{Recipe} Indian-Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers

The summer is winding down, but there is still plenty of time to grill up a great burger! While I love a big, meaty cheeseburger, sometimes it’s fun to change things up a bit. Today I’m sharing with you a recipe for chicken burgers with an Indian twist. Don’t skip making the Cumin-Yogurt sauce — it’s what really makes the burgers stand out!

Indian Spiced Chicken Burgers with Cumin-Yogurt Sauce
A delicious alternative to traditional burgers
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  1. 1 package of ground chicken breast (approx. 1 lb.)
  2. 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  3. 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  4. 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  5. 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  6. 1/2 tsp. red chili powder
  7. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  8. 1/4 tsp. ground turmeric
  9. 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  10. salt and pepper
  11. mini pitas
  12. chopped onions and tomato
Cumin-yogurt sauce
  1. 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  2. 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  3. handful of chopped cilantro
  4. salt and pepper
  1. Prepare the cumin-yogurt sauce first by combining the yogurt, cumin, and cilantro in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to allow the flavors to intensify.
For the chicken burgers
  1. Combine the ground chicken, scallions, jalapenos, ginger, lemon juice, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, coriander, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir everything together really well then let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes.
  2. Gently form burger patties. I made mine more oblong in shape to better fit inside the pitas. Season the patties with a little salt and pepper if you desire and then grill until the ground chicken is opaque throughout the burger. Do NOT undercook the burgers.
  3. Cut four pitas in half and warm them either on the top rack of your grill or in a toaster oven. Don’t overheat them or else they’ll get too crispy. Place two patties in each pita half along with diced onion and tomato. Add a healthy dollop of the cumin yogurt sauce and serve.
  1. You can grill these outdoors, but they also are delicious broiled or cooked in a frying pan. Use whatever method is most convenient for you.
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 I’m linking up with Sandra at Diary of a SAHM

because it’s Cooking Thursday!

{Recipe} Old-fashioned Apple Crisp

Old-fashioned Apple Crisp

It seems that pumpkin (or pumpkin spice) gets all the attention as the featured fall flavor. But you know what? As much as I love pumpkin, I still adore apple. Apple cider, apple pie, and of course… apple crisp all top my “must make” list for autumn. 

I think this was another recipe I started making while in college (thinking back, I did a lot of cooking in that Amherst apartment). Sure there are more exciting variations on apple crisp. They might call for oats or walnuts or something fancy. But I love the simplicity of this recipe. It never lasts long in my house, and is especially delicious warm and topped with a little vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!


Old-fashioned Apple Crisp
A simple dessert recipe the entire family will enjoy
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  1. 4 c. sliced apples
  2. 1 tsp. cinnamon
  3. 1/4 c. water
  4. 1/3 c. butter, softened
  5. 1/2 tsp. salt
  6. 3/4 c. flour
  7. 1 c. sugar
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Spread the sliced apples evenly in an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle the apples with a mixture of water, cinnamon, and salt. Stir together the sugar and flour and then work the butter in, using a fork or a pastry blender. Spread the crumb mixture over the apples and bake uncovered for 40 minutes.
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{Recipe} Turkey Divan Casserole

Turkey Divan Casserole | puresugar.net

With the kids all in school, we are back to a crazy schedule that includes a bunch of activities. We have Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, CCD, afterschool electives… and that’s just for beginners. Add in my part-time job at the library, trying to keep up with my blog, and family commitments and you have a full calendar! But a full schedule is no excuse for not cooking. You just need to plan ahead!

Here are my top 5 ways to save time in the kitchen on weekdays.

  1. Menu plan. I make a home-cooked meal for my family six nights a week, and being organized is key. I’ve been menu planning since our pre-kid days. I look at what I have in my pantry and freezer, check my grocery store’s sale flyer, and go from there. 
  2. Be your own sous chef. Prep as much as you can ahead of time. Have an open burner on the stove? Fill a pot with water and cook rice, pasta, or quinoa for the week. Roast a pan of vegetables or boil them so you can reheat or quickly add them to dishes. Earlier this year I read An Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler, and this simple tip stuck with me and has made a huge difference in the way I cook.
  3. Cook once, eat twice. Making a meatloaf? Buy enough ingredients to make two and freeze one. I also always try to keep the following pre-cooked items in my freezer: taco meat, browned ground beef, and shredded chicken. Within 20 minutes I can pull together a quick pot of soup or chili.
  4. Save the culinary experiments. We all love trying out new recipes, but save the multi-step gourmet dishes for weekends or days when you have extra time.
  5. Keep a file of quick-fix family favorites. Whether it’s juicy burgers, a fresh pasta dish, or a comforting casserole, it’s a relief knowing that you can throw together a home-cooked meal that everyone will love.

Turkey Divan Casserole

Turkey Divan Casserole is something I’ve been making for over 10 years. I occasionally change up the recipe depending upon what I have in my fridge (oh, that could be #6 – Be flexible). Don’t have rice? Use stuffing or egg noodles. Don’t have turkey? Use chicken. That’s the beauty of a casserole. It lends itself to whatever’s leftover. Country Crock Original Spread is delicious in this recipe. It contains 0 g trans fat per serving, no partially hydrogenated oils, and no cholesterol. Additionaly, it has 70% less fat than butter and 30% fewer calories than butter per serving.

Turkey Divan Casserole
Transform boring leftovers into delicious comfort food with this #QuickFixCasserole.
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  1. 2 c. cooked rice
  2. 3 c. cooked, diced turkey
  3. 2 c. broccoli (leftover or blanched)
  4. 3 Tbsp. Country Crock Original Spread
  5. 3 Tbsp. flour
  6. 1/8 tsp. poultry seasoning
  7. pinch nutmeg
  8. 1 c. half & half
  9. 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For topping
  1. 1 Tbsp. Country Crock
  2. 2 Tbsp. breadcrumbs
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a 2-quart casserole dish, layer the cooked rice, the turkey, and the broccoli.
  2. Melt 3 Tbsp. of Country Crock in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the flour, poultry seasoning, and nutmeg. Slowly add the half & half, whisking continuously. Continue to stir until no lumps remain. Remove from heat and add cheese. Stir until melted. Pour over top of casserole.
  3. Melt 1 Tbsp. of Country Crock and stir in the breadcrumbs. Sprinkle over top of dish.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with a crisp salad.
  1. This recipe can be prepped ahead of time. Let it come to room temperature before baking.
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Turkey Divan Casserole

You know it’s good when the kids just about clean the dish! (And yes, I did finish off the last few bites.) For more #QuickFixCasseroles, be sure to check out Country Crock on Pinterest. (And try not to drool all over your keyboard!)

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

{Recipe} Indian Potatoes & Peas

Indian Potatoes & Peas

Last night I made a pot of chicken curry and while I had out all my spices and ingredients, I decided to make a batch of Indian Potatoes & Peas while I was at it. This originally started out as a filling for samosas, but because I have a fear of deep-frying, it has become a simple side dish that is even better the next day. I have also frozen small containers of this recipe with some quinoa in there, too, and it tasted fine! I know sometimes potatoes don’t freeze the greatest, but the texture didn’t seem to change too much.


Indian Potatoes & Peas
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  1. 4 med. potatoes, peeled and quartered
  2. 1-2 Tbsp. coconut oil or ghee
  3. 1 med. onion, diced
  4. 1 cup frozen green peas
  5. 1-inch chunk of ginger, peeled and shredded
  6. 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (remove the seeds if you want less heat)
  7. 1/2 c. water
  8. 1 tsp. salt (potatoes absorb salt, so you may need to add more)
  9. 1 Tbsp. curry powder
  10. 1/2 tsp. coriander
  11. 3/4 tsp. cumin
  12. 1/4 tsp. chili powder
  13. juice from 1/2 a lemon
  1. Boil the potatoes in well-salted water until tender. Drain, and set aside to cool.
  2. Melt coconut oil or ghee (or fat of your choosing) in a deep skillet or large pot. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add the jalapeno, peas, ginger, and a little of the water (a splash at a time, just so the vegetables don't stick). Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the peas begin to thaw.
  3. Break the cooled potatoes into small chunks and add to mixture (I just do this right over the pan). Add the rest of the water and the salt, curry powder, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Squeeze the lemon juice over everything and give it a good stir.
  4. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Stir again before serving
  1. This is a highly nontechnical recipe. Use more or less water. Add more onion. Make it milder. Make it spicier. It's very forgiving, and very delicious.
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If you have some mint chutney around, it will really complement this dish! But it’s just as good plain.

{Recipe} Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins | www.puresugar.net

Good morning, everyone! Today I was up bright and early around 5. The birds were loud and I just couldn’t fall back to sleep, so I decided to head downstairs. And bake. While scrolling through my old recipe site I found a muffin recipe that I’d completely forgotten about, so I tweaked it just a little and was very happy with the results!


Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins
A simple, quick muffin recipe.
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  1. 2 cups biscuit mix (such as Bisquick)
  2. 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. sugar, divided
  3. 1 egg
  4. 1 cup (8 oz) sour cream
  5. 1 tsp. lemon juice
  6. 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  7. 2 tsp. lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the biscuit mix and 1/2 cup sugar. Whisk the lemon juice, egg and sour cream together until combined. Stir this mixture into the dry ingredients just until moistened. (The batter will be very thick.) Fold in the blueberries. Fill greased or lined muffin tins half-full. Combine the lemon zest and remaining sugar and sprinkle a bit over each muffin. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.
  1. Yield: 12 muffins
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As I noted in the recipe, the batter is very thick when you combine the wet and dry ingredients. Just trust the recipe! Here’s a photo of how they looked in the muffin tin. They definitely have a consistency closer to drop biscuits before you bake them. (Sorry for the poor photo quality, but this was a good as it was going to get at 5:45 a.m.)

Thick Batter

Sure enough, the muffins rose just fine and the kids were all happily surprised to have fresh-baked muffins first thing this morning. Of course, I enjoyed them too 😉 
Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins | www.puresugar.net

{Recipe} Carrot Cake Jam

Carrot Cake Jam

Have you guys heard about food swaps? Apparently they’re the cool new thing. People all over the country are whipping up delicious things in their kitchens (or growing them in their backyards) and then swapping for other tasty goods with like-minded individuals. So when our library director put a food swap on our calendar, I was really excited to participate! The only thing: I wanted to bring something a little bit different.

A few years ago I nabbed a Better Homes & Garden canning magazine. It had a recipe for carrot cake jam that I fully intended to make and enter in the Dutchess County Fair. I don’t know what happened, but I never got around to it. Until yesterday.

Now, before I share this recipe, be warned: there is a ton of sugar in it. But it’s jam. And that’s the way it goes. I did use no-sugar pectin so in theory I could have reduced how much I used, but I didn’t.

OK. So, the first thing you need to do is start your water bath and sterilize your canning jars, new lids, and bands.

Next, combine 1 peeled diced pear (I used my food processor to make the pieces really tiny and save time), 2 cups of shredded carrots, a 16 oz. can of crushed pineapple in 100% juice (NOT heavy syrup), lemon juice (when canning, use bottled because it has a consistent pH), cinnamon, and nutmeg in a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often.

Carrot Cake Jam

Then, take the pot off the heat and sprinkle your pectin over the mixture. Stir it in.

Carrot Cake Jam

Now add your sugar. Just look the other way and dump in 4 cups of white granulated sugar and 2 cups of brown sugar. (Remember, you’re not eating massive amounts of this! Although then again… you might want to.) Stir it all up again.

Carrot Cake Jam

And like magic… you have jam!

Carrot Cake Jam

Bring it back up to a rolling boil and stir constantly for one minute while it’s boiling. Next, take it off the heat and add 1 Tsp. vanilla and (optional) 1/4 c. flaked coconut or raising. Because I am a wild woman, I added both.

Then ladle the jam into your sterilized jars, add the lid, snug on the band, and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner.

IMPORTANT: Remember that processing time starts when the water returns to a big, angry boil. It does not start when you just put the jars into the pot.

I like to slather some cream cheese on (preferably homemade) bread and top it with the jam. I think it would also benefit from a sprinkling of walnuts.

This jam has been taste-tested and approved by my two boys, ages 7 and 10, so you know it’s good!


Carrot Cake Jam
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  1. 2 c. shredded carrots (about 4 medium)
  2. 1 medium pear, finely chopped
  3. 1 15-oz. can of crushed pineapple packed in 100% juice
  4. 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  5. 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  6. 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  7. 1 1 .75-oz package of pectin
  8. 4 c. granulated sugar
  9. 2 c. packed brown sugar
  10. 1 tsp. vanilla
  11. 1/4 c. flaked coconut or raisins (optional)
  1. Combine carrots, pears, pineapple, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg is a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat, cover, and allow the mixture to simmer for 20 minutes, giving it a stir often.
  2. Remove the pot from the heat and sprinkle the mixture with pectin. Stir until it dissolves.
  3. Bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring constantly. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar. Return to a rolling boil. Boil the mixture for 1 minute while constantly stirring. Remove from heat and skim off any foam with a metal spoon. Add vanilla and coconut/raisins.
  4. Ladle the jam into hot, sterilized jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe the rims and adjust the lids. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Carefully remove the jars from the pot and allow to cool.
  1. Don’t forget to check the seals later on — you don’t want to store anything that hasn’t been properly processed!
Adapted from Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Canning magazine, Summer 2011
Adapted from Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Canning magazine, Summer 2011
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