Turkey & Black Bean Burgers with Avocado-Corn Salsa

I was looking for a good, quick dinner idea one night and remembered I had this recipe on file for a black bean cake. What I ended up with is a little more of a burger because I added ground turkey meat, but add some of that salsa and you’re gonna love it with or without the meat. Also, I should mention that the original recipe called for shredded pepper jack cheese (1 1/2 cups) to be mixed into the black bean mixture, which I didn’t do, but that sounds like an awesome addition!

bl bn burger

Turkey & Black Bean Burgers

1 lb ground turkey (or chicken or beef)

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained

2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

1 T taco seasoning mix

1/2 cup Panko

1 large egg, slightly beaten

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients using hands and form into patties.

2. Heat a little bit of oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

3. Gently place patties into hot skillet. They will be fragile. Allow to sear on one side so they will flip easily.

4. Cook through.

5. Serve with salsa.

Avocado – Corn Salsa

avocado, skinned and diced

1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed

1 tomato, diced

1 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine

lime juice

salt & pepper

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Chicken Taco Hand Pies

This was another lunch box idea that went over really well with the boys. They could have turned out better, but for my first attempt I was just pleased that the boys liked them as much as they did. Next time I will probably make the pies smaller and use something other than canned biscuits. Make the night ahead and refrigerate. Pack them into a lunch box the next day and you’re good to go. Serve these with extra salsa and/or sour cream on the side.


Chicken Taco Hand Pies

1 pkg taco seasoning mix (1/4 cup)

2/3 cup water

1/4 cup Sriracha sauce

1 lb cooked chicken, shredded or chopped fine

1 can (16 oz) refrigerated biscuits

1 cup shredded Monterey Jack or Mexican blend cheeses

Sour cream and salsa, for dipping

1. Heat oven to 375*

2. In saucepan, cook taco seasoning, water, Sriracha and chicken until thickened.

3. Roll each biscuit into a flat 6-inch round.

4. Fill each one with some of the chicken mixture and 1 T of cheese. Fold dough over and press to seal.

5. Place on lined baking sheet and bake 10-15 minutes, or until browned.

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Creamy Chicken Crock Pot Tacos

This was so easy I could have done it in my sleep. You can even throw frozen chicken breasts into the slow cooker if you haven’t had time to thaw them out- just increase the cooking time. And the taste?? WHOA! These were so so so incredibly delicious that all my boys scarfed them up! Serve with your favorite tacos toppings; we used shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sliced black olives, shredded cheese, and diced avocado. Just serve it up in a 6-inch tortilla and enjoy!

crock pot chix tacos

Creamy Chicken Crock Pot Tacos

4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1/4 cup taco seasoning mix (1 pkg)

12 oz. jar of salsa

6 oz. container of mascarpone cheese*

1 (15 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1. Spray crock pot with cooking spray and place chicken at the bottom.

2. Combine the taco seasoning with the salsa and pour over chicken. Stir to cover the chicken.

3. Put cover over crock pot and cook on high for 3 hours (if thawed) or on low for 5.

4. Shred chicken using two forks and return to crock pot. Add beans and let mixture heat through.

5. About 15-20 minutes before serving add in mascarpone cheese (*can use cream cheese) and beans. Combine well so cheese is melted and creamy, and beans get heated through.

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Salsa Verde

Hey everyone! A real quick update for you: I’ve been on a little vacay this week down on the island so today’s post will be the last one until next week. Now on to the main attraction….

I love salsa verde but until recently I had no idea exactly what it consisted of or how easy it was to make. This is another recipe by the fabulous Yvonne – click her name to link to her blog/web site which will also provide you to a link to her FB page. She is a wonderful chef and I couldn’t help sharing this recipe after I attended another one of her cooking shows and then tried to make the salsa myself.

As you can see here I put the salsa on some fish tacos but the options are limitless for what you can eat this salsa with.


Salsa Verde

1 lb tomatillo, peeled, washed and quartered

1 white onion, peeled and quartered

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 jalapeños, seeds and membranes removed

2 tsp cumin

1 tsp salt

1/2 cup cilantro (no need to chop)

1/2 lime, juiced


1. Heat oven to 400*.

2. Place quartered tomatillos and onions, jalepenos and whole garlic cloves and place on lined cookie sheet (parchment paper is best but foil will do). Bake until tomatillos are soft, about 20 minutes.

3. Allow a few minutes out of the oven to cool and then place in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients and pulse.

4. Cool in refrigerator until ready to eat.

5. Enjoy!

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Wonton Taco Cups

How fun is this? I thought the kids would especially like this twist on the taco but even Hubby tore into it and wanted seconds. The taco mixture is cheesy and satisfying and the wonton shells are just fun.


Wonton Taco Cups

1 lb. ground beef (or chicken or turkey)

1 pkg taco seasoning (1/4 cup)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup frozen corn

20 wonton wrappers

1/2 cup queso cheese

1/4 cup taco sauce

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend

Extras for serving:

shredded lettuce



sour cream

black olives

tortilla chips


1. Preheat oven to 375* and lightly spray muffin tins. Layer two wonton wrappers, spreading out the corners, and gently place into tins. Use a wooden spoon to push the corners down. Careful not to rip the wonton.

2. Ground beef (if using turkey or chicken add a splash of EVOO to the pan).  Drain if necessary and add taco seasoning and water, according to package directions.

3. Add beans and corn; allow to heat through.

4. Divide the queso cheese evenly between the muffin cups by placing about 2 tsp into the bottom of each. Fill the cups up with the meat mixture. Place a tsp of taco sauce on to of the meat mixture and top with 2 T of shredded cheese.

5. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool in pan for a few minutes before serving.

Makes approx. 10 taco cups. Use jumbo muffin tins.



April Menu ~ 2013

Spring has officially arrived and with it comes some great eating. It’s almost time to pull out the grill and make some awesome Balsamic Grilled Chicken (I’ve been craving that!) or make a Caprese Pasta Salad or some Black Bean Taquitos.


Hot Hamburger Plate (Number One’s birthday) and Caramel Cake

Oven Baked Tacos with Crock Pot Pinto Beans and Pico de Gallo

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Pesto Parmesan Green Beans and Oven Roasted Potatoes

Cheeseburger Salad

Black Bean Taquitos with Salad and Mexican Rice

Caprese Pasta Salad

Romano-Crusted Chicken with Skillet Veggies and Cheesy Pesto Bread

Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Lima Bean Butter 

 Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Chicken and Rice Pilaf with Roasted Asparagus

~ Recipes I am working on this month ~

Chili Lime Chicken Fiesta Salad with Chili Lime Ranch

Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

Wonton Taco Cups

Amazing Cashew Chicken

Poached Salmon with Sour Cream & Dill Dressing 

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Chicken Asadero Chimichanga

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Eggplant Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

~ Sides ~

Smoked Salmon & Creme Fraiche Bruschetta

Macaroni Salad

Spinach Squares

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Ragu

Asparagus Feta Tart

Crispy Parmesan Baked Potaotes

Arancini w/ Marinara

Homemade French Bread

~ Desserts ~

A Little Bit of Everything Cookie Bars

Raspberry Coconut Squares

30 Minute Mini-Cini Buns

Margarita Cupcakes



Yvonne’s Pico de Gallo

I mentioned last week that one of my newest friends named Yvonne is an amazing cook. She and I are kindred spirits when it comes to cooking and food, and I’ve not tasted a single thing that she’s made that I didn’t absolutely adore.

Meet Yvonne!

Yvonne also hosts cooking classes and I was able to go to one recently. The theme: Mexican! Oh bless her heart, she knew exactly how to get to me 🙂 All this week I will be sharing her recipes from this Mexican meal. Each and every one was delicious and a little surprising, so when you see the titles each day don’t assume it’s the same old thing, because it definitely is not. This pico de gallo is pretty basic, but one of the best I’ve ever had so I felt it necessary to include it as an element of this meal.

Pico de Gallo

4 medium tomatoes

1 medium onion (sweet or red)

6 jalapeno (this is really more to taste)

1 bunch cilantro

1 T sugar

3 T lime juice

salt & pepper

Directions: Chop tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapenos, all small enough to use on a chip. Add the rest and let sit in the refrigerator to chill for at least an hour. Leave in seeds at your discretion.

Recipe by Yvonne

Salsa Chicken

This is another one of those quick weeknight meals that tastes great and is extremely low in fat. Everyone enjoys this dish in this house, and the best way to serve it is with some green veggies and couscous. Sprinkle a little parmesan and you’ve got a great meal. The best thing is – it’s only 2 ingredients!

One night in my kitchen years ago I wondered, “Hmm, what would happen if I threw some salsa in the pan over this chicken?” I mean, how could it go wrong? I am sure I am not the first person to think of this so I won’t claim this as my own conception, though I do make it this way every time. I hope you enjoy it. This serves 4, so increasing the portions shouldn’t be very difficult.

Salsa Chicken

4 skinless, boneless breasts

12 oz. Salsa (type and heat to your preference)

*You may need to add a bit of water. I do this to get all the salsa out of the jar and also to loosen up the salsa in the pan. After a bit of simmering it tends to thicken up some.

Melt 1 t. butter OR use cooking spray in skillet over medium-high heat. Brown both sides of the chicken, about 4 minutes each. Add salsa and lower heat to simmer. Cover and stir chicken around once or twice. Add water when necessary, starting with 1/8 cup.

Chicken will be moist and flavorful. Serve over couscous and ladle extra salsa over both.


I have said it many times: I love Bruschetta. But I realized that I’ve never actually posted it before. This recipe is a staple, especially in the summer months when tomatoes and fresh basil abound. I could literally eat this for days. All I need is a yummy, crusty baguette and I’m good to go.

Now that the weather is turning a bit cooler, I don’t know how much more basil my plant will produce, so I snipped off what was there and made what might very well be the last Bruschetta of the season.

Unfortunately this isn’t the kind of recipe that I have measurements for. It’s strictly a taste-test kind of thing. If I am making a small bowl of Bruschetta just for myself (because the boys don’t like raw tomatoes) then I will cut up just two large romas and add the rest of ingredients by eyeing and tasting it. This recipe was much larger since we had guests in for part of the weekend.


6 large roma tomatoes, diced

2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp balsamic vinegar


salt and pepper

1/2 cup fresh, chopped basil

I like lots of basil! You may prefer less. A standard recipe would call for less vinegar, oil and basil, and possibly even garlic. It’s all a matter of taste. If you researched Bruschetta recipes you may even find instructions to parboil the tomatoes and peel off the skin. This is a waste of time if you ask me. I like everything in it and I like my flavors strong. Perhaps what I like about the Bruschetta the most is the freshness of the tomatoes- it just screams summer and refreshing to me.

Chop the garlic and combine it with the vinegar and oil. Pour over the diced tomatoes and toss until everything is mixed well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the flavors blend. Taste and add more vinegar, salt and pepper, and garlic as necessary.

Toast and slice a baguette and top with the Bruschetta. Yum!!