Chorizo Chicken Burgers

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Can I just say, this burger may not be made from angus or kobe beef, but it is so good! By far the best chicken burger I’ve ever had! I took the original recipe from my favorite food blog annie’s-eats. I added a few more ingredients to make it my own, and to give it more flavor and spice! What I love about burgers is you can make so many unique flavors, for this recipe if you want more heat you can add more jalapeño, or leave it out for a more mellow taste. The chorizo and green chilies I added produce a lot of heat and flavor! I also mixed things up and used a pretzel bun. I found them in the bread aisle, it’s aunt millie’s brand and they turned out great! There’s also a cheese and buffalo brand i will try soon.

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To get started, mix together all of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl. Be careful not to over mix and make sure the ingredients are mixed evenly. The chorizo tends to stick together in clumps so try to get those separated. I find it’s best to use your hands! It may be gross, but it’s the best way to mix the ingredients!

Take a grill pan or non stick skillet and spray lightly with PAM. You do not need to use any oil, the chorizo is oily enough for the burgers to not get stuck in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side. Flipping once to prevent any loss of juices and flavor. With a few minutes left of cooking, add your sliced cheddar cheese and place a lid over top to melt the cheese. I found my burgers to be a bit on the oily side when they were done cooking, so I laid them on paper towels to soak up some of the oil.

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Assemble with toasted pretzel bun, homemade guacamole (here is the link for my holy guacamole! recipe), and salsa! Serve and let your tastebuds go to a happy place!

This recipe makes 4-5 burgers.

What you’ll need:
1 lb. ground chicken
2 links of chorizo, casing removed
½ yellow onion, diced small
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 jalapeño, seeded, cored and minced well
2 oz.(half a 4oz. can) mild green chilies (I like La Preferida brand comes roasted, peeled, and diced)
1 tsp. cajun seasoning 
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. paprika
Juice of ½ lime
1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
½ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. pepper
Assembly:
Pretzel bun, or your bun of choice
Sliced cheddar cheese
Holy Guacamole!
Salsa

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Holy Guacamole!

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Guacamole, you either love it or hate it… in my case, I love it! I think for most people it’s a consistency thing. I personally like to add diced tomatoes in mine to give it some texture. Guac is good with so many foods, chips, tacos, burgers, salads, the list could go on and on. Some say it has no flavor to it, but I guarantee this recipe will have lots of flavor! Give it a try, you will be surprised how your taste buds will react 😉

Take a medium sized bowl. Grip the avocado gently on one side with one hand. With a large, sharp knife in the other hand, cut the avocado lengthwise around the seed. Open the two halves to expose the pit. Take a spoon and scoop out the pit. Then scoop inside of the skin with your spoon and place into the bowl. Mash with a fork. Mince the following: garlic, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro. Dice up your tomatoes. Add the lime juice, green chilies, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Mix well. Serve!

What you’ll need:
4-5 ripe avocados

1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 onion, minced
1/2-1 jalapeño, seeded and minced well (1/2 for less spicy)
1/2 tomato diced 
1/3 cup (or handful) of cilantro, minced
Juice of half a lime
2 tbsp canned mild green chilies
Salt & pepper

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Chorizo stuffed meatloaf

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Meatloaf can be so boring, and often times it’s that go to staple when you don’t have anything else to make. This meatloaf recipe will change your opinion about meatloaf and will make you realize how much you can do with these recipes! Next time you think of making some meatloaf put something different in! You will be surprised with what you come up with!

I wanted to make a sweet and spicy meatloaf, the chorizojalapenos, and sweet chili sauce are so good together! If you aren’t a fan of spicy, you can certainly leave out the jalapenos.

To get started preheat your oven to 350°. Take a large mixing bowl and add your pork, beef, spices, onion, pepper, garlic, eggs, cream, and bread crumbs. I mix with my hands but that’s a personal preference. Make sure you mix well, but try not to over mix. Take half of the mixture and place on the bottom of a loaf pan and press down evenly. Take your chorizo and remove the casing carefully, to keep mold intact. Lay the chorizo down in the middle. Take the other half and place on top being sure to press down on the outsides to mold together into one loaf.

Once this is done place in the oven for 60 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160°. Baste the top with the pan juices and chili sauce every 15 minutes or so. Place the jalapeno slices on top for the last 15-20 minutes. Once it is done baking, let sit for 10 minutes before slicing.

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What you’ll need:

1/2 lb ground pork
1lb ground beef
1/2 minced onion
1/2-1 (depending on how much you like) green bell pepper minced with seeds removed 
1 clove garlic minced
2 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4-1 cup plain bread crumbs (add more if needed)
1 tsp each of cajun, cayanne, cumin, chili, salt & pepper seasoning (add more if needed)
1 Chorizo link, casings removed
slices of jalapenos 
sweet chili sauce for basting and dipping

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Carne Asada Burritos

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I sort of have this obsession with the Whole Foods by our house. I’ve been to many organic grocery stores, but this one is like a mecca for organic food shoppers! It has everything and anything you need and with multiple options! My personal favorite is their ready made seafood soups, all from local Florida seafood markets and fisheries!

I wanted something quick to make for after work, so I bought some pre-marinated carne asada. I also like corn and black beans so I found some frozen rice with black beans and corn. And of course you need some cheese and I happen to love goat cheese on my tacos so I bought some that was on sale, you know it’s good when it just falls apart at the slightest touch! If you’ve never had goat cheese, it has a very tart taste to it and is very soft, like butter. I use it on what I call “fancy” tacos, with really good meat such as carne asada or steak. But feel free to use anything you like!

To get started, take a small grill pan and coat with PAM or non stick spray. Turn the heat onto medium high and wait for the grill to get hot. Once it’s hot enough, grill the carne asada 5 minutes on each side for a total of 10-12 minutes total (unless you don’t like your meat pink in the middle) for medium rare I grilled mine for 10 minutes. You want to be careful to not turn the meat too often for it will lose it’s flavor and tenderness.

While the meat is cooking, place your rice bag in the microwave and cook according to directions. Let sit for a few minutes to steam. I mixed my salsa in with the rice to give it some moisture and flavor. Heat your tortillas for about 5 seconds on each side to get them soft and warm (You can also place them in the oven on 350 wrapped in foil).

All there’s left to do now is assemble! Tortilla, meat, rice mixture, and top it off with goat cheese crumbles. And voila!! You have an amazing burrito in 15 minutes! Not to mention it’s very healthy for you, whole grain tortillas, beans, corn, lean meat, all organic… what a healthier way to make a burrito!

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What you’ll need:

  • Whole grain tortillas
  • Carne Asada or some type of lean, tender meat
  • Frozen bag of rice mix with black beans and corn
  • Your favorite Salsa
  • Goat cheese crumbles

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Healthified Taco Salad

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Most people love taco salad. But let me tell you, just because the word “salad” is in the sentence does NOT mean it’s good for you!! I did some research and on average, a taco salad at your local restaurant will cost you almost 1,000 calories!! Not to mention about 57g of fat and almost 2,000g of sodium!!! If you’re familiar with weight watchers, that’s about 23 points! Absolutely disgusting!! Who needs all of that when you can make a healthier, less calorie and fat version at home? And let me tell you, it will taste better than the one you buy at the restaurant! Not to mention it’s super easy to make and you will save money and have left overs!

To get started, preheat your oven to 350°. Take your shells out to make them closer to room temperature. I chose to use Jimmy Dean‘s sausage turkey crumbles as my meat choice. It’s much lower in fat and I think it has more flavor than ground beef. Once it’s preheated, bake the shells as directed, the instructions are very easy to do! 8-10 minutes (i think mine was closer to 12 because I like my shell crispy, but be careful not to burn it!!)

In a skillet, cook your turkey crumbles, no need for any oil or pam with these. Next add your seasonings, you can use taco seasoning or i use my own mix (pretty much the same as taco seasoning) which is cajun, cumin, cayenne, chili, onion, garlic powders, and pepper. Add your salsa, I also added a little queso for some texture and flavor and a little bit of shredded Monterrey jack cheese last until it melts.

Once your shell is cooked let sit for a few minutes (it’s very hot and you don’t want your lettuce to wilt!) Build your salad by adding your lettuce, then turkey mixture, then a dallop of sour cream on top! My picture is a little messy looking because I was very hungry and I built my salad backwards! Lettuce ended up being on top so then I just mixed it all together. Needless to say I need to start working on my presentations more! You can use your favorite type of lettuce, I chose red leaf lettuce because that’s my favorite! It lasts longer and it carries many more nutrients than iceberg.

I did the math and this salad will run you about 340 calories. This is also depending on how much of the toppings you use, the more toppings the more calories. In my opinion, this salad tastes better, fresher, and healthier than the one you would buy at a restaurant. Not to mention the average calories you would save are about 660! Half of the recommended daily calorie allowance, that’s pretty insane! Now you have room for that dessert you always crave or that glass of wine you now have room for 🙂

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What you’ll need:

  • Azteca taco salad shells (you can find these by the butter and cream cheeses in the refrigerated section)
  • Jimmy Dean’s sausage turkey crumbles (in a bag) or your choice of meat 1/2-1 cup
  • (I don’t ever measure my seasonings so this is an estimate) 1 tsp each of cumin, cayenne, cajun, chili, garlic, and onion powder and pepper to taste
  • your favorite salsa, I use Pace
  • Newman’s Own salsa con queso 2 tbsps
  • Shredded Monterrey jack cheese a small hand full
  • Daisy Light sour cream 1tbsp
  • As much as you can fit of your favorite kind of salad, I  used red leaf lettuce (packed with vitamins!)

Chicken Tamale Casserole

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I was trying to find something different to make for dinner. My husband was stuck at the navy base for a 24 hour watch and I decided to be a lovely little wife and bring him some dinner! I wanted to make something that would be versatile and easy to bring with me in the car and carry. I decided to stick to casseroles and found this amazing recipe on google search. If you like sweet and salty foods, you will love this!

Like most of my meals, this one is pretty easy! Preheat your oven to 400. The longest part is boiling and shredding chicken. Once that is done, mix 1/4 cup of cheese and the next 7 ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Bake in a 13×9 baking dish and place in the oven for 15 minutes. Once baked, take the dish out and poke holes with a fork all around. Then pour your enchilada sauce over top ( the wholes will help the sauce absorb inside). Then sprinkle the shredded chicken on top. After that pour the cheese over top, I also added some queso on top for some extra flavor (and calories and fat, but who’s counting?!)

Place back in the oven for 15 minutes. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Cut int o squares and serve with a dallop of sour cream and tortilla chips (optional).

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What you’ll need:

  • 1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
  • 1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix (such as Martha White)
  • 1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce (such as Old El Paso)
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
  • tortilla chips for a good crunch!

Baked Black Bean & Chorizo Rice Bowl

Mexican food is definitely one of my favorites. What I love best is there are so many different directions you can go! There are about a million different combinations of tacos, quesadillas, burritos, etc. This type of food gives us cooking lovers a chance to be creative and unique, and come up with some seriously tasty food!

This recipe is one of those examples.

So simple to make! Half of the time is spent in the oven to bake. And the chorizo is perfect with the black beans and cheese. I will definitely be making this again!

To get started, preheat your oven to 425°. Heat a large skillet over med-high heat with oil, swirl to coat. Add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes, remove from pan onto a plate with paper towels to soak up excess grease. Coat the pan with cooking spray and add the onion and jalapeño, saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the seasoning, garlic, broth and beans, stir and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes. Mash the black beans to form a paste, sort of like refried beans. Spoon into a round baking dish sprayed with cooking spray and top with the chorizo, tomato, and cheese.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese is lightly browned. Top with green onions and serve!! I had a bag of Archer Farms cilantro-lime rice with corn and green chilies, so I steamed that up in the microwave and served my black bean and chorizo goodness on top of the rice with a side of tortilla chips for dipping! You could also try this inside a tortilla and baked in the oven like a burrito! I think that’s what I will do next time.

You will not be disappointed on this one, I guarantee it!

What you’ll need:
1 tbs olive oil
2 links spanish chorizo, casings removed (I got the spicy kind)
Cooking Spray
half an onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground red pepper
1/2 tsp cajun
5 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 c fat free low sodium chicken broth
2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped, seeded tomato
1/2 c Monterrey jack and sharp cheddar cheese
sliced green onions
tortilla chips
rice, see above for what I used

Seafood Quesadillas

I love seafood.

If I had a choice, I would eat it everyday and it would never get old!! So you can imagine my excitement when I moved to FL for the first time. Growing up in Cincinnati/Northern KY, you don’t necessarily have access to good seafood. Just your run of the mill imported fish. Now that I have lived in Corpus Christi TX, Pensacola, FL and now Jacksonville I can tell you that I’ve been in seafood heaven! According to my husband, I haven’t had good seafood until I get to the New England states, but for now I think I’ll live it up to my own opinions until I’m proven wrong.

I wanted fresh seafood, not from the grocery store but straight off the boat!! So I headed to Safe Harbor Seafood Market in Mayport, right by RJ’s Navy base. It is a restaurant and market, and all of their seafood is caught fresh off the boats they have on the docks. Everything from whole fish, to fillets, to shrimp and squid. They have a ton of selections and it’s very moderately priced!

So you’re asking… What made me think of this amazing idea to combine seafood and Mexican food? I had something similar to this at a small restaurant by the beach a few weeks ago, it was an alright meal, a little too much cheese and not enough seafood if you ask me, but I love to find ways to make dishes more, well me! So I decided to ex-nay the regular salsa and make a pineapple-mango salsa. I also decided to add more than one type of seafood, so I got the works! I knew I wanted a white fish, and the Mahi was on sale, so I went with Mahi Mahi, shrimp, and crab. I used my favorite cheese from the deli Boar’s Head Chipotle Smoked Ghouda (has a good kick to it and it melts beautifully!)

I started by making the salsa. Super easy! Cut up your pineapple, mango, red pepper, red onion, jalapeno, and cilantro. Add your lime juice and mix well. Easy Peasy and did I mention, amazing?!

Next, wash off your fish and shrimp. I cut my fish into three pieces to help it cook faster. Rub Cajun seasoning on the fish and add salt and pepper. Place some olive oil on the skillet and cook for 10 minutes and an additional 5 on the skin side. It should be white and flaky and shouldn’t see any pink.

Once it’s cooked, place on a plate to cool. While your fish is cooling, place your shrimp on the skillet and add cajun salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes being sure to move around every minute or so to cook evenly. Once done, your shrimp should have a pink look to them.

RJ didn’t want crab on his, so I had to cook it separately, but you can definitely add the crab to the shrimp on the skillet and cook them together. The fish should now be cooled, take a fork and peel off the skin of the fish. Then with your fork flake into pieces. Take your bottom tortilla and place the cheese evenly. Take your shrimp, crab, and mahi and place evenly on top of the cheese. Take some cilantro and sprinkle.

Take your top tortilla and place over the fish. Take a grill pan and coat with some olive oil on medium-high. Once it’s hot, place your quesadilla on the pan and press down with another heavy skillet or something flat that is heavy. Wait 1-2 minutes and gently take the quesadilla and flip over to grill the other side. Wait another 1-2 minutes and place on a plate to serve!

Take your pineapple-mango salsa and place on each quesadilla triangle. I whipped up a Mexican staple of mine, sour cream, taco sauce and cajun seasoning. I use it with anything Mexican!

Now I think that regular salsa would be good with this meal, but the mango-pineapple salsa just gives it that sweet and spicy collision of flavors that every mouth craves! The sweetness from the salsa pairs perfectly with the spicy kick of cajun. This is absolutely one of my favorite dinners so far! And it is super easy and quick to make! I will definitely be using this salsa again!

What you’ll need:
pineapple-mango salsa:
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 cup pineapple, chopped
1/2 red onion, minced
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed, minced
A bunch of cilantro, minced
the juice of one lime
seafood quesadillas:
Mahi Mahi Fillet
1/2 pound of shrimp
1 cup of crab (real, not imitation)
Cajun seasoning
Chipotle Ghouda Cheese (or any cheese you would like to add!)
tortillas
cilantro
sour cream/taco sauce/cajun mixture (for dipping)

Southwest Burgers

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I hardly ever eat burgers. But every once in a while I will get a craving for one. They are undoubtedly the picture of American food. And the best part is, there are endless options to make them! Burgers are too boring to me when they have meet, cheese, and a bun. You can make California burgers with avocado and bacon, or Mexican burgers with Nacho cheese, salsa, and sour cream! So many options, and so much creativity! My favorite thing about cooking is that it gives everyone an opportunity to be creative and explore the amazing quality of flavors!

Our grill wasn’t working too well at this time, it was small and old and left at our house when we moved in. So with the help of my sister, we ended up making these tasty burgers on the skillet! And you wouldn’t have known the difference!

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To start, take a small bowl and make the corn relish. I added a few extras to mine from the recipe I found, and it added the best flavor! If you have a grill, I suggest grilling corn on the cob and then cutting the corn off for this relish. Since we didn’t have one, I turned the oven on 425 and placed the corn and chopped bell pepper on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. Take it out every 15 minutes and stir on the sheet until the corn and pepper are fully roasted. Mix the corn, chopped bell pepper, and red onions with the juice of one lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper. I also added a few dashes of red wine vinegar, chopped cilantro and chopped tomato. Mix lightly and set aside.

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Next make your ground beef patties! In a medium bowl, mix your ground beef, garlic salt, pepper, onion powder, cajun seasoning, and cumin. Handle into patty shapes, generally about 1 inch in thickness. Place in the skillet or on the grill. If using a skillet, place on medium high. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side. Same goes for the grill. This will be for a medium well burger, just a little pink in the middle is what it should look like when it’s done cooking. Make sure not to press down on the burgers while cooking because the burger will dry out very easily and all of the juices and flavors will go into the skillet or on the bottom of the grill and it will lose its flavors.

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While your burgers are cooking, make the sauce. Take a small bowl and add mayonnaise, lemon juice, and minced chipotles. Take out your buns and brush the inside with either butter or olive oil. Place on the grill for a few minutes, or in the already preheated oven on a baking sheet.

When your burgers are done, assemble!! Serve on buns with chipotle mayo, and corn salsa!

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What you’ll need:

Corn salsa:
Cup of roasted/grilled corn
Cup of roasted/grilled chopped red bell pepper
Chopped tomato (about half of one)
Chopped red onion (about 1/4 of one)
Chopped Cilantro
Juice of one lemon
Drizzle of olive oil
2 Dashes red wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper

Burger meat:
1 1/2-2 lbs ground beef
A few dashes each of:
Onion powder
Garlic salt
Cajun seasoning
Cumin
Pepper

Chipotle Mayo:
1/4 cup Mayonnaise
1 tbsp minced chipotles in adobo sauce
Juice of one lemon

Burger buns of your liking!

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Lightened-Up Paella

Paella is a traditional Spanish dish that combines a mouthwatering combination of sausage, chicken, and seafood accompanied with rice. This dish is similar except I substituted turkey sausage, skinless chicken thighs, and shrimp!! If you are cooking for two, you may want to cut this recipe in half (unless you like leftovers! It tastes great heated up the next day!)

Let’s get cooking!! Place chicken broth in a saucepan over medium heat. Rub saffron threads with your fingers crushing them as you sprinkle in the broth. If you don’t have saffron threads, you can use some turmeric powder (Just a dash). Whisk the broth. Bring to a low simmer, reducing the heat to low and keep warm.

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a paella pan (or a large wide skillet) on medium heat. Add the turkey sausage and cook stirring occasionally about 2 minutes. Next add the chicken and saute until lightly browned for about 3-4 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add another tbsp of olive oil in the same skillet, add onions and bell peppers stirring occasionally until they soften. Add garlic and paprika. Cook for another minute. Add the rice, stir to coat with oil and lightly toast.

Gently add the chicken broth, stirring well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes being sure to stir occasionally.

Raise the heat to medium and add your sausage and chicken. Mix well. Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. If you are running short on liquid, add more broth or water. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the peas, shrimp, and parsley. Simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been mostly absorbed, the bottom of the pan should be lightly crusted (not burned).

What you’ll need:

4 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
Pinch of saffron threads (you can also substitute a dash of turmeric powder)
3 tbsp olive oil-divided
8 ounces of mild or hot Italian turkey sausage, halved length-wise, sliced crosswise.
6-8 boneless skinless chicken thighs, fat cut off and cubed
Salt and black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
1 large red and yellow bell pepper, seeded quartered and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tbsp smoked sweet paprika (regular also works well!)
2 cups of paella or arborio rice
1 can (14.5 oz) fire-roasted tomatoes
2 cups of fresh or frozen peas
8 ounces of medium sized shrimp