Spicy Bacon Burger

I hate touching raw meat.  Therefore, I rarely make my own burgers.  If I’m going to have one, I buy the pre-made frozen ones.  But on the night I made these I wanted something different for supper as I’d been eating pasta forever it felt like (thanks to the million serving size Greek pasta with the extra sugar).  And I’d recently received the Tex-Mex issue of the Rachel Ray magazine in the mail and I thought her burger of the month looked good.  Plus, my boyfriend was visiting and he’s a burger with bacon fan.  Plus he gets kind of tired when all I cook is chicken.

So I got in there with my hands and mixed the beef and formed the patties.  And it was gross and messy and I probably washed my hands a million times afterwards.  I grilled them up and put bacon on them.  And cheese sauce.  And nachos.

Nachos?  Yes, nachos.  I wasn’t sure how I felt about putting something crunchy on my burger, but it turned out great!  They softened slightly from the cheese sauce, but still had some crunch and gave the burger some good texture.

These burgers were good!  Nice and spicy thanks to the chipotles and jalapeno on top.  I’d never bought jalapenos in a jar before.

I was lazy and served these with sweet potato fries from the freezer.  If you’re feeling ambitious, you could slice up some sweet potatoes, slather them with olive oil and make your own.

Tex-Mex Bacon Cheeseburgers
(slightly adapted from the Rachael Ray Everyday magazine)
8 slices of bacon (4 whole, 4 finely chopped)
ground beef
3-4 tbsp grated onion
3 cloves garlic, grated
1-2 tbsp pureed canned chipotles (I couldn’t find chipotles in adobo sauce, but the ones I used were in some sort of sauce)
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Queso Sauce:
3 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp flour (I used whole wheat because that’s what I pulled out of the cupboard first)
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups cheese
1 14 0z can diced tomatoes, drained (I used the Alymer Accents Spicy Pepper kind, but I think their Chilli kind would be a good choice too)
Rolls and Toppings:
4 whole wheat thin buns, toasted
chopped tomato, cilantro, and pickled jalapeno
Line a baking sheet with foil and position a baking rack on top.  Lay the whole pieces of bacon on top and bake at 375° until crisp (about 15 minutes)
Heat a grill pan over medium heat.  Combine burger ingredients and shape into four patties making them thinner in the middle.  Grill the burgers for 10 minutes per side for well done (recipe says 5 minutes per side for medium)
Make the cheese sauce by melting butter in a saucepan over medium heat and then whisking in the flour.  Cook for about a minute.  Be careful not to burn!  Whisk in the milk.  Stir in cheese and then the tomatoes once melted.
Assemble burgers by putting the burgers on the bun.  Top with queso sauce, 1 strip of bacon (broken in half and criss-crossed), nachos, remaining toppings as desired, and bun top.

Coconut Lime Chicken

Ever since the snow melted and the sun came out and it’s been actually warm, I’ve had a MAJOR case of SPRING FEVER.

I feel so antsy!  I don’t want to work.  I don’t want to clean my apartment (although I would love if someone would do it for me).  All I want to do is sit on my deck and drink margaritas.

Oh, and it’s making the last week before my vacation unbearable!  I just want to go now!!

I’m a little concerned that the spring weather won’t stay.  Last year I remember coming back from Mexico about the middle of April, and I’m pretty sure it was cloudy and cold for like two months straight after that.  I don’t think there really was much of a spring at all.  And no sun = me in a funk.  So here’s hoping Mother Nature cooperates this year.

For now, I’ll enjoy the sun while it’s here and I will open my windows to let the fresh air in!

And why not have some Coconut Lime Chicken.  Tastes like summer!

I’ve already told you about how much I love the smell of coconut lime in candle or soap form.  Now I can tell you that it TASTES delicious in chicken form.

This is one of the best chicken recipes  I have ever made and I will definitely be making it again.  It would probably be great on the BBQ too.

Coconut Lime Chicken Breasts
(slightly adapted from Rachael Ray)
3 cloves garlic, grated
A piece of fresh ginger about the size of your finger, peeled and grated
1 cup green onions, chopped
1 cup cilantro
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/3 cup honey
1 cup coconut milk
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
Zest of 1 lime
4-6 chicken breasts
Make marinade:  Combine all ingredients except chicken in food processor and puree.  By already having the ginger and garlic grated, you avoid getting big chunks and helps it combine easier.
Cut two slits in each chicken breast so that the marinade can really get in there.  I used 4 chicken breasts, but there was lots of marinade, so I’m sure you could do 6 if you wanted to.  Put the chicken and the marinade in a large Ziploc bag and give it a massage.  Marinate at least 1 hour in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 450º.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining with foil and setting a wire rack on top.  Place chicken on the rack and bake until done, flipping chicken breasts halfway through.  I cooked mine for about 40 minutes total.
Tip:  If you have extra coconut milk left over, freeze it in a baggie or plastic storage container.  Make sure you label it so you remember what it is.

I LOVE this chicken!  It’s so moist and flavorful.  I served it with Pico de gallo rice pilaf.  Kind of a mash up and Thai and Mexican.  Somehow I didn’t notice the ginger in the recipe when I was menu planning for the week.  But it worked.  This would also be good served with basmati or jasmine rice.

Pico de Gallo Rice Pilaf

I went shopping this weekend and had an epiphany of sorts.

I was looking for some summery clothes, like brightly colored t-shirts and sun dresses.  In an effort to be more trendy I went in some stores I don’t normally shop in.

I think there’s a reason for that.

The first clue should have been that the sales people were all sixteen.

The second clue was the length of the skirts.  I tried on many a dress or skirt that looked nice on the mannequin, or that the sales girl was pulling off quite nicely, but had little success. 

I am too old to wear short skirts.

They just don’t look good one me. 

Maybe it’s not that I’m too old… maybe it’s just that I don’t have the right body type to pull off the trendy styles.  Shorter skirts that puff out and have layers are very in right now, and they are so adorable!  Unfortunately, they accentuate my already disproportionately curvaceous lower half.

When I finally did find some beach dresses that I absolutely LOVE, the middle aged sale clerk informed me that she owned three of my five purchases.

That lady must have great style.

Woopsie… I bought another bathing suit too.  Because, you know, eight suits just isn’t enough… and I didn’t have a teal one and teal is my FAVORITE color… and it was such a good deal!

I could justify purchases all day long.

Anyways… let’s talk food.  There’s a recipe in this post I promise!

You don’t have to go shopping to make you feel summery.  You could eat this rice pilaf that tastes like Mexico and reminded me of guacamole (cuz it has everything I put in my guac except the avocado).

Stay tuned for the chicken I paired it with.  It’s fab!  I’ll show you that on Friday.

Pico de Gallo Rice Pilaf
(very slightly adapted from Rachael Ray’s Look + Cook Cookbook)
1/2 cup orzo pasta
1 cup brown rice
2 cups chicken broth
4 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 medium sized red onion, finely chopped
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
Handful of cilantro, finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
Heat one turn of pan EVOO in a saucepan over medium heat.  Add orzo and cook until brown and toasted.  Stir in rice and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until rice is cooked, about 17-18 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop your veggies and combine in a bowl with lime juice and zest.
Once rice is done, fluff with a fork and combine with salsa.

 Super easy and delicious!  One of the best side dishes I have ever made!