caprese turkey sliders

 

caprese burger

Hello, friends.

It’s August, and it’s still hot, but I’ve decided that it’s OK to do things like turn on the stove and the grill.  So, I’m happy to bring you actual food.  Like real, not made of whipped cream food.

caprese burger top

See that?  Not even a dot of whipped cream on there.

There is, however, fresh mozzarella cheese, a ripe roma tomato, basil, and drizzle of basalmic.

All of these are good things.  VERY good things.

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I cooked these turkey sliders on the stovetop, because it’s hot outside, and then topped them with a thick slice of tomato and hunk of mozzarella cheese.  Then, I popped them under the broiler for just a minute or two to blister the cheese.  Don’t buy the mozzarella that comes soaking in brine for these, I find it doesn’t do as well in this sort of application.  My grocery store usually sells theirs in the specialty cheese section, I think it comes in an 8-ounce ball.

This really is the perfect summer dinner.  I made them slider-sized because that vicious summer heat seems to decrease my appetite for some reason.  Also, more importantly, I wanted the size of the sliders to match the size of the tomato and mozzarella slices.  It’s just prettier that way.

I mixed a couple teaspoons of tomato paste into the turkey meat, but I think that some sun-dried tomatoes would be great too.  Roasting the garlic before adding it to the basil mayo would be a wonderful touch as well.

Caprese Turkey Sliders

Printable Recipe

For the burgers:

  • 2 ripe roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons basil mayo (recipe follows)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste, or 2 Tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Dash of salt and pepper

For the mayo:

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste

For assembly:

  • 8 slider buns (I use these when I’m feeling lazy)
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese (1 8-ounce ball), sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 to 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 bunch basil
  • Arugula (if desired)
  • Balsamic glaze, for drizzling

1.  Make the mayo:  In a blender or food processor combine all ingredients and process until combined.  Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until ready to use, can be made up to three days in advance.

2.  Make the burgers:  Gently combine all ingredients in a bowl and form into small 3-inch patties, pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.  Refrigerate until ready to cook, can be made up to one day in advance.

3.  Cook the burgers:  Heat an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat; preheat oven broiler to high.  Salt and pepper the surface of the turkey patties and drizzle pan with oil.  Cook burgers about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, flipping once.  Flip the burgers once more and quickly top with tomato and mozzarella cheese.  Place pan under broiler and broil for 1 to 2 minutes until cheese is blistered.

4.  Assemble burgers:  Spread buns with basil mayo and top with basil, arugula, and turkey patties, drizzle with balsamic glaze or a dash of good balsamic vinegar.

caprese turkey pin

5 chile turkey burgers

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Despite the hard time I have finding good produce in the desert, during this time of year I can always count on the famous Hatch green chiles. I think, technically, their season is about up, but for the last couple weeks they’ve been flooding our grocery stores. At 50 cents a piece, I don’t have the willpower to resist!

When I get my hands on these things, I just can’t wait to roast them. Like roasting any pepper it leaves you with a soft, slightly sweeter version of what it once was. No matter what pepper it is, or how much you love the pepper raw, the roasted version puts the original to shame. A roasted hatch chile brings a smoky sweetness that perfectly complements the slightly tangy and spicy green chile pepper.

Ok, so you’ve roasted it, now what can you do with it? Just about anything, really. Throw it in some tacos, or a quesadilla, if you want to stick with the “mexican” theme. You can mix it into your scrambled eggs for a little heat or spice up a nice chip dip. Today, though, we put them on our burger. Because we can. (I know you’re shocked)… And because we’ve been a little bad lately, let’s use turkey burgers instead of beef.

Although, if you follow me on Instagram, you probably already know these are equally as taste with beef. And infinitely more adorable as sliders. Just sayin…

So, while I call these 5 chile burgers, you’re not required to use all five. Let’s count them, shall we? Hatch, Chipotle, Pepperjack (I think there’s some jalapenos in there?), then the optional asian spice from the sriracha and/or chili-garlic paste. So maybe “5 chile” is a bit of a stretch, but it’s a nice stretch that I’m willing to make, maybe I should call them “3 to 5 chile burgers”?

Oh, and don’t hate on the “chile” vs “chili” use, I use them interchangeably. I know it’s a subject of debate for some of you.

5 Chile Turkey Burgers

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 2 hatch chiles, roasted and diced
  • 1 lb ground turkey (or 1.25 lbs if that’s what size yours comes in, why do they do that, anyway?)
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Pepperjack Cheese
  • Toppings of your choice (tomato, onion, lettuce)
  • Buns of your choice

Chipotle Aioli

  • ½ c mayo
  • 1 – 2 chipotles in adobo, finely minced (depending on how spicy you want it)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs olive oil, plus extra for misting
  • 1 tsp lemon (or lime) juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Roast the chiles: Rub with oil and cook over a grill or under your broiler until black and bubbling on all sides. Remove from heat and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap or in a plastic bag to steam. Once cooled, peel off the skin and finely dice. Can be made one day ahead. *See notes!
  2. Make the aioli: Mix all aioli ingredients together in a blender or small container. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made one day ahead
  3. Make the patties: Gently mix ground turkey, some salt and pepper, a tablespoon or two of the aioli, and one of your diced hatch chiles together in a bowl. What’s that? You’re feeling spicy? A dash of sriracha or chili-garlic paste will help you to kick up the heat. These may also be made one day in advance, cover tightly and refrigerate until you’re ready to cook them. They will be very delicate (and probably pretty sticky). I also like to sprinkle them with salt and pepper on the outside of the patties as well, a drizzle of oil will help to prevent them from sticking to the grill. I make 5 ¼ lb patties.
  4. Cook patties until done, at the end of cooking top with green chiles and cheese and cover until melted.
  5. Toast buns: While not necessary, this will enhance your burger experience greatly. Rub some of the aioli on your buns and grill or broil until toasted. Top with burger and toppings as desired.

Notes: 

*For some reason I always forget that I actually want to dice my chile, I know it seems weird, but just do it that way. Patty/Dice chile/ Then cheese (to hold it all together).

*Use your leftover chipotle aioli to dip your french fries in … trust me. And opt for the Ore-Ida Fast Fries, boyfriend got me hooked on those things.

*On extra lazy days, I’ve been known to use ONLY the chipotles and the mayo, and BF has never once complained.

* If you’re worried about your mouth being on fire, go ahead and use Monterey Jack or Cheddar cheese. 

*Use your leftover chipotle aioli to dip your french fries in … trust me. And opt for the Ore-Ida Fast Fries, boyfriend got me hooked on those things.

five chile burger pin

 

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chipotle bacon burger

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Burgers are a relatively common dinner in our home. They can be plain or dressed up, beef or turkey, with or without cheese, on brioche or Sarah Lee. How does one eat burgers frequently without becoming bored, you ask?

Toppings!

Burgers are so easy to customize to whatever you happen to be craving. There are so many ways to spice up a burger, I could probably eat burgers every day and never get make the same one twice. Of course, I have a few favorites that tend to get stuck on repeat… but I *COULD* make a different one every day… if I really wanted to…

These, my friends, are dressed up with bacon, red onion, chipotle spread, cheddar cheese, and greens. I suppose jalapeno jack would be just as tasty on top – but we “had” to buy a(nother) two-pound brick of cheddar from Costco, so it’s been the “cheese of choice” as of late. :)

So if you’re looking for a way to “spice” up your usual burgers – give these ones a try!

Chipotle Bacon Burgers

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce (about 2 – 3 shakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chipotle Spread
    • 1 cup mayo
    • 1-2 chipotle pepper(s) in adobo, finely minced
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Bacon, cooked
  • Red onions (grilled or not, your choice)
  • Greens of choice (spring mix, romaine, iceberg, arugula…)
  • Cheese – I recommend Cheddar or Pepper Jack
  • Burger buns

Mix beef, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and chipotle powder in a bowl until incorporated. Form into patties, salt the outside of the patties as well.

Make Chipotle Spread by mixing mayo, chipotle, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

When ready to make the burgers – grill patties to desired doneness and top with cheese to melt. While resting, spread a light layer of chipotle spread over the buns and grill until toasted. Assemble burgers, adding additional chipotle spread if desired, and enjoy!

Favorite Turkey Burgers

turkey burger

I can’t believe that just a few short weeks ago, there was snow-topped mountain in the view of my kitchen window… For those of you who think all mountains are snow-capped, those surrounding the Phoenix valley are (almost) never graced … Continue reading

Move over, Manwich. There’s a new Joe in town!

joe

Sloppy Joe’s have had a tough life. Like an old toy that’s been forgotten in the attic, no one wants to play with him. I don’t even think the grocery store carries an off-brand version of sloppy Joe seasoning. When you think of sloppy joes, you invariably think of Manwich, then you think: “YUM, YES PLEASE” or “GROSS GET IT OUT OF MY FACE!” Poor sloppy joes are so neglected. As though Manwich has the recipe so perfected that there is no need to create any variation.

Joe’s not generally found on a restaurant menu and your mother probably doesn’t have her own “secret recipe”, but why not?? What did Joe do to make everyone so mad at him? No one wants to experiment. No one wants to make him their own. It’s just brown meat, open can of Manwich, warm and serve. What did poor joe do to make him so disrespected that no one even thinks of giving him a second chance? There are as many salad dressings, barbeque sauces, and sandwich spreads as there are crayola crayon colors, but just one lonely Joe… poor guy. Don’t worry, Joe. I still love you. I will make you my own, and give you my very own (not) secret recipe…

People don’t generally think of sloppy joes as being customizable, but I beg to differ. Ever since I first discovered the smoky, spicy, little guy, chipotle has been my latin lover. Boyfriend loves chili-garlic, that spicy pepper sauce you see sitting in jars at the asian restaurant. Both of those are welcome additions to sloppy joes, trust me- I know.

So here is a basic sloppy joe recipe that is really easy to whip up, and then you can customize it to your liking. If you want it a little smoky- throw in chipotle. Spicy? Hit it with some cayenne or chili-garlic paste. You love manwich? Omit the brown sugar and add some BBQ sauce instead and you’ll be surprised at just how closely it matches Manwich- it could be his evil twin… and if you want to stretch it out to feed a large family or make it healthier- double up on the veggies. Just experiment, have fun, and find what works for you. This is a good jumping-off point, though.

*Tip: The finer you chop your veggies, the better texture they’ll have. Also, you don’t need to saute them all the way to tender, they’ll soften up a lot as it simmers.

Sloppy Joes

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  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 small carrot, finely minced
  • 1 small onion, finely minced
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • ½ c ketcup
  • 3 – 4 tsp brown sugar (to taste) or 1 Tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 3 dashes worcestshire sauce (or soy sauce would probably do the trick)
  • Dash each (about 1/4-1/2 tsp) of garlic powder, onion powder, paprika
  1. In a saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add meat. Cook, breaking into small pieces, until well-browned. Add chopped veggies, a dash of salt and pepper, and cook until veggies are slightly softened (but not brown).

sauté away

  1. Once meat and veggies are cooked, turn heat down to simmer and add a bit of water to de-glaze the pan. Add the rest of the ingredients, mixing well. Cover with lid and turn heat all the way down to simmer.
  2. Simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes—checking every so often to make sure it’s not drying out—add water or a bit of stock if it starts to look dry.

lookin good!

  1. After 20 minutes, adjust seasonings to taste & serve!

*I believe almost everything sauce-related tastes better the 2nd day, once the flavors have had time to mingle. After simmering, I transfer the joes to a heat-safe container and refrigerate overnight. Reheat on the stovetop in a covered saucepan over low heat, adjust seasonings to taste and serve then! (I like mine with a little bit of cheese and potato chips on top)