Listen. Salmon burgers.

With holiday celebrations abounding, it's easy to get caught up in the red-meat-and-mashed-potatoes regimen. So, this time around I decided to try something a bit different.  Starting with these versatile Salmon patties from Trader Joe's (grill, bake, or pan fry!??), I set out to create a  somewhat healthier burger alternative.

96766-premium-salmon-burgers
96766-premium-salmon-burgers

To start out with, I sauteed the burgers in a spicy Chipotle-infused olive oil. This was easier and faster than baking or grilling, and the olive oil locked in some flavor from the start, without the need for added calories from a chipotle mayo, or other spicy sauce.

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IMG_9802

Trader Joe's pineapple salsa made an excellent companion for the Chipotle olive oil, adding just that little bit of sweetness and tomato that we've come to expect from the burger experience. Not only was the salsa lower in sugar than your usual Heinz, it clocks in at a measly 5 calories per tbsp. Take that, ketchup!

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Image

As the burgers were cooking, I prepared the buns, adding the necessary finishings: a little something crunchy (yellow onion) and a little something green (baby spinach).

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IMG_9803

Put it all together, and enjoy!

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IMG_9804

When Life Gives You Lemons

Here's the thing. I'm not big on "free time." Mostly, I find it confusing and overwhelming, and just end up filling it with senseless activities like exercise and sleep. In all seriousness, though, I always need to have a project. Doesn't have to be huge. But just something creative to keep my brain working -- to remind myself, "hey, you can make things." And so, this summer the project has been cooking. Since I'm not in rehearsal I have my evenings free, and what better thing to make than something you can eat?

And though life did not exactly give me lemons, Jewel did (I paid for them, don't worry). Then, I used them to make pasta:

pasta
pasta

While I don't claim to have invented any of these recipes, I have added my own customizations to each. This makes me feel like I'm contributing (somehow) to the greater creative universe. That, and my new habit for food photography. It's a fine line between delicious and slimy, my friends. Among other creations, tacos:

tacos
tacos

A baked mac 'n' cheese with bacon and barbecue sauce (my additions):

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417550_1870143513315_230198328_n

And a white chicken chili, which was a step outside my cooking comfort zone of "meat + noodle"

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599960_1870146833398_2000701965_n

Had to include this one, too. Sage comes from my new herb garden!

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547720_1876558993698_2067851656_n

I'm sure soon enough I'll be back to eating Chipotle twice a week, but in the meantime...anyone got any recipes you want to try??