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Quick Dinner – Spinach & Feta Chicken Burgers

29 Apr

We are getting to that time of year when things start to get busier at our house. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones either. Outdoor chores like weeding the flower beds, mowing the grass and planting the garden come into play. With warmer weather also comes more outdoor activities – motorcycle rides, outdoor parties, weddings, graduation parties, camping, bicycle rides. That means less time spent at home, which translates to quick dinner options on the weekdays. I don’t want to be stressing about what to make for dinner, or punk out and make something that is quick, but completely unhealthy. Since I am on the path to healthier eating, I’ve been thinking up meal options that can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less, but are healthy, filling, and taste great. These burgers fit that bill. You get a burst of nutrient rich veggies from the spinach mixed into the burger, plus the addition of using more baby spinach in place of lettuce. The chicken is packed with protein but lower in fat than your traditional beef options, and frankly more flavorful than ground turkey. The feta cheese adds some dairy, and eliminates the need for additional salt since it helps flavor the meat. I used olive oil mayo that I spiced up with some wasabi sauce, giving the burger a little zing. It complimented the burger very well! Ciabatta rolls were a lovely change of pace from traditional burger buns, and could actually be skipped completely if you are looking to limit your intake of carbs, serving it over a bed of baby spinach with a little smear of the wasabi mayo. We enjoyed these with a large serving of garden salad, and it was delicious!

spinach & feta chicken burgers

Spinach & Feta Chicken Burgers

makes 4  1/4lb burgers 

1lb ground chicken

4oz feta cheese crumbles

1 1/2 cups baby spinach, torn into smaller pieces

1 small shallot, minced

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine all of your ingredients in a bowl, and form into 4 1/4lb burger patties. Pan fry – no additional oil – or grill until cooked all the way through, 10-15 minutes. Serve on toasted ciabatta bread with baby spinach and wasabi mayo. Serve with a garden salad for a light and healthy dinner! Also great for lunch!

Boring lunch fix! Spinach & Cheese Toasts!

19 Feb

I’m in a slump. A winter time lunch slump. I also think I’m, for lack of a better term, bored. I hate the word bored, but I’ve been finding things for myself to do. On a whim I colored my whole brunette head a bright red. Because I finally found a shade of red that said HEY! PICK ME! You’ll look fabulous!!! I love it.

red head girl

But back to the lunch slump….I’m trying to avoid eating overprocessed deli meats….and to be honest I’ve burned out a little from sandwiches. Remove the deli meats and you are left with a cheese sandwich, pb & j, tuna or chicken salad…you see where I’m going. BORING. Don’t get me wrong. I love me some pb & j, especially when the J is homemade strawberry jam. But, well, it’s still boring. Monday – Friday, I’m a working stiff and I have got to eat lunch. My coworkers do not deserve to be subjected to me being hangry.  On the weekends, it’s not a requirement for me to eat lunch since I usually whip up a substantial breakfast. But I’ve certainly got a better set up at home for making a meal than I do at work. At work, we’ve got a toaster, fridge, and microwave. That limits my lunch choices. Since I’m trying to eat healthier, incorporate more veggies, and really stick to eating whole grain products as much as I can, the Spinach & Cheese Toasts lunch was born! It’s a pretty simple set up – whole grain bread, baby spinach, cheese & pepper. Yep. That’s it. And damn…it’s GOOD! I’m getting some veggies into the meal, the whole grain (whole grain as in I can SEE the grains. Not “whole grain” where everything is milled into a fine dust of submission) helps keep me full, and the cheese makes me feel like I’m eating something bad for me, but I’m getting a serving of dairy. To round this out a little and make it feel more like a meal, I have some marinated mushrooms along side it. Next up, I’m going to quick pickle some shrimp and have those with it for an added boost of protein and yummy, citrus laden refreshing flavor! (yes, I’ll post the recipe if my quick pickling tastes yummy like I envision it will!)

spinach & cheese toasts

So, here’s the “recipe”

2 slices whole grain, crusty bread – toasted

1/2 cup baby spinach

2 slices good deli cheese or enough slices of block cheese to cover 2 slices of bread

Put a layer of spinach on each piece of toast, topping with your cheese and a sprinkling of pepper. For optimum results, place under a broiler for a few minutes to get the cheese nice and melty, wilting the spinach a little. If you are limited and only have a microwave, zap is for 45 seconds to melt the cheese. Enjoy!

Refreshing & healthy lunch idea – Avocado Egg Salad

10 Sep

The avocado is another one of those super foods. There are a lot of people who dismiss it from their diets because of its high calorie content. I on the other hand love it and am trying to sub it in for mayo whenever I can. I decided to give it a whirl in my egg salad sandwich for lunch. I’m overrun with fresh eggs from my chickens, so I needed another option to eat them all up! Wow, am I glad I subbed the mayo here! It’s fantastic. It was filling and flavorful, even without having all the yolk in it. I enjoyed it on a Syrian roll, but it would be fantastic on crackers, toasted french bread, or even in a salad. The recipe below? It’s one like my Bubba or mom would have written up because there aren’t really any exact measurements. You have to season it to your own tastes. So use it as a guideline, a starting point for you to jump off with your own avocado egg salad flavor. But most of all, enjoy it! I use a potato ricer when I make my egg salad because it gets everything nice and creamy.You can chop all this by hand if you want, or toss it into a food processor and pulse a couple of times until everything is combined.

Avocado Egg Salad

makes 2-3 sandwiches

4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled

1/2 ripe avocado

lemon juice to taste

garlic salt & pepper to taste

Start out by cutting 2 of the hard-boiled eggs in half and disposing of the egg yolks (I give mine to my dog, it makes his coat nice and shiny and he loves the taste). Place the whole eggs, egg whites and avocado into a potato ricer that has been placed over a bowl. Press down. Clean off any additional egg and avocado from the ricer. Season with garlic salt & pepper to your liking, and add a squirt of lemon juice. Stir to combine. Generously spread onto the bread of your choice and serve.

Note: Be sure to cover tightly when storing any leftovers. I place a piece of saran wrap snugly against the egg salad to avoid any possible discoloration of the avocado.

Another take on the Avocado Sandwich – the BLTAE

12 Jun

I bet you are wondering – what in the hell is a BLTAE??? Well, it’s a new twist on the Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwich. But with some avocado and hard-boiled egg added for extra depth of delicious flavor. It’s similar to another avocado laden sandwich I posted last year that is pretty fantastic. But this one is on a different level because of the bacon addition. Bacon AND avocado? yowza. We ate these up for a quick easy dinner with a side of gnocchi that I sautéed with some chives and whole milk ricotta. For me this was bliss on a plate. A great lunch option too. It’s such a simple meal, but so wholesome and filling. And with it being so quick, it’s great for those days that you either don’t feel like doing legit cooking, or you forgot to thaw something.

BLTAE Sandwich

Makes 3 sandwiches

avocado mash – flesh from 1 avocado, splash of lemon or lime juice, a shake or two of garlic salt and 4 green onions (white parts and some green) sliced thin. Mash it all up to combine.

3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and sliced into moons

2 tomatoes, sliced

12 slices bacon, cooked – 4 per sandwich (I use the precooked variety and just cook it up quickly)

6 slices toasted italian bread

Spread a healthy portion of the avocado mash on one slice of bread per sandwich. Place a layer of hard-boiled eggs, then 4 slices of bacon. Top with a layer of tomato slices and add the second slice of bread. Slice and enjoy!

For my photos, there is no tomato – I don’t eat actual tomatoes, just everything tomato BUT a tomato. I know, I’m weird. Whatever.