Apple Chicken Burgers with Basil and Gouda

The other day, we were having breakfast at a local restaurant, when a menu card caught our eye. Among the various offerings was a chicken burger with roasted apple slices. Huh. That sounded kind of good, and we made the decision that I would have to take that idea and run with it – and soon. If words on a paper can make us drool when we’re already stuffed to the gills with breakfast… well, that’s some serious potential, right there.

Well, inspiration came to fruition pretty quickly – we were blissfully enjoying these burgers the very next evening. Not being facetious on the “blissful”, either – these were amazing. I’m not usually a fan of poultry burgers, but I addressed my concerns (blah flavor, dry texture) by adding some shredded apple into the ground chicken – a weird epiphany, I know. It was also out first time “harvesting” our newly planted basil, and – especially after a LONG weekend working on our side yard – that made it feel even more special.

I knew that my husband really – REALLY – enjoyed his burger, but had to laugh this morning when I went to pick up the images from the folder he’d saved them to.

Instead of just “Chicken_Burgers” – how he’d normally name it – the folder was named “Fucking_Amazing_Chicken_Burgers”. Hrm. I guess he really loved these! Can’t say I blame him, they really were ridiculously good. I’ll be adding shredded apple to all future poultry burgers I make!

Apple Chicken Basil Burgers
(Makes two big burgers)

1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup basil leaves, finely chopped

1 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup grated apple (I used golden delicious)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves, pressed or finely minced
1/4 cup olive oil

1 apple, thinly sliced (I used golden delicious)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp salt

Gouda cheese, sliced
Buns (can be gluten free)

Mix together mayo and basil, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Combine chicken, grated apple, salt, pepper, and garlic. Gently use hands to get a really good mix going, making sure that everything evenly distributed and everything is well incorporated. Divide meat mixture into 2 evenly sized balls. Flatten each ball into a patty that is roughly the size of your burger buns – maybe a little larger.

Brush one side of each burger with olive oil, flip over onto grill, brush the other side with olive oil. Grill over medium heat until fully cooked. This is poultry – please cook until well done!

While burgers are grilling, saute apple slices in olive oil and salt until they start to tenderize. You want a slight amount of crunch, but not TOO much!

To construct the burgers:

Split the buns, spreading basil mayo on both halves of each bun. Arrange a layer of apple slices on top of the bottom bun half.. Top with burger, and a generous layer of gouda slices. Crown with top bun, enjoy!

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How to Carve a Watermelon Fruit Bowl – Caladium Style!

About a week ago, we celebrated the one year anniversary of our tornado. Hrm. “Celebrated” seems like a weird thing to say about a natural disaster. Observed? Marked the occasion?

Nah, we did celebrate it. On the Sunday afternoon immediately before the actual anniversary date, we have a very small party for those who helped us out following the tornado – a volunteer appreciation party. We had SO much help from friends – both the day of, and in the long months that followed – such a party was the least we could do to thank them. So.. we handed out free “thank you!” copies of Twisted: A Minneapolis Tornado Memoir, and fed them all.

In addition to the Low Country Boil, party sized Pavlova, and various crudités, I decided to make a watermelon fruit bowl. A carved, fancy one – though I’d never even considered the possibility before, much less actually made one!

Having carved pumpkins before (Nowhere near as professionally as The Pumpkin Geek, but passable!), I figured I had a good idea of what to do. It was fun, and I think it turned out well… so here’s how I did it!


Mini “Baked Minnesotas” Recipe!

Well, it looks like I’m getting dragged to the Minnesota State Fair after all. It’s been a few years – but not long enough! LOL. Hot temps + tons of people + tons of noise + obnoxious smell of grease everywhere… not my bag, I hate to say. Back in 2009, I struck a deal with my husband that resulted in a couple years of not having to go – and in the creation of “beer battered corn on the cob.. on a stick”. Well, I don’t have the kitchen or the brainpower to come up with a deal this year, so… we’re going! LOL

Around the time of the fair, Minnesotans really focus on new, unique foods. Yes, a lot of the time this means just “X Food… ON A STICK”, but, still. It’s sometimes fun to hear of the creative ways that vendors are coming up with ways to either add calories, put it on a stick, or Minnesota-it-up with various foods. Hell, even Caprese salad can be “Minnesota’d up”, as long as you serve it on a bed of wild rice! (?)

A couple years ago, I decided to “Minnesota-up” an old fashioned dessert – the Baked Alaska. There is a HUGE emphasis on camping, camp fires, etc here – moreso than anywhere I’ve ever lived – so I decided to do a Smores themed version. Custom designed a base – a graham cracker flavored cookie – and went from there. These are individual sized servings – smaller than a normal baked Alaska.

The result was awesome. So much fun, and perfect for this coming long weekend!

Enjoy, and have a great labor day weekend!


Strawberry Mango Marble Cake Recipe

I love marbled cakes! I love picking out flavors and colors to mix. I love globbing cake batter into the pans, swirling my knife through it all. I love the anticipation of seeing how the marbling will turn out, I love making that first cut, and I love having a slice of cake that features varying amounts of each flavor in every bite!

This recipe produces a moist, fruity marbled cake. It makes a great standalone cake (say, for a bundt), without needing to rely on frosting. If you decide to forgo the frosting, feel free to serve this the same day it’s baked, or even fresh out of the oven!

A word about the food coloring – I did use food coloring in the cake pictured, and I recommend the use of coloring. Fresh strawberries are delicious, but can cause the batter to look sort of grey. With just a little food coloring, the cake turns out so much prettier.

Enjoy! Oh, and if you do enjoy it – and other unique cake recipes – be sure to order my new cookbook, “Evil Cake Overlord“, as it’s full of them 🙂

Strawberry Mango Marble Cake

3 cups Cake flour
2 1/4 cups Sugar
2 Tbsp Baking powder
1 1/2 tsp Salt
3 1/2 oz Instant vanilla pudding mix
6 Eggs
1 cup Water
1 1/2 cups Butter, melted
2 Tbsp Pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup Mango pulp*
1/3 cup Pureed strawberries
Red food coloring, optional
Yellow/orange food coloring, optional
Frosting recipe
1/3 cup Mango pulp OR strawberry puree

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Liberally grease two 8″ or 10″ round cake pans with vegetable shortening, and/or spray with baking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pudding mix in a large mixing bowl. Add in eggs and water, beating just until smooth. Carefully add melted butter and vanilla to the batter, mixing on medium speed until smooth.


Grandma’s Potato Salad

This recipe was originally posted last summer.. but with recent weather, BBQs, and a wicked craving for it.. figured it’s about time to drag it back to the spotlight!

Lately, I’ve been on a mission to translate my family favorite “recipes” (no, that’s not a misuse of quotation marks!) into actual recipes.

It’s a bigger endevor than it sounds to be – my family writes down recipes like we cook. By that, I mean that “a handful of” or “some” are used as actual units of measurements, or any indication of actual quantity is left out completely. We add an ingredient till things look or taste right, which is fine when you’re comfortable with what you’re doing.. but not so hot for conveying a recipe to my blog readers!

Take, for instance, my grandmother’s potato salad recipe. She makes the most amazing potato salad I’ve ever had, but this is her recipe, in its entirety:


boil red potatoes, cut in 4
Don’t overcook them
Cool them
Put in fridge, cover with italian dressing, let sit overnight
Take them out, add chopped green onion, celery, radishes, eggs (hardboiled and sliced)
Use Hellman’s full fat mayo, don’t use too much


See what I’m dealing with? LOL.

The recipe is far too great to NOT share with the world, so here it is:


Beer Battered Corn on the Cob… on a Stick

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My husband LOVES corn… I mean in a fanatical, almost absurd way. On one of his birthdays, we went so far as to craft a “day of corn”, where every main dish, side, snack, and even DESSERT (ice cream) was made with corn. He could survive on the stuff.

So of course, when the state fair rolls around.. he looks forward to going for the roasted corn, etc. I just think of all the crazy amounts of people, the heat, and the nasty smell of grease (which he loves)… and the urge to hermit wells up.

This year I was particularly not in the mood to brave the crowds, so I made him a deal. I will come up with a recipe to batter corn on the cob IN a corn based batter and deep fry it.. if we don’t go to the Fair. Hell, I’d even do it “on a stick” to give him a bit more of the State Fair experience… but at home.

I lived up to my end of it, and we were both *very* pleasantly surprised by the results. Here’s how you can make the same at home!