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THE NIBBLE’s Gourmet News & Views

Trends, Products & Items Of Note In The World Of Specialty Foods

This is the blog section of THE NIBBLE. Read all of our content on,
the online magazine about gourmet and specialty food.

Archive for Meat & Poultry

RECIPE: Deconstructed Fajita Salad


Ditch the tortilla carbs and have a fajita
salad. Photo courtesy Beef It’s What’s For


According to Cabo Flats cantina and bar, there are 54,000 Mexican restaurants in the U.S., and $39 billion is spent each year on Mexican restaurant food.

Instead of an elaborate fajita spread with six different condiments and sides (see the history of fajitas, below), try this “deconstructed” Beef Fajita Salad with Mango-Serrano Vinaigrette. It’s from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association,

You can substitute a green salad for the diced mangoes. Or, serve a large green salad on the side with a different vinaigrette (we like balsamic).


Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 beef boneless top sirloin steak (about 1 pound), cut 1 inch thick
  • 3 medium mangoes, peeled, cut in half
  • Olive oil
  • 2 medium poblano chiles
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion (about 11 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup radishes (about 1 bunch), thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • For The Vinaigrette

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 to 2 serrano chiles
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • Flour or corn tortillas


    1. BRUSH the mangoes lightly with oil. Place the mangoes and poblanos in the center of the grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill the chiles, covered, 9 to 10 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until the skins are completely blackened, turning occasionally. Grill the mangoes 8 to 14 minutes (gas grill times remain the same) or until very tender, turning occasionally. Place the chiles in a food-safe plastic bag; close bag. Let stand 15 minutes. Set the mangoes aside.

    2. PRESS the black pepper evenly onto the steak. Brush the onion slices lightly with oil. Place the steak in the center of the grill over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange the onion slices around steak. Grill the steak and onions, covered, turning occasionally. Cook for 11 to 15 minutes over coals, 13 to 16 minutes over medium heat on preheated gas grill, or until the steak is medium rare (145°F) to medium (160°F) and the onion is tender. Keep warm. Meanwhile…


    A top sirloin steak, grilled and ready for a fajita salad (or a regular fajita!). Photo courtesy Red Marble Steaks.

    3. PREPARE the vinaigrette. Cut the grilled mangoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Combine 1/2 cup mango, lime juice, water and serrano chiles in a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil through the opening in the lid, processing until well blended. Season with salt to taste. Set aside.

    4. REMOVE and discard the skins, stems and seeds from the the poblano chiles and cut them into 3/4-inch pieces. Slice the steak. Cut the onion slices in half.

    5. PLACE the beef, remaining mango pieces, onion, chiles and radishes on serving platter. Season with salt as desired. Drizzle the salad with vinaigrette. sprinkle with cilantro and serve.


    Fajita is a Tex-Mex term for strips of meat cut from the faja, or beef skirt (skirt steak is the most common cut used to make fajitas, but you can also use top sirloin). The word faja is Spanish for band, belt, sash or strip.

    The dish was popularized in the 1970s by Mexican restaurants in Texas. The meat was served sizzling, usually cooked with onions and bell peppers. Tortillas were used to roll the meat, with a choice of add-ins from shredded lettuce and cheese to guacamole, pico de gallo or other salsa, sour cream, and tomato.

    Today, you can order fajitas in all popular proteins: chicken, pork, shrimp, and all cuts of beef.



    RECIPE: Oven Fried Chicken With Corn Flakes

    Photo courtesy Cereal Lovers Cookbook.


    July 6th is National Fried Chicken Day. Our favorite fried chicken recipe is breaded with Corn Flakes. We usually make this skillet fried chicken recipe, but here’s a “bake fry” recipe.

    Of course, it’s breaded with Corn Flakes crumbs. Not only is the texture superior to flour, but the corn flakes add a delightful flavor note. (Panko, Japanese bread crumbs, provide the texture but not the flavor.)

    You can make this recipe with or without the chicken skin. We remove it to cut back on cholesterol.

  • 7 cups Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, crushed to 1-3/4 cups
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 pounds chicken pieces, rinsed and dried
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • Preparation

    1. CRUSH. Crush corn flakes in a plastic bag with a rolling pin or wine bottle. Place crushed cereal in a shallow dish or pan. Set aside.

    2. MIX. In medium mixing bowl, beat egg and milk slightly. Add flour, salt and pepper. Mix until smooth. Dip chicken in batter. Coat with cereal. Place in single layer, in shallow baking pan coated with cooking spray or foil lined. Drizzle with margarine.

    3. Bake at 350° F about 1 hour or until chicken is tender, no longer pink and juices run clear. For food safety, internal temperature of the chicken should reach at least 165ºF. Do not cover pan or turn chicken while baking. Serve hot.



    Corn flakes were developed by Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, a surgeon and vegetarian who built a sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan, and his brother Will Keith (W.K.) Kellogg, the sanitarium’s bookkeeper. Many of the patients were wealthy individuals with digestive problems.

    Seeking to develop a more digestible form of bread for the patients, the brothers Kellogg had just placed a sample of boiled wheatberries on a baking sheet when Dr. Kellogg was summoned to the operating room for an emergency, and W.K. was also called away to supervise arrangements for the funeral of another patient.

    When they returned to their experiment, they ran the cooked wheatberries through rollers and, to their surprise, found that each wheat berry formed a large, thin flake. The brothers had accidentally discovered the principle of tempering grains, and called the flaked wheat cereal Granose.

    They applied the same technique to create Corn Flakes, made from white corn grits; and rice flakes.



    For breakfast or breading! Photo courtesy Kellogg.


    The first corn flakes appeared in 1898 and were called Sanitas Corn Flakes (presumably after the sanitarium, a questionable inspiration for a breakfast food). They were manufactured by Dr. Kellogg’s Sanitas Food Company.

    In 1906, W.K. Kellogg formed his own company for nationwide marketing of Corn Flakes (Dr. Kellogg preferred healthcare to business). C.W. Post, a former patient at the sanitarium, came out with his own corn flakes at about the same time. At first he called them Elijah’s Manna, and later changed the name to Post Toasties.

    The Kellogg’s Corn Flakes rooster actually has a name: Cornelius Rooster. The artwork was created in 1957 by Rena Ames Harding at the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency. It has been pictured on the front of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box ever since.



    TIP OF THE DAY: The History Of Independence Day (& What They Ate)


    A federal holiday, Independence Day—also known as July 4th or the Fourth of July—commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, which met in Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia.

    The legal separation of the Colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, the day that the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution declaring the United States independent from Great Britain’s rule.

    Congress declared that the 13 American colonies were now a new sovereign nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire.

    The Declaration of Independence, a statement comprising 1137 words, authored largely by Thomas Jefferson, was officially adopted by Congress on July 4th after two days of debate and revision.



    Happy Independence Day. God Bless America! Photo courtesy ESquared Hospitality.

    Nearly a month would go by, however, before the signing of the document took place.

  • On July 4th, only 12 of the 13 colonies voted to approve the Declaration. New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9th, because their state assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence.
  • It took two weeks for the Declaration to be engrossed on parchment. Engrossing is the process of preparing an official document in a large, clear hand. Timothy Matlack, a Pennsylvanian who had assisted the Secretary of the Congress, Charles Thomson, was probably the engrosser.
  • Most of the delegates signed on August 2nd, but several signed on a later date. Two others never signed at all! (Source)
  • Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin all later wrote that they had signed on July 4th!
  • If you were a member of the Second Continental Congress in 1776, you were a rebel and considered a traitor by the King of England. You knew that a reward had been posted for the capture of certain prominent rebel leaders, and that signing your name to the Declaration meant that you pledged your life, your fortune, and your sacred honor to the cause of freedom.
    The Revolutionary War was a long, hard, and difficult struggle that began on April 19, 1775 with the battles of Lexington and Concord. It ended officially on September 3, 1783, when a peace treaty with Great Britain was signed. If you’ve forgotten your high school history, here’s a recap.

    From the outset, Americans celebrated their independence on July 4th, preferring to honor the approval of the Declaration of Independence over the July 2nd vote for independence.



    Baked ham was a colonial mainstay. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    Since THE NIBBLE focuses on food, we investigated what the delegates might have eaten.

    Working long hours, the delegates would have stepped out for nourishment at coffee houses, taverns and publick houses. These destinations were not known for their cuisine, but were venues for exchanging ideas, sharing news and conducting business (the restaurant business as we now know it developed later).

    People who could afford to eat meals in these establishments were generally of the wealthier classes. The food was often served buffet-style, on a sideboard. As was common into the 20th century, the food came free with the drinks. (Source)

    At the time, colonial Philadephia was a melting pot of English, French and West Indian cuisine influences.

  • Meals often featured baked ham with warm potato salad, meat pies (chicken or pork), oysters, stew and soup, including the traditional Philadelphia PepperPot Soup.
  • Also popular: terrapin (turtle) and tripe (animal stomach, typically from cows or pigs).
  • The bread included corn muffins, white and whole wheat rolls—buttered, of course.
  • Dessert could be fruit pies, sugar cookies, gingerbread, Sally Lunn (a pound cake) or ice cream. The confectionery in Philadelphia, including ice cream, was considered the best in America.
  • Beverages included beer, hard cider, rum, and other alcoholic beverages; alcohol was considered healthful. City water supplies were dangerously polluted; only rural folk drank water from clean sources, and bottled it to sell in the city. In 1790, government figures showed that annual per-capita alcohol consumption for Americans over age 15 included 34 gallons of beer and cider, five gallons of distilled spirits and one gallon of wine. (Source)
    Would you give up the modern July 4th standards for a colonial-era meal? If yes, start planning for next year!



    TIP OF THE DAY: Hot Dog Toppings ~ What’s On Your Dog?

    Americans eat more hot dogs on July 4th than any other day of the year: 150 million of them.

    In previous years we’ve done articles about regional hot dog toppings toppings, like these and these; and gourmet hot dog toppings such as bruschetta and fresh basil leaves, caramelized onions, crumbled blue cheese, corn relish and fresh cilantro, pickled jalapeños and slaw, and fruit salsa (mango, peach, pineapple).

    “Don’t be fooled,” says “A closer look at which toppings customers specify when they purchase hot dogs indicates that most stick with old standbys, even when more exotic options can readily be had.”

    As an example, JJ’s Red Hots of Charlotte, North Carolina, offers its toppings list in order of customer preference.

    1. Mustard
    2. Onions
    3. Chili
    4. Slaw
    5. Pimento cheese
    6. Relish/pickles
    7. Bacon
    8. Sauerkraut
    9. Salsa
    10. Caramelized onions



    The choice of toppings at JJ’s Red Hots. Photo courtesy JJ’s | Charlotte.

    *There are regional preferences, of course: Pimento cheese is popular spread in the South; and ketchup, which many Americans prefer to mustard on their dogs, is not on their Top 10 list!

    Our own favorite toppings are our parents’ favorites, what Mom served in our house (and from our family’s favorite hot dog stand, long gone): sauerkraut and green pickle relish with grainy mustard. But give us a gourmet dog with bacon and blue cheese and we’ll have seconds.

    There is a proper order to topping a hot dog, according to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council. Condiments should be applied in the following order and always on top of the dog, not between the dog and the bun:

  • Wet condiments like mustard and chili are applied first.
  • Chunky condiments like relish, onions and sauerkraut, are next.
  • Shredded cheese.
  • Spices, like chili flakes, celery salt or pepper.


    A Chicago-style hot dog: an all-beef dog on a
    steamed poppyseed bun, with toppings added in this order: yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, onion, tomato wedges, pickle spear, sport peppers and celery salt. Photo courtesy Kindred Restaurant | Davidson, North Carolina
    , where they add a side of salad.



  • Crescent-wrapped hot dogs recipe and an on a stick variation.
  • Italian hot dogs: marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and pesto on turkey franks recipe.
  • Bacon cheese dogs recipe.

    According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council:

  • An estimated seven billion hot dogs are eaten by Americans between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
  • Americans consume an estimated 20 billion hot dogs a year, more than twice the retail sales figures (and about 70 hot dogs per person). This includes dogs purchased from street vendors, at ballparks, carnivals and other venues.
  • Hot dogs are served in 95 percent of homes in the United States.
  • Each year, Americans eat an average of 60 hot dogs per capita.
  • Miller Park in Milwaukee is the only Major League ball park in which sausages outsell hot dogs. Check out The Beast, their “turducken” of hot dogs.
  • Ball park hot dog vendors need to be strong. A fully loaded bin weights approximately 40 pounds, and vendors typically walk 4 to 5 miles per game, up and down steps. They work are paid on commission plus tips.
  • “Nobody, I mean nobody, puts ketchup on a hot dog” is a phrase less famous than “Go ahead, make my day.” But Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry said them both (the former in “Sudden Impact”).
  • Glamour queen Marlene Deitrich’s preferred meal was hot dogs and Champagne.
  • Visitors can purchase hot dogs at the Vatican Snack Bar.

    Take our hot dog trivia quiz.

    Here’s how hot dogs are made (video).

    The history of hot dogs, including how the frankfurter became the hot dog.

    Why are hot dogs sold in packs of eight, while hot dog rolls are sold in 10-packs? The mystery revealed.



    GIFT: Meat Of The Month Club


    Top-quality cooked and cured meats monthly. Capicola from


    Need a special gift for your favorite carnivore? Murray’s Meat of the Month Club will send a monthly treat of the finest cooked or cured artisan meats.

    Each month you or your giftee will receive Murray’s choicest selections: cooked and cured meats, whole and encased meats, salami, pâtés. Two delicious selections will arrive on the third Thursday of the month.

    If you’re giving a club membership as a gift, Murray’s will email you a welcome letter that you can tuck in a card.

    The Meat of the Month Club is priced beginning at $225.00 for four months of deliveries. Other options include six months ($325) and twelve months ($625). All prices finclude shipping.

    Order at




    FOOD FUN: Bacon Rose Bouquet Recipe

    Mom gets flowers for Mother’s Day; perhaps Dad would prefer a bacon bouquet. It’s easy to make 12 long-stemmed bacon roses.

    Here’s a video from the National Pork Board that shows how to make bacon roses.

    Ingredients For 12 Bacon Roses

  • 12 strips of bacon
  • 24 toothpicks
  • 12 stems from plastic roses*
  • Glass vase (or pitcher)
  • Optional: red ribbon
    *Get 12 fabric or plastic roses on plastic stems from the craft store. You have to remove the flowers, but typically, they snap off so you can wash the stems and use them again. After you remove the flower, wash the top of the stem before adding the bacon roses.



    It’s easy to make this tasty bacon rose bouquet. Find more recipes at


    1. UNWRAP the bacon and gently separate the slices. Roll each into a bacon rosebud.

    2. INSERT two toothpicks to hold each bud in place. Place the buds on a wire rack over a pan and bake at 400°F for 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

    3. MOUNT a bacon bud at the top of each stem and place the stems into a vase. Tie the ribbon around the vase. Present to the happy dad.


    A turnkey alternative to making bacon roses is to send a delicious beef jerky bouquet—12 long-stemmed pieces of jerky—from

    Wrapped decoratively in red tissue and delivered in a traditional flower box, the steak bouquet is $42.00, with a choice of flavors: Traditional, Black Pepper Cajun and Teriyaki.



    TIP OF THE DAY: Kabob Sandwiches

    For your grilling pleasure, here’s an alternative to burgers and other red meat from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.

    Food on a stick is great fun for kids, and the entire family can help prepare this simple kabob recipe.

    Children can skewer the meat, which cooks in minutes on a grill or indoor George Foreman-type grill. Then everyone assembles his/her own pita sandwich, customizing the garnishes to their preferences.

    This recipe is classic Greek: roasted meat with tzatziki, the Greek yogurt-cucumber sauce, and whatever garnishes you like:

  • The basics: lettuce, onion, tomato
  • The “extras”: bell pepper rings, thin-sliced cucumber, radish or cucumber salad
  • The “whatevers” from the fridge: fresh or pickled chiles, crumbled feta, pepperoncini, pickles and of course, “whatever”
  • And did we mention, it’s quick?



    Find more delicious recipes at Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or coarse sea salt (more to taste)
  • 1 pound filet mignon, lamb loin or boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 4 pita bread rounds
  • Garnishes: shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes and shaved red onion
  • More garnishes: bell pepper, chiles, feta, pepperoncini, pickles, whatever you’ve got
    For The Tzatziki (Yogurt Sauce)

  • 1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons total chopped fresh dill and/or mint
  • Salt to taste


    Iconic Greek lamb (shish) kabobs, made even easier with these stainless sliding skewers. Photo courtesy Williams-Sonoma.



    1. MAKE the tzatziki. Combine all ingredients and stir well. Add salt to taste and set aside. This can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge; serve it at room temperature.

    2. PREHEAT the outdoor grill to medium-high. For an indoor grill, place the grill plate on the lower level and the griddle plate on the upper level (Williams-Sonoma used the Cuisinart Elite Griddler). Preheat both sides to 450°F.

    3. STIR together in a small bowl the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and salt. In another bowl, toss the meat with the oil and 1 tablespoon of the spice mixture.

    4. THREAD 5 or 6 meat cubes onto each skewer and place on the grill (or the grill side of the electric griddle). Cook, turning the skewers occasionally, until the beef/lamb is cooked to medium, about 8 minutes, or the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Meanwhile…


    5. LIGHTLY toast the pita bread rounds on the grill or the griddle side of the electric griddle, 1 to 2 minutes per side.

    6. CUT the toasted pita rounds in half crosswise, then pry open. Fill the pockets with the meat, lettuce, tomatoes, onion other garnishes. Top with the tzatziki and serve immediately.


    Grilled kabobs is easy until it’s time to remove the cooked food from the skewer. New skewers from Williams-Sonoma (photo above)solve the problem with a sliding disk that lets you push food onto the plate in one swift motion.

    An added bonus: The square shape of the rod prevents foods from spinning when you turn kabobs on the grill. You’re guaranteed even cooking!

    This Williams-Sonoma exclusive is dishwasher safe, too. A great gift for grilling enthusiasts.

    Get yours at



    RECIPE: BLT Avocado Burger

    May is National Burger Month. We usually default to our list of 35+ burger recipes—at least one variation for every day of the month.

    But we’re calling out this Grilled Avocado BLT Burger from the California Avocado Commission, because it has all of our favorite “essential” toppings. Our idea of burger heaven includes avocado, bacon, blue cheese, caramelized onions and tomato.

    This isn’t the fastest recipe to prepare, because all the components are homemade. But if your palate is like ours, it’s worth pulling out all the stops—especially on a holiday weekend when there’s more time.


    Ingredients For 6 Burgers
    For The Caramelized Chipotle Onions

  • 1 large sweet onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle or other chipotle pepper sauce
  • 1 tablespoon beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar


    Our favorite burger recipe has it all: avocado, bacon, blue cheese, caramelized onions and tomato. Photo courtesy California Avocado Commission.

    For The Blue Cheese Spread

  • 6 1/2 ounce light garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese
  • 4 ounces Point Reyes blue cheese or other favorite blue cheese, crumbled
    For The Burger Patties

  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/3 cup minced sweet onion
  • 1/4 cup Zinfandel or other hearty red wine
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano, thyme, and basil (in any combination)
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco Chipotle or other chipotle pepper sauce
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons spicy seasoned salt (like chipotle sea salt)
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
    For The Grilled Avocado

  • 12 fresh avocado slices
  • Balsamic vinegar, for brushing on the avocado slices
  • Spicy seasoned salt, for sprinkling on the avocado slices
  • 12 bacon slices, pre-cooked
  • 6 rolls of choice, split (we prefer brioche or whole grain rolls)
  • 6 romaine lettuce leaves, washed and patted dry
  • 6 large tomato slices (1/4-inch thick)


    Point Reyes blue cheese, made north of San Francisco, is a NIBBLE Top Pick Of The Week. We can’t get enough of it (and all of the creamery’s products).



    Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.

    1. MAKE the caramelized onions: Combine the onion, pepper sauce, broth, vinegar, oil, garlic and brown sugar in a 10-inch nonstick, fire-proof skillet. Cover with a lid and place on the grill rack. Cook the onion mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are caramelized and most of the liquid is evaporated. Remove the pan and set aside.

    2. MAKE the cheese spread: Combine the cheeses in a fire-proof saucepan, cover and set aside.

    3. MAKE the patties: Combine the chuck, sirloin, onion, Zindandel, herbs, pepper sauce and seasoned salt in a large bowl. Handling the meat as little possible to avoid compacting it, mix well. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form into patties to fit the rolls. When the grill is ready…

    4. BRUSH the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover and cook, turning once until done to preference (5 to 7 minutes on each side for medium). Meanwhile…

    5. PLACE the saucepan with the cheese spread on the outer edge of the rack to warm the cheese mixture, just until it reaches a very soft, spreadable consistency. Remove the the saucepan from the grill and set aside. During the final minutes of grilling the patties…

    6. BRUSH the avocado slices with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with a seasoned salt. Arrange on a rimmed nonstick perforated grilling pan coated lightly with oil, and grill alongside the patties for 1 to 2 minutes, turning as necessary.

    7. ADD the bacon slices to the pan during the final 30 seconds of grilling the patties. When the avocados are nicely grilled and the bacon is crisp, remove from the grill. When the patties are cooked, remove from the grill, stacking to keep them warm.

    8. PLACE the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

    9. ASSEMBLE the burgers: Spread a generous amount of the cheese mixture over the cut sides of the rolls. On each roll bottom, place a lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, a patty, an equal portion of the caramelized onions, 2 avocado slices and 2 bacon slices. Add the roll tops and serve.

    It’s worth the effort!

    Tips To Make A Better Burger



    TIP OF THE DAY: Turkey Chorizo

    Love spicy sausage but have been told to avoid the cholesterol? How about turkey chorizo?

    Made by family-run Diestel Turkey Ranch, it has lots of flavor and less calories, cholesterol and sodium* than conventional pork or beef chorizo.

    Whether in a Cinco de Mayo recipe or everyday breakfast burritos or scrambled eggs, it has only 2g fat per serving.

    The all-natural, Mexican-style chorizo is made from 100% pure ground turkey, is minimally processed and is gluten free. The family’s seasoning blend adds dimensions of flavor as well as a spicy kick.

    The Diestel Family Turkey Ranch has been sustainably raising turkeys for over four generations. Their turkeys and turkey products are humanely raised on GAP rated farms, without hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants, resulting in tender and juicier turkeys with old-fashioned flavor and great texture.

    The products are sold at independent, natural and upscale food stores nationwide. Here’s a store locator.
    *A two-ounce serving has 60 calories, 15 from fat; 0g saturated fat, 30mg cholesterol, 360mg sodium, 2g diegary fiber, 8g protein.




    Turkey chorizo, cholesterol free. Photo courtesy Diestel Turkey Ranch.

    Don’t confuse Mexican- and Spanish-style chorizos. They have different uses.

    Mexican chorizo is a spicy ground meat sausage, sold fresh and uncooked. It can be purchased either loose or in a casing: Many traditional Mexican recipes call for the chorizo casing to be removed and the meat to be crumbled while cooking.

    The traditional chorizo meat is pork, but you can find beef and turkey versions. Use Mexican-style chorizo as you would any ground meat.

    Spanish chorizo is a cured, dried, ready-to-eat pork sausage. The casing is not removed prior to eating. Dense and chewy, Spanish-style chorizo is made in smoked, unsmoked, sweet and spicy varieties. It can be served as tapas, with other charcuterie, with a cheese plate, or added to recipes (paellas, soups, tortas, etc).

    Spanish chorizo is seasoned with smoked paprika, which is responsible for the vibrant color. Other traditional herbs and spices include cumin and garlic. Here’s a photo.



    Chorizo scrambled eggs. The recipe is below. Photo courtesy Betty Crocker.



  • Cheese dishes: grilled cheese, mac and cheese
  • Eggs: baked, omelets, frittatas, scrambled
  • Stuffed: chiles, mushrooms, potato skins
  • Ground meat recipes: burgers, casseroles, meat loaf, stuffing
  • Tex Mex: enchiladas, nachos, tacos
  • Dips: onion dip, queso
  • Pasta and pizza
  • Soups: black bean, white bean with kale
  • Torta/tortilla

    In Mexico, chorizo is often served at breakfast with scrambled eggs. Here’s a recipe from Betty Crocker that’s ready in 15 minutes.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 6 ounces chorizo sausage
  • 8 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 4 slices thick-sliced bread or 4 corn tortillas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Salt to taste

    1. REMOVE the casings from the sausage and cook the sausage on 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Cook about 5 minutes until the meat is no longer pink, stirring and breaking up the sausage.

    2. BEAT the eggs in a medium bowl until blended. Begin to toast the bread or warm the tortillas.

    3. ADD the beaten eggs to the chorizo in the skillet and stir. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring constantly, until the eggs are scrambled and set. Taste and add salt as necessary.

    4. SPREAD the butter on the toasted slices of bread and place toast on individual plates. Spoon the eggs over the toast. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.



    RECIPE: Chipotle Meatballs

    To celebrate Cinco de Mayo, how about Mexican-style meatballs?

    Meatballs in Chipotle Chile Sauce with Wisconsin Queso Fresco Cheese. Make them small for an appetizer, or bigger for a main course. Serve them with rice and pinto or black beans; or make a Cinco de Mayo meatball sub.

    This recipe serves four 4 as main course, 10-12 as appetizers.



    For The Meatballs

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 3/4 cup Wisconsin Cotija or Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
  • 1/2 large white onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten


    Chipotle meatballs. Photo courtesy

  • 2 slices coarse white bread, crust removed and soaked in 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • Salt and pepper
    For The Sauce

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) chipotle salsa
  • 1/4 cup olive or vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 sprig mint (or pinch ground dried mint)
  • 1 cup queso fresco cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Garnish: cilantro, mint and queso fresco, as desired.


    Queso fresco, made in Wisconsin—America’s largest cheese-producing state. Photo by Claire Freierman | THE NIBBLE.



    1. COMBINE the meatball ingredients in bowl, using your hands. Refrigerate for one hour.

    2. SHAPE the meatballs in the desired size: larger for main course, smaller for appetizer.

    3. MAKE the sauce: Add the cinnamon to the chile salsa. Heat oil until quite hot (but not smoking) in a heavy, deep skillet. Add the salsa and “fry” until thick (it will splatter; consider a splatter screen).

    4. ADD the broth and bring to boil. Stir in the mint. Add the meatballs. Simmer for 30 minutes, or until meatballs are done.

    5. GARNISH each serving with crumbled queso fresco, cilantro and additional mint, asdesired.

    Queso fresco is one of the most commonly-used cheeses for cooking in Latin America. It’s a soft, mild cheese similar to ricotta in that it’s made from curds. Cultures and rennet are added to pasteurized milk to create the curds, which are scooped into molds, then drained briefly.


    The resulting queso fresco is crumbly, with a mild and salty flavor and a slightly “grainy” texture. It is often sprinkled over foods, and when heated, it will melt.

    Queso fresco is most often used crumbled, as a topping for everything from salads to soups to enchiladas, and is melted in quesadillas and casseroles.

    Queso fresco should not be confused with queso blanco fresco, although the latter is similar. Queso blanco fresco is a fresh cheese that is made by direct acidification (not cultures and rennet) and pressed into blocks. It consequently has a firm texture and softens but does not melt: It can be sliced for pan-frying.

    The different types of Hispanic cheeses.



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