Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger

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Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger with Mint, Dill, and Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce

I’ve never really cared much for ground turkey. I thought it was too dry and bland and became dense and bland when formed into patties.

A couple weeks ago, I was over at my in-laws and was served a grilled turkey burger. It was much tastier than I anticipated, but I still thought it could be improved upon.

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Spinach and feta turkey burgers fry on a cast iron griddle on a gas grill.

A few days later, my wife showed me a recipe for a turkey burger with spinach and feta cheese. It looked promising, but I thought the proportions seemed a little off. I decreased the amount of spinach and egg as I thought the amount in the original recipe would make burgers that fell apart.

I use a cast iron griddle on my gas grill to cook the burgers. A cast iron skillet will also work or simply cook them on the grates.

Here is what I did:

Spinach and Feta Turkey Burger

Ingredients

1 Large egg
2 Cloves garlic
3 Ounces Feta cheese crumbles
1 Pound fresh spinach steamed and squeezed dry or 7 ounces frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
1 1/2 Pounds ground turkey

Directions

Mix together the egg, garlic, feta cheese, spinach, and turkey in a large bowl until well combined. Form into 6 patties approximately 5 ounces each. Place them on foil wrapped tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

While burgers are chilling, preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Then grill burgers until no longer pink in the center, 15 to 20 minutes.

Mint, Dill, and Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce

Ingredients 

1 Cucumber, peeled and grated
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 Cups plain Greek yogurt
4 Cloves garlic, minced
1/4 Teaspoon cayenne pepper
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh mint, chopped
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Sprinkle grated cucumber with 1/2 teaspoon salt in a bowl and let stand 10 to 15 minutes to draw out juice. Then move shredded cucumber onto several dry paper or cloth towel and squeeze as much moisture as possible from the cucumber.

Then combine yogurt, cucumber into a separate bowl. Add garlic, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice and mix thoroughly.

Stir dill and mint into yogurt-cucumber mixture. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. This may also be made the day before to allow the flavors to combine even more.

Shakshuka: Eggs Poached in Tomato Sauce

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My daughter and her boyfriend visited this weekend. My son also joined us on Sunday to start the day with Bloody Marys and a light breakfast. Breakfast this weekend was shakshuka.

Although usually thought of as an Israeli breakfast food, variations of shakshuka can be found in the cuisines of many other cultures including the Middle Eastern and North African countries of Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, and Egypt. Shakshuka style dishes can be found in other parts of the world too; the Mexican huevos rancheros is a similar dish. Eggs may be the featured ingredient, but shaksuka is often enjoyed at other meals.

This flavorful one-skillet dish is comprised of onion, jalapeño, tomatoes, and eggs topped with feta and flat leafed parsley. It’s a great way to serve a large group a delicious breakfast in a relative quick and easy way with very few dirty dishes. Shakshuka is typically prepared and served in a cast iron skillet. Pita or another flat bread is a common accompaniment.

Here is what I did:

Shakshuka

Ingredients

1 small yellow onion, chopped
3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, crushed
1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon. paprika
1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled San Marzano style tomatoes, undrained
8 – 10 eggs
Kosher salt, to taste
1⁄2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
Warm pita for serving

Directions

Heat oil in a 12″ cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add jalapeño and onions and cook until soft and golden brown stirring frequently; about 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic and cook about 2 more minutes until garlic is soft. Then add cumin and paprika. Cook, stirring frequently, until seasonings become fragrant; about 2 additional minutes.

Add tomatoes and their liquid into the skillet and crush them while mixing them up with the other ingredients. Stir in a 1⁄2 cup water and reduce heat to medium. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened slightly, about 20 minutes. Season sauce with salt.

Crack the eggs into the sauce evenly distributing them around the skillet. Cover skillet and cook until yolks are just set, about 5 to 10 minutes depending on desired doneness of the eggs. Remember that the eggs will continue to set after removing from the heat.

Sprinkle shakshuka with feta and parsley and serve with pita for dipping.

Take a break from beef: Try Lamburgers

In my opinion, Americans should eat more lamb. From a health standpoint it’s leaner, has fewer calories, and less cholesterol than beef. This is due in part to the fact that lamb is grass fed. Beef should be this way, and in fact, much is being made of the benefits of grass fed beef over grain fed beef as of late.

The biggest obstacle to eating more lamb is availability. Luckily, Hy-Vee, a local grocery chain here in Iowa, has begun selling lamb from Strauss Farms, making obtaining lamb much easier.

Tonight I made lamburgers and topped them with crumbles of feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion, and oregano. Here is what I did:

Ingredients

1 pound ground lamb
4 ounces Greek feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
1/8 cup Kalamata olives, chopped (approximately 8 olives)
Red onion
Buns

Directions

Heat grill to medium heat.

Meanwhile, form ground lamb into three equal patties. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Combine feta, olives, and oregano in glass bowl mixing well.

Grill burgers to desired doneness. During the last few minutes of cooking, divide feta mixture onto burgers. Remove from grill placing on buns and top with onion.