candacecooks

Eat well. You owe it to yourself.

Tag: feta cheese

Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Chicken Burgers

This post marks two things in the history of this blog: the second month of blogging (whoo, sticking to it!) and my first recipe using meat. The truth is, while I’m not a vegetarian, I eat very little meat when I’m cooking for myself. It’s expensive, the raw stuff kind of grosses me out, and sometimes meat is just not what it’s cracked up to be. (Don’t tell Ron Swanson.)

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But I recently remembered some chicken burgers I’d made last year, with salty feta cheese and Italian dressing, and I wanted to recreate it, but with more flavor and all-natural ingredients. It seemed like a good recipe for these cold winter months, reminiscent of summer without having to pull out a grill in the freezing cold air.

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These burgers turned out even better than I expected. It’s one of my favorite meals I’ve made in a while, filling and flavorful and different. It seems like a lot of steps, but it really comes together pretty easily and the results are so very worth it. You should make it tonight.

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Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Chicken Burgers

Makes 8 burgers

1 red pepper

1 large piece of bread

1/3 cup milk

1 lb. ground chicken (You can also substitute turkey if you wish)

1 egg, lightly beaten

½ onion, chopped

1-2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp olive oil

½ cup feta cheese

To roast the red pepper, turn your oven to broil and place the pepper on a baking pan on the top rack, flipping every 5 minutes until it is black and charred. While it’s cooking, tear your bread (it can be totally stale, that’s fine) into small pieces into a bowl and pour the milk over. To be honest, I didn’t measure; I just poured the milk over until all of the bread was soaked.

Cut the pepper in half and deseed, then gently peel the skin off – I was able to do this with my fingers – and chop into small pieces. Set aside.

Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in small pan and sauté the onions and garlic until soft and slightly browned.

Drain excess milk from bread. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. It will look gross. Be thankful I didn’t take any pictures of this.

Heat a large frying pan with a touch of olive oil on medium heat. Scoop the chicken mixture by 1/3 cup and drop onto the pan. Using your spatula, flatten it until it’s about three inches in diameter. Cook for 2 ½ – 3 minutes on each side. If desired, let rest in the pan, away from heat, for about two minutes for extra flavor and juiciness.

Serving suggestions: I served mine on a toasted bun with spring mix and avocado smashed with lime juice and garlic salt. I imagine that caramelized onions, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, or a myriad of other things would be delicious on this.

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Spicy Kale Salad

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For quite some time, if you asked me what the grossest thing I’ve ever eaten was, I would have responded kale chips. This point of distinction has now been taken over by some sort of animal intestines dish my grandfather made me try from a weird buffet in a small Missouri town when I was 16. I’m not sure if this is actual fact or not: I’ve heard that this particular town (Fredricktown) is the meth capital of Missouri. This is a fact: the state of Missouri is the meth capital of the world. Clearly, I make awesome decisions about what to eat and where to live.

But I digress. The kale chips – they were not great either. They were weirdly crispy and way too garlicky and no one in my family could eat them without making a face. So for years, I avoided kale. Not that it was that hard to avoid, but you know.

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Then I started seeing all this stuff about how healthy it is. It has lots of fiber, calcium and obscure vitamins like Vitamin K. It’s one of those foods people eat on a cleanse/detox juiced or blended into their smoothies. And listen – if you’re one of those people who do cleanses, I’m happy for you. I am. But three to seven days of eating veggie smoothies and weird waters with cayenne pepper and lemon juice and apple cider vinegar or whatever just sounds like my personal hell. I can’t imagine feeling good enough after that experience to make up for the days of awfulawfulawful. I like regular meals and real food and plain old water. (Actually, I really like strawberry basil water, try it sometime!)

What I’m saying with all of this is that I was quite dubious about kale. But I wanted to like it, so when I happened upon this recipe by Moorea Seal, of all people, I decided to give it a go. And, with a switching of cheeses, I happened to LOVE it. It’s enough for a light lunch by itself, although it’s great as a side as well. And, best of all, you get to eat kale in a healthy-ish way without being on a cleanse that makes you hate your life. (I would assume.)

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Confession: one time, I blatantly brought this salad to lunch in a Tupperware container with a friend at a local Italian restaurant, Cupini’s, because wanted to eat there but I also wanted to eat this salad. I sat outside, so that makes it a slightly better, right? It was fantastic, the perfect accompaniment to my favorite gnocchi with pesto. I only feel a little guilty.

Spicy Kale Salad

Adapted from Moorea Seal

Serves one

Note: I’ve bought kale both whole and already chopped and packaged. The ready-to-go stuff makes life easier, but the bag I got from Trader Joe’s was already starting to go slightly bad. It was salvageable, but I had to pick out some pieces. I haven’t had the freshness problem when I’ve bought it whole, and I chopped it up right when I got home from the store and kept it in an airtight container in the fridge. I’d recommend this – the taste is better, and you can pre-chop it if you want a quick lunch.

2 cups (or whereabouts) kale, chopped into manageable pieces

1 tsp. olive oil

Juice of half a lemon

½ tsp kosher salt

¼ tsp + more to taste crushed red pepper flakes

1 small garlic clove, minced

Handful of feta cheese

Toss all ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Note on the red pepper flakes: I prefer about ½ tsp, but that’s spicy enough to make my mouth burn a little. Start with very little and build from there.

Your turn: Do you have any awesome recipes for kale I should know about? What’s the grossest thing you’ve ever eaten?