Thursday, October 16, 2008

Turkey Burgers & Macaroni with a Twist

I love to try and jazz things up a bit by twisting a recipe or finding a new twist on an old favorite. In a recent issue of the Rachael Ray magazine, they had a bunch of apple recipes, and a few ground turkey recipes.

Well, just in time for that, one of my local markets put ground turkey on sale. And since I'm on this "forcing the family to eat healthy" kick (I know, I'm an evil mother), I decided to try this, along with a new mac-and-cheese, so I could ease them into the healthy thing (kind of like serving an apple with a chocolate cake ;-). But I did use low-fat milk and low-fat cheese in the mac-and-cheese, and no one noticed.

I tweaked the recipe of the Apple-Cheddar Turkey Burgers a little bit. It called for English muffins, which I didn't have, but I did have an overabundance of hamburger buns from a recent cookout, so we had those instead. It also called for Granny Smith apples, which I despise, so I had Golden Delicious instead. And I forgot the lettuce on the bottom, but it was good without. Everything else I followed to the letter, and we ate EVERY single one of these (FYI, this recipe made 8 turkey burgers for me. They must have been massive burgers in the test recipe, because I have no idea how they only got four out of it). I also used a different mustard because I knew that grainy mustard wouldn't go over well with the kids. Too much kick to that one.

So my turkey burger layers were:

Honey mustard on the bun (I didn't bother following the directions of mixing it with the cranberry sauce)
Whole-berry cranberry sauce
1 slice Golden Delicious apple (the recipe calls for three, but they must have cut them super thin, thinner than I could get mine)
1 slice sharp cheddar cheese
turkey burger (made as directed in the recipe, with parsley, scallions, grill seasoning and poultry seasoning)
all on a toasted hamburger bun :-)

I served it with a bit of a twist on mac-and-cheese that I came across in one of those ads for cheese. This one was good, but not kick-butt. I think it was the cloves that pushed it out of the realm of really good. If you took those out of the mix, which I think I will next time, I'd give it two thumbs-up. Since they don't have it on their website, I'll put it here:

Kerrygold Mac and Cheese

1 pound macaroni (I used penne), cooked and drained
4 tablespoons butter, melted
3/4 cup onion, diced
pinch of sugar
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream (I used half and half because that's what I had )
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
1 cup swiss, grated
1 1/2 cups Dubliner cheese, grated (I didn't have that, so I just used more cheddar)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup breadcrumbs

Over medium heat in saucepan, melt butter, add onions and sugar, and season with salt. Cook until onions are translucent. Add flour and cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in milk and cream, bring to a simmer, add bay leaf and cloves (again, I thought the cloves gave it a weird smell and taste, so I would skip them). Reduce burner to low, simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf. Add all but one cup of the cheese, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix cheese sauce with pasta and spoon into a casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese, then breadcrumbs. Bake at 375 for 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly and slightly browned on top.

That's it! They were both a big hit with my family (no one in my family said anything about the mac-and-cheese, and it was all eaten, so maybe it was just me on the clove thing). Anyway, the burgers were a huge hit. If you have apples you want to use, this and the upcoming recipes I have this week are a great option to use them up!


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