Almond-Crusted Chicken Burgers

burger-collage

Chicken burgers are so yummy, but knowing what goes into them is scary to say the least. These chicken burgers are so amazing, you will want to eat them often. The first time I made them I was playing around with grinding my own chicken. I used all breast meat and they were great. The second time I used breast and thigh and they were even better. You will need a food processor to make these. Dressing them with typical chicken burger staples like lettuce, tomato, and mayo is excellent.

You can elevate them to another level by making buffalo chicken burgers; simply dip them in Frank’s Red Hot sauce, top with a dab of blue cheese dressing, and a little lettuce for an outstanding burger. The coating on the burger is really what makes them so special. It’s sweet, crunchy, a bit spicy – and yes – healthy. I fried them before freezing them, but they can be spritzed with oil spray and baked for a lighter take. When ready for a chicken burger, pull one out of the freezer and pop it in your toaster [or regular] oven. Place on a grilled bun with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

Chicken Burger Breading
1 c. unsalted dry roasted sliced almonds
4 c. corn flakes
2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
1/4 c. sesame seeds
1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Chicken Burger Filling
3 fresh chicken breasts (cut into 1 in. cubes)
3 fresh chicken thighs (cut into 1 in. cubes)
1 tsp. Frank’s Red Hot sauce
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. olive oil

Instructions
In a food processor, add all of the ingredients for the topping. Pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal (there will still be some small pieces of almonds that are visible). I prefer mine slightly coarse, but if you prefer a finer grind, pulse more. Remove from processor and set aside.

On a cutting board, cut up all of the chicken into 1-inch chunks. Divide the cut thighs and breast meat in half and place half of each type of chicken into the food processor. Add 1 tsp. of olive oil. Close the cover and pulse repeatedly until you achieve the texture that appeals to you. It can be blended to your liking (finer or chunkier). When the first batch is done, place in a large bowl and add the remaining chicken and another tsp. of olive oil to the food processor and blend the remaining chicken. Add to the bowl along with the remaining ingredients (Frank’s Red Hot sauce, salt, pepper) and mix thoroughly. Grab enough chicken to make a chicken patty. Divide your breading mixture in half and begin breading the chicken patty with the crumbs. The breading will stick beautifully to the chicken.

In a 10″ skillet add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil and heat on medium-high. The oil should not be smoking; if it is, lower it a bit. Place 2-3 patties in the pan and fry. The patties should get a nice golden-brown color after about 1 minute, and then you can flip and cook for another minute or so, adjusting for the thickness of your patties. They will feel firm when they are done, but it’s a good idea when cooking any meats to cut the thickest patty to check for doneness. Remove from the skillet and drain on a paper plate with paper towel liner. Let them cool and layer with parchment paper, place in a ziplock bag and freeze.

This recipe will yield 17 1/2-inch chicken burgers. Or go ahead and make chicken nuggets for an easy and quick kids meal.
Chicken Burger

Lentil and Fennel Soup with Ham

Lentil & fennel SoupSoup is just a perfect meal! And when you add in some life giving Lentils it gets even better. Lentils are high in folate and high in fiber. Another addition to this healthy soup is Fennel Bulb, touted as one of the worlds healthiest foods. The combination of Fennel and Lentils is just plain delicious. We are told that we should be getting about 25-35 grams of fiber per day. That’s hard to do today. If you are not eating fresh vegetables and cooking your own meals daily then you are probably eating some processed foods. Processed food are pretty much devoid of any fiber and don’t get me started on what actually is in processed foods. However, this soup, although not the traditional soup made after a ham dinner, is awesome. Split pea soup is a great soup also, but if you are looking to change it up a bit, here it is.

Recipe:

3 qts water in a 6 qt pot
leftover hambone with excess ham removed.
Dice up any ham removed from bone and set aside until end. Any excess fat can simmer for two hours with hambone
Add
2 carrots diced 1/4 ”
2 stalks celery diced 1/4 ”
1 onion peeled and diced 1/4″
3 c. Dried lentils
1 fennel bulb, diced 1/4″
4 small bay leaves

Simmer for two hours, remove fat and bones.
Add diced ham, as much as you like.
Turn off heat
Season with…
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 stick butter
1 to 2 tsp Chicken base, as needed.
fresh chopped Parsley

Enjoy!

Fresh Homemade Guacamole!

 

Guacamole

Delicious guacamole!

Guacamole is a fabulous appetizer for parties and gatherings. Avocados are very healthy too. They are high in fiber, potassium, and folate and have high levels of Vitamin B, C, and K. It’s also a great filler for a menu, It can be made ahead, served cold and takes little to prepare. It’s also a beautiful presentation especially for christmas. Be sure and do yourself and your family a big favor and buy Tortilla chips that are GMO free. Late July chips are GMO free as well as a few other choices that are in paper bags, one is Xochil. Garden of Eatin is GMO free and Kettle Brand has an option for no GMO’s. My personal favorite is Late July Mojo, sweet potato, and Plain. Here is my easy recipe for guacamole…

8 ripe avocados scooped and large diced
2 fresh limes juiced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 fresh garlic cloves grated
1 bunch of fresh cilantro (stems removed and chopped)
hot sauce is optional

mix all the ingredients together, to a point that half of the avocado chunks begin to mash up, but leaving about half chunky. If you prefer it less chunky, stir and mash it well.

Garnish with
1 large vine ripe tomato diced
1 lime cut into wedges
sprig of cilantro

My season of Joy!

autumnAutumn is the perfect time of year in my opinion. I always feel like I’m in the middle of a Thomas Kincaid picture. The leaves are just gorgeous, even the ones that collect on the ground make me happy. Summer has come to a close and I just cut down all of my herbs and cleaned and chopped them, and now they are drying in pans all over the heavenly smelling house. Except for the rosemary which is chopped and submerged in olive oil in my fridge. The feeling I get and I’m sure many others get, in the fall is just pure contentment. I love the colors, the cool crisp air and comfortable nights, the sight of pumpkins, gourds and corn stalks everywhere. It’s purely understandable that this is a prelude to Thanksgiving, which seems to me, the perfect name for this holiday. I am indeed, thankful for this time of year. People seem nicer and happier, maybe they are just on their best behavior because Christmas is coming and they want really good presents or because its football season. But seriously, people really do seem more friendly and cheerful.

I love the thought of all kinds of pumpkin desserts, apple crisp and apple pies. Making a huge Turkey with mashed potatoes and flavorful gravy, stuffing, homemade bread, roasted veggies, butternut squash drizzled with a buttery brown sugar sauce. Sitting by a crackling fire to get warm with a cup of cocoa and always having a warm blanket draped over. Big pots of deliciously hearty soups and crusty bread. I love all the gatherings with friends and family that only happens this time of the year. And mostly, the arrival of family that live away and come home for visits. I’m a happy girl right now, enjoy the season everyone.

Carpenters deserve a lot of credit!

bath tileAfter 4 weeks of a bathroom remodel-tiling job, lots of arguments, and plenty of stress, we have finished. It’s a pretty common occurrence that we tackle jobs, well beyond our scope of talent and knowledge only to wish we had hired a trained carpenter. All in the spirit of saving a few hundred dollars. Is our well being, our sanity, our appreciation of time off, ever a consideration. Maybe not in the past, but the future, for sure it will be. We aren’t actually done with the entire bathroom but we have finished the tile and the grout. And, just for future reference, don’t make the mistake of thinking, the larger the tile the faster the job will get done. Here’s the failure in that line of thinking. Using 18 inch tiles, there are a few problems. They are extremely heavy and they will shift and slide easily. That means you need to let them dry sometimes before adding another row, especially when starting at the bottom. Next, it is not easy to cut them because they are much larger than the average home wet saw, cutting out holes for plugs and faucets, very difficult. All in all, it was a challenge and not for me. My poor hubby had to get aggravated every time he had some free time. I thought I was doing him a favor by getting gigantic tiles, but it made his life more miserable. My heart was definitely in the right place, sorry honey! 🙁
In the future, any remodeling will be done by a professional. Those damn DIY shows make it look so easy!!!!

Yoga, Soup, and Alfredo!

Last week was busy! Between posting on this site, cooking all the items I posted, working at my job, and stripping paint off windowsills at our 1900’s apartment building. I was pretty much exhausted. I have been to Yoga very sporadically over the years and always feel that I want to go back, but usually it takes me 3 months before I go again. My nephews wife Hillary, is the Yoga teacher and she is amazing. I always leave there, refreshed and ready to get serious with a new plan to eat better and get healthy. Up until recently, it was from 7-8 p.m., really too late for my old bones, but now it is 6-7 p.m., and I think that is going to work just fine. The really cool part is that my husband Brian and two of our great friends Dan and Dominique, have decided to start coming along also, which makes it fun. We have all committed to two sessions per week. I am planning to have a great figure, much like the yoga teacher in no time at all, LOL!

This week I am planning to make some items that we served at the restaurant, and since it is winter here and extremely cold, Soup is on the front burner. Tonight, a published recipe that belongs to Olive Garden, Zuppa Toscana. Later this week, for my good friend David, Corn Chowder. And also, Chicken and Broccoli Alfredo! I will try and include a cake, I have one in mind, or maybe whoopie Pies. And soon, I will be making Debbie’s No-Bake Cookies, they are the best, and really good for you also. 🙂

Cheese Dip

Cheese DipDuring our restaurant years, the first offering that was placed on the table at our restaurant was a little cup of homemade Cheese Dip and a bowl of crackers. The customers that were regulars had the waitresses trained that they would need more than one cup of dip before they even approached the table. Eventually we began selling it TO GO in large containers. We then added it to our local grocery store, but that didn’t last long because we were too busy and it was too labor-intensive to keep the store stocked. For all you followers of the famous cheese dip, now you can make it at home!

Cheese Dip

16 oz cottage cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
3 oz. Bleu cheese crumbles
6 oz. fine shred cheddar cheese
2 tsp chopped red pimentos
2 tsp finely chopped sweet onion
1/2 c. classic catalina french dressing

Beat with an electric mixer and its ready for crackers!

Amish Friendship Bread – Start to Finish in One Day!

amish breadSo, during my restaurant years, a co-worker/friend named Tracy, brought me in this cup of batter with a little paper card with a recipe attached to it. Day 1 add this, day 2 add this, etc, for I believe 7 days. The end result is a delicious treat called Friendship Bread. I made the recipe, sliced a piece of bread, slathered on some butter, indulged in my first bite and WOW! After devouring the sweet, moist and flavorful bread, I dissected the recipe and turned it into a recipe that could be completed the same day. I feel that it is as close as it can possibly be to the 7-day bread. Every time I make it and bring it to work I am asked for the recipe. Mainly by one of our longtime employee/friends named Joey. I have been telling him it will be available on my blog soon. So, the wait is over; here it is, Joe. I hope everyone (not just Joe) enjoys this bread. As a side note, it’s better the day after after it’s been baked. I like to use it as gift bread. One batch will make 5-6 mini loaves.DSC00881

Bake at 325 degrees for 45-55 minutes

2/3 cup of milk
2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. flour

Mix these and let sit on counter for 1 hour

Add:
1 cup oil
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. milk
1 c. sugar
1 large pkg. of instant Vanilla pudding
2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients and spoon into your  buttered mini loaf pans until 2/3 full. Sprinkle generously with a cinnamon sugar mixture.  Bake and Enjoy!