Feta and Herb Chicken Burgers [gluten-free + paleo friendly]

I made these chicken burgers at a family BBQ during the summer for several relatives who were visiting from India.  We had a great time, and it was fun catching up. Now, I am pulling this recipe out again just in time for the Superbowl!

My husband loves turkey or chicken burgers, so he was pretty excited as well and when I make these he’s one of the first in line for food. In fact, he loves the burgers so much, he eats them for lunch throughout the week…so I always make extras.  I find ground chicken quite versatile, but you can adapt the recipe to ground beef, lamb or turkey. Omit the cheese to make these Paleo and Whole 30 Approved! 👍🏻

Here’s how to make them…

Feta and Herb Chicken Burgers | Wannabeelicious

Feta and Herb Chicken Burgers 

Serves 6

Ingredients:

For the patties:

2 pounds ground chicken
1/4 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoon oregano, minced
1/4 cup drained and chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil
½ cup, feta crumbled
1/2 cup grated onion
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
6 good-quality hamburger buns, split

Directions:

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

For the patties:
Combine the chicken, basil, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, feta, red pepper, onion, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into 8 patties to fit the bun size. Loosely cover with plastic wrap and set aside.

When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 7-10 minutes on each side for medium. Place the cheese slices on the patties during the last 3 minutes of grilling. Place the buns, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly during the last 2 minutes of grilling.


My favorite burger topping…

I am also fascinated by the different combinations of condiments that turn an average burger into an AMAZING burger. My secret weapon is 3 minute pickled cucumbers and red onion.  Add this condiment to your chicken burger to make it irresistible!

3 Minute Pickled Cucumbers

3 seedless cucumbers, thinly sliced
1 red onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. dill
2 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

Mix all ingredients together. Allow to sit for 3-5 minutes until ready to use.

Enjoy these flavorful burgers! 🍔

Feta and Herb Chicken Burgers | Wannabeelicious

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup

One of my biggest pet peeves is leftover tidbits of vegetables in the fridge.  It drives me crazy to open up my vegetable kitchen drawer and see half a tomato in Saran Wrap, scallion bunches on their last legs, one irregular shaped potato which I couldn't use when I made baked potato the other night, or a big bunch of rosemary I bought for roast chicken but only used 2 sprigs.  Soups are a great way of taking of all of this leftover stuff and creating a dish that is healthy, hearty and, in this case, vegan.

For this soup, I cut up a little bit of everything from carrots to fingerling potatoes, scallions, yellow peppers, garlic, rosemary, and parsley.  I added one chipotle pepper (from tacos I made  yesterday) and a cup full of yellow lentils. I better stop now before you think I literally dumped everything from my kitchen into this soup!

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup | Wannabeelicious

Everything But The Kitchen Sink Soup

Ingredients

2 cups of any vegetables in your fridge drawer
2 tbsp. herbs like parsley, rosemary, thyme, basil
1 cup yellow lentil, rinsed
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. onion powder
1 tbsp. cumin powder
6 cups water
chipotle pepper or crushed red pepper (optional)
1 tbsp. lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

In a large pot, saute vegetables with olive oil.  Allow vegetables to caramelize for 5-6 minutes on a medium heat.  Add lentils, cumin, herbs and water.  Cook for 1 hour on a medium to low heat.  Season to taste.  Serve with a piece of crusty bread, and voila, you have a hearty meal!

A Professional Chef's Picks for MUST HAVE Kitchen Products

As a professional chef, there are just some appliances and products that are MUST HAVES in my kitchen. My kitchen just doesn’t feel complete, or even functional, without certain essentials that I’ve collected over the years and now use in my everyday life. Whether I am personal cheffing, cooking for a big crowd, or filming a video for my membership site, having a well stocked kitchen (not just with food!) is key to efficiency.

While most of you out there are probably not professional chefs, there are still some important tools that I think EVERY kitchen should have.

I’ve rounded up my MUST HAVE kitchen appliances and cooking tools to share with all of you. These are some of my favorite products that I would recommend purchasing if you want to make things easier for yourself in the kitchen! As a professional chef, I find all of them indispensable…and I think you’ll find them incredibly useful as a home chef, as well.

Bonus! These also make GREAT gifts for the holiday season. Whether someone on your list is new to cooking or a seasoned home chef, these are all

Instant Pot

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This is an all in one product for everything.  I use it almost daily for rice, cooking soups and stews, steaming and yogurt.  

Vitamix Blender

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I use this blender all the time for smoothies, dressings, soups, and even egg bases for quiches and frittatas.  One of my favorite things about this blender is that all pureed soups come out silky and smooth without the need for straining.  The blender is pricey, but in my opinion it's the best one around and well worth the cost.

Shun Chef’s Knife

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This is an amazing knife that keeps its blade.  It has great weight and a good grip.  Be careful though, the blade is extremely sharp!

Beriner Mandoline

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This is the best mandoline and will help you achieve paper thin slices, if needed.  It's easy to use, light, inexpensive, and lasts forever.

KOA Provisions Chef-Designed Aprons & Custom Apparel

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My favorite cooking apparel and aprons! Totally customizable too.

And of course the ULTIMATE gift to give the “wannabe chef” in your life….

Registration to my Your Cooking Best Friend membership site!

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Sign up yourself and a loved one to join me in early 2019 for my first membership site where I’ll be sharing exclusive weekly recipes, cooking tips, and access to a private facebook group for daily support from me. 😀 (only $19 until 12/1)

A Professional Chef's Picks for MUST HAVE Kitchen Products

I hope you found some new cooking products or useful gift ideas to buy for yourself or the foodie in your life.

Have a wonderful holiday season and remember to enjoy yourself in the kitchen! 😊

-Chef Rama

Bacon and Gouda Pancakes

These pancakes were inspired by my 2 1/2 year old son. Since he is allergic to eggs (not eggs in a baked dish), I always have to get creative with breakfast for him. He absolutely loves bacon and maple syrup. After asking him and my 4 year old daughter what they wanted for Sunday breakfast, they screamed out "Pancakes!  But can we help?"

I thought, why not add bacon in my pancakes (since I had only three slices on hand) and red wax gouda?  I then put the kids to work. They love grating and mixing, and this recipes calls for both. My daughter grated the cheese and my son whisked everything together.

This is my quick pancake recipe.  You can substitute the bacon and gouda with ham, turkey, sausage, cheddar, parmesan or goat cheese. And for those of you who don't like to mix sweet and salty, you can always add your more traditional toppings like bananas or blueberries.

Bacon and Gouda Pancakes | Wannabee Chef

Dads will love this on Father's Day

These pancakes would make a great Fathers Day brunch item, especially when the kids help out. BTW, I cooked the pancakes in the same skillet I cooked the bacon in.  Bacon drippings make the best fat!

Bacon and Gouda Pancakes

Serves 4

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups milk, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch of black pepper
1/2 cup gouda cheese, grated
1/4 cup not very crispy cooked bacon, chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more as needed

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, black pepper and nutmeg.  In another bowl, beat the eggs and whisk in the milk, vanilla, bacon and gouda.

Melt the butter (or in my case, bacon drippings) in a large cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat.

Whisk the butter into the milk mixture.  Add the wet ingredients to the flour mixture, and whisk until a thick batter is just formed.

Keeping the skillet at medium heat, ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the skillet, to make a pancake.  Ladle 1 or 2 more pancakes, taking care to keep them evenly spaced apart.  Cook until bubbles break the surface of the pancakes, and the otherside is golden brown, about 2 minutes.  Flip with a spatula and cook about 1 minute more on the second side.  Serve immediately or keep warm in an 200 degree oven.  Repeat with the remaining batter, adding more butter to the skillet as needed.

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My son Veer (a.k.a. The Baconater) enjoying the final result

The Baconater enjoyed his pancake with a little extra maple syrup.  He was a sticky mess in his pajamas!

Bacon and Gouda Pancakes | Wannabee Chef

Charred Indian Kale, Red Pepper, & Corn Stir Fry

This past weekend, we ordered Indian food out from a local restaurant. Yaaaaay! It was a welcome break for me from the kitchen. Until I realized that we didn't have enough vegetarian items. So I decided to make my own version of a traditional Indian spinach dish by substituting kale. Which has become so trendy these days. I used dinosaur kale because it is more tender and was on sale at Whole Foods.

My son loved the kale with garlic naan, and my baby daughter enjoyed it pureed with no salt.  My older daughter, though, is a whole other story. Believe me, I'm working on it. 😉

Here's how I made it…

Charred Indian Kale, Red Pepper and Corn Stir Fry

1 bunch dinosaur kale, stems removed and sliced (or have your kids tear them into pieces)
1/4 cup corn kernels
1/2 red pepper thinly sliced
1 thai bird chili, split
1 tsp. cumin power
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp. coconut oil

In a medium saute pan, add coconut oil. Preheat pan for 2 minutes on medium heat. Add green chili. Then add red peppers and stir fry for a couple of minutes. Add kale, corn, ginger, spices and lemon juice. Stir fry vegetables for 4-5 minutes until vegetables appear to be charred slightly. Season to taste. Garnish with lemon and cilantro.

The same recipe can be used for swiss chard, spinach or dandelion greens.

Charred Indian Kale, Red Pepper and Corn Stir Fry | WannaBee Chef

Two Minute Grape and Feta Salad

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I love tea time and it's now become a favorite of my kids as well.  Being Indian, we take our tea very seriously, but even more so the snacks that go along with it!  I find tea time very relaxing because I take the opportunity to bond with my kids in the afternoon and/or to meet with family and friends.  When I'm not enjoying tea at home, I love checking out new spots - one of my most memorable experiences has been High Tea at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. 

This quick, easy and extremely flavorful salad served with a side of brown rice crackers and a cup of tea was such a hit with everyone!  The crackers have been a a savior when we are looking for a gluten-free substitute for bread.  The important part of this salad is slicing the grapes in rounds so there is more circumference of the juicy flesh.  This salad doesn't keep well so make sure you enjoy it fresh.  I usually buy red grapes since my kids say they are sweeter 😉 . 

Grape and Feta Salad

1/2 cup red grapes, sliced 

1/4 cup feta, crumbed

2 tbsp pine nuts, toasted 

1 tbsp parsley chiffonade

lemon juice to taste (I like it slightly tart, so around 1 teaspoon)

extra virgin olive for drizzling 

salt 

pepper 

Layer the sliced grapes on a plate.  Sprinkle the feta, pine nuts, and parsley on the grapes. Squeeze lemon juice on the salad.  Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  This salad is best eaten on a cracker or even alone as a snack. 

Two Minute Grape and Feta Salad | wannabeelicious