Beach Eats: Greek Lamb Burgers

Greek Lamb Burgers Ready to switch it up at your next BBQ? Lamb burgers may not be ‘lighter’ than the usual beef burger but the toppings are healthier and easier on the stomach than the typical gooey cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, red onion, bacon, etc. Also, if you have never tried lamb it has much more flavor than beef or turkey.

Makes 4 burgers or 6 sliders.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs of fresh, grass-fed ground lamb
  • 2 oz feta cheese
  • A jar of sundried tomato
  • 3 eggs
  • A bunch of fresh basil
  • Arugula
  • 1 plum tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Pita bread (enough to use as ‘buns’)

Break up feta into bit sized pieces (if it’s crumbled, skip this step). Set aside.

Chop up sundried tomatoes, slice plum tomato, slice cucumbers, chop up basil. Set all aside.

In a large bowl combine ground lamb, almost all of the feta (save some for toppings later), sundried tomatoes, and basil. Add 3 eggs and mix together until all ingredients are distributed throughout lamb meat.

Form patties and let them set on a baking sheet lined with wax paper.

Heat up grill.

Grill lamb burgers until thoroughly cooked, probably around 30 minutes. Lamb takes a little longer than beef to cook. Best to let them cook slowly on lower heat to get a nice smokey flavor.

Meanwhile, cut pita bread into ‘buns’.

When the burgers are done, dress burgers with arugula, tomato, cucumbers and leftover feta. You can also add some mayo or tahini sauce to the buns but I thought the burger was juicy and flavorful enough on it’s own.

Suggested side: Grilled Corn on the Cob

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Super Food: Avocado

Post-turkey I’ve been craving anything green and fresh. So, no spectacular self-made recipes this week just lots of salads with drumroll…..

AVOCADO.

I love this fruit. Excuse me, SUPER fruit. With potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamin K, as well as good-for-you-fats that help lower cholesterol—if you aren’t eating avocados you really should rethink your diet.

What’s in an Avocado?

From avocado.org

There are so many ways to eat an avocado—adding slices to salads, chopping up a quarter and sprinkling it in soup, mashing it up to create a guac-spread for sandwiches, or just making a meal out of the fruit itself.

Here are some recipe ideas for making the most out of this creamy fresh food:

Avocado Salad- 3 Ways

From A Beautiful Mess

Orange and Avocado Salad

From Eating Well

Avocado Rolls

From Family Fresh Cooking

Baked Avocado

From Mele Cotte

Ultimate Guacamole

From All Recipes

If you want to try something different I also found a recipe for avocado ice cream, which is apparently a norm in Brazil.

PS. Did anyone count how many times I used the word Avocado in this post? haha

Crock Pot Chicken Enchiladas

The crock pot has become my new favorite kitchen appliance. Last week I made homemade applesauce with freshly picked apples and this week I threw together a filling for chicken enchiladas. Chicken enchiladas are one of my favorite dishes to make but can be more time consuming than making lasgana! Using a crockpot simplifies the recipe. I came up with this one on my own so I hope y’all enjoy. This recipe makes 12 enchiladas. Since I only had one baking pan I froze the rest of the filling to add to rice for meals next week.

Ingredients

  • 1lb of chicken breasts (I used frozen)
  • 1 package of Trader Joe’s Frozen Fire-Roasted Peppers and Onions (I used almost the whole bag, saved some to add to a sandwich later this week)
  • 2 14 oz. cans of Trader Joe’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes with Green Chillies
  • 1 14 oz. can of Trader Joe’s Black Beans
  • A BUNCH of spices- Cumin, black pepper, sea salt, smoked paprika, chilli powder, and cinnamon (trust me)
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 14 oz. jars of salsa (enchiladas sauce is ok as well, but I like chunky salsa)

Step-by-Step

Toss the first four ingredients in the crock pot and then add spices. I don’t measure out the spices so I’ll describe my spicing process- I sprinkle on lots of cumin, stir and sprinkle on more. Then I shake on some black pepper, a pinch of salt (salt brings out flavors of other spices so you do not need much), a light sprinkle of smoked paprika, a light sprinkle of chilli powder and a tap-tap of cinnamon (to balance out the hot & smokey flavors) and then stir. Crank up the heat to high, go run some errands, watch two movies or whatever for three hours.

I checked on the crock pot at the three-hour mark and let it cook for another hour, but I also used frozen chicken and put the pot on high heat. Crock pot cooking times can be tricky because it really depends on how new your pot is and whether you meats are frozen or thawed.

After the chicken was cooked through I pulled it apart with a fork and stirred everything together.

Turn off the crock pot and pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat the bottom of a large baking pan with your salsa. On a separate plate assemble each enchilada.

Lay out a flour tortilla on the plate, sprinkle a line of shredded cheese down the middle of the tortilla and then scoop out a portion of the chicken filling. Roll up the tortilla and place seam-down in the salsa-coated baking pan.

Continue until you have all the enchiladas lined up in the pan.

Then cover the top of the tortillas with salsa depending on how saucy you like your enchiladas. Add a layer of shredded cheese and then cover the pan with aluminum foil.

Pop the pan in the oven for 20 minutes.  Optional: take the aluminum foil off after 15 minutes to let the cheese get a little crispy.

If you want to dress up your enchiladas I suggest serving them with freshly chopped cilantro.

Easy-peasy, right? Enjoy!

Sugar Snap and Snow Pea Stir Fry

I try to take advantage of my time on Sunday evenings and make a healthy meal that I can eat for a few days (instead of bringing frozen meals or PB&J to work for lunch). With the warmer weather I’ve been craving more fresh food so I searched through my past issues of Vegetarian Times and found this Asian stir-fry. The ingredients included things like sesame oil, garlic-lime sauce, cornstarch and lots of veggies (goodbye, money), so I changed it up a bit to fit what I already had, scooped up a coupon for Whole Foods that I found lying around my house and headed to the market.

Here’s the instructions and the real recipe.

Now, for my twenty-something budget friendlier adaptation:

  • 1 Teaspoon Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon (or to taste) chili powder
  • ¼ of a Lime (for juice)
  • 2 Tbs Soy-Ginger Sauce (see photo below)
  • 1 Teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, halved, cut into wedges, and pulled apart (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas
  • 8 oz. snow pea pods
  • 8 green onions cut into 1-inch pieces

I tried to replicate the sauce/seasons by mixing up the following sauce. I will warn you that I do not follow measurements closely. I kind of just guesstimate and things usually turn out fine. For sharing purposes I’ll try to record the measurements.

To cancel out the recipe’s need for fresh ginger I found this gem of a sauce in Whole Foods (what 23-year-old can afford to keep their kitchen stocked with fresh ginger).

So, roll up your sleeves Chef, you are about to make a sauce from sort-of scratch (not as scary as it sounds). First, add a little bit of that sauce then the minced garlic, then squeeze in a quarter of those limes you bought for your weekend cocktails—whisk all that together then add the flour. Whisk that up really good so that there aren’t  any lumps of flour. Finally add chili powder to taste. Slowly pour the sauce into the cooked stir-fry (link for recipe instructions is above).

Voilà! Take that, Lean Cuisine!