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Chicken Parm Burgers

Last weekend was mild in temperature compared to how it should be this time of year, and that gave us the perfect excuse to fire up the grill, possibly for one last time, before winter hits hard.  While we are not big on hamburgers, Joel and I both really enjoy burgers made with ground chicken.  Perhaps it is because we like chicken better than beef, but generally we find that chicken burgers tend to be more flavorful and not as dry as their ground beef counterpart.  I had flagged this burger recipe back in May from Tracey's Culinary Adventures, originally Elly Says Opa, and had been looking for a reason to make it.    This burger did not disappoint!  Rather than serving these on hamburger buns, we made homemade bread and served these along with a slice of it.

1 pound Ground Chicken
1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 cup Bread Crumbs
2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (I just used a blend of basil, parsley, and oregano)
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped (I skipped because it didn't look good at the store)
1 Garlic Clove, finely minced
1 Shallot, finely diced (I used 1/4 of a red onion)
Salt and Pepper

1/2 cup Marinara Sauce
4 slices Fresh Mozzarella
Bread or Rolls

In a large bowl, lightly mix the chicken, parmesan, bread crumbs, seasoning, parsley, garlic, shallot, salt, and pepper.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for about 30 minutes for the flavors to meld together.  Separate the meat mixture into 4 patties and grill until cooked through, about 10-15 minutes, flipping once during cook time.  Top each burger with a slice of mozzarella cheese and continue to cook for about 1 minute, until the cheese starts to melt.  Top with marinara sauce and serve on a roll or with a piece of crusty bread.


Roasted Red Pepper Penne

We've been casually looking for a house for the past 2 years since we've been married.  Each weekend, we've been making a list of the open houses in our desired neighborhoods and checking out what was on the market.  The Sunday before Halloween, we had only 3 houses on our list.  On our short drive from one to the next, we happened to see an "open house" sign on the side of a street we hadn't had on our list.  We decided to drive down to check it out.  After waiting for some kids to move their hockey net out of the street, we pulled up to the house, walked in, and immediately knew we were home.  We called the owners that night to schedule another showing, and returned on Halloween night to look one more time.  We called that evening with an offer, and after one counter, we settled on a price.  Since then, we've signed the contract and had the inspection, and now we just wait until January when we can finally move into our dream home.  In the midst of those crazy days we've had, I wanted some quick meals, since we were running from appointment to appointment.  I've had this flagged from How Sweet It Is, so we decided to give it a go.  Talk about a quick meal!  I altered it a bit, omitting the chicken and using jarred red peppers instead of roasting my own, but I think that added to the ease of this recipe.  My modifications are reflected in the recipe below.

1 jar Roasted Red Peppers, drained
3 Garlic Cloves
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
4-5 Basil Leaves, torn
1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/8 teaspoon Salt
4-5 tablespoons Olive Oil
1 pound Penne Pasta
1/2 Onion, thinly sliced

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.  In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until they are translucent and begin to caramelize.  Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, add the peppers, garlic, parmesan cheese, basil, salt, and pepper.  Blend until pureed, then stream in 3-4 tablespoons of oil so that the mixture comes together.  In a large bowl, combine the penne and onions.  Add the red pepper sauce and toss to coat.  Serve with additional parmesan cheese and a few basil leaves, if desired.


German Potato Salad

This is my first month taking part in the Secret Recipe Club, and I have to say, I already really enjoy it!  I was assigned to One Lovely Life, which truly is one lovely blog!  I read through from the most recent post, all the way to the very beginning and I enjoyed it very much.  Emily's posts are so well written, her pictures are awesome, and of course, she has an absolutely adorable family including her beautiful little girl, who she writes about often.  I had a tough time picking just one of the recipes on her blog to share for the reveal, but ultimately, it came down to German Potato Salad.  I've always loved German Potato Salad (sadly, Joel doesn't share that love).  As a kid, we'd open a can of it and serve it as a side to a grilled dinner.  Canned is ok, but I'd much prefer homemade.  We had a family friend who made the best homemade German Potato Salad.  Of course, she guarded the recipe closely, as it was a family secret.  Well, I think that this recipe is spot on for the perfect German potato salad.

6-8 Red Potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced thin (*I added this)
3 slices Bacon, diced
1 1/2 tablespoon Flour
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1/2 cup Water
3 1/2 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4-1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
3-4 tablespoons Fresh Parsley, minced (optional--I omitted)

Place the potatoes in a large pot and fill with cold water, until the potatoes are completely covered by 1-2 inches of water.  Bring to a boil and cook until mostly tender, about 15-20 minutes.  Drain and allow to cool before slicing into 1/4 inch thick slices.  Spray a large, heavy bottomed skillet with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook the onions over medium heat until they have become golden brown, about 5 minutes.  Remove the onions to a plate and add the bacon to the skillet, cooking until crisp and brown.  Remove the bacon and set aside to cool on paper towels.  Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the flour to the bacon grease, stirring to combine.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.  Pour in the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper.  Cook, stirring until thickened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add the sliced potatoes, onion, and bacon back to the skillet/pot and toss with the dressing.  Stir in the parsley, if using.  Serve warm or at room temperature.


Portobello Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Wow, has it really been a week since I posted last?  Well, I have a back-log of recipes I plan on posting, so this week, posting should be a little bit more regular.  Last week, I was looking for easy week-night meals and spotted this one from Stephanie Cooks, adapted from Eating Well.  We aren't huge meat eaters, so I thought this would be a nice and healthy alternative to the traditional Philly Cheesesteak sub.  Oh man, was this good...and super fast, too!  Between the sub and the baked {microwaved} potato, I think dinner took all of about 7 minutes to prepare!  I wouldn't mind making this more often.

2 Sub Rolls
1/2 teaspoon Olive Oil
2 Portobello Mushroom Caps, gills removed
1/2 Red Bell Pepper (we omitted)
1/4 Yellow Onion, sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon Oregano
1/2 tablespoon Soy Sauce
1/2 tablespoon Hot Sauce
2 slices Provolone Cheese

Wash the mushrooms and use a spoon to remove the gills from the cap (optional step).  Slice the mushroom and pepper into thin strips.  In a large skillet, heat the oil.  Add the mushrooms, peppers, and onions.  Cook until they are soft.  Add the oregano, soy sauce, and hot sauce.  Stir and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Divide the mixture in two and top each pile with cheese.  Continue cooking until the cheese melts.  Place each pile onto toasted sub rolls.  Serve hot.


Spinach, Artichoke, and Provolone Stuffed Chicken Breasts

The other day, I was feeling a little creative in the kitchen.  I had some cheese, artichoke hearts, spinach, and chicken, so I decided to throw them all together and make a stuffed chicken breast.  I usually don't think quick on my feet in the kitchen, and I always feel like I need to be following a recipe, so I surprised myself on this one.  The end result was pretty tasty, if I do say so myself.  I did end up cutting the one chicken breast a little bit too thin on one side, so some of the filling fell out, but that didn't change the fact that this tasted pretty delicious!

2 Chicken Breasts, butterflied
2 slices Provolone Cheese
1 small jar Artichoke Hearts (3-4 per chicken breast)
Handful of Fresh Spinach
1/2 cup Flour
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Bread Crumbs
Salt & Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

In a shallow bowl, mix the salt, pepper, and flour.  In another shallow bowl, beat the egg with a splash of water.  Place the bread crumbs in a third shallow bowl.  Butterfly each chicken breast.  Top with a piece of provolone, a handful of spinach, and a few artichoke hearts.  Roll the chicken, using toothpicks to secure each piece.  Dip the chicken in the bowl of flour and shake of any excess.  Then, dip the chicken in the egg, followed by the bread crumbs.  Heat the olive oil over medium heat in an oven proof skillet.  Place each chicken breast in the skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, turning to make sure each side becomes browned.  Remove the chicken from the heat and place the skillet in an oven preheated to 375 degrees.  Bake the chicken until it is cooked through to 165 degrees on a meat thermometer, about 20-25 minutes.