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.

edit 0309

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

wee makes taco seasoning

taco season

Taco seasoning isn’t good for you, there’s really no way around that. Chock-full of mystery “seasonings”, various starchy binders, 20% your daily value of sodium, and lord knows what else (caramel color? really??)…

So what’s a taco-loving girl like me to do? Make her own, of course! Continue reading

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

Healthy(er) Bolognese

healthy bolognese

Bolognese is one of my favorite pasta sauces. The best bolognese I’ve had comes from one of my favorite restaurants—Café Bink! One thing that always puzzled me was just how they achieved such a fine texture with their sauce, I just assumed it came from grinding their own meat. Then BF had a great idea- why not try my shiny, new immersion blender to grind my chunky meat sauce into something finer! (duh) It worked like a charm! I’m sure it’s much healthier for me than Bink’s, anyway, using turkey sausage and extra lean ground beef as its main components.

That’s my Penzey’s “Sandwich Sprinkle” in the background, I used it to help season my toasty garlic bread. I used Farfalle for this particular occasion, because it’s cute. See how cute the little bow-ties are? I should’ve bought the mini farfalle, everything is even cuter when it’s mini… maybe next time…

So here’s a relatively quick & easy Bolognese, make sure to read all the way to the end for helpful tips!

Pasta Bolognese

Printer-Friendly

  • 1/2 pkg sweet or spicy Italian sausage (I use turkey), casings removed
  • 1 lb ground beef (I use 97% lean)
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c red wine (or 1 c beef stock, or ½ c each)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning (or 1/2 tsp each dried oregano, basil, and parsley)
  • ½ – 1 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 28 oz can whole or crushed tomatoes
  • Splash of heavy cream & very small dash of ground nutmeg (optional, but strongly recommended)
  • 1 box pasta (or desired amount), cooked in salted water
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil (or other neutral oil)

1. In a large sauté pan or dutch oven heat oil over medium/med-high heat. Add both meats and cook until well-browned, breaking up into small pieces. If necessary, drain excess fat.

2. Add onion, carrot, celery, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook until soft, but not quite browned. Add garlic & red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (just about a minute).

3. Add red wine and/or beef stock and deglaze pan, scraping up all the brown bits and mixing well. Simmer until wine is reduced by half.

4. Reduce heat to low and add tomatoes, breaking up with spatula or spoon if necessary (be careful- they squirt!) Allow to simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or several hours, checking occasionally to stir and add broth or water if it’s drying out (it shouldn’t be). It should be simmering, not boiling, so be sure the heat is low.

5. About 10 minutes before serving, add a splash of heavy cream, stir to incorporate. Adjust seasonings as necessary (sometimes, a splash of balsamic vinegar can brighten the sauce if it’s tasting a bit flat). Cover with lid slightly ajar and allow to simmer 10 minutes longer.

6. Toss with cooked pasta, top with fresh basil and fresh-grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese.

Tips

* Using an immersion blender, slightly puree the sauce to an even consistency—be careful not to go too far, or the sauce will resemble baby food and be much less appealing

-A food processor is a messier, less-safe way to accomplish the same task

*You can substitute 1 Tb ea fresh basil and parsley in place of the dried Italian seasoning or 1/2 tsp ea parsley, basil, and oregano.

*I recommend an enameled pan since stainless steel can sometimes make the sauce taste “tinny”- I will admit I made this batch in my AC Stainless Steel Saute and it was delish though :)

*As always, feel free to add more veggies if you like to stretch the sauce, though you may need to add more canned tomatoes (or a small can of ‘tomato sauce’ or ‘crushed tomatoes’)

*If the sauce tastes a little “flat”, try adding a teaspoon of sugar or a dash of balsamic vinegar to brighten the flavor.

*Since I’m usually only cooking for two, and this makes a lot of sauce, I usually freeze the extras in 2-person portions in Ziploc bags, which makes it easy to take out and re-heat on those nights when I just don’t have the time or energy to cook.