Thanksgiving dinner: Modernized

Turkey sliders with gouda and cranberry mayo served with real green bean casserole and chipotle sweet potato fries. My beverage of choice tonight is an apple pie martini (along with the usual wine – tonights wine is Clarksburg Wine Company’s Delta Blanc  – it is alright but not my favorite).

HOLY. SMOKES. This was absolutely fantabulously wonderful. The thyme in the turkey burgers was an ode to the stuffing flavors that are usually present at thanksgiving. The cranberry mayo, caramelized onions, and gouda were the perfect toppers for the burgers – creamy, tangy and sweet all at the same time.

You can really use any kind of bread – I would suggest a dinner role as representative for a Thanksgiving regular: buttered rolls.

I would also like to note that this is the best green bean casserole that I have ever consumed. Making the cream of mushroom soup from scratch really makes a 100% difference in creaminess and overall amazingness. I think it is super important to use haricot verts instead of regular ole green beans because of their thickness and crunchiness. I also added parmesan, because, let’s face it, everything’s better with parmesan…

A few other side notes:

  1. You can freeze green bean casserole. Just make sure to freeze the topping separately.
  2. These sliders would make a wonderful hors d’ouevres.

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 1 pound  ground white meat turkey
  • ½ tsp. each: ground thyme, paprika, and onion powder
  • 1 tsp. each: garlic powder, salt, and pepper
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large tbsp. plain greek yogart
  • Cranberry Mayo
  • Caramelized onions (use 2 medium yellow onions)
  • 8 Dinner rolls
  • 1 bag Alexia’s chipotle sweet potato fries (or regular if you don’t like a little spice)
  • Real green bean casserole


Preheat oven to 400°. First make the green bean casserole. This can sit while you prepare everything else and be put in the oven during the last 20 minutes.

Mix the hamburger meat: put 1 pound ground turkey and add thyme, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper, panko, and  greek yogurt. Mix altogether with your hands. Form into 8 smaller patties and press your thumb into the middle of the burger patty (this helps it not to become a ball when it cooks). Set the burgers on a plate and place in fridge.

Make the cranberry relish and then use that to make the cranberry mayo. Set both in fridge to let the flavors meld together.

All of the above can sit for at least 5 hours until you’re ready to cook everything.

Start baking the sweet potato fries.

Wrap the dinner rolls in tin foil and bake for 15 minutes.

Bake the green bean casserole (it takes about 15 minutes as well).

Drizzle a little olive oil into a cast iron fry pan and when the pan is nice and hot cook the sliders over medium high heat.  (I would not advise grilling these burgers unless you get a ground turkey with a fair amount of fat it in which is hard because turkey is so lean). Sear both sides and then lower the heat and allow to cook for 5 more minutes or so. When you flip the sliders add sliced gouda and melt. Take the sliders off the heat and allow to sit for a few minutes.

Serve the sliders on top of a dinner roll with champagne mustard (or Dijon), the caramelized onions, and a healthy portion of the cranberry mayo. Skewer the sliders with a toothpick (or in my case, a wooden kebob because I ran out of toothpicks) to keep them from falling all over your plate.

Serve the sliders with green bean casserole and sweet potato fries.


Stuffed Tomatoes

Tonight I was only planning on having flat iron steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli. However, I looked over and realized I had 4 tomatoes that I needed to use up. So, here’s what I did. I stuffed them. Super easy and you probably have most of the ingredients.

*A few other things you can add: you can use ricotta along with the mozzarella and parmesan. You can also save about half of the tomato guts and add that to the cheese and herb mixture. You could also throw in some of that Gourmet Garden Italian Herb paste.


  • Tomatoes (however many you want)
  • Mozzarella, shredded
  • Parmesan, shredded
  • Basil, cut or ripped up
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp. panko breadcrumbs
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil


Cut the core out of the tomatoes and scoop out most of the guts.

Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Shove some mozzarella into them and then put a few pieces of basil on top of the mozzarella.

Stuff with a little more mozzarella and then top with parmesan. Sprinkle again with salt and pepper and top with a little garlic powder. Sprinkle with panko breadcrumbs.

Drizzle olive oil on top. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

Smokey Corn Chowder

I found a great new blog called Bev Cooks. She has lots of wonderful recipes and this was one of them. I did, however, change a few things (I added cheddar and flour, didn’t use as much smoked paprika and next time I will just use regular paprika). I was also thinking of adding black beans next time. You could always grill or sauté up some shrimp to throw on top for a full meal. OR if you were feeling extra fancy, you could serve this as a gazpacho-type hors-d’oeuvre. I would just puree the whole soup until thin, serve in a double shot glass, and top with a few bacon bits.

Ingredients (makes about 8 cups of soup)

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 2 small yellow onions
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 10 slices of bacon
  • ½ tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 ¼ cups half and half
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
  • 5 large cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • A sprinkle or red pepper flakes, onion powder, and garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper


Cut up the onions into ½ inch pieces and mince the garlic. Cut the fresh corn off the cob. Cook bacon until crunchy and set aside. Reserve a little bacon grease. Sauté the onions on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and stir. Add the butter and corn. Stir to combine with the onions and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Transfer the corn mixture to a large pot. Add the chicken stock, half and half, flour, smoked paprika, cheddar cheese, red pepper flakes and a dash of salt and pepper. Stir around. Let cook on medium low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

After about 15 minutes, use a hand immersion blender to slightly blend the soup. You still want it to be chunky, so just pulse it a few times. If you do not have a hand immersion blender, ladle out 2 large scoops of the soup and mix in a blender. Since the soup is hot, when you put it in the blender cover with a hand towel instead of the top so that the top does not blow off and burn your face. That would be no good. If you do use a regular blender, transfer the soup back into the pot. Let cook for a few more minutes. Serve the soup and garnish with sour cream, bacon crumbles, and extra cheddar. Maybe some freshly cracked pepper.

Spinach, Bacon and Onion Quiche

Since I am a teacher and school hasn’t started back up yet, I have been trying to find things to occupy my time. I figured that this week I would have a go at making a quiche. I have never made one before. Generally, when I want to try a new recipe I look on pinterest and google for different recipes and kind of create my own based on what I think will taste good. I based this recipe off of Paula Dean’s spinach and bacon quiche and a recipe I found at The Harried Cook (she also based her recipe off of Paula Dean’s). I have added caramelized onions to my recipe and instead of layering the ingredients I just mixed them all up. This recipe was so incredibly easy and versatile. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can easily substitute the bacon and spinach for other ingredients such as ham and asparagus or broccoli. You could even use a small cookie cutter to punch out little round pieces of quiche OR use mini tart pans and have it for hors d’oeuvres! The possibilities are endless!


  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 pie crust, fitted to a 9” pie or tart pan
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach, longer stems cut off, chopped and packed
  • 1 pound bacon, cooked until crunch and then crumbled up
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped and caramelized slightly
  • 1 ¼  cup grated Vermont white cheddar cheese (I used Cracker Barrel)
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper


Preheat oven to 375°. Cook the bacon over medium heat until pretty crispy. Drain the grease. Set aside the bacon and crumble. Cut up the onions into half inch pieces and caramelize in a little olive oil (and of course the left over bacon drippings) over medium to medium high heat. Grate your cheese. Cut up the spinach into half inch pieces.

Press the pie crust into a tart or pie pan (if using a tart pan where the bottom comes out, then cover a baking sheet with tin foil and place the tart pan on that so the quiche doesn’t leak all over the place). Poke the pie crust with a fork all over, even on the sides.

Whisk the eggs, cream, milk, salt and pepper together. Add the spinach, bacon, cheese and onion into the egg mixture and whisk again. Pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 35 – 45 minutes, or until the mixture has set and the top is browned. Let cool slightly and then dig in. Enjoy!