Tag Archives: Aldi

Bringing Back Summer…Grilled Turkey Tenderloins

Remember a short time ago when I was gushing about Fall coming to the Midwest? Well, this is the Midwest after all and seasons are relative. My last casserole adventure had barely been seen when the weather decided it wasn’t quite finished with Summer. For what seems like an eternity we have been plunged back into hot humid weather and there doesn’t seem to be any relief in the foreseeable future.

Here in the Midwest grills never really get put away. Oh, we may cover them, but we never seal them because we know that we might wake up to another summer day when we least expect it. So, I’d like to share a mostly grilled dinner that happened recently. The protein is Turkey Tenderloin. This has been a staple all summer long.

These come from Aldi. a grocery store chain that is re-inventing itself and the way people look at buying food. These stores have been a “no frills,” limited inventory, house brand, haven for people looking to save money. This year they began a multi-million dollar project of revamping their stores to expand their product line and tap into the shopping habits of more consumers. To illustrate this, everything on the plate came from Aldi; Organic Rainbow Baby Carrots, Sugar Snap Peas, and Sweet Potatoes. Even the Memphis Barbecue Sauce that glazed the sweet potatoes was an Aldi find.

I didn’t set out to create an “All Aldi” dinner. It just happened and it is happening more often thanks to the fact that I can once again walk to my local Aldi (the above mentioned re-vamping caused the store to close for a month, yes, a month). They reopened brighter, bigger, and more grocery store like. The quality of their products has been improving over the last few years and this remodel is the final step to compete with, if not the “big boys,” at least the smaller more boutique chains that are expanding everywhere. Yes, they are a cousin of Trader Joe’s.

Now back to this End of Summer, Please! dinner. These tenderloins come marinated. I like the Cracked Pepper Flavor. There are two large tenderloins in each package, so there is plenty for dinner with leftovers for salads and sandwiches through the week. Just open the package, drain off the marinade and they are ready for the grill.

The sweet potatoes went on the grill, too. The wedges browned beautifully and were brushed with a bit of barbecue sauce for a little extra flavor.

The only part of the dinner that didn’t make it to the grill, the carrots and snap peas, roasted in the oven dressed, in a little brown sugar and olive oil. I am in love with Rainbow Carrots. Besides being lovely to look at, they are delicious to eat. Once I had to hunt for them, now I find them everywhere in every shape and size. From 2 pound bags of large carrots to bunches of baby carrots still sporting their ferny crowns, to these baby versions all peeled and pretty and waiting to be cooked.

I even attempted to grow them in my tiny garden this year. My pitiful harvest attested to the fact that “trash gardening” doesn’t work for everything. (magnified to show detail)

Roasting carrots is by far my favorite preparation technique. They only need a drizzle of olive oil and maybe a pinch of brown sugar and some salt and pepper. I like to keep additional seasoning to a minimum so that the sweetness of the carrots comes through. If I want to change things up I may add a little fresh thyme or some cumin, but I don’t often gild this lily.

They can roast by themselves or as in this case be joined by some onions and towards the end of roasting some snap peas. They go with everything color and taste wise.

Non- Recipe, Recipe:

Roasted Carrots

For one pound of carrots you need about one tablespoon of olive oil, 1/2  teaspoon brown sugar ( more is all right, too), salt and pepper to taste. Toss these together in a bowl. Spread out on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lightly coated with cooking spray. Roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so, stirring once or twice. 

This is one dish that really doesn’t have a season. Carrots, rainbow or not, baby or big are available year around and are usually cheap. They will continue to grace the plates of many meals in the Kitchen of Love. Oh, and before I forget….

Fall, please come back. I miss you.

Mama D’s Turkey Burger Adventure

I never thought that I would be touting the wonders of a turkey burger, but here I am touting the wonders of a turkey burger. Up until now as I said on Face Book, other than opening a box and throwing frozen pink hockey pucks on a grill I had no experience.

There is a lot of debate on turkey burgers being a healthier alternative.  While turkey burgers are slightly lower in fat than their beef counterpart, there is a wide variance in types of ground turkey. The ground turkey I use has a 93/7 lean to fat ratio. That is about the same ratio as Ground Sirloin.DIGITAL CAMERAMy idea of a great beef hamburger is one that dribbles down your chin when you bite into it. hamburger-2643_w1000 with bacon and cheeseGround Chuck can deliver that juiciness at the cost of an 80/20 lean/fat ratio. So in Mama D’s world the fat content is significantly different from ground turkey.  Comparing turkey burgers to hamburgers, however is like comparing apples to oranges. They both grace a bun and are eaten out of hand, but for me, Turkey Burgers will never replace Hamburgers. There is room for both in Mama D’s diet. This post is about turkey burgers, so we’ll address hamburger heaven at another time.

With little fat and flavor, ground turkey is in reality a blank canvas. It  lies there pink and naked waiting to be transformed with herbs, spices and vegetables into an intriguing taste experience. I’ve just begun to create combinations and I know that the possibilities are virtually endless. In my first endeavor I headed to the border.DIGITAL CAMERAThe flavors of the Southwest combine to create a flavorful and juicy burger. Onion and Garlic along with Poblano Pepper and some Ancho Chili Powder gave the turkey a little attitude. Fresh sour dough bread crumbs and an egg white acted as the binder. I think these two ingredients are crucial to the burger coming together and staying that way. Fifteen minutes in the freezer and a screaming hot non-stick fry pan result in a crust with some crunch and a perfect burger that stays together.DIGITAL CAMERAMy latest Turkey burger is  a Mediterranean masterpiece. Onion and garlic are lightly sautéed  in  a non-stick pan. This mellows the flavors and creates a better texture.

DIGITAL CAMERA Oil cured olives, fresh rosemary and lemon zest combine with the fresh bread crumbs and egg white to create  a pleasant  flavor balance.DIGITAL CAMERA

The golden brown burgers were garnished with a Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapanade  and some crumbled Feta Cheese.

As I write this, I believe that cooking turkey burgers in a very hot fry pan works better than on a grill. My inquiring mind wonders if using a grill pan would protect the integrity of the burgers. That will be another adventure and rest assured that I will be sharing my discoveries with you.

I’ve been using “Sandwich Skinnys”” for buns. These are sold at Aldi and come in a Multi-grain version that is tasty and weighs in at 100 calories. There are several other brands available in most grocery stores.DIGITAL CAMERAI like my bun toasted and these toast up nicely. This also makes them a little more sturdy.

This is my basic recipe for two turkey burgers. Ground Turkey as it is generally sold, comes in an approximately a 19,2 ounce package. A whole package would make four good-sized burgers. I’m cooking for two most of the time and was able to make two different flavor profiles from a single package. Need to make more? Take advantage of the ingredient calculator feature in the recipe  that allows you to adjust  the number of servings that you want to make.

Turkey Burgers
Print Recipe
Use this basic recipe and cooking directions to create your own Turkey Burger
Turkey Burgers
Print Recipe
Use this basic recipe and cooking directions to create your own Turkey Burger
  1. Heat a small non-stick pan over medium heat. Spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Add the onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook another minute, Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the ground turkey, bread crumbs, cooled onion and garlic, vegetables and herbs. Toss to combine. Add the beaten egg white and stir gently to combine.
  3. Take about 1 tablespoon of the mixture and form into a mini patty. Cook this in a heated small pan. Taste the cooked patty and make any needed seasoning adjustments to the remaining uncooked mixture.
  4. Form into two patties. Plate and lightly cover and place in the freezer for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Heat a medium skillet over high heat. Spray lightly with cooking spray. Add the patties and cook for 4 minutes. (turn on your exhaust fan at this point, trust me). You want a deeply browned crust before you flip the burger.
  6. Turn the burgers over and cook for another 4 minutes until that side is well browned.
  7. Lower the heat and cook for another minute or two on each side. Check that the burgers are cooked through. Serve on toasted buns with toppings of your choice.
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NOTE: Turkey, like all poultry, must be cooked thoroughly. A meat thermometer should read 165 degrees. This is the safest way to check for doneness. Pressing on the burgers is another fairly safe technique. The burgers should feel very firm when pressed in the center.

My adventures in the world of turkey burgers will continue. Now that I know that they can be delicious and nutritious as well as being a springboard to limitless variations and possibilities, I’m hooked. I’ll still have my occasional beef hamburger with a napkin and without guilt, but I’ll be noshing a turkey burger from time to time as well.

Love, Mama D