Saturday, March 28, 2009

Awesome Turkey Burgers

Grilling season is just around the corner, and if you're looking for a nice and tasty turkey burger, I think you'll find this recipe to be a winner. I like to use the 93/7 ground turkey (meaning 7% fat). 99/1 ground turkey is also available, but I find that to be too moist to work with, and the mixture usually ends up mushy. I also prefer the taste of the 93/7 mixture. The 93/7 is also more moist than ground beef, so I never use an egg and try to avoid using many liquid ingredients in my mixture. Ground turkey is also very bland in taste. You really need to jack it up to get a nice flavor. This recipe only uses a few ingredients, but they pack a flavorful punch. Now, I don't have exact measurements, so adjust the seasoning to your liking. Also, while these burgers taste great on the grill, I actually prefer broiling them. They retain all of their tasty juices and are just that damn good! If you do decide to broil the burgers, but are still craving that smokey, grilled taste, you can add a dash of liquid smoke to the mixture. Liquid smoke is very powerful and potent, so you only need a drop or two at most.


1lb ground turkey (93/7 mixture)
1 8oz packet onion soup and dip mix
Approx. 1 tblspn Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt & pepper

Mix all ingredients together, shape into 6 nice size burger patties. Grill or broil to your liking. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Stuffed Peppers

Here's a nice dish that has become a Sunday staple for us. Nice and filling, goes great by itself or with a side of pasta (and, of course, some red wine). One of my favorite dishes to end a long weekend!

There are a number of stuffing recipes to use for Stuffed Peppers. This recipe originally called for ground beef, but we like to use ground turkey. Ground sausage removed from it's casing would also work well and add a nice punch (hmmm..think I'll try that next time). I've only used rice as my base, but am interested in trying other stuffings (breadcrumbs, etc.). Do YOU have a good Stuffed Pepper recipe? If so, please pass along! Ciao!


1 pound ground turkey (or ground beef if you prefer)
1/2 cup uncooked long grain white rice
1 cup water
6 large or 8 small green bell peppers
2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preheat oven to 350ยบ.
Place the rice and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and cook 20 minutes. In a skillet over medium heat, cook the ground turkey until evenly browned.
Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers. Arrange peppers in a baking dish with the hollowed sides facing upward. (Slice the bottoms of the peppers if necessary so that they will stand upright.)
In a bowl, mix the browned ground turkey, cooked rice, 1 can tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Spoon an equal amount of the mixture into each hollowed pepper. Mix the remaining tomato sauce and Italian seasoning in a bowl, and pour over the stuffed peppers.
Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, basting with sauce every 15 minutes, until the peppers are tender.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Egg White Lobster Omelette

Another get-together for my wife and her friends...another chance for me to have some fun in the kitchen! Since Julianna had just come off of an exceptionally good week, she was treated to a Happy Meal and a Shamrock shake. I know, blasphemy to umpteenth level for an Italian American parent who loves to cook. But the door was wide open for me to get creative with my dinner.

I was in the mood for some sort of jacked-up omelette. I'm a big breakfast fan, and can eat a breakfast meal any time of the day. Plus, Italians can mix just about anything with an egg to make a great meal (potatoes, peppers, asparagus, ham, hot name it). I had just bought a pack of lobster meat earlier in the week. Although it wasn't 100% pure lobster meat, but rather pollock mixed with lobster, the taste and texture isn't bad at all. Plus, I'm sure it's much better than the Loobster that was served at the Hungry Heifer (Norm's favorite restaurant on Cheers). Obviously, I would prefer real lobster meat, but hey, we're in a recession!

I decided to try an egg white lobster omelette. With just a few spices and a chopped up green bell pepper, I had a very tasty and filling meal in a matter of minutes. I'm sure I'll experiment more with the spices the next time I make this dish. However, it was quite tasty as is. If you're a fan of omelettes and seafood — or if you can't make it to the Hungry Heifer for it's Roast Biff and Loobster surf & turf meal — I'm sure you'll like this.

Egg White Lobster Omelette

1 package imitation lobster meat (or real lobster meat if you prefer), chopped
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
3 large egg whites
1 teaspoon parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon milk
Spices to taste: salt, pepper, paprika, Old Bay seasoning

Drizzle vegetable oil to coat bottom of a medium size skillet; heat on medium. Add chopped peppers; saute until crisp-tender. Add chopped lobster meat plus dash of salt, pepper and paprika; stir until heated. Remove from skillet, set aside.
Mix egg whites, parmesan cheese, milk, dash of salt, pepper and Old Bay. Pour mixture into a heated non-stick or greased pan. Flip egg once, then immediately top with lobster mix and fold egg into a half circle. Remove from pan and enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I am a person who values tradition. It plays an important part in our family. As the seasons change, we look forward to special events, family visits, road trips and of course, special meals!

A few years back, my Uncle started a tradition of making his own home-made wine. Like many Italians from generations past, he takes great pride in crafting his wine and passing out the bottles for all to share. His passion and dedication inspired me to start my own tradition - making home made orangecello. The recipe I chose takes about 3 months to age, so this is the perfect time of year to prepare the liqueur in order to enjoy it during those hot summer nights. I made my first batch last year and named it Domenicello. We had the ceremonial unveiling after the birth of our second daughter, Ava Lynn. I have to say...I was very pleased with the end result, as were everyone else who shared in drinking it. There was no doubt that making orangecello would become an annual event for me.

As I was sitting in my kitchen just the other night, shaving down the orange peels for this year's batch, it occurred to me that I was not only starting my own tradition, but also carrying on the tradition of my grandfathers. My Grandpop Condo was a brick layer, responsible for helping build many of the churches, schools and some of the most famous sports facilities in the Philadelphia area. My Grandpop Ricciuti was a chemist and a professor at Drexel University, whose works and studies have been documented in chemistry books. Here I am, many years later, using my hands to carefully craft and scrape the key ingredient to my orangecello, and eventually I will be measuring and scaling the remaining ingredients, making sure to that the end result is balanced out to perfection. While a simple bottle of orangecello is not nearly as impressive as the works that both of my grandfathers helped create, it has taught me to appreciate the love and dedication that they both showed for their craft. And I'll be sure to toast them both with my first sip of my 2009 Domenicello.

NOTE - While I love posting recipes and hearing great feedback on your great dishes, Domenicello is my own special little baby. So, I've decided to keep that recipe to myself. However, I am always more than happy to share a glass with you! Salute.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rustic-style Chicken, Sausage and Potato Bake

A cold and dreary Sunday afternoon, with the potential of a major snowstorm on it's way...what better excuse than to stay in and cook a hearty meal! Today, I decided to make a a rustic chicken, sausage and potato dish. Our friends Lorena and Mike made a similar dish for our group's annual holiday dinner that they hosted this past year. It's a filling and tasty dish, with lots of delicious and juicy chunks of meat and potatoes. Goes perfect with a nice glass of red wine or a good, dark winter beer.

Rustic-style Chicken, Sausage and Potato Bake

6 potatoes, cut into chunks
4 lg. onions, halved
6 chicken thighs
1 lb. Italian sausage, cut into 3 inch pieces
2 handfuls baby carrots
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
4 tbsp. olive oil

Combine olive oil, garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Coat potatoes, chicken, carrots and onions with oil and spices. Add sausage, stir together, and spread out in a medium-size roasting pan. Bake high heat, 425 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, lower heat to 375 degrees for 45 minutes.