Jalapeno Turkey Burgers

I came up with this idea for turkey burgers while I was driving home from work. It’s simple and easy to put together. There’s no real measurements for any of the ingredients. That’s one of the things I do love about cooking. You can play around with ingredients and add a little bit of this or a little bit of that. Just eye it and try it.The burgers came out juicy and very tasty and had a little spice to them.


1 pound ground turkey

1/2 of a medium-sized red bell pepper, chopped finely

2 medium-sized jalapenos (1 seeded, 1 with seeds), chopped finely

1 egg

3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce

fresh ground black pepper and sea salt for seasoning

1/4 cup shredded Pepper Jack or Monterey Jack Cheese


1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl until well blended. Shape into 4-5 patties.

2. Grill until done. About 8-10 minutes per side (depends on thickness of burgers and the heat of your grill)



Quick and Easy Meatloaf with a Spicy Glaze

I’m back. Sorry it’s been quite a while since I last updated my blog. I’ve been fairly busy, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing baking or cooking. To kick off my return, I wanted to share this quick and easy meatloaf recipe that has a kickin’ glaze made of Sriracha (you know, that bottle with a rooster on it) and ketchup.


3/4 lb-1 1lb ground round beef (or turkey for a healthier version)

1/2 cup of chunky salsa

3 tablespoons quick cook oatmeal

1/4 cup shredded carrots

1/4 cup chopped mushrooms


1/2 cup ketchup

1/2 cup Sriracha


1. Set oven to 350 degrees

2. Combine all meatloaf ingredients and place into a sprayed loaf pan.

3. Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Combine ingredients for glaze. Spread the glaze onto meatloaf and let it bake for another 15 minutes.


Panko Crusted Chicken Thighs

I wanted some fried chicken, but didn’t want all the calories you’d get from eating it, nor bask in the greasiness of it. So I wanted to make a somewhat healthy version of fried chicken using panko crumbs and baking it in the oven. This is the recipe to use if you ever have a fried chicken urge. The chicken crisped nicely and was still tender and juicy inside. Score!

WHAT IS PANKO? For those that don’t know what panko is, it’s a flaky bread crumb used in Japanese cuisine; it’s used as crunchy coating for fried foods. It is made from bread baked by passing an electronic current through the dough, yielding bread without crusts. It has an airier and crispier texture than other bread crumbs found in Western culture.

Panko has become very popular and is being used in both Asian and non-Asian cuisine. You can find these bread crumbs in any grocery store.


1/4 cup olive oil

1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs

2 eggs

1 tablespoon spicy mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 teaspoon paprika

6 boneless chicken thighs (the meatier, the better)


1. Set oven to 400 degrees. Rinse chicken and trim fat. Pat dry. In a bowl, drizzle chicken with olive oil.

2. In a shallow pan, mix eggs with mustard, salt, black pepper, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika.

3. In another shallow pan, add panko crumbs. (I added about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper to the crumbs and mixed it)

4. Dip chicken into egg mixture, making sure to coat well on both sides, then roll the chicken into panko crumbs and coat well. Place the chicken on a wire rack placed inside a shallow baking pan lined with foil. This allows the heat to evenly cook the chicken and allow it get crisp as it bakes. Continue process until all chicken is on the wire rack.

5. Place in oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until chicken juices run clear.

Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce

If you’re in the mood for Thai food, this dish is for you. Your kitchen will smell good during and after the cooking. This dish is even better the next day if you have leftovers. I have made this dish several times in the past year. I found it to be very easy to do. The best part of the recipe is the spice rub for the chicken.

Yield: Makes 4 servings


1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric


1 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs (you can use chicken breasts, but thighs are more flavorful)

1 cup chopped red onion

5 gloves of garlic, minced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided

1 13.5 oz can coconut milk (minus 2 tablespoons)

2 teaspoons corn starch

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh ginger


1. In a small bowl, mix together dry spices for rub (salt to turmeric) and set aside.

2. Rinse chicken, pat dry. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Put into a bowl and sprinkle the spice mix over all the pieces. Coat well and let sit for 30 minutes at room temp or in the fridge for 1-2 hours.

3. In a large skillet, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium-high (M-H) heat. Add the onions and jalapenos and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more. Remove this mixture from the pan into a medium sized bowl. Set aside. Use the same skillet for next step.

4. Add 1 tbsp olive oil into skillet on M-H heat. Add half of the the chicken pieces, spreading them out on the pan so they are not crowded. Brown on sides until cooked through. Remove from pan and add the chicken to the bowl with the onion mixture. Repeat this step with second half of the chicken.

5. In same skillet, add the coconut milk (minus a couple tablespoons). In a small bowl, mix two teaspoons of corn starch with 2 tbsp of reserved coconut milk to dissolve the corn starch. Add the corn starch mixture to the skillet with coconut milk. Cook on M-H heat and stir till thick and bubbly. Mix in worcestershire sauce. Add chicken mixture and basil. Cook 2 minutes more to cook through.

6. Serve over jasmine rice and enjoy!

30 Minute Turkey Chili

It’s officially getting colder  in the Bay Area. Soon the sun will be gone and we’ll get days of rain and windy weather (the temperature will remain at low 40s and 50s at the most). For Californians, that’s cold (and I grew up in Minnesota, so go figure…), but yes, these days it will be colder, which means I need warm comfort food. A few Saturdays ago I made my quick 30 minute Turkey Chili. This is one of my favorite meals to make during the fall/winter season. I make it 2-3 times during the year. Our favorite thing to eat with the chili is sprinkling some shredded cheddar cheese on top and using Fritos Scoops as our eating utensil. This recipe is quick and easy and has so much flavor. Enjoy and bon appetit!


1 ½  teaspoons olive oil

1 pound ground turkey

1 medium or large onion, chopped

2 cups water

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (16 oz.) black beans (or kidney beans) – up to you

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

2 tablespoons chili powder

½ teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon oregano

½ teaspoon cayenne

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

1. Heat oil in medium-large pot on medium heat. Cook turkey in pot until brown. (You won’t need to drain oil since turkey is very lean)

2. Add onions and cook until tender (about 4-5 minutes)

3. Pour water into pot. Mix in tomatoes, beans, and garlic. And all spices and herbs (I usually add all the spices into a small mixing bowl – see the picture below – aren’t the colors beautiful?)

4. Bring chili to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Feel free to make this chili for a football game or on a cold and dreary night. It is a winner. Enjoy it with your favorite chili condiments. It’s so easy to make and so good!

Friday’s Focus Ingredients #2: GINGER

Ginger is by far one of my favorite ingredients to use. I’ve grown up eating plenty of ginger because my mom used a lot of it in the traditional dishes she made. Ginger is a staple in a lot of Asian dishes. Ginger is aromatic, pungent, and spicy and adds a lot of flavor.

The spice ginger is the underground rhizome (mass of roots) of the ginger plant, known botanically as Zingiber officinale. The plant’s botanical name is thought to be derived from its Sanskrit name singabera which means “horn shaped,” a physical characteristic that ginger reflects.

The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young. The ginger rhizome has a firm, yet striated texture.


Native to southeastern Asia, a region whose cuisines still feature this wonderfully spicy herb, ginger has been renowned for millennia in many areas throughout the world. Ginger is mentioned in ancient Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern writings, and has long been prized for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties.

After the ancient Romans imported ginger from China almost two thousand years ago, its popularity in Europe remained centered in the Mediterranean region until the Middle Ages when its use spread throughout other countries.

Although it was a very expensive spice, owing to the fact that it had to be imported from Asia, it was still in great demand. In an attempt to make it more available, Spanish explorers introduced ginger to the West Indies, Mexico and South America, and in the 16th century, these areas began exporting the precious herb back to Europe.

Today, the top commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia and Australia.


Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract).

Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.

Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flus. A good sweat may do a lot more than simply assist detoxification.

Ginger is so concentrated with active substances, you don’t have to use very much to receive its beneficial effects. For nausea, ginger tea made by steeping one or two 1/2-inch slices (one 1/2-inch slice equals 2/3 of an ounce) of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water will likely be all you need to settle your stomach. For arthritis, some people have found relief consuming as little as a 1/4-inch slice of fresh ginger cooked in food.


Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the spice since it is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of gingerol (anti-inflammatory compounds) as well as ginger’s active protease (its anti-inflammatory compound). Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing fresh ginger root, make sure it is firm, smooth and free of mold. Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling while young ginger, usually only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled.

Even through dried herbs and spices like ginger powder are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area.

Ginger is also available in several other forms including crystallized, candied and pickled ginger.

Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for up to six months.

Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Alternatively, you can store it in the refrigerator where it will enjoy an extended shelf life of about one year.


To remove the skin from fresh mature ginger, peel with a paring knife. The ginger can then be sliced, minced or julienned. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.


Here are a few simple ginger recipes to try

Ginger-Orange Dressing

½ teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

¼ cup orange juice

4 teaspoons canola oil

1 tablespoon minced scallions

1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh ginger

¼ teaspoon minced garlic

Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste

Whisk orange zest, orange juice, oil, scallions, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl until well blended. (Alternatively, combine ingredients in a small jar, secure the lid and shake until blended.)

Spinach, watercress and Belgian endive are good matches for this zesty dressing.

Ginger Cheesecake Dessert (from Betty Crocker)

1 pouch Betty Crocker® gingerbread cookie mix

½ cup butter or margarine, softened

1 tablespoon water

1 egg

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated)

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

2 cups frozen (thawed) whipped topping

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray bottom and sides of 13×9-inch pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, water and egg until soft dough forms.

2. Make 5 cookies by shaping dough into 5 (1-inch) balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with bottom of glass dipped in sugar. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are set. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack.

3. Meanwhile, press remaining dough in pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

4. In large bowl, beat milk, cream cheese and lemon juice with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cooled cookie base.

5. Crumble 5 baked cookies; sprinkle over cream cheese mixture. Cover; refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Store covered in refrigerator.

Chicken with Ginger, Scallions, Cilantro, and Chili Peppers

*This is one of my go-to recipes I make for dinner – it’s delicious, fragrant, and spicy. I don’t normally use exact measures when making this dish, so you can add/subtract depending on how you want it. The amounts I list sound about right when I make it.

4 to 6 chicken thighs or breasts, sliced into stir-fry pieces

1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

1 to 2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ cup to 1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes

1 cup sliced mushrooms (baby bellas or white buttons are fine)

2 tbsp minced ginger

3 to 4 green scallions chopped

handful of cilantro chopped

2 to 3 Thai Chili peppers minced

1. In a large skillet or wok (preferred), add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add minced garlic and let it saute for a 1-2 minutes. Add your chicken and cook until it’s no longer pink (6-8 minutes, stir constantly) – at this point, you can add a little salt to flavor the chicken, just a few pinches.

2. Once chicken is cooked, add tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes or so until tomatoes are tender and can be “mashed” with a wooden spoon. Press down on tomatoes in pan lightly. Add ginger, scallions, cilantro, and peppers and cook for 3-4 more minutes. Serve with rice and enjoy!

Additional Uses
  • Turn up the heat while cooling off by making ginger lemonade. Simply combine freshly grated ginger, lemon juice, cane juice or honey and water.
  • Add extra inspiration to your rice side dishes by sprinkling grated ginger, sesame seeds and nori strips on top.
  • Combine ginger, tamari, olive oil and garlic to make a wonderful salad dressing.
  • Add ginger and orange juice to puréed sweet potatoes.
  • Add grated ginger to your favorite stuffing for baked apples.
  • Spice up your healthy sautéed vegetables by adding freshly minced ginger.

*I do have several dessert recipes that feature ginger and will add those later this month as the holiday nears 🙂

Friday’s Focus Ingredients #1: GARLIC

I love Iron Chef  and I love the “secret ingredient” challenges, so I am inspired to feature an ingredient weekly on my blog called “Friday’s Focus Ingredients”. With these ingredient posts, we’ll learn about the ingredient and discover its’ use in recipes. For my very first ingredient post, I’d like to focus on garlic.


The word garlic comes from Old English garleac, meaning “spear leek.” Dating back over 6,000 years, it is native to Central Asia, and has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Garlic is one of the most versatile flavors to ever grace a kitchen. It not only tastes wonderful, but it’s very good for your body. Garlic (allium sativum) is dubbed The Stinking Rose, yet it is actually a member of the lily (Lilaceae) family and a cousin to leeks, chives, onions, and shallots.

Surprisingly, garlic was frowned upon by foodie snobs in the United States until the first quarter of the twentieth century, being found almost exclusively in ethnic dishes in working-class neighborhoods. But, by 1940, America had embraced garlic, finally recognizing its value as not only a minor seasoning, but as a major ingredient in recipes.

Garlic crops are harvested in mid-July and hung in sheds to dry before reaching their prime in late-July/early-August.

There are over 300 varieties of garlic grown worldwide. American garlic, with its white, papery skin and strong flavor is one of the most common varieties. Italian and Mexican garlic, both of which have pink- to purple-colored skins, are slightly milder-flavored varieties.

Today, Americans alone consume more than 250 million pounds of garlic annually.


Believe it or not, one raw garlic clove, finely minced or pressed releases more flavor than a dozen cooked whole cloves. When garlic cloves are cooked or baked whole, the flavor mellows into a sweet, almost nutty flavor that hardly resembles any form of pungency. This nutty flavor makes a surprisingly nice addition to desserts, such as brownies or even ice cream.

Cooked, whole, unpierced cloves barely have any aroma at all, while raw garlic is the strongest in flavor. When sauteing garlic, be very careful not to burn it. The flavor turns intensely bitter, and you’ll have to start over. If you have a good garlic press, you don’t even need to peel garlic cloves before pressing, which can be a wonderful time-saver. Just place the unpeeled clove in the tool cavity, press and discard the skins left in the cavity.

If you don’t have a peeler, place the garlic on a cutting board on its side, and gently press down quickly with the flat side of a butcher knife. The skin should then easily peel off.

Garlic can also be purchased as peeled whole cloves or minced, both stored in olive or vegetable oil. It is imperative that garlic in oil be stored under refrigeration to avoid potentially-deadly botulism bacteria growth. If you use a lot of garlic and wish to cut your preparation time down, you can pre-peel and store your own in olive oil in the refrigerator, but the best flavor will come from freshly-peeled cloves. Use garlic powder, garlic salt, and garlic extract (juice) only as a last resort.

An easy rule of thumb to remember regarding the potency of the flavor of garlic is: The smaller you cut it, the stronger the flavor. Chopping finely and/or pressing a clove exposes more surfaces to the air, causing a chemical reaction to produce that strong aroma and potent flavor.


Garlic has long been considered a medicinal food. It was used to protect against plague by monks in the Middle Ages. Hippocrates used garlic vapors to treat cervical cancer. Garlic poultices were placed on wounds during World War II as an inexpensive, and apparently quite effective replacement for antibiotics which were scarce during wartime.

Now science is beginning to prove the medicinal properties of garlic that our ancestors took for granted. Studies have shown garlic can suppress the growth of tumors, and is a potent antioxidant good for cardiovascular health.

Other studies show garlic can reduce LDLs or “bad” cholesterol and is a good blood-thinning agent to avoid blood clots which could potentially lead to heart attack or stroke.

All of this natural medicine comes at a cost of only 4 calories per clove.

PLEASE NOTE: All information was taken from http://homecooking.about.com/ website


Here are a few simple recipes to try that features garlic as a big component.

Pasta with Garlic and Oil

This is one of the easiest and tastiest dishes imaginable. Slice garlic into thin, even slices – about three large cloves per person. Add enough good olive oil to almost cover the garlic. Sauté over medium heat until they begin to color. Pour over freshly cooked spaghetti or noodles, toss and serve.

Variations to try once you have made your initial assessment of the garlic:

  • Add dried chilies to the oil along with the garlic.
  • Add a handful of fresh chopped herbs to the pasta and garlic as you toss it.

Garlic Vinaigrette

Here is a classic recipe for a garlic salad dressing that goes well with a wide variety of salads.

1/4 cup pure apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil or sunflower seed oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
one or more cloves of garlic, crushed, chopped or sliced

Shake the first four ingredients together and taste. There should be a nice balance with no one ingredient dominating. Adjust if necessary, and then add the garli

Garlic Butter

One of my favorite places to eat when I was still living in Minnesota was Timberlodge Steakhouse (being in CA now, we don’t have those here) – this is an imitation of the garlic butter that they bring out with that delicious loaf of fresh baked honey wheat bread.

1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)

1/4 cup parmesan, freshly grated

1 tsp finely chopped parsley

1 tsp garlic powder

Soften butter, make sure not to melt (best thing it to take the butter out and let it soften at room temparature)

In a bowl, combine all the ingredients with a fork – mash and stir. The texture should be stiff and not runny.


  • When I make stir-frys, I always add about 2-3 minced garlic with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and saute it for a minute or two before I add my protein
  • I make a simple brine using 2 quarts water, 2 tablespoons of kosher salt, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 2-3 garlic cloves (smashed and peeled), and 4 sprigs of fresh thyme – you can double, triple this recipe for the size of bird you’re using (I make this brine for BBQ Chicken using 6 chicken legs and thighs – still connected
  • If I buy store-bought spaghetti sauce, I’ll add about 1-2 teaspoons of minced garlic, or throw in 2 whole garlic cloves smashed and peeled
  • I add garlic salt to sauteed vegetables instead of using regular salt
  • For a simple dipping sauce for bread, add some fresh minced garlic with some olive oil
  • If making pizzas at home, add fresh minced garlic as one of your toppings