and both are set up differently than what we had so it’s taking some getting used to.

Right now, they all look pretty out-of-place in the kitchen. They should look right at home when we get things done, though. We’ll likely have new flooring in place in a few weeks and then we’ll be tackling paint and re-staining cabinets. New countertops will top everything off. And then, hopefully, some decorating (the butterfly curtains need to go!)

All of this means that, depending on how things move along, I may not have as many new recipes to share as I’d like. I will be sharing progress, though! And hopefully, things will be back to (a new) normal quickly!


What’s Baking Roundup: Cheese

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The April theme for What’s Baking, picked by me, was cheese. Because, who doesn’t love cheese? And, there are so many options, I was excited to see what people did with it!

Colleen from The Redhead Baker made these gorgeous Goat Cheese and Chive Gougeres. It’s a savory take on the cheese theme and they’re totally drool-worthy.

My cheese dish was sweet – the other end of the spectrum. We really enjoyed this Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake.

Ali from Sparks from the Kitchen will be hosting for May – be sure to check out what dishes get baked up later this month!


What’s Baking: Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

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I got to pick the theme for this month’s What’s Baking and picked cheese. Of all the cheese recipes I have marked to make, I kept coming back to this one. It just looked so good.

And, it was. This is all from scratch – even the jam – so it takes a little bit of time and effort, but it’s so worth it!

Check back later this week to see what other cheese delights got baked up!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
(from Food Wanderings in Asia)
Makes 1 8″ round cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into chunks

1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 cup sour cream (not low fat)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, cut into pieces
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. water
1.5 tsp. cornstarch
Chop the strawberries and toss them with sugar. If you want a more jam-like layer, finely chop the berries. I wanted distinguishable berry pieces in mine so I just gave them a rough chop. Heat them in a saucepan until they release their juices – about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk together the water and cornstarch. Add this to the strawberries and stir to combine. Cook a few minutes until thickened. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
Using a mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar and egg. Set aside.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour and sugar. Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs. Remove 3/4 cup of the crumbs and set aside. To the remaining crumbs, add in the baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir.
In a medium bowl, beat together the sour cream, egg and vanilla until well combined. Add this mixture to the large bowl of crumbs and stir until just combined. It will be lumpy.
Grease or line an 8-9″ springform pan. Press the cake batter evenly into the bottom, letting it rise up 1/2″ on all sides, making a well. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the well. Top with strawberry jam. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs.
Bake for 45-55 minutes, until golden brown on the sides. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing sides of the pan and letting cool completely.