Caesar Salad Turkey Burger

Happy Almost Labor Day Weekend! Most people grill out at some point during this official “last” weekend of the summer. Of course, the don and I don’t own a grill…yes all of our friends joke about it! But we really enjoy cooking inside in a wonderful cast iron skillet. No matter how you cook, just cook; and try these burgers with a Caesar twist. After all, with everything going on in the world, let’s remember that food brings us together. Cook Better. Eat Better. Live Better. Booyah!

1 1/2 lbs ground turkey*
1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 small sweet onion, diced
1 small green pepper, diced
1 small clove garlic, finely grated
1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup Panko
Salt and pepper
1 romaine lettuce heart, chopped
1/4 cup shaved Parmesan
Caesar dressing to taste**
6 burger buns, toasted

Sauté onion and green pepper in 1 Tbs olive oil until almost tender, about 3 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté another minute.
Mix together turkey, Worcestershire, mustard, egg, Panko, and onion, pepper, garlic mixture.
Form into 6 patties.
Place in refrigerator for 10 minutes until firmer.
Grill or sauté in skillet about 4 minutes per side.
Toss together the romaine, shaved Parmesan and dressing.
Place burger on bun.
Top with Caesar salad.
Makes 6 burgers.

*The Don and I prefer GreenWise All Natural Ground Turkey Breast.
**As far as a store bought Caesar dressing, I prefer Marzetti Simply Dressed Caesar.

BLAT Salad

Salad BLTA

All of your favorite things, just not the bread! I guess I’m on a bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato kick. I mean tomatoes are at their best, right? Continuing the love here, salad form. Eat, Drink & Carry On!

8 oz fat free sour cream
1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 t dried basil
1/8 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1/4 t garlic powder
2 large heads of red leaf lettuce, torn into small pieces
12 slices precooked bacon, warmed and crumbled
6 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
2 avocados, pitted, peeled and either sliced or chopped.

Stir together sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, basil, salt, pepper and garlic powder until well blended.
Layer lettuce, bacon, tomato, and avocado in a wide shallow bowl, or large platter.
Drop mayonnaise mixture in dollops evenly over avocado.
Cover and chill salad at least 2 hours.

Serves 8.

*Author’s Note: This is really beautiful presented untossed. I prefer for guests to see it in its glorious layers, and then serve it or toss it in front of them!

Lobster Claw Salad

Happy almost Memorial Day Weekend…Meet me at the pool and then go enjoy this “lobsta” salad…We’re going bold here, no more just blending in! Left image above was shot in our kitchen at the villa at Ocean Edge Resort, Cape Cod Massachusetts back in 2014, where I made my first ever Lobster Roll. I still can’t figure out why I waited so long to create that; but I’ve been enjoying that dance ever since. Life Changer! Above right image is a tray of fresh claw meat from Maine Lobster Now, where I order all of my lobster tails and fresh claw meat. It is literally shipped the same day that it is cooked and picked. Sweetest lobster that you’ll ever taste, and their bisque is amazing as well. Give it a try. As always, I receive nothing, nada, zippo for mentioning my favorite companies and products; just sharing the love and hoping to give you a fresh idea to elevate the every day.

2 lbs lobster claw meat*
3 to 4 oz organic, prewashed whole red butter leaves
1 avocado, cut in chunks
2 large fresh tomatoes, cut in chunks
1 cup mayonnaise (I use Hellmans’s Light)
8 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 Tbs celery leaves, chopped 
4 Tbs chopped fresh basil
3 Tbs chopped fresh chives
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons

Combine mayo, celery, celery leaves, basil, chives, lemon zest, and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add in lobster, avocado, and tomatoes.
Toss gently.
Arrange lettuce on plate.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Top with lobster mixture.

*You may use meat from the entire lobster if desired, but I totally prefer the most delicate, tender claw meat. I order from Maine Lobster Now.  They package the claw meat the day that the lobsters are cooked and ship only next day air, never frozen. So I freeze immediately upon receiving.

Note: Serves 6 to 8 if you have a side such as asparagus, and a small homemade roll or cornbread slice.

Shrimp Waldorf Salad

One of my MOST favorite paintings ever! There was this horrible oval floral painting, that the don and I were gifted from my paternal grandmother when we married in 1975. Soon thereafter, we found it hanging in the dining room on Forest Hills, where it remained for fifteen years to our dismay. But you know, family…So years later when Torrey and I opened our gallery, the don enlisted her help for a surprise commission from Wayne Trapp for my Christmas gift. Sweet way to rid us of that awful painting. It’s me in a “Walk in the Garden”! Do you dream in color or black and white?

And speaking of walking in gardens…here are lettuce, celery, apple, grapes, cranberries, and a few more added ingredients to make the perfect lunch, brunch, or dinner salad. Artful edges!

1/2 cup Greek yogurt 
1 1/2 t Dijon mustard
2 Tbs honey
1 t cider vinegar 
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
Toss all ingredients together in small bowl. 

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted 
1 small head Romaine lettuce, shredded
1 lb cleaned, cooked medium shrimp 
4 small celery ribs, chopped 
1 honey crisp or Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into small pieces 
16 red grapes, halved
1/4 cup dried sweet cranberries
Put lettuce in large mixing bowl. 
Add shrimp, celery, apple, grapes, and cranberries.
Spoon in dressing. 
Toss to coat. 
Divide between 4 plates. 

Sautéed Cabbage Salad

It rained a lot and has been really wet recently (I mean the golf course was closed often); but hey, we’re counting rainbows around here, not thunderstorms, right? Here’s another fun recipe from The Kitchen. This one hails from Sunny Anderson, who has been cooking outside during the pandemic, from her home patio and grill for months, and now back on the set of The Kitchen, but outdoors, planes flying overhead and all sorts of weather…kudos to her, and a terrible run on sentence! This one is light, bright, and full of delight. We dodged those raindrops, never got wet, and managed to drive the sunshine of a crisp salad right into your kitchen. I just love cabbage/slaw; but most people don’t think about serving it in the winter. Try this sauté and it will change your mind forever!!

For Salad:
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 t celery seeds
1 cup shredded carrots (available shredded and bagged for you at the grocery)
1/2 head green cabbage, thinly sliced (I used a mixture of green and purple ’cause that’s what was in the fridge)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the celery seeds and let cook for 1 to 2 minutes to bloom.
Add carrots and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add cabbage, season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook until cabbage begins to wilt, about 5 minutes.

For Dressing:*
1/2 medium red onion, sliced paper thin
2 Tbs honey
1 Tbs sambal (an Indonesian chili paste) A good substitute is Sriracha or Harissa sauce.
1 Tbs apple cider vinegar

Place onion in a medium bowl.
Add the honey, sambal and vinegar.
Mix together to coat and let sit for 5 minutes.
Add the onion mixture to the skillet and mix in.
Transfer to a serving bowl.

*I used Annie’s Asian Sesame bottled dressing. I just had it on hand, and I’m personally not wild about onions with my cabbage salads!
But I did drizzle a touch of honey over the salad before tossing in the dressing.

Salad on the left above is prepared just as suggested in recipe (except of course my bottled dressing!). To the salad on the right above, I added shaved almonds and salad topper Wonton Crisps. I just love a crunch in my salads.

Go wild and make it your own; or for simplicity just do it like Sunny! Make it happen captain, right at home.

Strawberry Chicken and Spinach Salad

Ha Hump Day! Hooking you up with a delicious nutritious midweek, or anytime really, supper. And at a mere 300 calories per serving, go ahead and have seconds. This works beautifully with blueberries as well. So choose your fruit and race to the kitchen. Leave your love life to chance…but not your cooking!

Entree Salad Strawberry Chicken

Here’s what you’ll need:

2 Tbs olive oil, divided
1 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
1 t honey
1/2 t chopped fresh thyme
1/4 t kosher salt, divided
1/2 t black pepper, divided
2 cups halved strawberries, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 t paprika
Cooking spray
4 cups fresh baby spinach
3 Tbs chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Whisk together 1 Tbs olive oil, vinegar, honey, thyme, 1/8 t salt, and 1/4 t pepper in medium bowl.
Add 1 cup halved strawberries, tossing to coat.
Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.
Heat medium skillet over medium high.
Brush chicken with remaining oil.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and paprika.
Coat skillet with cooking spray.
Add chicken, and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Remove chicken from skillet.
Let stand 5 minutes.
Cut across the grain into slices.
Divide spinach, and 1 cup strawberries between 4 plates.
Lay chicken evenly across spinach.

Top with strawberry balsamic mixture.
Sprinkle with pecans and feta.

BLAT (Bacon Lettuce Avocado Tomato) Lobster Roll

Fresh from Breakwater Fish and Lobster Market

Fresh from Breakwater Fish and Lobster Market in Brewster!

I gave myself an A+ this special evening! A few weeks back the Hardee/Yelle family found themselves in a villa at the lovely Ocean Edge Resort, located in the darling Cape Cod village of Brewster (more on that sweet place later!). Friday night we cooked in, a virtual feast actually, including this local lobster. Since the Yelles moved to Boston I’ve become hooked on addicted to lobster rolls, enjoying at least one each and every visit. So I decided to make my own this time around, with Marc’s most capable assistance. We all decided that it deserves at least four Michelin Stars! Stay Calm and Dig In.

I KNOW! It looks too good to be real. I promise it is tho.  ©PEGhardee

I KNOW! It looks too good to be real. I promise it is tho. ©PEGhardee

Meat from 2 boiled lobsters, chopped in large pieces
5 slices cooked bacon, chopped
4 leaves Boston Bibb lettuce
1 avocado, cut in chunks
2 tomatoes, cut in chunks
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 Tbs celery leaves, chopped
2 Tbs chopped fresh basil
1 Tbs chopped fresh chives
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs butter
4 long split rolls

Combine mayo, celery, celery leaves, basil, chives, and lemon juice in large bowl.
Add in lobster, bacon, avocado, and tomatoes.
Toss gently.
Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat.
Split rolls and toast inside part in butter about 2 minutes.
Place lettuce leaf inside roll.
Top with lobster mixture.

Of course you may delete the roll if you are watching your carb intake. Simply serve the lobster mixture on a bed of lettuce, as I did here! PS…sorry the pics aren’t terrific. They were taken with td’s phone!

A bit of extra avocado AND a claw on the side!

A bit of extra avocado AND a claw on the side!

Chicken Club Salad

Entree Salad Club Sandwich Salald IThis is how the simple cook rolls for an easy weeknight supper. I adapted this refreshing salad from my darling friend Katie Lee‘s The Comfort Table, 2008. I think I adore her so because she’s down to earth and honestly grew up in the kitchen. AND the fact that she and a sweet young friend of mine (knock knock Teryn Elizabeth) look so much alike. They are both natural beauties! Dance with this one.

Breast meat from 4 cooked chicken breasts
6 slices pre cooked smoked bacon
1 ripe avocado
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup diced sweet onion
1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
2 Tbs chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 t black pepper
1 head of Bibb lettuce
2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

Chop chicken into cubes.

Heat bacon in microware according to directions.
Drain on paper towels.
When cooled, crumble into small pieces.

Dice the avocado.
In small bowl, combine diced avocado with lemon juice.
*Lemon juice keeps avocado from browning.
Set aside.

Combine mayonnaise, mustard, cilantro, and pepper.
Stir until combined.
Add onion and chicken and toss.
Gently add avocado.

To serve:
Line plates with Bibb lettuce.
Top with the chicken mixture.
Garnish with tomato wedges.

Serves 6 to 8.

My Signature Salad with Chicken

As the weather warms, we tend to lighten our dinners, and enjoy cooler entrées. This is one of my favorite simple dinner salads. A bonus is that the salad minus the chicken is a great side salad with meatloaf, pasta, or pork.

Entree Salad Peg's Signature with Chicken

2 Rotisserie chickens
1 head of Romaine, chopped
Small bag of mixed European greens
3/4 cup of jumbo raisins or Craisins
1/4 cup pine nuts or 1/3 cup peanuts
1/2 cup Crumbled Blue Cheese

Balsamic Italian Dressing:
1 envelope of Good Seasons Italian dressing mix
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 cup olive oil
Combine all in glass dressing bottle and shake vigorously.

Combine lettuces, Craisins, nuts and blue cheese in large salad bowl.
Pour dressing on top and toss.
Place mound of lettuce mixture in center of plate.
Slice breasts of the chickens thinly on the diagonal.
Place on top of the tossed salad.

Serves 8.

Italian Seasoned Shrimp

Italian Dressing Shrimp

Here’s my simple and elegant NCAA Finals Monday night supper …

1 stick butter
1 lemon, sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 lb shrimp, cleaned
1 packet of dry Italian dressing mix

Preheat oven to 350°.
Melt butter in baking pan.
Spread lemon slices on top of melted butter.
Spread shrimp evenly in baking pan.
Sprinkle Italian mix over shrimp.
Sprinkle lemon juice evenly over shrimp.
Place in oven.
Bake 15 minutes, until shrimp are pink.

This can be served as an appetizer with hors d’oeuvre picks, as an entrée salad over lettuce and tomatoes tossed in Italian dressing, and over rice or pasta as a dinner entrée.