Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mouthwatering Turkey Burgers



***There's nothing like a big, juicy cheeseburger to satisfy your appetite.  I've never really given ground turkey a chance until lately, and boy am I glad that I did!  Ground turkey is so much healthier than ground beef, but I guess I've always just pictured turkey burgers as dry, bland and just not as appealing as beef.  Well, these burgers put a rest to that myth!

I learned this technique for making a great burger from my Dad.  He's always taken a packet of onion soup mix and added it to the ground beef, and it produces such juicy, delicious patties.  I thought that it might be a good idea to try the same method with turkey meat.  These burgers were FAR from dry...they were juicy and perfect!  Plus, the onion mix adds such a great flavor to the meat.  After topping with your favorite burger accompaniments, you'll be in love!

Bon Appetit!***


Source:  Inspired/Adapted from Lipton's recipe for Onion Burgers

Ingredients:
1 lb. ground turkey
1/4 cup water
1/2 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Your choice of toppings (we added lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, mustard and ketchup!)


Directions:
Place the ground turkey, water and Onion Soup Mix in a large bowl.  Mix thoroughly and shape into 4 patties (your hands are your best mixing tools here...don't be afraid to get dirty!).


Grill or broil until cooked through.


Finish with your favorite hamburger toppings!



Monday, April 11, 2011

Shrimp & Grits + Helen, GA!



***A few weeks ago, Brad and I got the chance to get away for a quick weekend trip to Helen, GA.  We kept hearing about this unique little town modeled after an Alpine village, and we were curious about what the German town had to offer.  I was especially curious about how much it would remind me of our actual trip to Germany.

I have to say that I wasn't disappointed.  We had a fabulous time meandering around the village, eating German food, hiking the local trails, and even got dressed up in traditional German clothing!


Fortunately, we had the pleasure of dining at the Nacoochee Grill while we were there.  It was honestly one of the best restaurant meals that I've had in a very long time.  It offered the very best in fine gourmet dining, but at a surprisingly affordable price.  For an appetizer, we began our meal with perfectly prepared eggrolls filled with marinated steak.  They came arranged in a pretty row on a white platter....I wish I had taken photos!  For my entree, I had the marinated, grilled shrimp with mango salsa, which was heaven on a plate!  Brad ordered the Shrimp & Grits, which turned out to be simply incredible!  

The Shrimp & Grits were made using White-Speckled Stone Ground White Grits, which were made nearby at the Nora Mill Granary.   I was able to get my hands on a bag of these fine grits at a store in town (you can buy them on their website!), along with a bag of their "Grandma's Biscuit & Pancake Mix."  These two purchases were among my favorite souvenirs!  



Wow...These grits are truly something special.  Now, some of you may be thinking, "What in the heck are GRITS?!?"  My fellow Southerners know just what I'm talking about.  ;-)  Here's a LINK for those of you that haven't heard of this famous Southern delicacy!  

As soon as I had the chance, I made Shrimp & Grits once we got back home.  This recipe from Paula Deen was so good, that I've made it twice already!  


Bon Appetit!

Shrimp and Grits Recipe
Source:  Paula Deen

Ingredients

  • 1 cup stone-ground grits
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined, left whole if small and roughly chopped if medium or large
  • 6 slices bacon, chopped into tiny pieces
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup thinly sliced green onions, white and green parts
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

Directions

1. To make the shrimp and grits recipe, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the grits and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well with a whisk. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cook the grits until all the water is absorbed, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Keep covered until ready to serve. 

2. Rinse the shrimp and pat dry. Fry the bacon in a large skillet until browned and crisp, then drain on a paper towel. Add the shrimp to the bacon grease in the skillet and saute over medium heat just until they turn pink, about 3 minutes. Do not overcook! Immediately add the lemon juice, parsley, green onions, and garlic. Remove the skillet from the heat. 

3. Pour the grits into a serving bowl. Pour the shrimp mixture over the grits. Garnish with the bacon bits. 

Note: If you are serving this as an appetizer, spoon 1/4 cup grits onto a bread or salad plate. Top with 1/4 cup of the shrimp mixture. Garnish with a sprinkling of crisp bacon bits and serve immediately.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Roasted Salmon with Lentils


***Lately, Brad and I have been on a little bit of a health kick.  I've always tried to cook pretty healthy, and we've both been even more mindful of what we're eating.  Last week, Brad requested that I work salmon into the weekly repertoire.  I came across this recipe in Martha Stewart's Everyday Food: Great Food Fast cookbook, and it looked and sounded so delicious - Roasted salmon on a bed of lentils, which is drizzled with a glorious mustard vinaigrette of fresh parsley, dijon mustard, minced garlic, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

DELISH!

The mustard vinaigrette adds such an awesome flavor to the entire meal.  Half of the vinaigrette is mixed in with the lentils, and the other half is drizzled over the salmon once it's been plated.


Lentils are a member of the legume family.  They are wonderful because they are packed with tons of protein and iron, plus they sort of reinvent themselves with every new dish you make.  You can flavor them in so many different ways!  In addition, salmon is packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, along with essential vitamins and minerals.


Bon Appetit!!***

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 1 large celery stalk chopped
  • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Directions:

  1. Heat broiler. Combine lentils and 2 1/2 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, covered, 5 minutes. Add onion and celery; cover, and continue cooking until lentils and vegetables are just tender, 15 to 25 minutes more. Drain, reserving cooking liquid. Transfer lentils and vegetables to a medium bowl.
  2. In a bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid with vinegar, oil, mustard, garlic, and parsley; season with salt and pepper. Toss half the dressing with the lentil mixture.
  3. Meanwhile, season salmon with salt and pepper. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange salmon on sheet; broil until opaque throughout, 8 to 10 minutes. Spoon lentils onto plates; top with salmon, flaking it into large pieces, if desired. Drizzle with remaining dressing.