Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers

What do you do when one of your readers asks about a specific genre of recipes? You try to accommodate, right? Any good blogger should. At the same time, when a new follower inquired as to what specific diabetic friendly recipes I offered, I was a bit embarrassed to not be able to offer any immediate suggestions. Which was even more upsetting when I consider how this has plagued my own family, more specifically, my grandmother who alongside my mom pretty much raised me in the kitchen.

Grilled Chicken Tandoori Burgers 3

Starting today, I will make an effort to provide more diabetic friendly recipes and add a specific tag for recipes more inclined to those who struggle with still wanting to eat well, but not sacrifice flavor. Grandma was one of those women. She lived food. She loved it. And each ounce of love was like a tangible thing we could taste, cooked into every bite of her meal. But as any diabetic knows, you’ve got to watch your sugar, and often that may mean sacrificing those oh-so-glorious carbs, which often break down into nothing more than simple sugars we don’t actually need.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers

Unleavened naan bread is a much more diabetic friendly option than traditional burger buns. The burgers are made from ground chicken, a much leaner meat than ground beef, with an amazing array of different spices that while seeming so different, bring their A (+) game. These ‘tandoori’ style burgers are topped with fresh veggies, and finished off with a healthy mint yogurt sauce in lieu of the traditional mayo.

So much tastier. So much yum in each bite. Calories and sugars reduced, yet every ounce of flavor is easily tripled.

Grilled Tandoori Chicken Burgers

Grilled Chicken Tandoori Burgers 4

1 1/2 lbs ground chicken breast
4 green onions, sliced thinly
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp  lemon juice
1 tbsp paprika
2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
Naan bread
cucumber, thinly sliced
cilantro leaves
red onion, thinly sliced

Mint Yogurt Sauce

1 heaping cup Greek yogurt
1 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

1. Put the chicken, green onions, and all of the spices in a bowl and mix well. Form into 4 patties.
2. Mix the yogurt sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
3. Cook the Tandoori Chicken Burgers on a preheated grill over medium-medium high heat, roughly 3 minutes per side. Throw the Naan bread on the grill during the last few minutes, flipping once, to warm through.
4. Top the cooked burgers with a few sliced cucumbers, red onion, and a generous handful of cilantro.
5. Either add a healthy dollop of yogurt sauce to the top or spread it onto the insides of the naan bread.

Mexican Street Fries with Salsa Ketchup

Today we’ve got another recipe with South of The Border flavors, but today’s isn’t quite as ‘authentic’ as our Papusas with Salsa Roja from last week.

 Mexican Street Fries & Salsa Ketchup 2

We love a good fry recipe. The crispier the better! And while I often use store bought frozen fries, I always keep a bag or two of a variety of potatoes on hand for those times when I’m craving a little something down-home and starchy, and I’ve got the time not only to make it from scratch, but also to do a little bit more.

These Mexican street fries fit the bill perfectly. Sliced thin, so they are extra crispy, and seasoned to fiesta-flavored perfection they’re the perfect embodiment of technique and flavor working hand in hand. Pair them with the salsa ketchup, for the perfect bit of heat and sweet.

One bite, and you might just find yourself saying, ‘ole’!

Mexican Street Fries with Salsa Ketchup

Mexican Street Fries & Salsa Ketchup

2 medium russet potatoes, roughly 1 lb
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp chipotle chili pepper, or sub a dash of cayenne

Salsa Ketchup

3 tbsp ketchup
3 tbsp salsa
hot sauce, to taste (optional)

mayonnaise (optional)

Directions

1.Cut the potatoes into thin fries, no wider than 1/4 inch.
2. Add all of the ingredients except the cut fries to a large bowl and stir together until evenly incorporated. Add the fries and gently toss until they’re evenly coated.
3. Spread  the seasoned potatoes out evenly over a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake them at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes. Toss and stir the fries, making sure to keep them in a single layer, and return them to the oven to bake for an additional 10 minutes. If you like crispier fries, then place them under the broiler at this point, just until they’re sufficiently golden and crispy.
4. To make the ketchup, stir the ketchup and salsa together in a small bowl. Taste it, you can leave it as is or add more salsa for more of that ‘salsa’ flavor, or add more ketchup for more of a ‘ketchup’ taste. Add in the hot sauce, to taste. You can also add mayonnaise for a creamy version, a salsa ketchup fry sauce of sorts.

recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

Why order take-out, when you can make your own perfectly crisped egg rolls right at home and serve them with a yummy side of sauce? Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce are even better than take out. They’re downright gourmet.

Crispy Homemade Egg Rolls with a Sesame Ginger Dipping Sauce

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Pupusas with Salsa Roja (El Salvadorian Grilled Cheese with Tomato Soup)

Grilled cheese is one of the quintessential comfort foods. Even better? It’s one of those things that’s just as good, no matter how old you get, that’s just as comforting in its original, unaltered form ( just like Mama made it) or growing with you into more ‘gourmet’ versions. And we’ve run the gauntlet, bringing you all different varieties- especially these Pupusas with Salsa Roja

 Pupusas with Salsa Roja

But we’re not the only country who’s on top of their grilled cheese game. Far from it.

Today we bring you pupusas, straight from the streets of El Salvador.

These traditional Salvadorian ‘grilled cheese’ consist of a thick, handmade corn tortilla that’s typically filled with a blend of meat and/or cheeses. But, of course, we’re focusing on the cheeses. And it may sound hard to replicate, but it’s surprisingly easy, and affordable.

They do take a teensy bit of work, but they’re well worth the time. They’re a perfect snack, or main meal. Even better? Dip it in a fresh bowl of salsa roja, a seasoned tomato sauce that resembles a runnier version of tomato soup, but with kick butt flavors.

So, let’s recap, Pupusas are cheap and cheerful, exceptionally hearty, stuffed and griddled disks of corn tortilla oozing, gooey cheese induced euphoria that originated in El Salvador.

Use our recipe to bring a batch to your house, and enjoy watching the face-splitting smiles that spread across their faces.

Pupusas

Pupusas with Salsa Roja

2 cups masa harina
1 ½ – 1 ¾ cups warm water
½ tsp. salt

Filling

1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
½ cup cotija cheese, crumbled or shredded

Directions

Pupusas with Salsa Roja

1. In a large bowl, mix the masa, salt and 1 ½ cups water together with your hands to make a dough.
2. Dump the dough onto the counter. If you press it and it cracks, you need to knead in more water.
3. You’ll know you have enough water when you press it and it looks smooth.
4. Break off a handful of dough and roll it into a ball. Slightly flatten the ball and make an indention in the dough. Add about a tablespoon of the cheeses that have been mixed together.
5. Fold the dough like a taco and press together. Fold in the opposite ends and press together.
6. Set the dough on the counter and press the dough together to cover the filling. Carefully flatten it out into a ¼-inch thick disc. Don’t press too hard or the filling will poke through the dough.
7. Continue with the remaining dough.
8. Heat a skillet or griddle over medium to medium-high heat. Place pupusas on the skillet in a single layer. Cook for 5 minutes, until brown.
9. Flip. Continue cooking 5 more minutes. Remove from skillet and cook remaining pupusas. Serve with Salsa Roja for dipping.

Salsa Roja

papusas 6

3 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup chopped white onion
1-2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 tsp oregano
salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and pepper and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the onion is translucent.
2. Stir in the tomatoes and the oregano and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool a bit.
3. Once the mixture has cooled, puree the tomato ‘sauce’ in a blender until smooth, adding a little water if needed. Add in salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the chopped cilantro and serve.

pupusa recipe adapted from Zestuous

Sous Chef Sunday: Roast Beef & Horseradish Dijon Cream Cheese Snack Crackers

Just the right amount of creamy and crunchy textures, with a little zip of horseradish and the tang of gourmet mustard– Roast Beef & Horseradish Dijon Cream Cheese Snack Crackers couldn’t be more perfect. These feisty little bites make a great appetizer for any gathering, an easily pack-able lunch or a quick grab and go snack.

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Shrimp Salad

Nows when I’m gonna need to call all my other bargain shoppers to the table. I’m sure there’s a fair number of you who ( like I did for w a y too long ) think seafood, or at least quality seafood is out of your budget. Well let me just tell ha that that ain’t the case, at least it’s not the case if you’re willing to bide your time, wait for a good sale, and then stock up. Even then though, I can’t always swing the grocery money enough to actually stock up. That being said, I do keep my eyes peeled for when my local grocery’s brand of salad shrimp go on a great sale. For just a few bucks I can grab a few bags and almost never feel guilty about it.

 Shrimp Salad 2

Now salad shrimp are a bit smaller, ok — A LOT smaller than their often more expensive, uncooked counterparts, But they’re absolutely perfect for recipes/meals like this shrimp salad. What can I say? We all love us some shrimps, so even if there’s no fancy shrimp cocktail for us I’m all about finding the wiggle room between fancy and none.

Shrimp Salad

This is salad makes a perfect sandwich ‘meal’. Even better? If I make it for lunch the sons think we’re oh-so fancy, and they have no idea just how simple it really is.

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad 3

1 lb cooked shrimp, peeled and de-veined 1⁄2 cup mayonnaise 1⁄3 cup chopped celery 1⁄4 cup finely diced onion 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning 2 teaspoons lemon juice 1⁄4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions

1. Cut shrimp in half, or just break them up a bit later on when you stir everything together. In a medium sized bowl, combine the shrimp with the remaining ingredients. Stir just until everything’s evenly incorporated. Chill for an hour. Serve the prepared, chilled shrimp salad on bed of lettuce as a sandwich on toasted bread.

Southwestern Pepper Jack Salad with Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing

Do you ever find yourself perusing Pinterest, or Facebook, or even sitting in a lobby flipping through a copy of Taste of Home only to see yet another salad ‘meal’ recipe and just keep flipping (or scrolling) because you just know either you’ll be the only one who likes it or it’s got a 50/50 shot at best? I can’t tell you how many times this has been me. If it’s been you too, then this is the salad recipe for you. This salad and dressing are packing the protein and the dressing is so yummy they’re not even gonna guess it’s got a good for em base.

 Southwestern Pepper Jack Salad With A Cool Avocado Dressing

Let the little bit of spice give ’em a kick in the pants. After all hasn’t Mom always told you to eat your greens? They’re good for you. Geez! Sorry. Seriously, sorry. Sometimes the mom in me just comes waltzing right on out and into my conversations. There’s really no stopping it. But back to topic. Healthy AND tasty.

Southwestern Pepper Jack Salad with Cool Creamy Avocado Dressing

This is a salad for the people. The people who love salad. The people who suffer through salad. And especially the people who take one look at a salad and stick there nose up in the air because a salad can’t possibly be a satisfying meal.

Give it a try, and tell me if it doesn’t leave em asking for more 🙂 Top it with tortilla strips or a few crushed tortilla chips for that crunchy piese de résistance. And then try to hide the smirk while you politely refrain from telling them ‘I told you so’. Nope, scratch that. You can totally smirk.

Southwestern Pepper Jack Salad with Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing

Southwestern Pepper Jack Salad with Cool Avocado Dressing

For the Southwest Salad

1 head romaine lettuce, roughly chopped
1 cup of drained can corn or thawed frozen corn
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup diced roma tomatoes
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup grated pepper jack cheese, or more to taste
crispy tortilla strips or tortilla chips

For the Creamy Avocado Salsa Dressing

1 small avocado, peeled and sliced
1 small jalapeno, seeded, de-veined and roughly chopped, optional
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro
1/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup mild or medium salsa
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sugar
juice from 1 lime
1/4 tsp salt
1/4- 1/2 tsp cumin
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
tiniest of dashes of cayenne pepper, optional

Directions

1. Add all of the Creamy Avocado Salad Dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping the sides down as needed. If using it, add in the cayenne pepper before adding additional salt and pepper to taste. If your dressing is too thick, then add in a little extra milk and stir until you’re reached the desired consistency. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to use.
2. Add salad ingredients to a large bowl, except for the tortilla strips/chips,  and toss to combine.
3. Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing or drizzle dressing over individual servings, especially if you’re not planning to polish off the entire salad in one meal.
4. Garnish the salad, or servings, with tortilla strips, or tortilla chips and freshly cracked salt and pepper.

Are your hungry, hungry omnivores still looking for more protein and/or a denser dish? Serve it topped with grilled chicken strips and they’ll love it.

recipe adapted from Carlsbad Cravings

Sous Chef Sunday: Big Mac Pizza

Wanna add some ‘wow’ into your family’s next pizza night? Our Big Mac Pizza is sure to do the trick. The sons could not gt over the fact that it tasted just. like. the sandwich. It’s pretty epic. The whole concept combines two of their most favorite things: fast food & pizza. And Mom’s actually letting them have both? IN THE SAME NIGHT?? They were on cloud 9, and I’m pretty sure if they’d floated any higher they would’ve floated away.

Big Mac Pizza

You don’t have to go super fancy just to change things up a bit. This pizza is a fun twist, but it’s still family friendly, and easy to assemble. And I’ll let you in on a little secret I discovered during the making of this dish. You wanna get the kids in the kitchen fast? Want them to actually want to help you fix dinner? WITHOUT complaining? Put the words ‘big mac’ in the name of whatever you’re having. Problem solved 🙂

Big Mac Pizza

Big Mac Pizza 2

pizza dough, homemade, store-bought, or pre made will all work
Olive oil (if you’re using fresh dough)
Thousand Island salad dressing
6-8 slices of yellow American cheese
1/2 – 3/4 lb. ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1-2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
Shredded lettuce
grape tomatoes, thinly sliced (optional)

Directions

1. In a medium sized skillet, brown the ground beef. Season the meat with salt and pepper, to taste. Drain the cooked beef and set aside.

2.For pizza dough, lightly grease a pizza pan or large cookie sheet. Pat or roll the dough out into pan and lightly drizzle some olive oil over the top of the crust and then bake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven.

3. Top the pizza crust with Thousand Island salad dressing and just like you would with sauce, use a lade or the back of a spoon to evenly spread the dressing out over the crust all the way up to the crusts edges. Top the spread dressing with the American cheese slices, and don’t worry if they don’t completely cover the entire pizza. Top the cheese with the ground beef. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese evenly over top of the beef.

4. Bake the pizza at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes or until golden and bubbly.

5. Remove from the oven and allow the pizza to cool slightly, about 2-3 minutes, before cutting it into slices.

6. To serve, top the cooled pizza with shredded lettuce, tomato and additional Thousand Island, if desired. Enjoy!

recipe adapted from Love Bakes Good Cakes

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

There’s just something about a chicken sandwich, specifically, a Chick-Fil-A chicken sandwich, that is just out of those world delicious. Especially in the realm of fast food. And who can blame them for the uber simple, streamlined menu. It’s hard to top perfection. And perfect the boneless, fried chicken breast they have. And for years we’ve craved that taste, paired with delicious dill pickles. And for years I’ve been angered, depressed, even sickened once by my failure to achieve anything close to it at home. Don’t get me wrong, I usually will find any reason to justify coughing up some extra cash for a pit stop at the nearest one, but sometimes this just isn’t possible. (Heeellllooo, Sundays at lunch time, every single time, when we pull in only to face palm after realizing, duh! they’re closed) And yet, the craving still demands to be satisfied. So what’s a gal to do???

 Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

She keeps right on trying, dammit!! And lo and behold, we finally have a winner folks! I kid you not, the flavor is spot on. I was even able to feed everyone, at 1 sandwich a piece with only two breasts. Two! and yes you read that right. I can’t even get over these, that’s how good they were. The hubs, the sons, everyone has asked for them repeatedly. Anytime I ask what we should have for supper, this is there answer. The hubs liked it so much he had two, two, and then stared down my sandwich every.single. bite. I took the entire meal. He even told me to name my price! Oh the things I can get that man to do for a bite of this sandwich. (cue the witchy, evil laugh) But really, that honey do-list? Totally, nonchalantly pushing it across the table…

The secret? The marinade before the seasoned breading. It’s pickle juice. And no for all the pickle haters out there, it doesn’t leave the chicken tasting pickle-y. For added authenticity, serve these on buttered, toasted hamburger buns with two pickle slices each.

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A Sandwiches

Copy Cat Chick-Fil-A sandwiches 2

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast (we get 3 patties er breast)
1/4 cup dill pickle juice
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
1 tbsp powdered sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp celery salt
1/4 tsp dried basil
tiny dash of cayenne
Oil for frying (about a cup), if you’re going for authenticity use peanut oil, I usually just us vegetable oil and they still taste phenomenal
Buns (buttered and toasted)
dill pickle slices/ ‘chips’

Directions

1. Wrap the chicken loosely between plastic wrap and pound gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until it’s only about ½ inch thick all around.
2. Cut the breast into two, or three, pieces, as evenly as possible.
3. Marinate the chicken in pickle juice for at least 30 minutes, and up to one hour.
4. Beat the egg with the milk in a bowl.
5. Combine the flour, sugar, and spices in another bowl.
6. Dip the chicken pieces each into the egg on both sides, then coat in flour on both sides.
7. Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep) to about 345-350 degrees.
8. Fry each cutlet for 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown on the outside and cooked through.
9. Remove from the skillet onto paper towels. Blot to remove any excess oil, and serve on toasted buns with pickle slices.

Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches

The tenderest, juiciest seasoned pot roast ever is cooked in the crockpot before being piled high on crusty baguettes with melted provolone cheese. Served with their own yummy au jus, these Crockpot French Dip Sandwiches are dippable perfection you just can’t get enough of.  

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