Monthly Archives: February 2011

Best Turkey Burger Ever

Seasoned Turkey Burger
Be patient.  The days are getting longer and the sun will be out longer for better dinner time photos very soon.  I'm also feeling apologetic about my cheap bun.  But excuses aside…

Last night Alyssa made the Best Turkey Burger I've ever had.  The secret is using top quality ground turkey.  Alyssa bought free range, "Kind to Animals" brand from Fresh Market, which isn't cheap.  $9 for 1.5 lbs.  But it's worth it to not have rubbery burgers.

I realize that it would be even kinder not to kill and eat the animals, but I'm still working on that.  I just need to be more convinced.  I reserved the book, "Eating Animals" that I'll be picking up soon from the library.  If I read something that motivates me, then so be it.

I will give credit to Allrecipes for the recipe, but truthfully, again, it's not so much the recipe but the quality of the main ingredient -turkey. 

Another tip:  use or make your own spicy or flavorful sauce.  I mixed olive oil mayonnaise with adobo sauce which was extremely tasty on this burger. 

Seasoned Turkey Burgers
Compliments of JennaDish

1 ½ lbs ground turkey (free range)
1 oz pkg dry onion soup mix
½ t pepper
1 ½ T soy sauce
big pinch garlic powder (optional – it’s already in soup mix)
1 egg lightly beaten

Mix, refrigerate 10 minutes, cook on medium low.  Be aware quality lean turkey, just like lean beef, is dry and cooking on high heat is not recommended.

Perfect Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut BreadPerfect Banana Nut Bread
Do you have any idea how many loaves of Banana Bread I've made?  And variations?  

Well, I doubt if I'll be trying anymore.  At least not in search of the perfect recipe.  This is it. 


I even used frozen bananas which I thought could make it too moist, but it worked.  Although it may explain why mine had to bake 60 minutes rather than 50 suggested in the recipe.  The great thing about baking longer is that the crust had the perfect amount of crunch.

The original Cook This Not That recipe uses Greek yogurt rather than sour cream.  Their recipe is 350 calories per serving (a serving is 1/4 of the loaf!) and 12 g fat.  I used fat free sour cream so mine may be slightly less fat and calories. 

Banana Nut Bread
Compliments of JennaDish

adapted from Cook This Not That


4 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream (or Greek Style Yogurt)
4 Tbsp butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (or walnuts)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350oF.  Butter a 9x5x3 loaf pan.

Combine the bananas, sour cream, butter, eggs, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl, stirring to blend.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, walnuts, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet banana mixture and stir until fully incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Bake on a low oven rack for about 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out clean.  Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan. Eat warm or at room temperature.



Ginger Pumpkin Bread

 Ginger Pumpkin Bread
Are you kidding me?  Another Pumpkin Bread Recipe? Yes, I'm still testing recipes, searching for my favorite.

The characteristics of this one is that, in my humble opinion, you can taste the pumpkin a bit more, it has more of a bread consistency than a cake, and …

Ginger Pumpkin Bread Sliced
it's a brighter orange than some others.  You use light brown sugar and only ground ginger as a spice, rather than cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg.  I like it.

I think this would be great served to guests or given as gifts in mini loaf pans.  And make them the day before and store covered in the pan, in the refrigerator to keep it moist.  The bright orange color makes for a nice presentation.

These were made in a 9" loaf pan rather than 8" therefore they look a little squatty, as my mother would say.  Use the 8" if you can.

Ginger Pumpkin Bread
Compliments JennaDish

from Martha Stewart

Serves 12

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus room-temperature butter for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree (1 3/4 cups)
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs; add flour mixture, and stir until just combined.

Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; invert pans and transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool completely.

To freeze, wrap in plastic wrap then foil. 

Barclay Wine

Radford Dale Vinum Africa Barclay
UPDATE:  Don't you hate it when you learn something about a product AFTER buying it?  I found an article about the basics of choosing a wine which said that the middle price range of $20-$50 is oftentimes the least value.  Guess what!  They were right.  My $25 and $30 were not better and maybe not as good as some of my grocery store $$12-$15 wine.  Hmm… I guess that's good news.

Got my wine delivery today from Barclay.  Had bought a Groupon from them: $25 for $75 in wine.  So I bought two $25 bottles and a $30 bottle that I wouldn't likely buy without the discount.  I usually drink Merlot but thought I'd expand my horizons to Shiraz blends and Cabernet.  To me, white wine tastes like sweetened sparkling water. Yuk

This package contains alcohol
I'm assuming our doorman wasn't intoxicated when this came so that's good. 

Lime Meltaways

Lime Meltaways



Lime Meltaways
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook


12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Grated zest of 2 limes
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, cream butter and 1/3 cup sugar until fluffy. Add lime zest, juice, and vanilla; beat until fluffy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt. Add to butter mixture, and beat on low speed until combined.

Between two 8-by-12-inch pieces of parchment paper, roll dough into two 1 1/4-inch-diameter logs. Chill at least 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment. Place remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Remove parchment from logs; slice dough into 1/8-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets, spaced 1 inch apart.

Bake cookies until barely golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, place cookies in the sugar-filled bag; toss to coat. Bake or freeze remaining dough. Store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Katie’s Chili Spaghetti

Chili Spaghetti
UPDATE: Dr. Goldstein won the People's Choice Award (most money raised for the arts) with his Texas Chili.  He was laying down some serious chili smack talk at the hospital.  "Real chili doesn't have beans.  Real chili doesn't have spaghetti.  I'm the Texas Chili expert.  You need to buy special ingredients.  Blah Blah Blah"  What's your name again?  Bubba Goldstein?  I'm just sayin'.

(I'm kidding.  Everyone loves Dr. Goldstein and is happy he won.  'Cause we'd have to live with the consequences for an entire year.)

And Dr. Megan won the Best Tasting by a panel of judges.

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What?  No heart-shaped cookies?  No chocolate-dipped strawberries?  Why Chili?

Well, today is the 1st Annual Nephrology Chili Cookoff Fundraiser.  And this is my offering (not for judging, but for selling).

Growing up in Indiana, seeing spaghetti or macaroni in chili is common.  But evidently people from other states, you know, foreigners, get freaked out about it.  Get over it and try some.  It's good, and filling!

I had this chili when I was around 18 or so and asked the cook (Katie) for the recipe.  I think – no, I know – I love this because it's a little sweet.  Nothing fancy here…just hamburger, onions, spaghetti, packaged chili mix, tomato juice, spicy chili beans and a little sugar.  I was so tempted to put some of my homemade chili powder in it but resisted.

Side Note:  Bought a Martha Stewart Dutch Oven over the weekend regular price $109 paid $44 at Macy's.  Some of the display pieces had chips so I'm guessing people don't like that.  Hence the sale.

Love it already.

Side Note: don't use anywhere near a whole package of spaghetti – you will be pulling it out of your ears.

Katie's Chili
Compliments of JennaDish

This dish will also do well in the crockpot.  After cooking ground beef and onions, cook all ingredients on low for for 3-4 hours. 

1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Medium onion, chopped
Large can tomato juice plus 1/2 the can of water
30 oz can Joan of Arc Spicy Chili Beans with liquid (or similar product)
1 1/2 pkgs McCormick Original Chili Seasoning Mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 package or little less of cooked spaghetti

Brown ground beef and onion, drain. Place in 5 quart Dutch Oven on medium heat.  Add all remaining ingredients except spaghetti and heat and stir until for about 20-30 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions.  Drain and add to chili and stir well.  Simmer another 10 minutes and serve. 

Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies

 Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies 
One of the most exciting cookies, in my opinion.  This is a Martha Stewart cookie, so I'll keep the official name, but if it were up to me, I'd rename these cookies because people will likely be put off by the idea of sprinkling pepper on a chocolate cookie.

I'd name these Cocoa Spice Cookies, or Fudgy Chocolate Spice cookies.  Because they taste rather fudgy or like a mini brownie with a teeny spicy kick.  The pepper does not taste like pepper straight out.  It blends with the chocolate well so that it's nicely muted.

Made these for our 1st Annual Nephrology Chili Cook Off at work.  Hoping to sell these and other desserts and lots of bowls of chili to raise money for the arts.

This type of cookies are called ice box cookies.  You make the dough and stick it in the fridge.  Quite complicated. This log looks like Tootsie Roll, definitely.

Cut cookies and sprinkle freshly ground pepper on each. 

Cool on cookie sheet and eat.  Done and done.


Chocolate Black Pepper Cookies
Compliments of JennaDish

from Martha Stewart's Cookies Cookbook

Makes about 4 dozen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon finely ground pepper, plus more for sprinkling
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon good-quality instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter , softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Coarse sanding sugar, for rolling


1.      Sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt, pepper, espresso powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl; set aside. 

2.     Put butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. 

3.     Turn out dough onto a piece of parchment paper, and roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Roll log in the parchment. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. 

4.     Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove log from parchment paper. Let soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. Roll log in sanding sugar, gently pressing down to adhere sugar to dough. Transfer log to a cutting board, and slice into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Place rounds on baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 1 inch apart. Sprinkle each round with freshly ground pepper. 

5.     Bake cookies until there is slight resistance when you lightly touch centers, about 10 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days. 


Mint Chocolate Delights

Mint Chocolate Delights


Nestle only makes mint chips available around Christmastime.  Lame, I know.  So I bought about 5 bags.  Yes, I horded them.  I hope you can find some because these are a mix of mint chips with dark chocolate chips which work really nicely.


Mint Chocolate Delights
Compliments of JennaDish

MAKES 5 DOZEN when using 1 measuring Tablespoon dough per cookie

from Nestle

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa (not dutch process)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened (use unsalted)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
10 oz. package Nestle Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt in small bowl.  Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually beat in flour mixture.  Stir in morsels.  Drop by well-rounded Tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets. (use Silpat or parchment paper for best results)

Bake for 11 to 13 minutes or until cookies are puffed and centers are set.  Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate
Well, this isn't a recipe, but more of a plug for Mexican Hot Chocolate.  I just discovered Abuelita's a few months ago. 

This disk makes 4 mugs of hot chocolate.  It's definitely not like baking chocolate, it's more like a mix of chocolate, spices and sugar pressed together.  You put milk in a pan on the stove on medium to medium low heat, put the disk in the milk and stir until it dissolves.  It smells like it has crushed cinnamon hots in the mix.  It tastes a little sugary spicy.  Love it.

Have some while you're watchin your favorite Disney movie.  Mine is Sleeping Beauty.

Creamy Coleslaw

Creamy Coleslaw
Cole Slaw.  It's not exciting.  But you gotta have it.  Goes with Sloppy Joes.  And barbecue.  And fried chicken.

I don't make coleslaw on a regular basis.  So I actually had to look up a recipe for it.  I tried Martha Stewart's Creamy Coleslaw but I wanted it to be a bit more creamy and sweet.  So I found a Bobby Flay recipe and threw in sour cream and a little bit more sugar. 

Next time I'll cut the veggies much smaller, to be more like KFC's. 

Creamy Coleslaw
Compliments of JennaDish

Adapted from Martha Stewart and Bobbly Flay

1/2 head green cabbage, cut thinly in shreds or chopped finely
2 small carrots or a handful of baby carrots, shredded or chopped in a food processor
2 scallions or 1 to 2 Tblsp onion, chopped or minced (optional)
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
2 Tblsp sour cream
3 Tblsp cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
2-4 teaspoons sugar
pinch of salt and ground pepper to taste (I used 1/2 t salt and it was too salty, so start with a pinch)
1/4 tsp celery seed or to taste (again, start small)

In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients except cabbage and carrots and scallions.   Mix in vegetables and toss well. Let stand at least 15 minutes at room temperature to soften cabbage, or cover and refrigerate up to one day.  Taste and adjust.