Sirloin Burger w/Cilantro Cumin Sauce


You might be negotiating with the fact that most doctors recommend staying away from red meats.  While that may be the case, you need to constantly be changing your dietary foods.  Don’t go crazy now that you know the secret, but keep it in mind that a little red meat won’t hurt.  And what can be made best with red meat?  A grilled and juicy burger!

Now, this sirloin burger comes with a punch in the sauce department.  If you’re like me, a little spice can go a long, long way; however, I’ve been learning with Jillian Michael’s Master Your Metabolism recipes that spice is the new black.  It seems that she wants to kick your butt into gear and spice up not only workouts but recipes as well.  This sirloin burger w/cumin jalapeño sauce does her justice.

For these 430 calorie burgers serving four you’ll need, 3 jalapeños, cilantro, garlic, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp cumin, 2 tbsp water, salt, pepper, olive oil for brushing, 4 slices pepper jack cheese, and 1½ lbs sirloin.  Along with those ingredients you’ll need lettuce, tomato, and 1 slice of bread for serving compliments.  Knead the sirloin, ½ cilantro, and ½ tsp cumin for your burgers.  After cooking add your sliced cheese.  All the rest of the ingredients are blended for the sauce.

Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. I used a piece of pepper jack on top of the burger.  Incorporating it into the burger will help as a binding factor, but since we’re using sirloin the meat compacts and holds
    well already.
  2. Make sure to wash your hands after handling the jalapenos.  **AT NO TIME SHOULD YOU WIPE YOUR FACE OR EYES**
  3. I used a food processor in place of a blender because it’s what I had on hand and I believe they work a little better.
  4. Blend the sauce a few times before taking it out making sure to scrape the sides each time.  This process will prevent large chunks from developing.
  5. I cooked my burgers in the oven instead of the grill only because Arizona can be too hot in the summer standing next to a grill.sirloinburgerw:cuminjalapenosauce

Beware that the sauce is spicy, but it adds a punch of flavor to the burger.  Don’t be hesitant to spread some all over the top.  Even for me, a wimp in the spiciness department went all out.  It evens the flavors and give the burger an
extra UMPH!

Leave a comment on how you handle your spice.  Be sure to follow my Pinterest.  Check back next Wednesday for more tips from The Cooking Bug.


Chicken Shawarma


My cabinets are brimming with spices.  Spices allow for big taste without the heavy calories.  I imagined that making a shawarma dish would be rather difficult because I lacked the usual cooking utensils.  I lack the space and budget for a large rotating-roaster; however, I found this chicken shawarma recipe that does my taste buds justice.  With a few easy steps, you can have an authentic, Arabic dish to satisfy a rumbling tummy.

Shawarma is an Arabic meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants), and may be grilled for as long as a day.  Shawarma is made by alternately stacking strips of fat and pieces of seasoned meat on a stick.  An onion, a tomato, or a halved lemon is sometimes placed at the top of the stack for additional flavoring.  Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit.  Although it can be served in shavings on a plate (generally with accompaniments), shawarma also refers to a sandwich or wrap made with shawarma meat.  Shawarma is usually eaten with tabbouleh, fattoush, taboon bread, tomato and cucumber.  Toppings can include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips and amba. It is similar to Turkish döner kebab and Greek gyros.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I halved the recipe by using just one package of chicken rather than two (two pounds).chickenshawarma
  2. It is important to marinade the chicken overnight allowing the spices and flavors to be absorbed.
  3. I decided to keep my breast whole and making cross cuts.
  4. In place of cayenne, I used chili powder.  Add a little, or add a lot for a kick of spice.
  5. I cooked my chicken in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
  6. I nixed the second part of the recipe because I did not want to overcook the chicken and thought it worked well in a spice balance.
  7. I suggest following it more closely for a more traditional shawarma.
  8. Cutting the chicken into strips allows for more marinating to take place.
  9. The chicken works well in pitas with hummus or baba ghanoush.

Arabic dishes are heavily seasoned with various combined spices to obtain a certain flavor.  The dishes are decadent and a party in the mouth.  They are complicated meals made simple.

Leave a comment with your favorite Arabic dishes.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.

Rosemary Cornish Hen


Holiday meals are a great time to experiment on new recipes and enjoy family.  However, some families, like mine, are smaller than others.  Other families, additionally like mine, can have dietary restrictions: vegetarians, paleo, gluten intolerance or veganism.  Cornish hens are a great treat for meat eaters without having a mound of uneaten leftovers.  The hens come in packages of two with one hen per serving (about four+ ounces).  The rosemary Cornish hens divulged here add an extra holiday flavor.

A Cornish game hen–sometimes called a Cornish hen, poussin, Rock Cornish hen or simply Rock Cornish–is a hybrid chicken sold whole. Despite the name, it is not a game bird but a type of domestic chicken. Though the bird is called a “hen”, it can be either male or female. The Rock Cornish game hen or Rock Cornish hen is a cross between the Cornish Game and Plymouth chicken breeds. This breed develops a large breast over a short period of time compared to game hens. In addition to commanding a higher price, the game hens have a shorter growing span of 28 to 30 days as opposed to 42 or more for regular chicken.  Rock Cornish game hens weigh about 2.5 pounds after four to six weeks, at which time they’re slaughtered.

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. I made six Cornish hens; so, it took about two hours to bake fully.
  2. Stuff the butt with a garlic clove, shallot, spring of thyme and rosemary.
  3. Before rubbing butter on the hens, salt and pepper them.
  4. Continually baste the hens with butter every 20 minutes.
  5. Basting is a cooking technique that involves cooking meat with either its own juices or some type of preparation such as a sauce or marinade. The meat is left to cook then periodically coated with the juice.
  6. Elevate the Cornish hens when cooking.  If left to sit in the juices, the hens’ skin will become soggy, and they will take longer to cook.
  7. When the hens are cooked, pierce the breast or meatiest part.  It should run clear.  They should also be at a temperature range of 160-180 for ultimate juiciness.

I enjoy Cornish hens because they present just the right amount of meat without hours of time.  Unlike turkeys and large hams, they cook in roughly one to two hours.  The hens can still be stuffed with Mom’s stuffing recipe or other herbs to bring out various flavors.  Whether cooking for a late Thanksgiving or planning for Christmas, have this recipe on hand to cater to all of our small family meals.

Leave a comment with your favorite holiday meat recipes.  Follow my Pinterest for more recipes.  Check back again next Wednesday for more tips and tricks from The Cooking Bug.