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PGF: Chipotle & Avocado Chicken Burgers

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This is not your normal hamburger. These chicken patties are lightly seasoned with zesty spices and stuffed with cool avocado. You will enjoy them with or without a hamburger bun!

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I think I have a “thing” with hamburgers. I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in my day – hamburgers, cheeseburgers, turkey burgers. Almost every week I announce that dinner tonight is “burgers”. But I never, ever make an ordinary burger. I just can’t do it. There are so many good flavors out there that make an ordinary burger into something amazing!

Last summer I shared my Sweet Thai Chili Burgers, which are pretty unique in terms of flavored hamburgers. These Chipotle & Avocado Chicken Burgers are much milder. If you’re not crazy about over the top flavors or want a gentle introduction into the world of flavored burgers these would be a great choice.

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If you glance down at the ingredient list you may notice a few strange things. If you don’t have any chipotle chili powder you may want to consider getting some. It’s similar to regular chili powder, but a bit stronger and has a smoky taste. I get mine in the Hispanic section of the grocery store for less than $2 a jar! Of course, you could sub in any other chili powder you have on hand, resulting in only a slightly different flavor. The last ingredient on the list is shredded zucchini. I know, I know, it sounds crazy weird, but the zucchini will help give the burgers body. To prepare the zucchini you’ll want to shred it – I use a box grater. Take the shredded zucchini and put it in a cheesecloth or thin towel and wring out the liquid. You’ll want to measure the 1/3 cup once you’ve done all the preparations with the zucchini. If you’re adverse to zucchini or don’t want the extra work you can sub in breadcrumbs. I promise though, nothing about this burger taste like zucchini! Avocado is definitely a strange ingredient in burgers, but it actually handles the grilling quite well.

I generally eat these burgers plain, but there’s nothing like a good GF hamburger bun now and again. It’s easy to turn this into a portionally gluten free meal, just serve with regular and gluten free hamburger buns! Avoiding cross contamination is easy – just serve the GF hamburgers first, before you even get out the wheat hamburger buns. Make some corn on the cob, lay out some burger toppings, and you’ll have a simple, gluten free, summer meal!

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Chipotle & Avocado Chicken Burgers

This recipe makes 4 chicken burgers, but is easily modified to make a double batch, or even slider sized burgers.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast
  • 1 small avocado, cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 onion, minced
  • 1 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp chipotle chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 c shredded zucchini, with liquid squeezed out.
Directions
  1. In a mixining bowl, combine all ingredients except the avocado.
  2. Once the spices are thoroughly mixed into the chicken gently stir in the avocado.
  3. Form the mixture into 4  patties using your hands.
  4. Grill over medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Make sure the burgers reach a temperature of 165° F.
  5. Serve plain, or with hamburger buns.
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PGF: Grilled Fajitas

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Guys, it is officially grilling season! One of my first grilled meals of the year were these fajitas.

Grilled-Fajitas

I know lots of people around the US are just getting used to the sun light again after an endless winter, but not the case in the south. Actually, if you ask a native of this area they will tell you the horrors of the temperature getting into the 30s! And snow, yes snow, and THREE WHOLE TIMES! I guess after spending most of my life in the northeast winter doesn’t phase me.

Here’s what does get to me though: when the temperature is in the 100s. You mean I’ll be too hot in pants? And sweating no matter what I wear? It’s May and I have to have the air conditioning on? We have air conditioning?!?! People who have lived in the south for a while though, this is nothing to them. They are really happy it’s finally warming up!

To each his own, I suppose.

And, truthfully, I do hope to adapt to the higher temperatures. It’s no fun to feel nauseous every time I step outside.

So, summer and high temperatures means that the grill is my primary cooking tool. No sense in heating up the house with the oven when the air conditioner is on full blast. I’m sure these grilled fajitas are just the first in a long line of grill recipes coming your way this summer.

Grilled-FajitasThese 6 ingredients fajitas are really yummy and very simple thanks to a very special ingredient, Wegman’s Fajita Marinade. For those of you who don’t know, Wegmans is not a product, but it is the best grocery store on earth! You think I’m exaggerating, but I am not. This place has been supporting GF products and labeling for at least 10 years – that’s far before most other chain stores jumped on the bandwagon. Their store brand products are usually better quality, and cheaper, than the name brand! If you want something in your pantry, Wegmans has it. When you get to the check out there are at least 20 lines, so it’s unlikely you’ll have to wait long. Unlike my local Harris Teeter, those lines are actually open. Imagine that. Anyway, if you are lucky enough to live somewhere with a Wegmans (sadly, I do not) then you know exactly what I’m talking about (and probably have your own raving reviews to share).  The rest of you are probably quite confused about my strong allegiance to a grocery store.

All that to say that Wegman’s has a line of marinades including a fajita marinade. It turns making a really flavorful meal very simple. I cut  the chicken into small cubes (actually Steve did it, because of my finger injury), dumped some marinade on it and refrigerated overnight. Viola! The next day we skewered the chicken with some onions and green peppers, put it on the grill for a few minutes, and had a delicious, healthy dinner without turning on a single kitchen appliance! Pretty cool when it’s 90° F. Pun intended.

Grilled Fajitas

We ate a few fajitas each at dinner time. Steve had never had the magic Wegman’s Fajita Marinade before, and he was loving the flavor. I think he was eating fajitas and plain meat/onions/peppers.

This is how a professional geek eats a fajita.

This is how a professional geek eats a fajita.

We snacked on the fajitas for the rest of the evening, and it turns out they were pretty good cold, too! If you’re wanting to make Grilled Fajitas but don’t have a Wegmans nearby here’s my suggestion: just use any brand fajita marinade. Really, anything with a Mexican-ish flavor scheme will work with fajitas. It may not be quite as delicious, but almost anything marinaded overnight has a wonderfully strong flavor the next day!

Now, this post is getting really long so I’m just going to get on with the recipe. I hope I didn’t talk your ear off!

Grilled Fajitas

Grilled Fajitas

Ingredients
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 c Wegmans Fajita Marinade
  • corn tortillas (you can easily make this recipe PGF by letting anyone with a gluten intolerance use flour tortillas)
  • shredded mexican blend cheese (or use any cheese variety you like)
  • Any other topping you would enjoy – tomato, avocado, etc.

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken into 1 to 2 inch cubes. Put the cubed chicken in a bowl and stir in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The next day, cut the onion and green pepper into pieces about the same size as you made the chicken cubes.
  3. Get the chicken out of the refrigerator and make your skewers, alternating chicken, vegetable, chicken, vegetable, etc. Discard any extra marinade.
  4. Grill the skewers for 4 to 5 minutes on each size, over medium-high direct heat. Before removing from the grill make sure that the chicken has reached a temperature of 165° F.
  5. Slide the meat off of the skewers and spread a few pieces of each meat/vegetable onto the center of a corn tortilla. Top with cheese. Repeat with any flour tortillas. Be sure to keep the corn and flour tortillas separate!

Gourmet Turkey Burgers: Sweet Thai Burgers

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I thought food blogging would be easy. Creative cooking is one of my talents. I figured I’d just snap a few photos before each meal and then post them online with the recipe. Yeah, it’s not that simple. The recipe development comes naturally to me but the photography, not so much.

Lets take these burgers for example, which I have tried to photograph now on two occasions. Luckily, they are really good, so we haven’t minded having them a few weeks in a row.

The first round of photographs went badly all due to my hungry and lack of patience. I was a little lazy and just wanted to eat my dinner. And warm. After taking pictures for half an hour the burger is only lukewarm and the cheese is not melt-y anymore. That takes half the fun out of a cheese burger. So, I gave in to my taste buds after about a dozen photos, most of which turned out poorly.

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Second photo shoot, I was totally prepared. Like, I ate a snack while I was cooking so that I would have the patience to get through taking the pictures without getting hungry and frustrated. Well, I’m grilling the burgers and it starts raining and storming. We have a tarp hanging up on the deck to keep the grill area dry, so that was fine, but it was DARK. And this is what happens when you try to take pictures in the kitchen with a really crappy artificial light instead of using natural light:

Now, pretend you never saw that!

So, my other pictures of these burgers are not quite as awful as that one, but didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped for, either. I’m sorry. I hope you try them, anyway!

Moving past the photography and onto the food (that is what we’re all here for, right?), these burgers I’ve been having such a hard time capturing on film are pretty darn tasty. As a GF person, who rarely eats a burger with a bun, I feel pretty strongly about having a burger that is so delicious that I won’t even miss not being able to have the bun. These burgers fit the bill perfectly. With one pound of ground turkey, an onion, 2 seasonings, and 20 minutes of time you get a mouthwatering dinner that is naturally GF. You will enjoy these Thai burgers with or without a GF hamburger bun!

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Gourmet Turkey Burgers: Sweet Thai Burgers

 
Ingredients (makes 6 burgers)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or ground beef or chicken)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 c Thai sweet chili sauce (check label to make sure its GF – I use the Maggi variety)
  • 2 Tbs chopped Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
  • optional: GF hamburger buns (You can easily turn this into a PGF meal by having regular hamburger buns available for anyone who doesn’t need GF buns.)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft.
  2. In a bowl combine the ground turkey sweet chili sauce, chopped basil and softened onions. Form into 6 patties.
  3. Grill the burgers for about 5-8 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature is 165°F.
  4. Serve plain or with additional sweet chili sauce, basil leave, and hamburger buns.

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

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It’s September, school is back in session, and a lot of people are celebrating fall with pumpkin flavored baked goods. As a northerner transplanted to the south, there is nothing about fall going on right now in my mind. It’s still gardening season and temperatures are still in the 90s here. This is summer. The last thing I want to do when it’s time to cook is turn on the oven when it’s already so hot! The grill is now my most used appliance.

I’ve been grilling 3-5 days a week all summer and tried bunches of marinades, sauces, and grilling techniques. I stumbled upon this Pesto Ranch marinade just about a week ago.

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It was 3:45pm on a Saturday, and I hadn’t given dinner a thought. I pulled out some random ingredients from the cupboards and started brainstorming. Pesto is good. Ranch is good. Okay, Pesto Ranch!

The marinade took approximately 1 min to put together. Add in another 3 or 4 minutes to cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. I mixed it all in a bowl, let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, and then grilled it on skewers with some large chunks of onion. It was probably the simplest meal I’ve made in weeks AND the absolute tastiest.

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

The chicken smelled so good fresh off the grill that about half of my pictures ended up blurry because I was rushing them in order to get to the eating! I managed to get a few good shots and then we chowed down. There were no leftovers.

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

So, you need to try this! If you happen to live somewhere that is actually experiencing fall weather be sure to make this before you pack up your grill for the winter. If you live in the south . . . well, you have plenty of time left for grilling. Let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Un-skewered and ready to eat!

Un-skewered and ready to eat!

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

 

Ingredients
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 Tbs pesto
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4c plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp ranch seasoning (the powered kind that comes in packets. Hidden Valley’s ranch seasoning is labeled GF)
  • 1 onion, chopped in large chunks (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the pesto, olive oil, yogurt, and ranch seasoning in a medium sized bowl.
  2. If you haven’t already, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, then stir it into the marinate so all the pieces of chicken are well coated.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 min up to overnight (I marinated mine for 2 hours and it was quite flavorful).
  4. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to grill it.
  5. Slide the chicken and the onions onto your skewers.
  6. Grill over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. I visually check for doneness, and use a meat thermometer to double check. Chicken should be cooked to 165°F.

I served this with corn on the cob.

 

Sweet & Tangy Thai Chicken with Rice and Edamame

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As a gardener, one of my dreams is to have huge, bushy basil plants. I LOVE to use fresh herbs in cooking. It’s so exciting to go outside, snip a few leaves off for tonight’s dinner, and be able to do the same thing tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day . . . 

This year I have three types of basil in my garden: Genovese, Lemon, and Thai. Each of my plants if huge! A gardener/cook’s dream come true! I’m taking every opportunity to use my fresh herbs. 

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My Thai basil plant that is providing me with tons of fresh basil!

So, Thai food is tasty. Wether it’s sweet or spicy that you desire, there is something in Thai cuisine for you. There’s a Thai restaurant nearby that we go to from time to time. They offer four levels of spiciness: mild, medium, American hot, and Thai hot. My husband will get something mild with a sweet sauce. I get my food American hot with garlic and soak up as much of the spicy sauce as possible with tofu. We obviously have different flavor preferences! 

As I’m exploring different ways to use my Thai basil I set out to create something we would both enjoy. This was definitely a hit. The rice and edamame is coated in a sweet Thai chili and peanut sauce. The chicken is marinated in spicy asian sauces. The combination was amazing. 

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The grilled chicken. I recommend using a flat, metal skewer, like this one.

I topped mine with . . . you guessed it . . . Thai basil! If you don’t have access to fresh Thai basil you can also get it in a jar some grocery stores. You can also sub in a more common basil.

ImageMy husband mixed his food all together and added some extra sweet chili sauce.

ImageNow, this recipe might seem daunting with all the different flavors and sauces. Think of it this way: You’ll mix up the chicken marinate the night before. It’ll be quick. When you are ready to make the rest of the meal, you will already have some of the work already done. The rice and edamame cook in the same pot, so you’ll just mix the sweet chili sauce and grill the chicken while it’s simmering. I promise; the flavors are worth the effort!

ImageSweet & Tangy Thai Chicken with Rice and Edamame

Ingredients
Marinade:
  • 1 tsp chili garlic paste (or more, to taste)
  • 2 Tbs lime juice
  • 2 Tbs fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more, to taste)
  • 2 shakes cayenne pepper

Sweet Chili Sauce

  • 1/2 tsp sugar substitute or 1 Tbs sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 Tbs lime juice
  • 1 Tbs milk
  • 1/2 Tbs distilled white vinegar
  • 2 Tbs sweet chili sauce

 

  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1c brown rice
  • 2c water
  • 1c edamame (I used frozen)
  • 1/4c cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4c thai basil, chopped
  • 1 bunch of green onions, top half, chopped
Cooking Directions:
  1. Mix marinade ingredients. Add chicken chunks to marinade and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Mix the sweet chili sauce, and chop the cilantro, Thai basil, and green onions if you haven’t already done so.
  3. Bring the rice and water to a boil in a large saucepan. When it boils, reduce heat to low and cover.
  4. While rice is cooking, skewer the chicken (I use flat metal skewers) and grill. I use a gas grill, between 350°F and 400°F. It takes a few minutes on each side to cook through).
  5. When rice has nearly absorbed all of the water, stir the edamame into the pot.
  6. When rice is fully cooked, stir in cilantro, Thai basil, green onions, and the sweet chili sauce you mixed.
  7. Serve with the grilled chicken. Top with additional herbs or sweet chili sauce, if desired.

 

 

 

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