Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered in roasted jalapeno and garlic bacon guacamole and topped with cotija cheese. These hot dogs take typical grilling to the next level with their spicy, bold flavors and perfectly contrasting textures.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

It’s not like you need a reason to make fancy, delicious, to-die-for guacamole. In fact hunger is reason enough for me, and a fork is a totally acceptable vehicle. However, a spicy sausage may be an even more delicious vehicle.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

For a while I was on the fence about hot dogs. Somewhere along the line they became one of those gross foods in my mind that you don’t eat past the age of 7. Ummm, that was a big mistake because for years I missed out on the amazingness that is hot dogs and sausages.

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

I also believe that all things are better with guacamole. Even the most delicious things can become instantly more delicious when you add guacamole. Juicy burger? Add guac! Simple grilled chicken? Totally different when smothered with avocado-y goodness. A spoon the size of your face? I think you know the answer. ;)

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs: Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered with roasted jalapeno & garlic bacon guacamole + cotija cheese

My friends from Fork in the Road happened to send me some of their products to try, and after absolutely loving them at BTP, I knew I was in for a treat! I ended up using the hot links which are perfect for this flavor combination, but you can  use any hot dog or sausage you like!

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Size: 1 hotdog/sausage

Spicy Bacon Guacamole Dogs

Spicy grilled hot dogs smothered in roasted jalapeno and garlic bacon guacamole and topped with cotija cheese. These hot dogs take typical grilling to the next level with their spicy, bold flavors and perfectly contrasting textures.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Grill hotdogs/sausages to desired doneness, about 5 minutes. Toast buns if desired. Place hotdogs/sausages in buns or on a plate, smother with guacamole, and top with a generous pinch of cheese. Serve immediately.

Notes

Buns are totally optional. They look prettier, but I ate these bunless and they were absolutely delicious!

http://arismenu.com/spicy-bacon-guacamole-dogs/

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. I was supplied with free sausages from Fork in the Road, but was not in any other way compensated for this post. Recipe and opinions are my own.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

Hi friends! Did you guys have a good 3 day weekend? I had to work a little bit this evening, but I had most of the day off, and we had a great time on Sunday having friends and family over, grilling, eating tons of food, and later on playing Cards Against Humanity. It was my first time ever playing, and now I’m pretty much in love with the game. Everyone had a great time, and I got lots of compliments on the 5 new recipes I created for our get together.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

But now I have to go back to real life, and it’s almost Tuesday, and Tuesday after a 3 day weekend is even worse than a regular Monday. But at least it’s a short week. And I do actually really enjoy my job, but I also really enjoy lounging around the house getting caught up on How I Met Your Mother.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

So, let’s talk about this salad. Whenever people ask me what my tips are for staying healthy, one thing I always say is to make lunch over the weekend that you can take to work 4 out of the 5 days of your work week. Pick a day and go out to lunch because it’s fun, and it will help you from getting sick of eating the same thing, but I find that just making a lunch for the week keeps me on track–I know exactly what I’m going to eat, and I create something healthy and delicious that I’m excited to eat multiple days in a row.

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad #glutenfree

That could not be more true about this salad. Sweet and spicy slow-cooked bbq chicken with plenty of veggies, creamy Greek yogurt, and bold cilantro make this salad absolutely irresistible. In fact, I found myself trying to eat it for lunch, dinner, and once even breakfast! It’s got tons of lean protein and healthy, whole grain carbs, with a good amount of veggies thrown in there too (and you can always add even more veggies!). You won’t even want to go rogue and hit up Subway if you have this stuff around!

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 5 hours

Total Time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

BBQ Chicken Pasta Salad

Ingredients

    For the bbq chicken:
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 lb low sugar bbq sauce
  • For the salad:
  • 2 cups dry whole grain penne (brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, etc.)
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
  • handful fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/3 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Place chicken and bbq sauce in a slow cooker. Cook over low heat for 5 hours.
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse.
  3. Remove chicken from slow cooker and use to forks to shred. It will come apart very easily.
  4. Place shredded chicken, cooked pasta and all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss to combine. If desired, spoon in a little extra bbq sauce from your slow cooker. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.

Notes

You may use rotisserie chicken or any cooked chicken breast and approx 1/3 cup bbq sauce if you don't want to use a slow cooker.

http://arismenu.com/bbq-chicken-pasta-salad/

Pesto Pizza {with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn}

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

If I had to choose one food to eat for the rest of my life and cilantro didn’t count, I would probably choose pizza. Goat cheese is right up there too, but I would just put the goat cheese ON the pizza. In fact, I kind of can’t believe I didn’t put it on this pizza. You could though. It would be delicious.

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

I mean, you really can’t go wrong with carbs and cheese. My two favorite food groups. Add in some homemade ricotta pesto, and you’ve got yourself a ridiculously easy and impressive homemade pizza for any day of the week!

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

The pesto and the corn are without a doubt my favorite part. I loved the pesto on it’s own, and on a pizza it got EVEN BETTER. Plus, I looooove roasted corn, especially in the summer. I seek it out on menus when I go out to eat, and put it in almost everything I make at home. Sweet and crisp–it takes almost any dish to the next level!

Pesto Pizza with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn

Pesto Pizza {with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn}

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4 servings

Pesto Pizza {with roasted red pepper, tomato and roasted corn}

Ingredients

  • 1 lb whole wheat pizza dough (I used Trader Joe's brand), at room temperature
  • 1-2 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 batch ricotta pesto
  • 6-8oz freshly shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted and chopped
  • kernels from 1 ear roasted corn
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • heavy pinch oregano
  • pinch pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450. If using a pizza stone, leave it in the oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle cornmeal over a sheet of parchment paper. Place dough on parchment paper and roll into desired shape. Alternately, use your hands to stretch it out into desired shape, then place on parchment paper.Transfer to pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  2. Remove from oven and evenly spread pesto over the pizza. Top with cheese, corn and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle oregano and pepper on top.
  3. Bake until crust is cooked throughout and cheese is bubbling, about an other 15-20 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.
http://arismenu.com/pesto-pizza/

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Turkey Sloppy Joes

The first time I ever heard of sloppy joes was when I was watching that movie with the Olsen twins. I think it’s called It Takes Two? With Kirstie Alley and they go to summer camp and find out that they were twins separated at birth, then they switch places? There’s a scene in the cafeteria where they have sloppy joes and then they have a food fight. Food fights always look fun in the movies, but the idea of being literally covered in food in real life is surprisingly unappealing to me. As much as I love food, I do not love it on my body instead of in it.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes were just never something my mom made, so when I did finally have one, it seemed like a special treat and I fell in love. I tried to make them once before with no ketchup (I used tomato sauce) and no sugar. It tasted like bad meat sauce. It was a total failure, and I’m pretty sure I threw a temper tantrum during the time Steve ate his entire serving and went back for seconds. Anyway, I knew I needed to try again.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

This time, I stuck to the simple and traditional, and ended up with a total treat that made me feel like a little kid again. It was totally messy, and got all over my face and clothes in the best way possible. It had that sweetness you imagine with a sloppy joe without any refined sugar, and the sriracha adds a little kick that I love. But then again, I put sriracha on just about everything.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

This is one of those perfect healthy meal for anyone who has kids (or lives with people that act like kids), or just likes simple, delicious foods. It’s healthy, nutritious, super filling and so easy to make that you will be making it over and over again!

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Turkey Sloppy Joes

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey (I used 93%)
  • 3/4 cup reduced sugar ketchup
  • 2-3 tsp molasses
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • dash worcestershire sauce
  • dash sriracha or other hot sauce, optional
  • whole grain buns for serving (whole wheat, brown rice, etc.), optional

Instructions

  1. In a large pan over medium heat, saute onion, bell pepper and garlic in olive oil until tender and fragrant, about 7-10 minutes. Add ground turkey and brown until cooked throughout.
  2. Stir in ketchup, molasses, salt, pepper, worcestershire and sriracha. Bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
  3. Serve immediately on buns, or over a salad, or any way you like.
http://arismenu.com/turkey-sloppy-joes/

Green Chile Guacamole Burgers

Green Chile Guacamole Burger


Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. Recipe and all opinions are my own.
Green Chile Guacamole Burger

You guys, it is hot. I’m in Portland and it’s supposed to be perfect weather all summer long, but instead there is a heat wave, and it’s in the 90s which wouldn’t even be bad except for the fact that we live upstairs and there is no ac. It is gross. I want to be swimming in a pool with a margarita in hand eating burgers for dinner. Can we make that happen?

Green Chile Guacamole Burger

Before I left for Portland, I’m pretty sure we ate at least 2 hamburgers a week for about a month. I wish I was kidding. I never got sick of them because there are 5 billion combinations so it always feels like something new!

Green Chile Guacamole Burger

I’m pretty bad about waiting to decide what to make until the last minute, then I have to bat my eyelashes and beg Steve to go to the store and pick up whatever we need. Luckily, there is a Fresh & Easy right around the corner that we can get to in no time, and makes it incredibly easy to pick up last minute items. Their store brand fresh&easy is all natural ingredients, and super affordable, so it’s a win, win. With the last minute idea to make the burgers, I sent Steve to the store to get fresh&easy buns and guacamole.

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The burgers came out AWESOME! Bold and spicy, and the fresh&easy guacamole was AWESOME!! The roasted green chiles and so much flavor and also help the burgers not to dry out (which can easily happen when using lower fat meat), and the grilled onions on top are like the icing on the cake!

Green Chile Guacamole Burger

Fresh & Easy has tons of options for summer grilling, and really is insanely easy to get in and out of quickly (think the oposite of going through Walmart, but still with great prices), and I even have a coupon for you! Click here to receive a $5 off coupon (expires 7/7/13).

Green Chile Guacamole Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

Green Chile Guacamole Burgers

Ingredients

  • 2 green chiles, roasted, seeds removed
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic, finely minced
  • generous pinch cumin
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • 4 fresh&easy whole wheat buns (gluten-free may be substituted)
  • Approximately 1 cup fresh&easy guacamole
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced

Instructions

  1. Half roasted green chiles. Finely chop 1/2 of one of your chiles and slice the rest.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine finely chopped green chile, ground beef, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper until ingredients are just incorporated. Form into 4 equal-sized patties. Press your thumb down into the center of each patty to create a small indent.
  3. Grill over medium heat until burgers have reached desired doneness, about 5 minutes each side. Simultaneously grill the onion slices until browned. This will also take about 5 minutes on each side.
  4. Top buns with guacamole, cooked burgers and onions, reserved green chile slices and tomato. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/green-chile-guacamole-burgers/

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

I’ve developed this kind of ridiculous hot dog obsession. Kinda like the hamburger one, but ya know, with hot dogs. A couple of weeks ago after the 3rd consecutive hot dog recipe, Hermano asked when the heck I decided I liked hot dogs so much.

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

The truth is, I’ve always been a fan, but unless it was an enormous Cost Co hot dog, it just never seemed like a full meal to me, and I always wanted a hamburger to go with it. BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

So I decided to make a hot dog that sounds sinful and over the top, but is really healthy enough to eat 2, or eat 1 with a big ol’ side of veggies which is more my style these days.

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

The low fat beef hot dogs combined with the center cut bacon add healthy meat options that are full of flavor. The  sweet barbecue sauce and roasted corn pair perfectly with the salty dog, and then everything is better with cheddar cheese. It’s like a fact. These babies are perfect for 4th of July, any summer cookout, or any time you feel like firing up the grill!

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 hot dogs

Serving Size: 1 hot dog

BBQ Bacon Cheddar Dogs

Ingredients

  • 2 low fat beef or turkey dogs (I used Hebrew National 45 calorie beef)
  • 2 whole grain hot dog buns (use gluten-free if applicable)
  • 1 slice center cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 2 tbsp low sugar barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp roasted corn kernels
  • 2 tbsp roasted corn kernels
  • 2 generous pinches grated reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2 pinches finely chopped scallions

Instructions

  1. Grill hot dogs over medium heat until warmed throughout, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place hot dogs inside buns and top each dog with ½ slice cooked bacon, 1 tbsp barbecue sauce, 1 tbsp roasted corn, a generous pinch of cheddar cheese and a pinch of chopped scallions. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/bbq-bacon-cheddar-dogs/

Drink & Dish: Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese.jpg

It’s almost the 4th of July!!!

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

One of my very favorite holidays because I am obsessed with fireworks. I’m sure this is totally surprising information given that I am never a sucker for bright, sparkly things, but I can ooohh and ahhh for the entire fireworks show, and always get a little sad when they start going all crazy for the grand finale because that means it’s over.

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

Maybe it’s because for years I never got to watch the fireworks? I’ve spent almost every summer since I was 15 years old at theatre camp. First as a student, then as a counselor, and the last few years as a teacher/director/choreographer. For most of those years, the camp was located at the top of this hill in the middle of nowhere White Salmon, WA. We were always in rehearsals at night, so I never got to get into town (a good 40 minute drive) to watch the fireworks. Now camp is in Portland, and we light little sparklers and the kids get really into it which is fun in an entirely different way.

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

You know what else I love about the 4th of July? RED WHITE AND BLUE FOOD!!! Last year, I made red, white and blue cookies, and they still stand as some of my all time favorite cookies. This year, I decided to go with something you could eat for lunch or dinner while celebrating America (you have to pronounce it Ah-murrr-kah).

Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

This sandwich….I just…I’m not sure I even have the words? I made it 3 times in 1 week. The brie cheese is so melty and dreamy, and then the goat cheese provides the perfect creaminess. Both of these cheeses pair perfectly with fruit, and the raspberry jam adds a bright sweetness the compliments the slightly tart bursting blueberries. It sounds crazy, but it just works. It works so well that you want to eat it every day for the rest of your life. You know I’m not usually a meal repeater, but I can’t get enough of this sandwich, and I can see it making a comeback all year long.

Check out the latest episode of Drink & Dish to learn the secret to making a perfectly melty grilled cheese, and make sure to also check out Nicole’s super fun 4th of July Citrus Splash. I mean, it has poprocks and it’s BLUE!

Drink & Dish: Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 sandwiches

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Drink & Dish: Red, White & Blue Grilled Cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 slices whole grain bread (use gluten-free if applicable)
  • 2 tbsp reduced sugar raspberry jam (or jam or choice)
  • 1 1/2 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 2 small handfuls fresh blueberries (preferably organic)
  • 2 oz light brie cheese, sliced, rinds removed

Instructions

  1. Heat a large grill pan, griddle or nonstick pan over medium-low heat.
  2. Spread 2 slices of bread with 1 tbsp each of jam. Spread remaining two pieces with softened goat cheese (evenly divide the 1 1/2 oz between the two slices). Place a handful of blueberries on each goat cheese slice and lightly press the berries into the cheese. Top each with 1 oz sliced brie. Place the jam side on top.
  3. Grill until the bottom is browned, about 5-7 minutes. Flip and continue cooking until both sides are browned and cheese is fully melted, about an other 5-7 minutes. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/drink-dish-red-white-blue-grilled-cheese/

Black Bean Burger Salad

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette #glutenfree

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette #glutenfree

In the summertime, the only things I crave other than burgers (and grilled food in general) are big, delicious, cool and refreshing salads. I’m not talking the kind of “salad” that is some lettuce thrown on a plate and then drowned with ranch dressing. My salads need to be loaded with flavor, and they have to have a little something special to keep me interested.

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette #glutenfree

I also always love a new way to eat one of my favorite foods. I fell head over heels for these black bean burgers at first bite, and since I almost never make the same meal twice, I wanted a new way to enjoy them. I have to say, I like them even better this way!

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette #glutenfree

The bold, spicy burgers balance perfectly with the fresh, crisp lettuce and cucumber, and the sweet tomatoes, peppers, roasted corn and dried cranberries. And that tangy, creamy goat cheese on top? Flavor heaven. Not to mention the sweet and spicy cilantro lime vinaigrette. It is legit the best salad dressing I have ever tasted.

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette #glutenfree

If you don’t do dairy, you could leave the goat cheese off and replace it with avocado. I mean, you should probably just add avocado anyway to all things, but especially if you leave the cheese off. This salad is perfect for summer (or any time), and I even continued to make it with my left over black bean burgers for the entire rest of the week! You can also easily double or triple it if you’re serving a bigger group!

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 2 servings

Black Bean Burger Salad with Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 2 ears corn
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 heart of romain, chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large cucumber, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 black bean burgers*
  • 3 oz goat cheese
  • For the Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette:
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup cilantro
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch salt

Instructions

  1. Drizzle corn with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast at 400 until golden and tender, about an hour.
  2. Prepare the dressing by adding the zest of 1 lime, and the juice of two with all remaining ingredients in your food processor and pulsing until combined and smooth, about 1 minute.
  3. For the salad, gently toss together roasted corn, lettuce, tomato, bell pepper, cucumber, and cranberries. Transfer to serving dishes. Crumble 1 black bean burger and 1.5 oz goat cheese on top of each salad. Serve with prepared dressing.

Notes

*Store bought/frozen black bean burgers may be used. Cook per package instructions before adding to your salad.

**To keep vegan, avocado may be subbed for goat cheese and agave may be subbed for honey in the dressing.

http://arismenu.com/black-bean-burger-salad/

Turkey Pastrami Melt

Turkey Pastrami Melt

Turkey Pastrami Melt

Helllloooo sandwich. Do you guys ever go to Schlotsky’s? When I was in high school, I would always drive over to my best friend’s house and pick up Schlotsky’s sandwiches for us. My staple? White bread, pastrami, swiss and thousand island. Kinda like a rueben, but with only the good parts.

Turkey Pastrami Melt

I have missed that sandwich. These days, I’m much more of a hummus, veggies and goat cheese sandwich girl, but every once in a while I crave that salty pastrami, melty cheese, and sweet and creamy thousand island. It’s like sandwich heaven.

Turkey Pastrami Melt

It’s one of those things that I just can’t seem to justify at a restaurant when I know I can make it 10x healthier myself. Not to mention, it takes about 15 minutes, including the time it took to make the dressing.

Turkey Pastrami Melt

I definitely don’t have the patience for anything time consuming around lunch time. I just want the quickest and most delicious way to get a sandwich to my face, and this baby tastes like the real deal–just like that big, juicy sandwich I remember, but with a list of healthy, protein-packed ingredients that will keep you full until dinner time!

Turkey Pastrami Melt

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 sandwich

Serving Size: 1 sandwich

Turkey Pastrami Melt

Ingredients

  • 2 slices whole grain bread (whole wheat, Ezekiel, brown rice, etc.)
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp fat free thousand island
  • 3 oz sliced turkey pastrami (I used Boar's Head found at Fry's/Kroger)
  • 1 slice reduced fat swiss cheese
  • 1/2 roma tomato, sliced
  • small handful mixed greens

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium grill pan (or regular sautee pan) over medium-low. Spray with nonstick spray.
  2. While your grill pan heats, spread dijon mustard on one slice of bread. Spread your thousand island on the other. Top the dijon side with turkey pastrami, followed by tomato. Top the thousand island side with cheese.
  3. Cook sandwich open faced until bread cheese begins to melt and bread is golden brown on the bottom. Add mixed greens on top of tomato and place your other slice of bread on top, cheese side down. Grill for an additional 1-2 minutes on each side. Serve immediately.
http://arismenu.com/turkey-pastrami-melt/

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

You can take a moment and judge my insanely long title, per usual. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I’m sure you think I’ve gone off the deep end. When I told my husband what I was making for dinner last week, he raised an eyebrow, and gave me a look that can only be described as “WTF”, then he said “You’re really on a burger kick, aren’t you?”

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Guilty. And I guess after making countless burgers, you have to do something a little weird and put fruit inside. Or at least I do.

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

I’m pretty much obsessed with anything sweet and savory. I used to think it was weird, but ever since people starting salting things (I soooo judged that salted caramel hot chocolate at the bux for a good 2 weeks), I haven’t tired of the depth of flavor adding an unexpected taste or ingredient can bring to your dish.

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Did anyone watch that season of Top Chef with the watermelon gorgonzola salad? I don’t remember who made it, but I remember that he tried something unique, something most people would never do. I remember Tom Colicchio hated it, and said it was totally wrong, but Chef Tom ain’t got nothin’ on these burgers. ;)

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

I’ve always loved the fig/gorgonzola combo, so I stuffed them inside my burger, then I wrapped that sucker in center cut bacon to add smokiness and some extra bold, salty flavor–wrapped around where it can stand out and be an attention whore, not tucked inside with the lesser-known ingredients. Then to bring it all together, and add an extra hint of sweetness, I reduced some balsamic vinegar on the stove until it was thick, syrupy and sweet. Careful, the fumes are INTENSE (think vinegar straight up your nose), but the end result is totally worth it. A unique burger that you won’t find at you local burger joint, with rich depth of flavor, yet still deceptively simple and easy to put together. There is nothing like it.

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

Bacon Wrapped Gorgonzola Fig Burgers with Balsamic Glaze

Ingredients

    For the burgers:
  • 1 lb extra lean ground beef (96% preferred)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried mission figs
  • 1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
  • pinch each salt and pepper
  • 4 slices center cut bacon
  • For the balsamic glaze:
  • 1/2 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
  • To assemble:
  • 4 whole grain buns (whole wheat, brown rice, etc)
  • 2 roma tomatoes, sliced
  • lettuce of choice

Instructions

  1. Begin with the balsamic glaze by pouring balsamic vinegar into a small sauce pan over high heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to medium-medium high to simmer. Stir occasionally until sauce has reached desired thickness. This took me about 30 minutes for a very syrupy glaze. 20-30 minutes should be all you need. Once desired consistency is reached, remove from heat immediately.
  2. In a large bowl, gently combine ground beef, figs, gorgonzola cheese, salt and pepper until ingredients are just incorporated. Form into 4 equal-sized patties. Press your thumb down into the center of each patty to create a small indent. Wrap each burger with a slice of bacon.
  3. Grill over medium heat beginning with the edge of the bacon side facing down until burgers have reached desired doneness, about 5 minutes each side. Transfer to buns and add lettuce and tomato. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.
http://arismenu.com/bacon-wrapped-gorgonzola-fig-burgers-with-balsamic-glaze/

Looking for some other burger recipes for summer? Like I said, I’ve been on a bit of a kick…

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

Thai Peanut Turkey Burgers

BBQ Bacon Ranch Burgers

 

Or if you don’t eat meat, I have a few veggie options too!

Sun-dried Tomato & Basil White Bean Burgers (vegan + gluten-free)

Chipotle Black Bean Burgers (vegan + gluten-free)

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

My name is Ari, and I have a chicken salad problem.

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

There, I admit it. I just…I get on these kicks, and I have to make something every way humanly possible until I decide I’m bored, then I move on to the next best thing. Right now, I enjoy about 3 meals. Burgers, hot dogs (just you wait…so many are coming), and chicken salad (duh). At least my tastes seem to be seasonal?

http://arismenu.com/curried-chicken-salad/

So I actually realized I’ve been holding out on you guys. I’ve never actually posted my guacamole recipe. That’s probably because, until now, I had absolutely no idea what it was. I always just messed with a few key ingredients until it tasted the way I wanted. That’s the best part about guacamole–mess it up? Oh, just add more of something else, and it’s sure to even out eventually.

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

So for the first time in my life, I measured out every single ingredient for my guacamole. Because I didn’t think using instructions like “Add salt until it’s salty enough” really counted as “quality content”. And I don’t mean to brag, but my guacamole is AWESOME! Spicy, fresh and creamy–it gets requested all.the.time.

Guacamole Chicken Salad #glutenfree #dairyfree

So I made it, then I added a rotisserie chicken, some tomatoes, and after all the photography was done, I had the brilliant idea to add dried cranberries. Oh Em Gee. ADD THE DRIED CRANBERRIES!!! I’m sorry they’re not in the picture. Add them anyway. You’re welcome.

This is legit the best chicken salad I have EVER tasted. It lasted about 3 days, and Steve and I were fighting each other for it. It’s perfect for all you dairy-free folk, and anyone who loves guacamole, or chicken, or food in general.

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Guacamole Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 2 large (or 3 small) avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1 lime, zest & juice
  • small handful fresh cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove stems and heat for less heat)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • generous pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (optional, but recommended)
  • 10-12 oz cooked and shredded chicken (I used one rotisserie)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine avocado, lime (zest and juice), cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, salt and pepper. Use an immersion blender to blend all ingredients together until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Blend for less time if you like a thick and chunky consistency.
  2. Stir in onion, tomatoes, cranberries and chicken. Serve immediately, or store in an airtight container with half a lime (this prevent browning) for up to 5 days.
http://arismenu.com/guacamole-chicken-salad/

Want more chicken salad options? I have lots (and none of them have mayo)!

Curried Chicken Salad

Buffalo Chicken Salad

Cranberry Apple Chicken Salad

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

My mind has officially checked out into summer vacation land. Technically, I have 2 more days of classes before it becomes official, but mentally I am….so….there. And let’s face it,  I’ve been there for a couple of weeks now.

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

There is something about summer when you work on the school calendar. I still work hard over the summer, but it all seems like so much FUN. Maybe it’s knowing it’s all only temporary, and eventually you will all go back to “real life”, but I just love it. Despite the hear here in Phoenix, it’s probably my favorite time of year.

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

It seems like no matter what I have on my meal plan these days, nothing sounds better than grilling up some burgers and eating dinner by the pool. It just makes my heart happy. Not to mention the flavor combinations for burgers are pretty much endless, leaving you with burger after burger recipe. Sorry I’m not sorry.

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

I do have a pretty sweet side dish coming your way later this week that you can eat along side these burgers during your Memorial Day festivities.

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Serving Size: 1 burger

Spicy Chipotle Cheeseburgers

Simple and easy spicy chipotle cheeseburgers are a perfect way to kick up your summer grilling!

Ingredients

    For the burgers:
  • 1 lb 96% lean ground beef (or lean ground turkey)
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped
  • pinch salt
  • For the creamy chipotle spread:
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • Toppings/to put together the burger:
  • Whole grain buns (whole wheat, brown rice, etc.)
  • Sliced roma tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese

Instructions

  1. To make the burgers, combine beef, chopped chipotle pepper and salt in a large bowl. Create 4 evenly sized patties. Gently press each patty down in the center with your thumb to create an indent--this promotes even cooking. Grill to desired doneness, about 4-5 minutes per side.
  2. To make the sauce, blend Greek yogurt and chipotle pepper in a food processor or blender until well combined.
  3. To assemble burgers, spread sauce onto the top side of the bun. Top bottom half with lettuce, burger, cheese and tomato slices (or whatever you'd like--it's your burger!) and finish off with the top half of the bun. Serve immediately. Leftover meat patties can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
http://arismenu.com/spicy-chipotle-cheeseburgers/