Chicken Burgers

I have not written a blog in awhile because I was not sure if anyone was reading them. I am happy to say I had lots of people asking me why I was not writing my blog. So I enjoy bringing you some new recipes from my kitchen.

Recently I had a Slider Class. Sliders are fun because you can try different flavors. A Chicken Slider is always the hardest.  Whether you use ground Chicken or Turkey, the texture has to be made right. Most poultry burgers are very fattening. By the time you add the fat to help the texture, the calories and fat grams are adding up.  My goal was to come up with a burger that was good, healthy, and the texture did not make me sick.

I used Perdue Ground Chicken Breast ( I like the chicken better than the Turkey).  The Perdue Chicken is tastier, nicer texture, and less fat than some of the others. This last statement is my opinion and you may disagree.  You can also get your own chicken breast and put it in a food processor and make your own ground. At a 120 calories for 1/4 pound of meat that does not shrink up, this is a nice size burger.


After trying many recipes and changing many recipes, I came up with 2 so far: A Ranch Chicken Burger, and a Chicken Caesar Burger. Both these burgers are around 200 calories, low carbs, high protein. Both these burgers I would be happy to eat anytime but better than that, so would my husband. Chicken and Turkey burgers need lots of seasonings and bold flavors to make the burgers flavorful.


Chicken Caesar Burger


  • 1 pound Ground Perdue Chicken Breast
  • ½ medium Onion, small dice
  • ¼ cup Parmesam Cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp Dried Parsley
  • 1 ½ inches Anchovy Paste, about 1 Tbsp
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • ¼ tsp Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  1. Put everything in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Form into 8 slider size patties or 4 regular patties. These are messy and sticky, do not think you have done them wrong. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Brush both sides of the patty with oil and grill about 6 minutes per side or cook in a lightly oiled fry pan. Chicken needs to be coked to about 165 degrees internal temperature.
  4. Serve with caesar dressing, Romaine lettuce and tomato.

 Calories for 1/4 recipe: 215, Fat: 8, Carbs: 1.5 Sugars.6, Protein: 28.6

I make my own caesar dressing and have a recipe my family loves. I will share this with you, it is so easy to make.

Caesar Dressing


  • 1 large Egg Yolk
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Worchestershire Sauce
  • 4 inch strip Anchovy Paste, about 2 Tbsp - you adjust to your liking
  • ¼ cup Lemon Juice
  • ¾ cup Canola Oil Or Other Unflavored Oil
  • Salt And Fresh Ground Pepper To Taste
  • ¼ cup Parmesan Cheese, finely grated


  1. Put first 6 ingredients in the blender and blend.
  2. Add oil, salt, pepper blend again.
  3. Add parmesan cheese, and let set so the lemon can cook the egg about 30 minutes. Yes I use raw egg but the lemon juice will cook the egg.
Nutrition Facts Serving Size: 2 TBSP Amount Per Serving Calories 164 Calories from Fat 144 % Daily Value* Total Fat 16.0g 25% Saturated Fat 2.0g 10% Trans Fat 0.1g Cholesterol 28mg 9% Sodium 409mg 17% Potassium 62mg 2% Total Carbohydrates 1.0g 0% Protein 4.4g 13442120_1733247510278313_9171032308164571028_nRanch Chicken Burger


  • 1 pound Ground Chicken
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • ½ envelope Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • ¼ cup Parmesan or Asiago  Cheese, coarse grate
  • ¼ cup Dried Bread Crumbs
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper ( this is not to hot)
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Dill
  • 1 Large Egg Ranch
  • 1 ½ envelope Ranch Dressing Mix or Buttermilk Ranch
  • 1 cup Milk or Cultured Buttermilk
  • 1 cup Mayonnaise


  1. Put Ground Chicken and everything else into a bowl and mix.
  2.  Make into 4 patties or 8 sliders, cover and put in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or a day. These will be sticky but cook up nice.
  3. When ready to cook, place in a hot non stick fry pan with a little oil or a hot oiled grill. Again sticky but gently put on cooking surface and don't touch till ready to turn.
  4. Cook 5-7 minutes on first side and 5 minutes on other side. Chicken needs to be cooked through.
  5.  Top with cheese, let melt and serve.
  6. Serve with lettuce, tomato, red onion and ranch.

Calories for 1/4 recipe: 199, Fat: 6.2 Sat Fat: 1.0, Carbs: 5.7 Fiber: .5 Sugars: .6, Protein: 31.5

Ranch 1) 1 ½ packets of ranch or Buttermilk ranch with 1 cup of milk or buttermilk and 1 cup of mayo. I add the extra ½ ranch packet to punch up the flavor. 2) Shake or whisk refrigerate 2 hours or more.

I make my own ranch dressing from the packets all the time. The taste to me is not as flavorful and it does not seem as thick as it use to be. So I use a packet and a half to a reg recipe and it taste so much better, not any more calories, and you need less on a salad to add flavor. I am also a firm believer in Buttermilk Ranch. The unused buttermilk can be frozen for future use. I freeze it in 1 cup portions ready for my next ranch dressing fix. Calories for Ranch made with Cultured Buttermilk: 2 Tbsp: 74

Hope you enjoy,

Y Cook?

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The Hen and The Hog, A Exceptional Evening

1907548_987271114641142_8671169114532001316_nLiving in a small town off Hwy. 95, there is no shortage of fast food or chain restaurants.  I am not a food snob; I like fast food, chain food, healthy food, comfort foods, gourmet foods, and anything else you can think of.  It does not have to cost a lot to be good just prepared correctly. A couple weekends before Christmas I had the pleasure to go to The Hen and the Hog.  This is a restaurant in Halifax , NC.

4d2973_6cb9f528576646b99b5f590969f115b4Glenn Wilson, a native of Halifax NC, is the Vice President of International Design for Marriot Corporation. She has made a private investment in her home town. Buying and restoring some properties in the Historic downtown area. Her first venture was The Hen and The Hog.  10672385_992595287442058_2001444066812615960_nUsing her skills she created a place that is homey, elegant, and just blends into it's Historic area. I was  delighted as we walked through the doors.

4d2973_77df5f23391a4227b6e6b5a1ae0d683cChelsi Hogue, Owner /Proprietor and Executive Chef of The Hen and The Hog is from Goldsboro, NC. Wow were we lucky. Her food was outstanding. The ideas, parings, and individual attention was delightful.

I would have wrote this sooner but was trying to get some better pictures.  I did not bring my camera and took these with my phone. It usually takes good pictures but I think the flash was off.  Not being phone savy it takes a lot for me to fix things.

Our Evening started with being seated in the window.  Looking around I saw several tables of people I knew. Talked with several tables at different times in the evening.  The whole atmosphere was festive and fun. Ellen and Paul ordered the oysters. They were as good as they look.IMG_0360

Steve ordered the Seared Tuna with thin Fried Sweet Potatoes on the bottom.  The seared tuna on top was fried on the outside and rare in the center. It was cut in large pieces and placed on top of the sweet potatoes with a Sriracha Mayo and Sriracha Sauce smeared and dotted on the sides. I am sorry I did not get a picture , it was a pretty plate. I ordered The duck confit stuffed with collards and wrapped in pastry.  This was a large appetizer and I could have eaten it for dinner but I shared instead. This is one of the best things I ever ate. I do not even like collards but all the flavors melted together so perfectly.IMG_0329

Those were Chelsi's photos now for some bad photos

Ellen and I ordered the Duck Breast and were not disappointed. I could not use the picture I took. Paul ordered the Steak, he was very happy with the choice.  It was tender, lots of flavor and cooked perfectly. Those fried onions were enjoyed by everyone.20151218_201636

Steve ordered the Pork chop with grilled sweet potatoes that were cooked but still held together.  The seasoning were a great blend of spicy and sweet, perfect for pork. He loves ordering pork chops at restaurants and this did not disappoint.20151218_201648

We travel and eat at many places and the food here was "Exceptional".

The service was very nice, the young girl who waited on us was 16 and served us with style.  I was floored when I found out her age. She handled telling us about the food, taking our orders, and suggesting things like a pro.  Chelsi came and chatted with us about the food and wine. We tried so many different things, talked to friends, and celebrated the season.

If you have not been to The Hen and The Hog, GO GO GO.  Please support this little treasure we are so lucky to have.  If you need to travel to get there, I still suggest you GO.

Our evening was not over because on the way home we saved a lady in distress, but thats another story.


Y Cook?

“Secreto” Pork Skirt Steak

My oldest, Lindsay, lives in Richmond, Va.  Richmond is a foodie paradise. Whenever we go visit, food shopping is on my list of must dos.  Not far from her house is a butcher shop, if they do not have it they will get it.  I have ordered Domestic Venison, elk, buffalo, and boar.  They sell ground beef with ground bacon as there burger meat.  It is my favorite for home made burgers.  You would think it is fatty but very little shrinkage.  2 Blocks away there is a store that makes and sells fresh pasta, YUM.  Across from the pasta shop is a small local grocery, Harvest.  They sell cheeses, jams, meats, and so many good things. Most of their inventory can be seen at the Farmers Market from local venders.


I was checking out the meat section, and one very special cut, " Secreto" Pork Skirt Steak, caught my eye.  Now Beef Skirt Steak is very tasty, so Pork Skirt Steak must be better. Looking on the internet I found the reason for the name "Secreto" a secret cut of meat. In Spain it is one of the favorite cuts of pork, free range, acorn fed, taste like a marriage between bacon and steak. Not sure the meat from Charlottesville, Va is acorn fed or free range but flavor is TASTY.  Looking it up the price I paid was very reasonable. IMG_0111It is high in Mono-unsaturated fats that melt in lower temps, and is healthier than most pork fat. Marinade or not,  you decide. Cook on high heat till seared on both sides and internal temp reaches 145 degrees.  I marinaded mine for about 2 hours with my go to marinade

IMG_0104 General Marinade
  • Yield: 4 pounds meat
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Ingredients:
  1. 2 Tbsp Grilling Spice, whatever flavor you are looking for
  2. 4 cloves Garlic, minced
  3. 1 Tbsp lemon, lime, or orange peel
  4. 2 Tbsp Hot Sauce Or 2 Chipotle Peppers
  5. 4 Tbsp Worstershire Sauce
  6. ⅓ cup Olive Oil
  1. Put everything in a gallon zip lock and add meat.
  2. Get out most of the air of bag, seal and refrigerate for desired time.
  • Beef 1-4 hours
  • Shrimp 1 hour or less
  • Chicken 1 hour
  • Pork 1-4 hours

IMG_0116Then I turned on my griddle. It is raining and I did not want to mess with the grill. Turning it up to 450 degrees, remove meat from marinade and dry off, salt and pepper both sides, sear meat on both sides for abut 3-4 minutes a side.IMG_0117  If not cooked enough turn heat down and continue to cook, best served medium.  Slice thin slices cross the grain.IMG_0119

This was a very tasty cut of meat and surprisingly tender.  I enjoyed the marinade but would try it without, and use a wet rub instead.  For a wet rub I just rub the meat all over with my favorite rub, (I like "Richards" for Pork), then put oil on my hands and rub into meat. Enough oil to wet the rub, but not so much that it drips.

It is so nice to try something new.


Y Cook?

Raleigh’s Farmers Market

A couple weekends ago Steve planned a day in Raleigh for us.  First the Farmers Market, then the Home Show, finishing up with Dinner at Pool's Diner.  We got a added bonus, Hopscotch, a street festival was taking place near the Home show. It was a long day with tired feet, full bellies, and satisfaction for time well spent. I have never gone to the Farmers Market in Raleigh and I was excited. The flowers were beautiful.
Beautiful Flowers

Beautiful Flowers

Several booths, with so many bright colored flowers. There was ladies in one booth, who were putting together bundles as fast as people could pay for them.  I stood watching in amazement. There seem to be very little effort but the result was exceptional. The vegetable stalls were filled with Lots and Lots of peaches, tomatoes, peppers, squash, collards, eggplant, and lots more.
Lots of Goodies at the Raleigh Farmers Market

Lots of Goodies at the Raleigh Farmers Market

I am not a big Collard fan but they had Cabbage Collards. Never heard of these before, they told me they were sweeter.  Decided to try some and picked some up for a friend. I cooked them when I got home and could eat them but still not a fan.  My friend thought they were great. So I froze them for Thanksgiving, my youngest loves collards.
Cabbage Collards, gonna give them a try

Cabbage Collards, gonna give them a try

Learning a lot about the different types of Pumkins

Learning a lot about the different types of Pumkins

The best part of the market was the Pumpkins.  I had a great time learning and purchasing pumpkins.  The young, attractive and very informative Pumpkin lady was a wealth of information.
Cinderella Pumkin

Cinderella Pumpkin

This is my Cinderella pumpkin. It is very cool looking and is decorating my kitchen. Like a lot of large pumpkins it is tougher and stringier.  Makes for longer cooking and lots of straining.  Flavor not a sweet as some pumpkins.
Jaradale a sweeter pumpkin

Jaradale a sweeter pumpkin

I saw these and got excited. When I was at my restaurant in Italy the pumpkins we cooked with, were green, much sweeter and the outside was very tough.  Jaradales are supposed to be very sweet and you may need a cleaver to cut them.  I plan on testing that info.  If they are that good, there will be some great pumpkin ravioli and pumpkin puree in my freezer.
Jaradale, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Gords

Jaradale, Pumpkin Pie, and Apple Gourds

Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins and Green Apple Gords

Pumpkin Pie Pumpkins and Green Apple Gourds

The green apple gourds are going to be dried and painted next year.  They were very cool looking and I plan to just decorate with them this year.  The true pumpkin for making a pumpkin pie is "the pumpkin pie pumpkin".  Very tender, very little strings, and semi sweet, that is what makes this perfect for eating. The peel can also be eaten after cooking. Making it easier to cut up and prepare. It is kinda like getting a stringy sweet potato or a tender one.  There is really no contest.  I have a recipe that I posted last year, Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheesy Goodness. I am reposting it so you can remember it and give it a try.IMG_4593 Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheesy Goodness

  • Prep Time: 20 + minutes
  • Cooking Time: about 90 minutes
  • Ingredients:
  • 1 2-3 pound Pumpkin Pie Pumpkin
  • ¼ to ½ pounds Stale Bread, cut in ½ inch chunks
  • ¼ to ½ pounds Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Etc., cut in ½ inch chunks
  • 4 cloves Garlic, coasely chopped
  • ¼ cup Of One: Onion, Scallion, Shallots, Leeks , Large dice
  • ⅔ cup Heavy Cream
  • Salt And Fresh Ground Pepper And Nutmeg, about 3 good grates
  • Things You Can Add
  • 4 slices Bacon, cooked and chopped
  • ⅛ pound Sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • ½ cup Green Veggies, diced
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2.  Cut top off pumpkin and remove seeds. Salt and pepper the insides of pumpkin.
  3.  In a bowl add cheese, bread, meat, veggies, onions and garlic. It is hard to say how much of these because you want your pumpkin full but every pumpkin is different.
  4.  In a separate small bowl add cream, salt (pinch), pepper and nutmeg.
  5. Add ½ the cream to the bread mixture, and stir to get everything wet.
  6. Fill the pumpkin with bread mixture, pushing it down, fill to top or more. Pour remaining cream into pumpkin.
  7. Line a casserole or sheet pan with parchment and oil the parchment. Set the pumpkin onto the parchment.
  8. Put the top back on the pumpkin and place in oven.
  9. Cook with top on for about 1 and 15 minutes, than remove top so it will brown.
When bubbly and the pumpkin is tender remove and serve as a side or as a appetizer. You can slice it and serve or scoop it out and serve. Eat some pumpkin with the cheesy mixture. Use chips and get cheese and pumpkin in each chip. This is truly a great side and beautiful presentation. Just a tip the skin is ok to eat.
Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheesy Goodness

Stuffed Pumpkin with Cheesy Goodness

We brought some cheeses, goat meat, and some other things.  Had a great lunch at the restaurant on site. Then we went to our next destination of the day.  For those of you who do not know, Steve calls all his girls Sugar Pig.  He found a new Sugar Pig at the market.
Steve found another Sugar Pig

Steve found another Sugar Pig

Should I be jealous. Enjoy, Y Cook?

The Perfect Pork Chop

The Perfect Chop

The Perfect Chop

Pork is one of my favorite meats. It has a savory saltiness that just satisfies.  My class this week was "The Perfect Pork Chop".  The best in my opinion is, a 1 inch center cut bone in pork chop.
Center cut pork chop

Center cut pork chop

The loin cut is not as tender.
Loin chop

Loin chop

The boneless is definitely much dryer.
Boneless chops

Boneless chops

The bone helps with cooking the meat more evenly throughout the chop, making it easier to keep it moist. Pork does not need to be cooked to death anymore, chops can be pink in the center.  Start with a nice brine.  This can be done 1 hour before cooking.  The brine I like came from Cooks Illustrated and is very simple.  This helps to seal in the juices and breaks down the meat. Brine Recipe
  • 6 Tbsp sugar
  • 6 Tbsp table salt
  • 3 quarts water
Put water in a large bowl, add sugar and salt.  Mix till the sugar and salt dissolve.  Add the pork chops ( recipe will brine up to 8  chops) and let set for 1-2 hours in refrigerator.  Remove and rinse the chops.  Place on paper towels to dry.  Remove moisture before adding rub and searing.  Wet food does not sear well.  Cook on grill or fry pan finish in oven or grill.  Put rub on the chops but no salt the brine will be enough salt. Cooking on the grill requires a very hot grill.
  1. Brush grill with vegetable oil.
  2. Turn all burners to high, or coals very hot.
  3. When the temperature get at least 400 degrees (hotter is better)place chops on grill.
  4. After 1 1/2 minutes do a quarter rotation. This is so you get those pretty grill boxes on your chops.
  5. After another 1 1/2 minutes turn and do the same to the other side.
  6. When finished searing turn burners to low or shut off 1/2 the burners.
  7. Move chops to the cooler area on the grill cover with tin foil and cook another 9 minutes, or until the instant read says 135 or 140.
  8. Remove cover with foil and rest 5 minutes.
  9. Enjoy
Cooking in a fry pan and finishing in the oven. Set oven to 400 degrees Fry pan should not be non stick, or have plastic handles.  You want the pan to be able to go into the oven.
  1. Wet pan with just a little vegetable oil and turn to high.
  2. Place chop in pan and do not turn for 2-3 minutes.  If the chop is sticking it is NOT READY to turn.
  3. Turn and repeat on the other side.
  4. Remove pan from burner and place in hot oven.
  5. Cover top with foil.
  6. Set timer for 15 minutes. Then check for temperature, or cut and look. Should be light pink.
  7. Remove, (remember to use pot holders), and cover with foil for 5 minutes.
  8. Enjoy
The rub you use can make a make or break your chop.  So pick one carefully to satisfy you and your guest taste.  For Example, I used a cumin and chili pepper based rub and really thought it was great, Steve not so much. He wanted a more peppery rub. One of my favorite rubs is Captain Rodney's Peach rub. It is sweet peach with pepper flakes and goes very well with pork. Fruit and pork pare well together. Enjoy, Y Cook? Because it taste so good.

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