Avocado & Chicken Burgers

jalapeno chicken burger

Oh how I love Monday lunch.  It’s the day of the week that my sister comes over to share a meal with me during her lunch break.  It’s just the two of us.  No husbands, no kids, no mom…just sister time.  Lately we have been watching the HBO series, Big, Little Lies.  It’s sooooo good!  We both read the book a few years ago and neither of us are disappointed with the writers of this series.  The cast is amazing.  Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgard and Adam Scott are all in this wonderfully addictive drama.  Wow!  Today, I made burgers for us to eat while we indulged in our latest obsession.  Healthy. Yummy. Gluten-free burgers.  Try them out.  They are deliciously guilt-free-kind of.  🙂

Makes 4-5 burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large or 2 small avocados
  • 1/2 tsp fresh cilantro-chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large jalapeno-seeds and ribs removed
  • 1 large clove garlic-minced
  • 1 tbsp raw agave nectar (do not use if you are following  a paleo or Whole30 diet)
  • 4 ounces goats cheese

Preheat oven to 375º and line a sheet pan with aluminum foil

Cut avocado/s in half and remove the seed.  Use a tablespoon to remove the avocado flesh and chop into 1″ pieces.  In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the avocado and ground chicken.  Mince garlic clove and add to the bowl.  Chop cilantro finely and add to the mix.  Add salt and pepper to your liking and gently mix together.  Form patties with your hands and place on sheet pan.  Once oven has heated to 375º, place pan on lower-middle rack in oven.  Bake for 15 minutes and then flip burgers over.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

While burgers are baking, dice the jalapeno pepper and place in a small bowl or ramekin.  Add the agave nectar, salt and pepper to taste, and stir.  Stir occasionally while burgers are baking.

To Serve:

Place burgers on a plate.  Top with a round of goats cheese and dress with sweetened jalapenos.

 

Italian Sausage & Cannellini Bean Stew

italian
Italian Sausage & Cannellini Bean Stew

Today was pretty low key and awesome.  After a leisurely morning catching up on things, the hubs and I decided to take a ride out to Saxpahaw.  We were both desiring brunch at The Eddy.  It’s one of those places that can make you feel a little uncool, because the servers, bartenders and most of the customers are bohemian/hipster and awesome.  I love it and can’t get enough of it.  The menu changes often, paying close attention to what’s local and what’s in season.  The people watching is a bonus, guilty pleasure of mine.

Anyway, after lunch, I stopped in at Left Bank Butchery.  It’s the local butcher that supplies pasture fed and slow-raised meats.  The Italian sausage was one of those things that I couldn’t pass up.  We usually eat chicken or turkey sausages, so this was a decadent treat, but life is short.  So tonight I made this stew using up items that I already had at the house and it turned out to be a winner, so I hope you will try it, too.

Ingredients:

  • 32 ounce Beef Broth (4 cups) (Gluten Free)
  • 1 small Yellow Onion diced
  • 1 medium Sweet Potato, peeled & cubed
  • 1 15 ounce can Cannellini Beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 28 ounce can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 pound Italian Sausage links whole
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped Spinach
  • 2 large Garlic Cloves diced
  • 1 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 tsp. chopped Parsley

Directions:

Add butter and olive oil to a large pot on medium-high heat.  Once butter has melted, add the sausage links. Cook for 3 minutes on each side.  Remove links and set aside.  Add onions to the grease and cook for 2-3 minutes until browned.  Add garlic and let cook for about a minute.  Stir often.  Add the beef broth, cannellini beans, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, red pepper, salt, pepper and sweet potato and bring to a high boil.  While heating, cut sausage links into approximately 2 inch rounds.  Add sausage and spinach back to the pot and turn heat to low.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  To serve, top stew with parmesan cheese, parsley and bread.

 

Cheesy Jalapeño Dip

OMG-let’s talk about the holidays for a moment.  It’s crazy everywhere I go.  I went to the grocery store at 7:30 am today and I still had to wait in line.  So let’s think about good things…like my recipe requirements for the holidays.

  • Must be spicy.
  • Inexpensive
  • Quick to make
  • Gluten & Peanut free food for my besties

When the holiday shopping and traffic begins to overwhelm you, go home and make this.

jalapeno-cheese-dip

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup of freshly chopped Jalapenos.  Remove the stems and seeds.  (It’s okay to leave a few, but remember that’s where the real heat comes from)
  • 1 cup freshly grated Extra Sharp Cheddar.  Do yourself a solid and don’t use the pre-shredded mess.  Enlist a teenager or a spouse to grate the cheese if you don’t want to do it.
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan/Romano blend.  I’m not as picky about grating this, but please do, if you can.
  • 2 cups room temperature cream cheese.  I use the lighter version, but all versions work great in this recipe.
  • 1 tbsp freshly chopped cilantro.  If you hate it  (as many of my dear friends do), substitute parsley.  It’s good for you.
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • Corn chips-yassssss!  Frito chips take me back to my childhood.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees while you are prepping everything.  It should be hot by the time you are finished with your mise en place.

  • Mix the cream cheese, mayonnaise, and sour cream together.  Blend in 3/4 cup of the cheddar, 1/4 cup Parmesan/Romano, jalapenos, and all but a pinch of the cilantro.
  • Transfer to a casserole dish.
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Uncover and add the rest of the cheese and broil for an additional 3-5 minutes.  Don’t walk away or it may burn.  You just want  a crunchy top.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cilantro on top of the hot casserole and serve hot with corn chips!  Yummy!