It's time for this month's Secret Recipe Club! I was assigned Cookin' Mimi - a blog full of comfort food and home cooking with lots of influences like Southern, Southwestern, and some International. The author is a Southern Californian with a Southern family - which explains the variety of influences! She doesn't remember a time when she wasn't cooking.
I was in crunch mode when I chose a recipe, on the search for an easy dinner. Mimi is a big fan of casseroles, like me, so I looked at this Cheesy Broccoli Chicken and Rice Casserole and this traditional Chicken and Rice Casserole, but decided on this Cheesy Green Chile Chicken and Rice Casserole.
But back to the casserole! It is really straightforward and simple - combine chicken, green chiles, rice, and a sour cream sauce; top with cheese; bake; the end. But something in the recipe jumped out at me as unfamiliar - it called for par-boiled or converted rice. What the heck is that? I turned to the internet and found out that by par-boiling the rice, the nutrients of the outer parts are forced into the grain before they are removed - making it something in between brown and white rice. In fact, it supposedly has most of the nutrients of brown rice, an even lower glycemic index, and the soft texture of white rice, without getting as mushy. How had I never heard of this before?! It is perfect to use in casseroles and slow cookers because the texture holds up. It's awesome!
But, there is a downside - unless you are ordering it from Asia, most brands are grown in the Southern US and have high levels of inorganic arsenic, which is toxic. So, you know, don't eat a ton of it all the time.
Just because it's cold outside, doesn't mean you can't still make burgers. And they don't have to be the standard plain burgers, either. Here are two recipes that put a bit of a twist on the classic burger.
First up - a Middle Eastern inspired spiced lamb burger with a creamy yogurt sauce.
To make the patties, combine bread crumbs, lamb, turkey, onion, an egg, parsley, garlic, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper. Use a grill pan, griddle, or electric grill to cook the burgers.
Make a sauce with yogurt, scallions, parsley, mint, oregano, lemon zest, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, sugar, and pepper.
Place the burgers inside pitas and stuff with fresh tomatoes and the yogurt sauce.
For a Southwestern twist, we have Salsa Verde Turkey Burgers with Avocado Mayonnaise.
To form the burgers, simply combine ground turkey, jarred salsa verde, breadcrumbs, and an egg. Combine avocado, mayonnaise, and garlic to make a sauce. Cook the burgers on a griddle (turkey falls apart too much to grill) and top with Pepperjack cheese and the sauce. If they are in season - green tomatoes are also an excellent topper.