Friday, June 25, 2010

Sage, Garlic & Onion Turkey Burgers

When I think of Thanksgiving...I think of turkey & sage. That's what inspired me for this yummy burger.  Bread, turkey, sage, onions, nutty/woody mushrooms, garlic....very Thanksgiving-ish.

1.25 lbs lean ground turkey (I buy mine at Sam's Club for $1.97/lb - 93% lean!)
1/2 sweet onion
5 cloves garlic
a small handful of fresh sage (free from my herb garden!)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper

Use a food processor to mince the sage, garlic & onions together into very small bits.

Mix the aromatics with the turkey - season with salt & pepper. Mix well.

Form the meat into 4 large patties (you could make 6 smaller burgers too) and grill.

 I topped mine with some sauteed mushrooms & garlic, avocado, lettuce, tomato, red onion & mozzarella cheese. No condiments necessary!!!

My "burger bar"

Those were some awesome burgers. My toddler loved them. He cleaned his plate...mushrooms, avocado, onions and all.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Spicy Sesame Tofu & Veggie Stir Fry

This was a go-to when I was a vegan back in college. I LOVE this stuff. If you're not a fan of may want to try this. It's crunchy and flavorful. If you really don't like tofu, just substitute some chicken or shrimp.

You may need to double or triple the recipe because this is for one large serving.

1 container of firm tofu - Remove the blocks and place in a towel on a baking sheet. Cover with towel and put a heavy pan on top for about 20 minutes. You'll be surprised at how much liquid comes out. This ensures a firm texture and a crispy exterior.  Once pressed, dice into about 1" cubes. (I only used 1 piece b/c I was only cooking for myself today)

2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
1-2 tsp "Rooster" sauce (or other Asian chili sauce)
1 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic
1 tsp grated ginger (if you have it on hand - I keep mine in the freezer)

about 1/4 cup of sesame seeds - I buy in the bulk section of Joseph's. They are about 1/2 the price of the ones in the Asian aisle

Assorted Veggies - here's what I used:
1 head of baby bok choy - cut into eight lenthwise pieces
1/2 red bell pepper
a handful of sweet peapods
a handful of bean sprouts
1 carrot - grated
2 green onions - sliced thinly on a diagonal. Keep the greens for garnish.
3 grape tomatoes, halved

I had mushrooms in the fridge and totally spaced on using them. Mushrooms are awesome in this too!

Put your drained/pressed/diced tofu in a bowl. "Marinate" with 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp sesame oil & the Rooster sauce for a few minutes.

Toss the tofu with the sesame seeds until they are pretty well coated.

Get a wok or skillet hot and add a couple tbsp of oil. Add the tofu and let it sizzle for about 4-5 minutes per side (until it's darkened in color and crispy) - rotating the cubes around so all sides get cooked.

While that's cooking, chop your veggies. When the tofu is all brown and yummy smelling...throw in all your veggies. Then drizzle with the other tbsp of soy sauce & a squirt of honey. If you like it spicy, add a bit more Rooster sauce. ***Please note how nice and brown and crispy the tofu is below***

Let that sizzle for about 3-4 minutes and you're done! Pile on a plate just as it is...or top some rice or noodles with it. I like to garnish with the tops of the green onions.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pasta with Sweet Italian Sausage & Peppers

I improvised this from what I had on hand tonight. It's so easy and super impressive. I highly recommend trying it. You can of course use Italian turkey sausage instead of the traditional pork sausage to lower the fat. It'd also work with whole wheat pasta :)

1 lb of "gnocchi" pasta - this calls for the dry version - not the "fresh" version. See the photo for details. It's like a medium shell shaped pasta - Joseph's had Racconto pasta on sale for $.79/lb last week. I stocked up.

4-6 links of Italian Sausage - I used sweet Italian sausage, but spicy or turkey would be awesome too.

6 cloves garlic

1 small red onion - chopped into 1/4" x 1" slices

1 red pepper - also chopped into 1/4" x 1" slices (I like to make the veggies the same general size of the pasta so it's easy and interesting to eat)

2 plum/roma tomatoes


1/2 tsp spicy red pepper flakes

1/4 cup of minced fresh basil (I mixed some oregano in too since I had it growing)

1/4 cup of minced fresh parsley

1/4 cup grated sharp Italian cheese (like parm or romano)

Get a large pot of water on to boil - add a few tbsp of salt. Chop the veggies. Score your tomato skins into quarters.

When the water boils, drop the tomatoes in for 10-15 seconds. Scoop out and put into a cold water bath.

This makes them easy to peel. Peel from the bottom up. EASY!

Chop 'em up, seeds and all. About 1/2" pieces.  The water is boiling so add the pasta and cook according to directions.

Get a deep skillet hot and add a few tbsp of olive oil. *(you can omit this step if you want to grill your sausages) Add the sausage links and brown them up. This will take about 10 minutes. They will be about 75% cooked when you pull them out. Still slightly pink in the middle.

Remove them and slice them into about 1/2" slices. Set aside. (It will be slightly pink inside, we will finish cooking it in a minute)

Add your peppers, onions and 2 cloves of minced garlic to the pan. Cook about 30 seconds. Add the chopped tomatoes and combine. Season with salt & red pepper flakes.

Cook this mixture until it the tomatoes break down.  Add the sausage and 2 more cloves of garlic into the veggie pan. combine well.

The pasta should be done so drain it and add it right to the pan with the sausage & veggies. Add 2 more cloves of minced garlic. Combine. Add in the minced basil & cheese. Combine yet again.

Top with a little grated cheese and some parsley. Sooo delicious.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Vegan Banana Bread

My friend gave me this recipe after I snuck a taste of hers in her's so moist and delicious (AND HEALTHY!!!) 

Vegan Banana Bread

Prep time: 10 minutes

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter substitute (like Smart Balance or Earth Balance)
egg substitute for 2 eggs (2 tablespoons of ground flax seed & 6 tablespoons of water) - This is a new trick for me! I just bought a bag of ground flax seed for about $3 at WalMart and it says right on there that ground flax + water can substitute for eggs in baking! I'm excited!
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup of all purpose flour + 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup of walnuts (chopped)


Preheat oven to 325

Put all the above ingredients (except walnuts) into a bowl and beat together with a mixer until smooth. 
So, are you wondering how it tastes? Me too.


Stir in the walnuts. Pour into a greased loaf pan and top with some additional walnuts.  Bake for an hour and 15 minutes in a preheated 325 degree oven. A toothpick should come out clean.

Trust'll never know that it doesn't contain eggs or butter.  The flax eliminates 10 grams of fat from the traditional use of eggs and extra fiber. The butter substitute adds extra health benefits (mine had added Omega-3's) and less fat.