Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Florentine Burgers

I came up with this recipe last summer when I had a ton of spinach from Costco and really good grated Parmesan cheese from Whole Foods Market.  It periodically resurfaces on Pinterest , so I thought I'd share it here.  It's a thrill when an original recipe gets repinned!  Even more of a thrill when it is one of my healthier recipes.

Both the kids (ages 11 & 13) liked these enough to reheat the leftovers - truly the highest of praise from my children!  Best quote "Mom, these burgers are green...are they supposed to be green?"

Florentine burgers:
In a food processor, blend bowl full of baby spinach (10-12oz bag) with 4 roasted garlic cloves (you can use fresh - flavor will be sharper), 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 large spoonful Greek yogurt (you choose the fat content - I like 2% if the turkey is very lean), 1 egg until just combined.
Add 1 pkg ground turkey (A 1# bubble pack or equivalent - the less fat content the better). Pulse until blended. Stir in S (salt) and P (pepper) "to taste" (don't taste raw meat, right? you know that)

Two cooking methods:
1. Scoop turkey mixture with ice cream scoop (use large regular scoop for burgers and a small scoop for meatballs).  Place scoop of turkey mixture into shallow bowl filled with panko crumbs. Gently coat (you really just have to use the tools God gave you - your hands!) and let burgers rest on a plate while you prep the rest of the meat.
Cover the bottom of a cast iron skillet on medium-high heat with canola oil (I recommend canola here because it holds a high heat for quick cooking and it does not impart a flavor on the burger - keeping the spinach flavor bright and fresh). Flatten burger ball slightly to form a fat patty.  Turn heat down to medium and cook patties ~4 min each side (internal temp of 160 degrees F). Repeat until all burgers are made.
2. See #1, omit panko. Place burger ball in seasoned cast iron skillet (can use non-stick). Cook ~4 min each side until done (internal temp of 160 degrees F). Repeat until all burgers are made.
Serve immediately with chopped tomato and fresh basil tossed in olive oil and S&P and/or basil aioli.


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Muffins For the Week

This muffin recipe is a keeper.  Full of flavor and fiber.  A great choice for a carb in the morning, alongside soup at a meal, or for a needed afternoon snack.  My mom says they are good to her blood sugar and they freeze well too.

I've tried substitutions, like leaving out the scant 1/4 cup oil, but they get too dry too fast.  My usual substitution is blueberries for chocolate chips.  Because Chris, my husband, is allergic to nuts I usually leave those out, BUT when I do include nuts I always make sure the nuts are roasted before stirring them into the batter.  Sometimes I use whole wheat pastry flour for all the flour or part.  Oh yes, these are Katie and Edward approved, my children love these especially when they are mini-sized (set timer to check mini muffins at 8-10 minutes).

If you can find Bob's Red Mill products, that's the brand of wheat bran I use.

Thank you Eating Well magazine this recipe is a keeper.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


One of the first things my husband, Chris, and I prepared together, and still do to this day, is anything that needs pizza dough - calzones, stromboli, bread sticks, pizza...

Chris has experience in this field.  When we met he worked at a local pizza shop making pizzas.  One of our first dates included a pizza ordered from his shop.  The guys he worked with thought it would be funny to pull a prank and cover the pizza with cayenne..not so funny then, hilarious now.

I make my dough in a bread maker. It always produces a reliable dough every single time.  Here is the recipe for pizza dough straight from the recipe booklet that came with the Westbend® bread maker (a gift from my sister, Heather over 20 years ago) and step by step instructions on making Stromboli.  I double the dough recipe so that we always have one to give and one eat ourselves.

One stromboli feeds 4-5 people.

Original Stromboli

1 recipe pizza dough for 12-14 inch crust, doubled (or make your favorite, or purchase at Whole Foods Market)
12-15 thin slices sandwich pepperoni
12-15 slices sweet capicola
4-5 slices prosciutto
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
8-10 very thin slices provolone cheese (Sargento® Very Thin Slice)
1-2 Tablespoons, or to taste, seasoning blend (Mrs. Dash® Tomato, Basil, Garlic Seasoning Blend)
1 egg, scrambled
parmesan cheese for sprinkling
Kosher salt

1. Preheat your oven to the "warm" setting.*

2. On a floured surface roll out dough to roughly 12" x 16" rectangle - this need not be a pretty rectangle - the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. At this point you may transfer the dough to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, or wait until assembly is finished to move the stromboli.

3. Starting along the edge of the 16 inch side lay pepperoni in a row.  I only overlap the slices slightly, but if you like more meat - add more.Repeat this mid-way up the dough.

4. Cover the pepp with the capicola. Cover the capicola with the prosciutto.  Cover the meats with the provolone slices.  Sprinkle the whole rectangle with the mozzerella, parmesan and finally Mrs. Dash®.

5. Being careful to keep the filling in place, at the same 16 inch long end roll the stromboli until the filling is completely covered and the seam is pointing down.  At this point you may leave the stromboli in a long cylinder or grasp both ends and pull them toward you to create a horseshoe.  Pinch the ends shut, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and kosher salt to taste. Lastly, snip 1.5 inch slits in the top of the stromboli every 2-3 inches.

6. Place the stromboli in the warm oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the Stromboli and turn oven up to 425 degrees F.  When the oven is preheated put the stromboli back in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until outside is golden brown.  Remove Stromboli from oven, let sit 3-5 minutes, cut and serve immediately with red sauce.

Stromboli - Chicken Parmesan 

Using the Original Stromboli recipe, omit all meats and replace with the following chicken parmesan
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded 1/4" thin OR sliced in half horizontally
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup canola oil
In a large skillet heat oil on medium heat.

In a large resealable bag place flour, cheese, salt and pepper, shake to mix well.  Add chicken, one piece at a time to the bag and coat.  Remove the chicken and let rest on a plate.  Finish coating the rest of the chicken.  Place one layer of breaded chicken in hot oil.  Cook approximately 4-5 minutes on both sides until the internal temperature reached 165 degrees F.  Remove to paper towel lined platter.  Repeat until all chicken is cooked.  Cut chicken into long pieces - about 4-5 slices per breast.  Follow directions for assembly and baking.

Stromboli - Cheeseburger

Using the Original Stromboli recipe, omit all meat and replace with 3/4-1 pound ground beef round, browned and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Omit 1 - 1 1/2 cups of shredded mozzarella with shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Follow directions for assembly and baking.

*You can skip the warm oven step and preheat immediately to 425 degrees F if you are in a hurry.  The dough will be a "breadier" consistency.