Salmon-Spinach Burgers, So Easy and Delicious!

Craving a burger and fries? How about a salmon burger? To make it even easier, I used a can (yes, a can!) of salmon from Trader Joe’s! Unlike me, I know, but I thought I’d give it a try – and I’ll be going back for more real soon. You can find a ton of salmon burgers on line, but my creation was fast, easy, and so good.

Salmon Burger

One can of salmon (drained), one egg, two tablespoons mayo, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 1/4 cup chopped spinach (fresh or frozen), about 10 saltine crackers (finely ground – use a plastic bag and a rolling pin), and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper.   Form into patties (makes 2 large) and coat with Panko breadcrumbs.  (These can be made ahead and placed in the refrigerator until cooking.)  I always double the recipe to make 4 burgers, 2 for now and 2 in the freezer to enjoy again real soon!

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the burgers and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side, or until they’re to your liking. Add a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, a slice of crisp bacon (or not), some avocado, lettuce and tomato – and you’ve got an awesome burger.  I toasted the rolls and made a fast dressing with a little mayo and hot sauce.  Paired with some french fries (Mike’s favorite) and a fast, delicious, healthy (?) meal is ready to enjoy!  How about an ice-cold beer to go with that burger?


Ready, Set, Grill…..Pizza!

Who doesn’t love pizza?  It’s even more fun (and delicious) when you design your own pizza!  Tonight we had “personalized” pizzas on the grill!  If you haven’t tried grilling pizza yet, don’t wait any longer.  It’s easy and the result is a fresh tasting pizza with a toasty grilled flavor!  Delicious!  I put together an assortment of topping choices:  Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, of course, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, sliced tomatoes, pizza sauce, prosciutto, pepperoni, and arugula.

I used a couple of pounds of dough that I purchased from an Italian deli (Mona Lisa – San Diego) or you can make your own.  I rolled each pound out into a 3 small pizzas and let them “rest and rise” on a floured baking sheet.  Mix up some olive oil, chopped garlic, and black pepper and lightly brush each pizza round.  Place them oil side down on a hot grill – then lower the heat to medium.  After a few minutes, flip the pizzas over and top with whatever makes you happy.  A few minutes later, you’ve got fresh grilled pizza!  Buon Appetito!

Pizza Toppings

Grillin' Pizza

Fresh Grilled and Ready to Eat!

Basil and Goat Cheese Chicken

Tonight’s dinner could not be easier – or tastier!  It makes a quick weeknight meal or the centerpiece for a weekend dinner party!  It’s Basil and Goat Cheese Chicken.  Use bone-in/skin-on chicken breasts, goat cheese, and a few basil leaves (or some of your  homemade pesto (see previous post).  Slice the goat cheese in 1/4-inch rounds and place a couple under the skin of each chicken breast.  Place a basil leaf or two on top of the cheese, but under the skin.  Place chicken breasts on a foil lined baking sheet, rub each with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper – then roast at 375F for about 40 minutes until golden brown.  (Internal temperature should be 160F.)  The potatoes are red-roasted, and can be roasted at the same time, cup up and tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  This recipe is all Ina.  I saw her make it on one of her shows (as a lunch treat for herself) quite a long time ago, and it’s been a go-to favorite of mine ever since!  You won’t be disappointed!

Basil and Goat Cheese Chicken

Family Favorite Pork Roast

Elegant enough for company, easy enough for a weeknight meal!  Roasted Pork Roast with Mushroom Red Wine Reduction!  Yum!  I start by cooking the mushrooms.  Cook the mushrooms in a couple tablespoons of olive oil (or spicy chili oil – see earlier post for recipe), saute with a chopped garlic clove, a handful of chopped fresh italian parsley, salt, pepper, and few tablespoons of Marsala wine.  (You’re welcome to cook the mushrooms as you please, but the idea is get them cooked up and carmelized ahead of time.)

From there, salt and pepper a pork tenderloin.  Then roll or shake in flour.  Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet (oven proof handle or cover with aluminum foil) over medium-high heat.  Once the pan is hot, sear the pork roast on all sides until golden brown (a few minutes on each side.)  When the roast is nicely seared/browned, trnasfer pan to a 400F oven for about 15 minutes.

Check the pork roast for doneness.  The internal temperature should read about 150-155F.  Remove from pan and transfer to a plate.  Cover with aluminum foil for about 5-10 minutes. The temp will continue to rise as the meat rests.  Meanwhile, put the skillet over medium heat and use some good red wine to deglaze the pan.  Use a spoon to stir in all of the crispy bits that were left on the bottom of the pan to add to the flavor of the wine reduction.  Add in the pre-cooked mushrooms and cook down for a few minutes.  Cut the pork roast at an angle and return to plate.  Drizzle mushrooms and wine reduction over the meat.  Serve immediately – and enjoy!

Pork Roast and Mushroom Red Wine Reduction

Tonight I served the pork roast with some chive mashed potatoes and chili-oil roasted asparagus.  This entire meal can be table ready within about 35-45 minutes – and makes quite an impression.  Ready for a dinner party  – or dinner for your family any night of the week!

Chive Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Asparagus

Everyone loves roasted asparagus and it’s easier than you think.  Trim and clean fresh asparagus spears.  Toss them with a drizzle of olive oil (chili, if you like) and some salt and pepper.  Lay them on a foil lined baking sheet and roast at 400F for about 4-5 minutes.  They’ll come out of the oven tender to the bite – and delicious!

Got Basil?

Make Pesto!  I love having ready-made pesto on hand in the freezer.  You can add a couple of tablespoons to cooked pasta for a fast and delicious mid-week meal, or I use it regularly as the “sauce” on my pizza.  Pesto might seem like a big undertaking, but it couldn’t be easier – and you can take all the credit for making it!  There are a variety of ways to make pesto, but I usually make mine with the basics:  basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts or walnuts, lemon juice, grated Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and a little salt and pepper.  Mix all that up in food processor – and you’ve got pesto.  (You can also add in some fresh cut Italian parsley, if you wish, and a sprinkling of red pepper flakes add a nice kick!)

I don’t use exact measurements, as much of the flavor and taste is to your liking, but I use a generous amount of basil leaves, maybe enough to loosely fill a standard-sized food processor, a couple of garlic cloves (roughly chopped), the juice from 1/2 to 1 lemon, a handful of the toasted nuts, a couple of handfuls of grated cheese, and a little salt and pepper.  After you get that going in the food processor, add in the olive oil as the food processor is doing it’s thing.  You’ll want to keep adding the olive oil until you get a nice creamy texture.  Shouldn’t be too “soupy”, but you don’t want it too pasty, either.  You’ll find the consistency that works for you.  You might use 1/2-3/4 cup of olive oil.

Try it!  You really can’t go wrong!  (Don’t forget the dash of red pepper flakes for the extra something something!)

I use an ice cube tray to freeze the pesto into cubes (about a heaping tablespoon each).  After they are frozen, you can put them into a freezer bag for easy access, a couple at a time.  They defrost in a small dish on the countertop in no time!  Buon Appetito!


Pesto Penne with Italian Sausage