recipe

Easy Custom Flavored Yogurt

I find most store sweetened yogurts to be way to sweet for me. I tend to like the tartness of plain yogurt and get my sweet from fresh fruit, or for a quick fix, local honey or even a little organic jelly (homemade if I have any left). I’m sensitive to cow’s milk, but have found that I can tolerate sheep milk and goat milk yogurts. They are a little more expensive, but OH so good if you cant have regular yogurt and find yourself craving that creamy dairy goodness that only a dairy based yogurt can provide. It’s often a dessert for me and it doesn’t take much to get my “fix”.

Another reason I was looking for a good way to control the sugar of my yogurt is my toddler. He doesn’t mind his yogurt a little tart as well. His favorite is some Greek yogurt with a little local honey mixed in. I even found some fun reusable pouches that I can put it in to help control the mess a bit!

Play around with your own sweetness level and toppings. Add some nuts or granola, some hemp seeds, shredded coconut, or chia seeds.

Please share your favorite yogurt toppings in my comments section!

self sweetened yogurt (1)

THE WHAT:
1 cup of your favorite plain yogurt
2 teaspoons of a "no sugar added" jelly (sweetened with fruit juices)
1/4 cup of your favorite fruit
Other toppings as desired - get creative  

THE HOW:

This one is pretty self explanatory –

  1. Add 1 cup of plain yogurt to a bowl or to-go container. I love 16oz wide mouth mason jars.
  2. Stir in 2 teaspoons of your favorite jelly.
  3. Add fresh fruit on top.
  4. Add additional toppings as desired.
  5. Enjoy now or later.

Serves 1
ENJOY!

self sweetened yogurt (2)

recipe

Mexican Caviar (black bean and corn dip)

If you google “Mexican Caviar” you will find many versions of a black bean and corn dip/salsa. Some have longer lists of ingredients, but mine is paired down and simple. If you have extra time, and want to get creative, please do so. You cant mess this up.

Some great optional ingredients include: avocado, bell peppers, jalapeno pepper, your favorite hot sauce, tomatoes, the list goes on and on…

This stuff is so good/addictive that no one will realize how easy and affordable it is to make! I promised this recipe in my last post Southwestern Style Burgers since it pairs really well with the burgers. However, this dip is a perfect party side dish anytime of the year. I suggest those scoopable chips for this one.

SW style burger bowl w salsa

 

Below I’ve listed the full sized (aka party sized) portion, but if you are making this with the left over partial cans of black beans and corn after making the Southwestern Style Burgers, then just add the following to the partial cans and mix well:
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
3-4 Tablespoons EVOO (or avocado oil)
2 green onions (finely sliced)
salt and pepper to taste

THE WHAT:

2 cans corn (rinsed and drained) - "Mexicorn" works well
2 cans black beans (rinsed and drained)
3-5 green onions (finely diced) - red onion is also great
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup EVOO (or other mild oil)
2-3 dashes cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large bowl add all ingredients listed above and mix thoroughly.
  2. Refrigerate for 20 mins to overnight.
  3. Serve with chips, over the Southwestern Style Burger bowls, over grilled chicken, etc.

Serves 6+

ENJOY!

black bean & corn salsa

 

recipe

Southwestern Style Burgers

Who doesn’t love a good grilled burger in the summer? Today I want to share a healthier ground chicken burger, but I want to give you one that will still satisfy that burger craving!

The ingredients are simple pantry staples so these burgers are quick and easy to throw together. I added a bonus recipe of a quick slaw that you can optionally make as well. And, for those leftover black beans and corn, I have a great corn and bean salsa recipe (aka Mexican Caviar) that Ill share in an upcoming post. But if you want to keep it extra simple, just throw some of the extra beans and corn into your rice bowl.

I served my burgers over rice (I’m kinda hooked on burger bowls lately), but these burgers can obviously be served on a traditional bun as well (I recommend a whole grain bun). I would recommend topping with some guacamole and a dab of salsa. Serve the slaw on the side, or as an additional burger topping. Yum!

Please share any other ideas you have for enjoying these burgers in the comment section. I love to hear new ideas!

SW style burger ingredients

THE WHAT:
1 cup cooked brown rice

BURGERS
1 lb ground chicken meat (or turkey works great too) 
1/4 cup ground flax seed  
1/2 cup black beans (If using canned, drain and rinse first)
1/3 cup corn (If using canned, drain & rinse first)
1 large minced garlic clove
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
3 Tablespoons salsa of choice
1 avocado (Optional)

Quick Lime Slaw
Juice of 1 lime 
3 Tablespoons avocado oil (or EVOO) 
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 Tablespoon chopped cilantro (optional)
1/2 head of small green cabbage finely sliced
 

THE HOW:

  1. Cook brown rice according to package directions. Use bone broth instead of water if you have any on hand.
  2. In a medium bowl add all of the burger ingredients and ‘squish’ together by hand to blend well.
  3. Press into 4-5 patties and set on plate. If you have time to let them marinate, stick the patties back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). It really helps make them more flavorful, but they are good even if you throw them right on the grill.
  4. drizzle a little EVOO on each side so they do not stick to the grill.
  5. Place burger patties on a hot grill.
  6. Cook the burgers 7 minutes the first side and approximately 6 minutes the second side.  Check the internal temperature of the burgers if you are unsure, but do your best not to overcook as this will dry them out.
  7. While the burgers are grilling, add all slaw ingredients to a small bowl and toss thoroughly to fully coat the cabbage. Set aside.
  8. Once peppers cool a bit, you can peal the skin (if you like) and slice them long ways.
  9. Slice or cube your avocado.
  10. Once burgers are done, let them rest approx. 5 minutes.
  11. Assemble your burger bowl:
    • Place a 1/2 cup of cooked brown rice in the bottom of a bowl
    • Add a burger
    • Top the burger with some Quick Lime Slaw
    • Add the Mexican Caviar (if you opted to make it), or just sprinkle some of the extra beans and corn into the bowl
    • Add some avocado slices and drizzle with some salsa

Serves 4-5
ENJOY!

SW style burger bowl w salsa

recipe

Simple Summer Cucumber Salad

This salad reminds me of summer. It’s a perfect side for burgers or any BBQ as it’s light and refreshing. My Dad always grew a really large garden and come mid-summer, the cucumbers were out of control, so we looked for any possible use for cucumbers. This was my favorite way to use up those fresh cucumbers, my Mom made something similar (though I never saw her measure anything). I’ve added dill for a fresh twist. Plus, it doesn’t get any easier than this and you can’t mess it up. Add extra mayo if you want a thicker base, or less if you want it lighter. If you don’t have red wine vinegar on hand, I’m sure that apple cider vinegar, or some other variety would work as well. Let me know if you try something else that hits the spot!

For your next picnic or family BBQ gathering, whip this up and I promise you won’t have any complaints!

THE WHAT:
¼ cup mayo (your favorite kind will work fine) 
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar 
1 teaspoon fresh dill (finely diced) 
½ teaspoon fine sea salt 
¼ teaspoon ground pepper 
¼ cup very thinly sliced red onion 
1.2-2 medium cucumbers (deseeded and sliced) 
  1. In a medium sized bowl, whisk the mayo, vinegar, dill, salt, and pepper.
  2. Peal your cucumbers and slice open long ways. Take your knife and score the perimeter of the seeds and scoop out with a spoon or your fingers.
  3. Slice the cucumber into approximately ¼” slices and add to the bowl with the sauce.
  4. Slice a red onion in half (from the stock end) and peal the outer layer. Slice very thin until you have approx. ¼ cup and add to the bowl with the sauce.
  5. Toss the cucumber and onion in the sauce until evenly coated.
  6. Cover and refrigerate 20 minutes to 3 hours to let marinate.Serves 4-6

ENJOY!

cucumber salad (2)

recipe

Thai Style Turkey Burger Lettuce Wraps

I’m back! Sorry for the long break. I was cleansing and then I got strep throat and then I went on vacation! The vacation was a much needed break and allowed me to get a few recipes down on paper, so here is the first of them with more to come. I hope to also share some details about our active vacation in a later post. For now,  I hope you enjoy the new recipe!

This recipe is adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Chicken Burgers, Thai Style in her book “It’s All Good”. It’s a great recipe book and it has a few go-to recipes that I make often. I have made a few changes to her recipe but wanted to give her credit for inspiring my modified creation. I have substituted turkey thigh meat for the ground chicken as it holds together better. I’ve also tried to simplify the burger recipe to make it more approachable.

I recommend you try her version as well, but here is mine and I hope you enjoy them in the lettuce wraps. I love lettuce wraps in the summer. The fresh crunch of the lettuce with these spices makes it a great summer dish – much lighter than your traditional burger on a bun. These are also great sliced into a brown rice bowl with similar toppings and some sautéed greens as a side.

I love the addition of the dressing and toppings as described below, but these lettuce wraps have a number of ingredients and steps and I usually prefer to keep my recipes simpler than this. So, here are some ideas on how to simplify my recipe if you don’t have the time:

  • Leave out the quinoa. Or a better option, once a month, make a large batch of quinoa and brown rice and freeze it in quart sized freezer bags. When you need some and don’t have time to prepare it, just thaw a frozen bag and you are set.
  • Buy a jar of roasted peppers so you don’t have to roast your own. You can toss extras on salads and sandwiches.
  • It would be a shame not to use homemade dressing, I think they taste SO much better than store bought, but an option would be to buy an “Asian style” dressing to use instead. I get it, we are all time crunched.
  • And, as mentioned below, you can make these burger patties ahead of time and let them marinate. You might even freeze the raw patties and pull them out as-needed.
  • Or, a better option that I’ve done a number of times: I double the recipe and then freeze the cooked burgers for a super quick week night meal. Grab the frozen burgers and rice or quinoa from the freezer in the morning and put them in the fridge to get them thawing. This helps speed up dinner that night!

Please share any other ideas you have for enjoying these burgers in the comment section. I love to hear new ideas!

THE WHAT:
1 cup cooked quinoa per package directions 
1 large head romaine lettuce (rinsed and dried) 
1 red, yellow or orange bell pepper – sliced in half long ways, de-seeded and rubbed with EVOO and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic salt 

BURGERS
1 lb ground turkey meat (dark thigh meat is best) 
1/4  cup ground flax seed  
2 finely diced scallions (green onions) – green stock included
1 Tablespoon Fish sauce (optional, but adds a great flavor)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
1/2 - 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

DRESSING 
Juice of 1 lime 
2 teaspoons fish sauce 
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt 
½ tsp sesame oil 
2 Tablespoons mild flavored oil like grapeseed oil 
1 Tablespoon honey
 

THE HOW:

  1. Begin preparing the quinoa per package directions. You cook quinoa just like rice (2:1 water to quinoa), and it cooks in only 15 minutes.
  2. In a medium bowl add all of the burger ingredients and squish together by hand to blend well.
  3. Press into 4-5 patties and set on plate. If you have time to let them marinate, stick the patties back in the fridge for 30 minutes (or as long as overnight). It really helps make them more flavorful, but they are good even if you throw them right on the grill.
  4. Place burger patties and the bell pepper halves on a hot grill.
  5. Cook the burgers 7 minutes the first side and approximately 6 minutes the second side.  Check the internal temperature of the burgers if you are unsure, but do your best not to overcook as this will dry them out.
  6. Check the peppers after 5 minutes. Flip and place on a cooler part of the grill if possible.
  7. Pull the peppers off after 5 minutes on the 2nd side. You want them soft and slightly dark, but not burned.
  8. While the burgers and peppers are grilling, add all dressing ingredients to a small bowl and whisk thoroughly. Set aside. (The dressing could be prepped the day before as well.)
  9. Once peppers cool a bit, you can peal the skin (if you like) and slice them long ways.
  10. Slice or cube your avocado.
  11. Once burgers are done, let them rest approx. 5 minutes and then slice into long strips.
  12. Assemble your lettuce wraps:
    • Place two lettuce leaves on a large plate
    • Add approx. ¼ cup of cooked quinoa to the bottom of each leaf
    • Add ½ of the sliced burger to each leaf
    • Add sliced roasted bell pepper and avocado
    • Drizzle each with approx. a Tablespoon of dressing
    • Repeat for each plate

 

Serves 4-5
ENJOY!

lettuce wrap burger_blog (2)