Nothing wrong with a meal that has cheese in the middle. Especially when it's enveloped in something healthy!
The act of forming a chicken patty around a generous slice of mozzarella cheese is about as satisfying an act as possible. Especially when the chicken is also studded with sweet apple chunks, fresh thyme, a little sage, and other ingredients that transcend the usual idea of a "burger." What's even more exciting? At the end of the cooking process you will again be reunited with your cheese. See the oozing loveliness? Yep. They're done.
You'll find the texture of ground chicken to be a bit interesting. Endlessly sticky, (because there's really no fat,) you will be tempted to avoid using it in your meals. And believe me, browning it alone for stews or tacos or casseroles will really set your "don't do this again!-meter" to HIGH. However, by putting cheese in the middle and adding some of the other ingredients that are known for making beef meatballs luxuriously tasty, this recipe will climb the charts.
There's just a few extra things I did when making this meal, so I'll share some tips.
1. Finishing them in the oven makes all the difference - Chicken can burn easily, and to get them to temperature inside so the meat is cooked and the cheese is soft, by only searing them on the stove-top may create a crust a little too dark for most people. If you haven't already, invest in a good stainless steel saucepan that will withstand temps up to 500 degrees F. It is that last 10 minutes at 400 degrees that will get you to the finish line.
2. Make sure your pan is hot enough at the onset - The act of bringing your pan and oil to a hot temperature before putting the patties in is key. You want a beautiful golden sear on each side first, without cooking the middle too much (they'll taste dry!) before putting them in the oven.
3. Don't forget this rockin' sauce - You can serve them alone, but I chose to add some really good quality black cherry preserves to a Habanero BBQ sauce to finish off the flavors, and it was PERFECT. But I encourage you to experiment with other flavors and combine different preserves with different BBQ sauces. My only warning is that if you leave out the sweet element it will overpower the chicken. Be sweet. It's a good rule.
4. You don't have to serve with a starch - Yes, I know. All you meat and potato fans out there must be gasping. How will you get your clan to eat something without rice, or bread, or russets all mashed and brimming with butter? Cheese, people. Cheese. All tastebuds will be satisfied. (Kinda sounds like a prophecy, eh? Excellent. It was meant that way.)
5. Get creative with sides - The above are simply boiled carrots mushied up a little, and combined with butter and salt and a bit of honey balsamic from The Olive Crate. (They have the most awesomestest stuff on the planet if you're interested...I encourage you to click and buy.) Then put them in a found cylinder and voilà! Gorgeousness and flavor.
With all this said, and illustrated, it's time to get cooking, and try these delicious, sweet and savory, "gimme another one!",chicken burgers today!
RECIPE: Mozzarella Stuffed Apple Sage Chicken Burgers
Few places have the kind of natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, my home for almost 8 years in the 90's and my destination for the next week. I am visiting old friends at their beach house in Stanwood, WA, taking in the view of the ever changing Sound, sipping coffee while watching purple sunrises, and being appropriately soothed by the casual passing of a bevy of swans.
It has been nearly a decade since gathering. And even though Facebook keeps us in touch, We are indeed way overdue for an evening of laughter, cooking and good wine.
Okay, I'm game.
So we really did mean to make this with turkey sausage. Honestly, we did. Even after the beautiful aroma of sage and spice filled the kitchen, and the silky fat began to caramelize and pool in the pan, we continued our charade, boasting about our healthy choice for dinner. It wasn’t until later that we, two blissfully demented cooks, saw the turkey in the fridge, and had to admit we had opened regular sausage instead.
GO figure. Guess we were just drawn to the good stuff! The fact of the matter is you can use any meat, turkey or pork. Even hamburger meat. Also, feel free to use any leftover roasted vegetable on hand. But if you want to duplicate our level of mistaken yumminess, follow this as closely as you can!
RECIPE: Leftover Roast Vegetable and Sausage Bake
with a Creamy and Spicy Cheese Sauce
1 medium yellow onion diced
1 bulb Celeriac
1 – 2 large cloves of garlic minced
½ large green pepper diced
1 medium bulb fennel thinly sliced
3 C cooked sliced butternut squash
About 2 C roasted Brussel sprouts
1 pint of fresh spinach leaves
½ C craisins
Salt and pepper
4 T butter
1 T oil
To assemble, butter a large 9 by 13 inch heavy casserole dish. Put the uncooked celeriac on the bottom, cover with the cooked sausage mixture, then layer with the cooked squash, then the fennel, then the Brussel sprouts, then put the spinach all over the top, sprinkle with craisins and then pour the finished sauce all over the casserole. Dot with the 4 T butter and another flourish of sea salt, then cook in a 375 degree F oven for about 25 – 30 minutes, or until bubbling and browned a little on the edges.
2 C sharp cheddar cheese grated
1/3 C heavy cream
1 ½ C chicken stock
2 T butter
2 T flour
¼ t of dried oregano
¼ t dried thyme
½ good quality or artisan garam masala
Salt and pepper
I suppose if I had all my wishes come true I would be able to spend all my time in the kitchen. Not only rolling out dough, but rolling in it. Given that I'm not quite to the brilliantly rich and famous level as of today, I will settle for just rolling out the dough. And roll, roll, roll I did!
And, by the time these little babies came out of the oven, golden and brown, it was about time to grab our coats, boots and scarves and make our way over to the neighborhood Bijou for stories, wine and dessert. I think they'll like these little beauties, don't you?
RECIPE: Sweet Fuji Apple Rolls
2 C all-purpose flour
1 t kosher salt
3 heaping t baking powder
3 T sugar + 1 t
½ C unsalted butter + 4 T
½ t cardamom powder
½ t ginger powder
1 ½ t cinnamon, divided
1+ C of heavy cream
Flour for dusting
1 C sugar
½ C water
2 T brown sugar
½ t vanilla
¼ T kosher salt
1 C powdered sugar
Cut the three apples into small chunks and place in a bowl with the 1 t sugar and ½ t cinnamon, stirring to combine.
In another large mixing bowl combine the flour, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, sugar, and baking powder. Cut the very cold butter into small cubes and cut it into the flour mixture using your hands, rubbing the butter between your fingers as you work until about butter chunks are almond sized. Having some pieces that are bigger than that is fine, too. It will make a better dough! Then add the cream and begin to stir with a large spoon. If you see it’s going to be dry, go ahead and add 1 – 2 more T of cream. Work it gently, folding the cream in so you don’t overwork the dough. When combined and still a bit sticky, form into a ball and drop onto a floured surface. Pull it together so it sticks together, forming a disc and using a rolling pan, flatten to about an 11” by 16” square or until about 1/8 inch thickness. Trim off the edges so you have a fairly square piece of dough. Using a spatula, slather the 2 T butter on the dough surface all the way to the edges. Then cover with the apples, pushing them out to the edges. Roll up the dough and apples jelly roll style, sealing the ends with a bit of cream or water. Slice into about 16 even pieces. #15 and #16 for me were pretty sad and wimpy so you can leave those off and discard dough if you want them all perfect.
In a large glass baking dish, butter the bottom and sides with butter. Now add half the glaze to the bottom of the baking dish. Arrange all the rolls over the syrup and add a few more tablespoons of the glaze until you can see there is liquid syrup around all of them about ¼ to ½ inches deep. Dust with a bit more cinnamon. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 25 minutes. Remove, place on a cooling rack and let sit for about 10 minutes. Serve warm.
To serve, place a roll on a dish, and top with the remaining syrup that you’ve added the powdered sugar to, so it’s a runny frosting. (You decide what consistency you want, whether thicker like an icing or runny.)
First of all, there is cream in this. So I know I have your loyalty. And those bold rigatoni; they really snap you to attention, yes? Plus bacon is swimming all through it. I know, right? How much more can you stand??
When you think pasta, you don't always think of something worthy for serving to the Queen of Spain when she visits, but this one will fit the bill!
I want you smiling the whole time you're in the kitchen, and not just when the dishes are done. I'm telling ya, you just need more bling in your cuisine!
RECIPE: Rigatoni in a Chipotle Cream Sauce with Broccoli, Bacon and Roasted Red Peppers
2 ½ C broccoli florets, blanched and softened but still green
1 large red pepper, roasted and cooled and cut into strips
8 oz rigatoni pasta uncooked
½ C chipotle mayonnaise
1/3 C heavy cream
3 T Italian herb olive oil
1 T salted butter
½ T chili flakes
¼ t white pepper
½ t fennel salt (or dried fennel and then add more salt as needed)
1/8 t liquid smoke
1 T bacon grease
Handful flat leaf parsley, chopped
More oil to finish
Yes, I said stew, a warm and hearty recipe for a cold winter's night that requires a bowl, napkin and large spoon. But although you'll slurp up the delicious broth that swims alongside the flavorful meat, you will be tempted -- more like urged to the brink of obsession -- to put a fork in it.
RECIPE: Veal, Bean and Vegetable Stew
¼ C good olive oil, divided (Olive Crate is my choice!)
½ t coriander powder divided
½ t paprika
¼ t fennel salt
¼ t dried oregano (Olive Crate is also my choice!)
1-2 t sea salt, divided
1 t white pepper, divided
3 medium stalks celery sliced
3 small carrots, sliced
¼ medium sized sweet onion diced
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
2 ½ C water
1 beef bouillon cube
1 can kidney beans with liquid
1 can white cannelloni beans with liquid
4 T catsup
Fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley
1 T flour
1 C finely grated parmigiana reggiano cheese
After the hour, remove lid and bring heat up to medium low for a better simmering boil. Mix the flour with about ¼ C water and mix to combine. Then slowly drizzle in the flour mixture and stir until the stew thickens a bit. You don’t want gravy consistency, but you do want a tighter broth. Serve with grated parmesan cheese and top with chopped parsley.
The wisdom of Whipper-Doodle, the value of friendships, and more... as I slide into the starting gates for 2017.
In addition to cooking, sipping and baking we also created some new words. You do that when you get old and can't quite get the term to go from your head to your tongue. Enter the realm of Whipper-Doodle. The term we created to save us from embarrasment. the word for anything you can't quite recall without feeling like you're descending into early Alzheimers. The word I plan to use ALL THROUGHOUT THE YEAR.
"Hey, what's the thing that we used to love, when we'd go to that place I can't recall?" Whipper-Doodle!
"What did I buy that year that we loved so much and everyone shared it?" Whipper-Doodle!
"What is it I asked you to buy yesterday that we need for the green-bean casserole?" Whipper-Doodle!!!
You can see how handy this term becomes.
It is an awesome segue to this series of food photos that are too numerous for me to find a collective theme. It's a quick review of the perfect midwest holiday, and a way to mitigate the horror I will feel when I try to get back into my skinny jeans, or realize that I have two months before I can wear my flip flops.
Oh, what the heck. Let's just Whipper-Doodle our way into this new year, shall we?
Bottom left are my Fluffy Weekend Pancakes that started our New Years Day right! And bottom right we're buying up goodies and learning our wardrobe is spot-on at the Harry and David Store, Lighthouse Outlets in Michigan City, IN.
Wishing you all the whipper-doodle you need, desire and can conjure up! Happy New Year!
RECIPE: Balsamic Roasted Root Vegetables
4 large carrots cleaned and cut into large chunks
2 large turnips cleaned and cut into large chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
Handful of fresh oregano
Handful of fresh thyme
1/8 C sweet balsamic like fig or cranberry
1/8 C light, high quality olive oil
Salt and pepper
Dash of good poultry seasoning
½ t of dried fennel
1 t dried onion flakes
4 large cloves of garlic sliced thickly
(Note: You do not need to peel the beets or the turnips. Use a very coarse brush to clean the skin of all vegetables, but especially the beets. They will roast soft just like potato skin!)
Watch my short video about getting comfy in the kitchen.
Click the image to buy the book!
Meet the Cook...
My name is Camine Pappas and I love to create beautiful and delicious food that anyone can make. My signature style centers around a love for combining things in a way you might not expect as I work to find a hidden combination of colors, textures and flavors from the things that are in my pantry and/or easy to obtain.
Want to get spontaneous with me? It's pretty exciting. Let's all find out what happens when, "I Feel Like Cooking."
12 Winter Recipes
Apple Butter Walnut Spice Cookies
Apple Rice Salad
Artichoke Stuffed Chicken
Bad Experiments With Food
Bing Cherry Cookies
Bourbon Bread Pudding
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Brown Sugar Chicken
Brown Sugar Pork Ribs
Cantaloupe And Oranges
Cheese Stuffed Chicken
Coffee Chili Steak Rub
Cognac Roasted Veggies
Cold Vegetable Salad
Cooking With Friends
Cooking With Wine
Cranberry Chocolate Cookies
Creamy Zucchini Soup
Enchilada Hand Pies
Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Fried Green Tomatoes
Granny Smith Apples
Grapefruit Pear Slaw
Herb Butter Roasted Chicken
Herbs De Provence
Lake Norman Magazine
Lemon Cream Sauce
Lemon Crumble Bars
Lime Ginger Honey Syrup
Maple Bourbon Plum Sauce
Mini Pepper Poppers
Mint Caper Salsa
Nectarine Spice Cake
No Bake Cookies
Orange Cheesecake Squares
Orange Rosemary Glazed Tri-color Carrots
Paula Deen Quick Rolls
Peanut Bean Sprout Fried Rice
Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Mousse
Pesto Mashed Potatoes
Pork Or Chicken Salad
Pork Ramen Stir Fry
Port Wine Reduction
Pumpkin Buttermilk Cake
Pumpkin Buttermilk Glaze
Purple Sweet Potatoes
Radish Fennel Salad
Rice-a-roni Beef Soup
Roasted Beet Salad
Rules For Dieting
Slow Roasted Chicken
Sour Cream Raisin Pie
Southern Fried Chicken
Speculoos Cookie Butter
Spicy Orange Chicken
Stuffed Puff Pastry
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Sweet Pickle Vinaigrette
Sweet Potato Pancake
Thai Peanut Sauce
Turkey And Ground Beef
Twisted Puff Pastry Rounds
White Wine Cream Sauce
Yellow Split Peas