Friday, August 31, 2012


There are zillions of recipes for burgers.  From the simple to multi ingredients added before the patties are formed.  Further creation occurs when you stack the burger with extras in a burger bun.  I have seen avocados, tomatoes, lettuce, blue cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, dill pickles, onion, salsa and corn relish added to the burger.  Of course not all of these ingredients are added to one bun.  But maybe I shouldn't assume so, I couldn't get my mouth around such a huge stack of items.  I do question the issue of whether you are eating the burger for the burger or for the fixins when so many add ons are put in the bun along with the burger.   

I like a simple recipe for burgers and the following ingredients are my favourites.  I don't like making big burgers so that I can have more than one if I am hungry.  I also tend to not eat a bun with the burger as I would rather have something else, like potato salad, with the burger.   There is also a debate about whether you should add an egg to the ingredients.  I have made burgers with and without an egg.  My burgers stay together better when I add an egg, especially when I am making them on the bbq.  I do add different mustards and when I made these I used a flavoured Dijon horseradish mustard.  


1 egg
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs or uncooked oatmeal
1 small onion, grated or finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef

In bowl, beat the egg with fork; mix in bread crumbs, onion, mustard, salt, Worcestershire and pepper.  Mix in the ground beef.  Form into four to eight patties depending on the size that you want your burgers to be.  Cook on a grill or in a frying pan on medium low heat until meat is well cooked.  Depending on the thickness of the burgers, I will cook each side for 10 to 15 minutes.   Serves 4 to 6.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I like the combination of tomatoes and corn and this dish does have a sweet flavour.  Both the corn and onion provide the sweetness and the tomatoes provide the acidic balance.  I used cherry tomatoes from the garden in the recipe.  To cut the kernels off the uncooked cobs, I used a corn zipper which is a great  tool.  The corn zipper cuts about two rows of corn off off the cob.  It is much easier to use this tool versus a knife to take the kernels off the cob.  Both the DH and I enjoyed this dish and I plan to make it several times while I still have cherry tomatoes from the garden.

A great tool- a corn zipper.

In the frying pan and ready to go into the serving dish.



½ medium sized sweet onion, chopped
1 tbsp oil or butter
½ tsp dried oregano
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cobs
2 cups of cherry tomatoes
salt and pepper to taste


In a medium size frying pan, heat the oil or butter on medium high heat.  Add the onions and thyme and sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is translucent.  Add the corn and tomatoes and cook for 5 to 7 minutes.  Season to taste with salt and pepper before serving.   Serves 4.

Option: if you have any opened white wine in the kitchen, you can add ½ cup to the frying pan after the onions become translucent.  You need to cook this for a little awhile to reduce the amount of liquid in the frying pan by half.

A second option to the recipe is to add ½ cup frozen lima beans or canned lima beans when the corn and tomatoes are added.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


I like using salad dressing when eating my salad greens.  Always on the lookout for lower calorie dressing, I will make dressings from scratch and also buy them.  This recipe is lower in calories and was easy to make including the fact that I had all of the ingredients in the kitchen.  I also liked using a green apple as an ingredient in the dressing.  This recipe is a keeper.

Mixing the dressing in a mini food processor.

Dressing stored in a container before being placed in the fridge.

Sesame Peanut Salad Dressing


1 ½ tbsp sodium reduced soy sauce or tamari sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp brown sugar or splenda
½ granny smith apple, cored and chopped
2 tbsp water


Put all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Makes about one cup of dressing.  Refrigerate in a container.  It should keep for a week in the fridge.

Adapted from Nutrition Action newsletter, July/August 2012 edition

Friday, August 17, 2012


There are a variety of ways to marinade chicken drumettes including mixtures based on balsamic vinegar, greek spices, bbq sauce and chinese condiments.  I made a marinade based on balsamic vinegar and it turned out really well.  So well that the DH and I had to stop eating the drumettes otherwise we would have been overly full.  Some balsamic glazes use a lot of sugar or honey but I didn't use as much sweetener.  Because the glaze gets crispy and caramelizes while baking, it is important to double line your baking sheet with tin foil otherwise you will be soaking the baking sheet in the sink in order to clean it.

I did take pictures of the drumettes after they were cooked but the photos didn't do them justice.  The caramelized coating makes the drumettes appear too dark.


2 to 2 1/2 pounds of chicken drumettes
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup agave, honey or maple syrup
2 tbsp splenda
3 cloves garlic, minced
several springs of fresh rosemary cut into small pieces


Mix all of the ingredients in a large zip lock bag.  Add the drumettes and let marinate in the fridge for at least two hours.   Double line a baking sheet with tin foil and bake at 400 degrees F for about 35 to 45 minutes until the skin on the drumettes is caramelized.  Save the leftover marinade.

Towards the end of the baking, heat the leftover marinade in a small saucepan.  Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

Place the cooked drumettes in a serving bowl and pour the cooked marinade over them.  Ready to serve.  Serves four.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


With the cucumbers ripening in the garden, one needs a number of options for different ways you can use cucumbers in recipes.  This recipe is easy to make and does not take much time.  I didn't chill the soup before serving it as I made it just prior to lunch.  I also didn't have much dill so I used what I could pick from the garden as a garnish.   I was pleased with taste of the soup and plan to make it again.
Ready to be served. 

Leftover soup placed in a container to go into the fridge. 

Chilled Cucumber Soup


2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced
1 1/3 cup non fat Greek yogurt
1 1/3 cup non fat sour cream
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 garlic clove, minced
½ cup fresh mint
½ cup dill
salt and pepper to taste


In a food processor or blender, add the cucumbers, yogurt, sour cream, broth and garlic.  Process until smooth.  Add the mint and dill and pulse until the mint and dill are chopped into fine pieces.   Sample the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer into a bowl and refrigerate for 2 hours or until chilled before serving.  Serves 4.  

Adapted from Alive Magazine, July 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012


If you are looking for an alternate to mashed potatoes think about cauliflower as a substitute.  Of course it is not quite the same as mashed potatoes but it is pretty good and I find it a great substitute.  The DH, when he first saw it in the serving bowl, thought that it was mashed potatoes.  I have made this recipe several times.

Ready to be served.


3 cups raw cauliflower, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups bouillon
dash of garlic powder
3 to 4 sprigs of parsley
2 tsp parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste


In a small pot heat the bouillon and cauliflower to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook until soft.  Remove the cauliflower from the pot using a slotted spoon and place in a blender.  Reserve the liquid.  Add the rest of the ingredients, except the parmesan cheese, to the blender and blend until smooth.  Add a bit of the reserve liquid to get the consistency of mashed potatoes.  I added several tablespoons of the liquid to the blender.  Serve with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.  Serves 2 to 3.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Ground turkey or ground chicken has become a popular alternative to beef in a number of recipes - hamburger, meatballs, chilli, meat pies and meat sauce.  A number of years ago it was harder to find ground turkey or chicken in some grocery stores.  I made this recipe and while the DH added the meatballs to cooked pasta, I ate the meatballs on their own.  We both enjoyed the meatballs and I will be making this recipe in the future to have on hand for work lunches.  You don't have to add the marinara sauce to the meatballs and instead add a serving to salads or vegetable soups to make a complete meal for lunch.

Meatballs cooking in the electric frying pan.

Finished cooking and on my plate ready to eat.


1 pound lean ground turkey
2 gloves garlic, minced
½ small onion, chopped
handful of fresh parsley, chopped
1 raw egg
1 tsp oregano
¼ cup uncooked oatmeal
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 jar of tomato marinara or other spaghetti sauce

olive oil spray for the frying pan


Mix all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl.   Depending on whether you like small or mini size meatballs, shape the mixture into 18 to 25 meatballs and place on a plate.  Spray a non-stick frying pan with olive oil and heat to medium high.   Place the meatballs in the frying pan and cook on medium low heat, browning all sides.  When the meatballs are cooked, spoon half a jar of tomato marinara sauce or other spaghetti sauce onto the meatballs.  Simmer in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure that the sauce is heated.  Serve with pasta, rice or quinoa or on its own.  Serves 4.

Adapted from The Skinny Rules