Simple Apple Slaw on Cranberry BBQ Turkey Sliders

Well, it turns out that making an entire turkey for two people means meat for at least two weeks.  We’re still working our way through last week’s turkey.

Last night, that meant trying out Giada’s Cranberry Barbeque Sauce Turkey Sliders.  It was good, even if I edited it a bit to make it easier.  In fact, I made it a lot easier.  And the key take-away points?

  1. Making things easier is always fun.
  2. Apple slaw is something you should try, and soon.

The slaw was the winner here.  It was a fun texture, super easy to make, and the dressing was just enough to notice.  Lovely all around!sliders

Giada’s Cranberry BBQ Sauce Turkey Sliders (with apple slaw)–the easy way

Ingredients

Celery Apple Slaw:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored but not peeled, cut into 2-inch matchsticks

Cranberry Sauce:

  • 1 one-lb. bag fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup (or less if you like your cranberries super tart like I do)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced

The Rest:

  • 3 cups shredded turkey (or chopped however you like your turkey on your sandwich)
  • barbeque sauce of your choice–we like Scott’s homemade kind best, but that’s a recipe for another post
  • 12 dinner rolls

Directions

Combine the cranberries, maple syrup, cinnamon stick, orange zest and orange juice in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. Using the back of your spoon, lightly mash the cranberries to desired consistency. Chill until ready to serve (or serve warm like I prefer it).
While the cranberry sauce is simmering, chop up the apple and celery ribs, then put them into a medium bowl.  Combine the other slaw ingredients (small quantity of dressing) in a jar or bowl and mix, then pour over celery and apples.
Place the turkey into a large bowl and pour the barbeque sauce over the turkey, stirring to coat evenly with the sauce. You can serve the meat cold or warm, so just microwave or heat in a saucepan if you prefer your turkey warm.
To serve, toast rolls in a toaster oven or actual oven until warm, place turkey onto the bottom half of the roll, add a small amount of cranberry sauce over the turkey (a little bit of tart goes a long way), and pile apple slaw as high as you can without toppling the entire thing into a heap on the plate.
sliders to mouthThen get that tasty little slider to your mouth as quickly as possible.
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Blue Cheese Burger Awesomeness

Okay, I’m a few days behind real life cooking on ye ol’ blog.  But let’s just imagine that it’s Sunday.  You get home from church, or you wake up nice and slowly.  Because it’s Sunday.  Yay!  And then you realize that you only have ingredients for two recipes–blue cheese burgers and fried backstraps.  We’ll get to the fried backstraps later.  They didn’t seem like the right choice for Sunday, so blue cheese burgers it is.  Such a hard life, you know?!

(We made the healthier recipes earlier in the week, I promise.)

Blue Cheese Burgers with Fancy Onions and Things (45-ish minutes, 4 burgers)
Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (or a little bit more, if you like cheese like we do)
  • 1/4 cup canola mayonnaise (equally delicious with plain Greek yogurt instead)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce  (we might have used Frank’s)
  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin or venison
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4-inch-thick slices Vidalia or other sweet onion–1 onion gives you a few extra slices
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted
  • Tomato slices
  • Lettuce/arugula/spinach

Preparation

  1. Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup blue cheese, mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and hot pepper sauce in a small bowl; stir well.
  3. Divide beef into 4 equal portions, shaping each portion into a 1/2-inch-thick patty (with a slightly thinner part in the middle). Sprinkle beef evenly with salt and pepper.
  4. Brush oil evenly over both sides of onion slices; sprinkle with remaining pepper. Place the patties and onions on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill for 3 minutes on each side. Set patties aside; keep warm. Place onion slices in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 5 minutes; toss with remaining 1/2 teaspoon thyme and red wine vinegar.
  5. Assemble in any order that you prefer.  We feel strongly about order of operations, but you might disagree.  Bun, sauce, burger, tomatoes, onions, bun.  Sauce on both sides might be amazing.  And we didn’t have any greens to throw into the mix.

At our house, they came out looking like this:
burgers1
burgers2
What makes this burger special? Well, I’ll tell you.  We did use venison, so that made things a bit leaner/more exotic.  (I think it would still make me insanely happy with lean beef as suggested.  You could probably even get away with ground turkey or ground chicken.)  But the magic is the combo of the blue cheese sauce and the grilled onions in vinegar.  Om nom nom.  Yes, real words don’t even work for this.  I’m normally only kind of a fan of a homemade burger, but not this time.  I wholeheartedly dove into a second burger after round one.  Perfect for a quiet Sunday/Tuesday/day that ends in “y.”

Emeril’s Stuffed Bell Peppers (with Hannah’s Tomatillas)

I’ve made stuffed bell peppers before, and I liked them.  It’s something a little bit out of the ordinary, and who doesn’t like dinner that looks like a present?  

But these stuffed bell peppers were the best I’ve ever made.  I mean it.  They were delicious, and they got an A+ from the husband.  Peanut even eyed them greedily, although he only managed to get his paws on a tiny piece of sausage.  

The recipe is from Emeril’s cookbook, Farm to Fork.  

Image

One of these is not like the other.

 

The red pepper among all of the green peppers is a special addition from our garden.  That one lone pepper started growing in a pot in Norfolk, was moved to our apartment in Lynchburg, and then got planted in the ground at our new house.  It was more like “Postage stamp yard to patio to farm to fork.”  Even though the recipe calls for green peppers, and we’re too cheap to buy red or yellow peppers, that one stuffed red pepper was even better than the green ones.  I could really taste the difference.  If you’re feeling rich at the grocery store, go for it.

The only other changes I made to the recipe were more or less accidental.  The recipe calls for 12 ounces of Italian sausage.  The container at the store had 16 ounces, and if there’s one thing I know about Scott, it’s that he thinks more meat equals better food.  I used all 16 ounces.  

Also, sometime between picking the recipe last week and making it last night, I forgot that it calls for tomatoes, and I made a delicious tomato and goat cheese salad the other day instead of saving them for this recipe.  So I scrambled around to find what we had that could possibly work.  Salsa didn’t quite make the cut, but I remembered that we randomly had canned tomatillas.  Problem solved!  

Tomatillas are definitely a switch from tomatoes.  They added a flavor in the stuffing that almost tasted a tiny bit lime-ish.  And you know what?  I think it worked.  The stuffed peppers ended up with so much flavor and perfectly browned, crispy sausage mixed with the typical pepper, onion, garlic, rice stuffing.  I honestly think that the tomatillas made the difference between pretty darn good and pretty darn great.  I should probably try the recipe the way it was written before I give myself that much credit, however.  

One other practical perk of this recipe is that the 35 minutes of baking time at the end gave me a chance to clean up the kitchen a bit before I got distracted by the business of eating.  Thanks, Emeril.