{Recipe} Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers

The summer is winding down, but there is still plenty of time to grill up a great burger! While I love a big, meaty cheeseburger, sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit. Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for chicken burgers with an Indian twist. Don’t skip making the Cumin-Yogurt sauce — it’s what really makes the burgers stand out!

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce
A delicious alternative to traditional burgers
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  1. 1 package of ground chicken breast (approx. 1 lb.)
  2. 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  3. 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  4. 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  5. 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  6. 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  9. 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  10. salt and pepper
  11. mini pitas
  12. chopped onions and tomato
Cumin-yogurt sauce
  1. 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  2. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  3. handful of chopped cilantro
  4. salt and pepper
  1. Prepare the cumin-yogurt sauce first by combining the yogurt, cumin, and cilantro in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to intensify.
For the chicken burgers
  1. Combine the ground chicken, scallions, jalapenos, ginger, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir everything together really well then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Gently form burger patties. I made mine more oblong in shape to better fit inside the pitas. Season the patties with a little salt and pepper if you desire and then grill until the ground chicken is opaque throughout the burger. Do NOT undercook the burgers.
  3. Cut four pitas in half and warm them either on the top rack of your grill or in a toaster oven. Don’t overheat them or else they’ll get too crispy. Place two patties in each pita half along with diced onion and tomato. Add a healthy dollop of the cumin yogurt sauce and serve.
  1. You can grill these outdoors, but they also are delicious broiled or cooked in a frying pan. Use whatever method is most convenient for you.
Pure Sugar https://www.puresugar.net/

 I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

because it’s Cooking Thursday!

{Recipe} Masala Chili


I don’t even know how I came up with this recipe. I guess I was thinking of both my favorite chicken curry recipe, but also Indian-spiced chicken meatballs and somehow this happened. And I’m glad it did because it was easy and delicious. And quick. And perfect for this rainy day. Basically, I just started throwing things into a pot and tasting and at some point I decided “OK, this is actually good!”

Although we really enjoyed this recipe as written here, I feel like it’s missing something. Maybe some spinach? Maybe coconut milk instead of the yogurt? I don’t know… But it’s a starting point and I hope you play around with it. Let me know what adjustments you make and how you improve upon it!

Masala Chili
An Indian-spiced take on traditional chili.
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2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/2 c. diced onion
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1-2 chile peppers, diced (I used jalapenos because that’s what I had)
1-inch chunk of fresh ginger, shredded on a microplane
1 Tbsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 Tbsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 lb. ground chicken
1 15-oz. can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1.5 c. tomato sauce
1/2 c. water
1 5 oz. container of plain yogurt
Cilantro (for garnish)
In a stock pot, melt the coconut butter or ghee and add the cumin seeds. When they start sizzling, add the onions, garlic, ginger, and peppers. Cook until soft and then add the coriander, tumeric, cumin, chili powder, curry powder, and salt.
Add ground chicken and cook through. Add chick peas, tomato sauce, and water. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until flavors have all combined.
Remove from heat. Stir in yogurt. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Serve with rice or naan. Garnish with fresh cilantro.
A side salad of freshly sliced cucumbers and onions with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice is an excellent accompaniment to this dish.


Linking up with: Cooking Thursday

{Recipe} Carrot Cake Jam

Carrot Cake Jam

Have you guys heard about food swaps? Apparently they’re the cool new thing. People all over the country are whipping up delicious things in their kitchens (or growing them in their backyards) and then swapping for other tasty goods with like-minded individuals. So when our library director put a food swap on our calendar, I was really excited to participate! The only thing: I wanted to bring something a little bit different.

A few years ago I nabbed a Better Homes & Garden canning magazine. It had a recipe for carrot cake jam that I fully intended to make and enter in the Dutchess County Fair. I don’t know what happened, but I never got around to it. Until yesterday.

Now, before I share this recipe, be warned: there is a ton of sugar in it. But it’s jam. And that’s the way it goes. I did use no-sugar pectin so in theory I could have reduced how much I used, but I didn’t.

OK. So, the first thing you need to do is start your water bath and sterilize your canning jars, new lids, and bands.

Next, combine 1 peeled diced pear (I used my food processor to make the pieces really tiny and save time), 2 cups of shredded carrots, a 16 oz. can of crushed pineapple in 100% juice (NOT heavy syrup), lemon juice (when canning, use bottled because it has a consistent pH), cinnamon, and nutmeg in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Carrot Cake Jam

Then, take the pot off the heat and sprinkle your pectin over the mixture. Stir it in.

Carrot Cake Jam

Now add your sugar. Just look the other way and dump in 4 cups of white granulated sugar and 2 cups of brown sugar. (Remember, you’re not eating massive amounts of this! Although then again… you might want to.) Stir it all up again.

Carrot Cake Jam

And like magic… you have jam!

Carrot Cake Jam

Bring it back up to a rolling boil and stir constantly for one minute while it’s boiling. Next, take it off the heat and add 1 Tsp. vanilla and (optional) 1/4 c. flaked coconut or raising. Because I am a wild woman, I added both.

Then ladle the jam into your sterilized jars, add the lid, snug on the band, and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.

IMPORTANT: Remember that processing time starts when the water returns to a big, angry boil. It does not start when you just put the jars into the pot.

I like to slather some cream cheese on (preferably homemade) bread and top it with the jam. I think it would also benefit from a sprinkling of walnuts.

This jam has been taste-tested and approved by my two boys, ages 7 and 10, so you know it’s good!


Carrot Cake Jam
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  1. 2 c. shredded carrots (about 4 medium)
  2. 1 medium pear, finely chopped
  3. 1 15-oz. can of crushed pineapple packed in 100% juice
  4. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  7. 1 1 .75-oz package of pectin
  8. 4 c. granulated sugar
  9. 2 c. packed brown sugar
  10. 1 tsp. vanilla
  11. 1/4 c. flaked coconut or raisins (optional)
  1. Combine carrots, pears, pineapple, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg is a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover, and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes, giving it a stir often.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle the mixture with pectin. Stir until it dissolves.
  3. Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Return to a rolling boil. Boil the mixture for 1 minute while constantly stirring. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with a metal spoon. Add vanilla and coconut/raisins.
  4. Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims and adjust the lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the pot and allow to cool.
  1. Don’t forget to check the seals later on — you don’t want to store anything that hasn’t been properly processed!
Adapted from Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Canning magazine, Summer 2011
Adapted from Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Canning magazine, Summer 2011
Pure Sugar https://www.puresugar.net/



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{Recipe} Roasted Brussels Sprouts & Winter Salad

This is another one of those recipes that I kind of feel silly posting. It’s just so simple! But just in case you are still looking for a way to prepare Brussels sprouts that leaves them nutty and delicious… here it is!

My friend, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, was talking to me about Brussels sprouts last summer, and how he roasts an entire pan on Sunday and lives off of them all week because they are just so good. In addition to being a trained chef, he’s a kettle bell champ and he works at one of the Canyon Ranch resorts, so I definitely trust his opinion when it comes to healthy, delicious food. The first time I made these, my 10-year-old went back for seconds, so that’s just further proof of their yumminess!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Brussels sprouts
olive oil

Cut each sprout in half and toss into a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Make sure the olive oil is on every sprout. Use a spoon or your hands to mix it all up. Then, place the sprouts on a foil-lined baking sheet. My friend suggested I put them cut-side down to get more of that roasty goodness. Place in a 400-degree oven and cook for about 25-30 minutes.

Now, what do you with them after this? Well, they are delicious as-is, or with a squeeze of lemon juice to kick it up a bit. Or you can toss them in a salad. I know — what? That sounds a little weird. Well, just trust me.

winter salad

Make yourself up a salad with your favorite greens, dried cranberries, walnuts, and a bit of goat cheese. Add the Brussels sprouts and toss with a bit of Balsamic vinaigrette. Delicious!!!

Many of us grew up knowing only boiled, tasteless Brussels sprouts. Give this method a try and I bet it will change your mind.

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

{Recipe} Overnight Bone Broth


I have admitted in the past that I am a soup snob. And it’s true. As a child, I was spoiled by my mom and grandmother with their delicious, homemade soups. Sure, there was the occasional bowl of Campbell’s Tomato, but the soups I remember from my childhood were full of barley, veggies, and homemade broth. The stuff in the cans or cartons just can’t compare, I don’t care which celebrity chef is on the label.

Making your own stock, or bone broth, is so ridiculously easy that it shouldn’t even need a recipe. In fact, I feel a little silly even writing about it. But I know people who have found it daunting to make homemade stock. If you’re making it on the stove top, it’s true — you need to pay a little bit of attention to it (only because you don’t want it to boil for too long). But there’s an easier way, perfect for even the laziest cook: just use your Crock Pot.

In the fall and winter, I roast a whole chicken twice a month on average. And often the weeks I don’t roast one on my own, I’ll pick up a rotisserie bird at Sam’s. After dinner, I just throw everything into my slow cooker and let it go. Here are the basic directions!

 Overnight Bone Broth

  • carcass from a roasted (or rotisserie) chicken (or turkey!), including skin, bones, and any resulting cooking liquid from roasting if you don’t use it for gravy
  • 1 medium onion
  • celery fronds or 1-2 celery stalks
  • 1-2 carrots
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. black peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. vinegar (white or apple cider recommended)
  • water
Combine first 7 ingredients in your slow cooker. Cover with water (I usually fill it to 1-2 inches below the top of the crock). Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, then turn to LOW and cook overnight. Strain out and discards solids. The amount of broth you end up with will depend upon how much water you use and how hot your Crock Pot cooks, but you should end up with quite a bit.
I know, it’s super-technical and specific right? LOL! Seriously, you just throw it in the pot with water and cook it. Sometimes I add a few cloves of garlic. Sometimes I add oregano or other seasonings, depending on whether or not I have a specific use for the broth.

So now that you have all this yummy stock, what do you do with it? Well you could use some of it to make Spicy Black Bean Soup, Creamy Chicken (or Turkey) and Wild Rice Soup, or maybe some Lazy Stuffed Peppers? I seriously love soup and even though I eat it all summer, it is extra delicious and comforting in the fall and winter. Now I just need some butternut squash so I can make a big pot of autumn bisque!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

{Recipe} Sun(less) Dried Tomatoes


Although I have not yet finished this week’s CSA post, we got another 7 lbs. of tomatoes! Hooo-wee! So, I decided to whip out my dehydrator and make some dried tomatoes. They taste like sun-dried tomatoes, but you don’t have to leave them on a screen outside for several days 🙂

The first thing I did was to peel the tomatoes. This step is totally optional, but I don’t love the skin so I took the extra step.



Next, slice them very thin — 1/4-1/8 of an inch. Use a serrated knife. You may keep the seeds or remove them. I think removing them helps speed the drying time, though.


Arrange the slices on your dehydrators trays that have been misted with cooking spray or brushed with olive oil. Don’t crowd them — leave plenty of room for the air to circulate! At this point, feel free to season them if you’d like. I sprinkled on some salt and oregano.


Turn your dehydrator to 135 degree and let it go for 8-12 hours. Check on the tomatoes periodically and rotate your trays if necessary.


Make sure the tomatoes get very dry, not just chewy and tacky. Once they’re done, let the tomatoes cool off and then package them in an airtight jar or bag. Store in a cool, dry place. For long-term storage, stick them in your freezer.


Use the dried tomatoes on pizza or salads, or add to stews or pasta dishes. Or just eat them for a snack. I don’t really care for raw tomatoes, but these are oh so good!


I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

{Recipe} A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

I’m a New England gal. OK, yes I’ve lived in New York for the last 12 years and that’s not technically New England, but it’s close enough in my book. My point is, I am ignorant about all things Southern. I revel in my Northern-ness (much as southern gals are proud of their own heritage). But that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate a tasty Southern treat (or all of them!). So when my friend Stef at Down the Primrose Path started talking about something called “pimento cheese” I was intrigued.

I, lover of all things cheese, had never heard of this. Pimento loaf? Yuck, but yes. Pimento-stuffed olives? Of course — I eat them all the time. But not pimento cheese. (Unless you count the cream cheese/green stuffed olive mixture I use to stuff celery on Thanksgiving.)

Then, one night I was flipping through an issue of Rachel Ray’s magazine and there it was: a recipe! Of course, I trust my Southern friends a little more than RR, so I took tips from Stefani and whipped up a pot the other night. When I took the ingredients out the fridge and looked at them all together, I questioned myself a bit but continued with the recipe anyway. And when I tried it… well, I was hooked! I think I scarfed down about half the batch that afternoon.

From what I understand of pimento cheese, everyone makes it a little bit different, but the three primary components are cheddar, pimentos, and mayo. In every article I’ve read, a brand called “Duke’s” is preferred, but I’ve never heard of or seen that up here so I went with good old Hellman’s. As I mentioned, my version was thrown together with tips from a friend, so feel free to change things around, use different cheese, whatever! And if you have a favorite pimento cheese recipe, please share it with me!

A Yankee’s Version of Pimento Cheese

Pimento Cheese

4 oz. Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded
4 oz. Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded
3 heaping Tbsp. chopped pimentos
Mayonnaise – just enough to mix it all together
Salt & pepper to taste

Combine first three ingredients in a bowl. Mix in a small amount of mayonnaise. Add more mayo, just a little at a time, until the mixture comes to your preferred consistency. (I like mine less mayo-y and a little more thick). Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Traditionally, pimento cheese is served as a sandwich on white bread with the crusts cut off (at least according to this NPR story). But I really liked eating them on Oopsie Rolls – my favorite low-carb “bread.” I definitely see this recipe become a kitchen staple. It’s the perfect little extra yummy bite to have with soup or a salad!

I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM
because it’s Cooking Thursday!

best-ever vinaigrette

I don’t know about you, but I love a good salad. While bottled dressings are fine, there is nothing quite like a homemade vinaigrette to give your greens an extra bit of flavor. Earlier this summer (or was it back in the spring?) I had lunch at my friend’s house and she made a huge salad drizzled with the most amazing salad dressing ever.

best salad ever

Around the house this has come to be known as “My Friend Michelle’s Salad Dressing” and I make it quite often. To have the authentic Michelle salad, you need to have lots (lots) of avocado in there. I also like to add tomato, fresh mozzarella, and homemade croutons. Chicken is a nice addition if you want to add a little protein. She said she originally got it from Cook’s Illustrated. Whoever created it is, in my opinion, a culinary genius.

My Friend Michelle’s Salad Dressing
(a.k.a. Lemon-Dijon Vinaigrette)
best salad ever

1 tsp. creamy Dijon mustard
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. juice from 1 lemon (I usually just squeeze the entire lemon in there)
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Whisk together mustard, garlic, sugar, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, vinegar, and oil in medium bowl until well combined. You can also shake everything up together in a jar fitted with a tight lid. Shake or whisk again before dressing your salad if the vinaigrette separates.

best salad ever

At the birthday party last weekend, I used this dressing for a tortellini salad that included turkey pepperoni, onions, and peppers and it was very yummy. I think it would be good on pretty much anything. Even straight from the cruet! OK, maybe that’s taking it a little too far, but yes it really is that good.

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!

cooking thursday: recipe for pickled beets

There was a bunch of beets in last week’s CSA share. I have a well-documents distaste for beets. They’re pretty, but they taste like dirt. (At least to me, they do.) I’ve prepared them different ways, hoping something would be palatable, but so far nothing was doing it for me. So I turned to my last resort: pickling. Anything tastes good as a pickle. Right?

I had no idea there were so many different recipes for pickled beets. If I’d been printing them out, I’d need to buy extra laserjet toner cartridges because there really are that many. I ended up tweaking a very simple recipe that my dad said sounded like the one my grandmother used to make.

Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the final product! I let the pickled beets sit in the fridge for several days before I opened them, and I thought they were quite yummy. I added two garlic scapes, but I’m not sure they added much flavor. I also stuck an egg in there because I wanted to fill the jar. The pickled egg had a great flavor, too.

Quick & Easy Pickled Beets

pickled beets

1 bunch of beets (approx. 5-6 med. beets)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spice

Trim the beets and roast (skin on) in foil at 400 degrees for about 1 hour. While the beets are roasting, bring the sugar, water, vinegar and pickling spice to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes. When the beets are ready to come out of the oven, carefully take the skins off by gently rubbing the beets with a paper towel. The skins will come right off. Slice the beets and put them in a clean jar. Pour the pickling liquid over the cooked, sliced beets. Cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate at least overnight or for several days.

You can certainly boil the beets instead of roasting them if you prefer. Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!

creamy indian-spiced lentils (dal)

As you are well-aware, I love Indian food. A good dal is a great recipe to have in your arsenal because it is inexpensive, delicious, and packed full of nutrition. Unfortunately, I have not had a lot of luck with many of the dal recipes I’ve tried. Either they didn’t cook down right, or else they were bland. So when I saw this recipe for “Dal Nirvana” on Budget Bytes, I was intrigued by all the rave reviews. Last week I decided to make it for lunch (even though it was scheduled for Friday’s dinner — I simply couldn’t wait that long). I made a few tweaks so the recipe better suited my tastes, and wow! Just… wow. It was absolutely delicious. I think the best part of this recipe is that it tastes great with regular lentils that you buy at any supermarket — there’s no reason to make a trip to the Indian grocery store (unless you want to, obviously!)

Creamy Indian-Spiced Lentils (Dal)

indian-spiced lentils (dal)

1 c. dry lentils
1 can (15 oz.) crushed or diced tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 inch fresh ginger, finely grated
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
salt & pepper to taste
1/3 c. half-and-half

Pour the lentils in a medium sauce pan and cover with 1-2 inches of water. (Make sure you have checked your lentils for tiny stones first!) Bring the pot to a boil over high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the lentils are tender. Drain the lentils and set aside.

Add the butter and oil to the sauce pan and melt over med-high heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Then add the chili powder, cumin, and coriander, salt, and pepper and fry until spices are fragrant (just about another minute or so). Return the lentils to the pot and then add the can of tomatoes along with a can full of water (or just a little bit less).

Stir everything well and then add the tomatoes. Fill the empty can with water and add that to the pot, as well. Stir everything again, bring the mixture to a simmer and the reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot with a lid and simmer for a half an hour. If the lentils are not softened or the mixture is not thick enough, continue to simmer until it reaches your desired consistency. The dish should be thick, but not dry.

Finally, stir in the half-and-half. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro if desired and serve with rice and yogurt.


I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this recipe! If you’re searching for a meatless dish to try tomorrow (Good Friday), this one is definitely a winner!

Be sure to visit Sandra at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom to check out other delicious recipes!