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Soooooo….I think I’m lactose intolerant. Apparently this is common after going dairy free for so long. It might improve, but ever since returning to the world of dairy I’ve had an all-too-familiar swelling in the belly. In the past month I’ve had not one but TWO people ask me if I’m pregnant.

I’m not.

The worst part? I can’t really blame them. I’m so bloated right now I look like I did in those early pregnancy pictures. You know the ones where you lift up your shirt and ask your husband to take a picture, giggling at how “huge” your belly has become, only to look back 8 months later and wince at how tiny you were?

I’m at about 16 weeks right now. But there’s no baby in there. Sigh.

I made these burgers while we were still livin’ it up in Cow-town so dairy-free readers – avert your eyes for the last step, which involves melted cheddar. (Don’t tell them but it’s really good). You can still enjoy these, just might want to top with avocado or lots of mayo and mustard and spicy arugula or something flavorful.

The best part is these are Fuss approved! I made a small burger for her and she ate the entire thing, bit by regulation-sized bit.¬†You can also make a whole bunch and freeze the patties you don’t use.

Truthfully I’m struggling with giving up dairy again. Give it up for my baby? No problemo. Walk over broken glass or rush into a burning building for her? Okay. But give up cheese for a little tummy trouble and negative body image, well…..that’s harder. So expect more dairy free recipes in the future…but I might sneak in some butter and goat cheese for good measure.

While you peruse this delicious recipe, I think I’ll Google industrial-strength Spanx…

It begins with chopped bell pepper, which I have the cutest new way to cut. Learned it in a cooking class at Heirloom Catering.

Lop off the top and bottom.

Slice the side and roll it out.

Cut off the bitter white parts.

And chop.

Pop out the stem from the top and chop it too…or come up with some really clever use for it’s flower shape (and email me about it).

Then add bell pepper to a mix of cumin, shallot, garlic, garlic pepper and thyme.

Add – what else? – chopped cilantro.

…and turkey.

Mix it all up with your hands. Come on now, don’t be shy.

Make them into cute lil’ patties.

Heat some vegetable oil in a cast iron or nonstick skillet and add burgers. Cook covered for about 5 minutes then flip.

In the last two minutes or so of cooking, add slices of cheddar.

This is really where you’ll want to look away if you can’t eat cheese…

Yum.

Serve on toasted buns with all the fixin’s.

Take a bite, swoon, and crumble up for your baby to watch her devour with reckless abandon (if she’s anything like Fuss).

Here’s the handy-dandy printable (highlight, right-click and select print):

Southwestern Turkey Burgers (adapted from Rachael Ray)

  • 4 inch section of bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 small onion or 1 shallot, diced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. package of ground turkey (I used 85/15)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Cheddar, sliced (optional)
  • Hamburger buns, toasted
  • spinach or arugula
  • ketchup, mustard, mayo or any other fixings you like
Combine first 7 ingredients (through turkey) in medium bowl with hands until well combined. Heat cast iron skillet then add oil. Add patties and cook covered 5 minutes on medium heat. Flip and cook about 3 minutes. Top with sliced cheddar. Cover and continue cooking until melted. Toast buns and serve with spinach and any other toppings you like.