Goat Cheese Red Pepper Turkey Burgers

I woke up at 6:45 this morning. And went running. It might be a New Year after all.

I type this fully realizing that 6:45 a.m. is NOT that early, and that many people wake up then or much earlier every day to go to work, or to exercise or to whatever. But I do not. Ever. Wake up before I absolutely have to.

And running isn’t an absolute need. I suppose until today.

So the healthyish thing is continuing, hence the continued running (we also have a half marathon coming up, and don’t want to embarrass ourselves).

Which brings me to today, and to the turkey burger. The sad little cousin of the beef burger, younger sister to the world’s greatest burger, the lamb burger (in my HUMBLE opinion). I will order a lamb burger on basically any menu I see it on. I will not order a turkey burger on basically any menu I see it on. Turkey burgers usually end up so dry and boring tasting.

Time to change that. With one of the greatest foods ever, goat cheese. My newest obsession to cook with since I seem to have moved on from bacon. Though, full disclosure, I did make myself bacon and a goat cheese omelette for dinner last night. Oops.

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You know what goes great with goat cheese? Roasted red peppers. Which I mixed into the ground turkey with an egg, some spices and some breadcrumbs to help moisten the whole thing up a bit.

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Mixed meat is just about the least appetizing looking thing ever, right?

IMG_0543.JPGUntil it becomes these gorgeous patties.

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And yes, it’s January, so I used my cast iron grill pan instead of the actual grill. These might have even been slightly better on the charcoal grill, but it was cold outside. Indoor options called.

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Grill marks make everything better.

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While the burgers were grilling, I slathered some softened goat cheese on each bun. Added some spinach… so good. Tomato would have been good on this also, but I only had cherry tomatoes and that didn’t seem like a great option for topping a burger.

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I served these with a SALAD (not pictured) and oven-baked fries (pictured). I can only go without potatoes for so long. I’m still human, after all.

The leftover patties were also yummy leftover the next day with some quinoa and asparagus!

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Chicken Parmesan with Tomato Risotto

I like chicken parm. What’s not to like? Crunchy, cheesy, saucy goodness.

As much as I like chicken parm, my husband LOVES it. He loves basically anything that is served over pasta. So my idea to serve it over a pillow of risotto really rocked his world. After a long day of work, though, I think he was just happy to see dinner.

Risotto sounds fancy, and thus complicated. I’ve made it a few times, and the first time was definitely a bit scary. The most important thing with risotto is to stir continuously while the rice is absorbing the broth. I once tried to do risotto while doing other things… it did not end well. I suggest cooking the chicken first, then setting it aside while you finish the risotto.

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I prepped the chicken, set out my dredging equipment and got everything for the risotto ready first.

Dredging the chicken is probably the worst part of this whole procedure. Any recipes that require dredging, boo… It makes such a big mess. But it tastes so good.

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Look at that beautiful crust.

Then I moved on to the risotto, spoon, broth and measuring cup at the ready. IMG_0451.JPG

Keeping everything in arm’s reach made this SO much easier.

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I stopped stirring just long enough to take this picture!

Once all the broth is absorbed, you’re done. The rice should be a bit al dente, with just a little bite. So rich, so yummy. At this point, I broiled the chicken until the mozzarella was melted and then combined everything. And topped with more mozzarella. And parmesan. Because of course.

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Magnificent.

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BBQ Chicken Stuffed Baked Potato Skins

I should have called this blog Dad Loves Bacon. Except, alliteration. And, truly, Dad LIKES bacon, but I don’t think he loves it. I, however, clearly LOVE bacon. Could be worse, right?

Rare is the Sunday when my husband and I get the chance to veg in front of football games all day. We’re fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers, but as fantasy football players, it’s fun to see as many games as possible and cheer for the players on our teams.

Last Sunday was one of those rare football-watching days, which of COURSE, required football-watching snacks. Chips and dip would have probably sufficed, but last Sunday, snacks meant baked potato skins. BBQ chicken and bacon and fontina cheese stuffed baked potato skins.

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Looks terrible, right?

“Restaurant-style” potato skins are usually deep fried. Nothing wrong with that… but deep frying is capital M Messy. Broiling the potato skins keeps the crisp without the mess (and the calories), and it’s much faster.

Start by washing and then baking whole potatoes. Once they are cooked through (about an hour at 400 degrees for me), cut them in half and let them cool. Seriously! Scraping burning hot potato out of the skin is zero fun.

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You can’t tell from this picture, but these bad boys were steamy.

While the potatoes are cooling, prep the filling. Slice up your bacon and cook until crisp in a small fry pan. Chop up the shallots and chicken while the bacon cooks.

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Allow your nosy cat to watch you work.

Once the bacon is crisp, set it aside on a paper towel. Drain most, but not all of the bacon grease out of the pan. Add the garlic to the grease, cook for about 30 seconds, then add the shallots and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook the shallots for a few minutes until they start to soften.

Add the chicken pieces and spices and stir well to combine.

Now head back to the potatoes, which should be cool enough to handle by now. Scoop out the insides of the potatoes with a spoon. You don’t want to scrape the potato completely out – try to leave a small amount of potato in the skin.

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Like this!

You can set the scoopings aside for another recipe, like this Browned Butter Baked Potato Pizza. Or Baked Potato Soup. Or Tater Tots. Etc. If you’re not planning on making something else right away, the potato insides will survive in a sealed container in the fridge for a few days. I frequently make skins one night and soup/pizza/etc. the next or vice versa. Works great, and you only have to bake and scrape once!

Turn your broiler on high and rub the outsides AND insides of the skins with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.

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Salty goodness.

Place the potatoes skin-side up on the pan and broil on HIGH for 3-4 minutes. I like to broil for 2 minutes at a time (and I always set a timer… too many things I have burned to a little crisp after forgetting them under the broiler). After 2 minutes, I check to make sure each one is cooking evenly (and nothing is burning).

When they are ready, the skins should be crisp and lightly browned.

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Nice little browning on the bottoms.

Flip the potatoes over and broil again, flesh-side up, for another 3-4 minutes (2 and 2 for me again!).

Hopefully you haven’t forgotten to stir your chicken while you’re working on the potatoes. Once the chicken is cooked through, mix in your favorite BBQ sauce. I usually use hot garlic BBQ sauce from our favorite wing joint, but use what you like (or have in the house).

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This bottle is actually a growler… and is clearly more than 16 oz of sauce.

Divide the chicken mixture between the broiled potato skins. Top with fontina cheese and your prepared bacon crumbles.

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I’d eat these just like this.

Broil the potatoes for a final 3-4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top with green onions and serve hot!

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Dang.

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