Chardonnay Chicken Burgers

Finally I can get this post up! I’ve been wanting to post about these gorgeous burgers ever since I made them a few weeks ago.  They turned out fab and I’ve been dreaming about them ever since.  Of course, true to Columbus’s personality, the weather turned cold again and grill time has not happened.

I love chicken burgers!  And turkey burgers! And also burgers made from veggies and beans.  I just really like burgers and while I can dig on a beef burger, my heart belongs to poultry or veggies.  I had been wanting to make chicken burgers for a while and had an idea running through my head about adding wine to the burgers.

There was the rub.

Ground chicken is already really moist and not “dry” like a ground beef.  Ground chicken breast is a little bit “dryer” but not by much and I personally like a mix of white and dark meat ground chicken.  Which meant that I already had a really moist base to work with.  I knew adding some wine to that would make things sloppy or way too soggy.

What to do?  I was also going to add some apples to the mix just for a twist because I had done that with turkey burgers and really liked the outcome.

Then it hit me.

Let the apples soak in chardonnay, then add the apples to the ground chicken.  I got to work busting out my plan which resulted in probably our favorite burger yet!

Andrea’s Chardonnay Chicken Burgers

  • 1lb Ground Chicken (I like a mix of dark and white meat which I can purchase at Whole Foods or North Market)
  • 1/2C Chardonnay (may need more)
  • 1/2 A Green apple, finely chopped
  • 1/4C Red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2tsp Garlic powder
  • 1/2tsp Poultry Seasoning
  • Pinch Red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp each for me)

In a small mixing bowl place the chopped apple and cover with the chardonnay.  You want the apple pieces to be fully submerged so make sure there is enough wine to cover them.  Gently stir and set in the fridge.  Allow to hang out for several hours.  At least four to five so the apples have time to absorb some of the wine.

When the hours have passed, drain the apples but don’t throw away the wine!  You want to keep that.  Trust me!

In a large mixing bowl add all other ingredients, including the apples.  Gently mix with your hands.  Form into four patties and place on a plate or whatever you’re going to use to transfer them for cooking.  These burgers will be very soft and moist, so handle them very gently so they do not fall apart on you.

Allow to sit for about 20 minutes or so before cooking.  If you are cooking these on a skillet, add a bit of olive oil to the pan, about half a TBSP.  Heat over medium heat and very gently place the burgers in the skillet.  Cook for about 5 minutes each side.  Do not touch until ready to flip.  As the burgers cook, they will start to firm up and be easier to handle.

If you’re grilling, same cooking time applies, about 5 minutes on each side.  Top burger with good quality extra sharp cheddar (I used Cabot) and maybe a smidge of dijon mustard.  Serve and enjoy!

The best part about these burgers is that not only are you getting some wine flavor in your burger, but now you have flavored wine!  Because you can totally drink that as your burgers are cooking.  Add a bit of seltzer and you’ve got yourself Sparkling Green Apple Spritzers.  You can really taste the green apple flavor in the wine too, it’s very tasty and refreshing.

I used green apple because it doesn’t oxidize as quickly as sweeter red apples.  Soaked in wine, the apple really holds its crisp white color very well.  Green apples are also a more sturdy apple and holds its shape during cooking.

I try to plan things out with cooking so that everything sort of gels schedule-wise.  I’m a distance runner and my long runs are Sunday mornings.  For Sunday Supper, I try to plan a meal that has some animal protein in it.  I have the time to make it on Sunday and I can use the extra protein to help with muscle recovery after my long runs.  That’s the long winded explanation just so I can tell you how I blew through two of these burgers in one sitting.  My original plan was to have leftovers but that didn’t work out since both Scott and I ate up all four burgers.  Mmm mmm!

If you’re looking for something a little different to do with your burgers, give these a shot!

Have fun guys and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!

Other burger recipes: Cran-Apple Turkey Burgers

Shrimp and Scallops with garlic wine sauce

Must have

Must have

I grew up in a very small town in Southwestern PA.  Very. Small.  The kind of small town where the “fancy” restaurant is The Red Lobster (always pronounced as The Red Lobster because there can be only one.) that you had to travel 1/2 an hour to get to.  One of my very favorite things to get at The Red Lobster was the scampi.

I always felt a little decadent and grown up eating scampi.  I mean after all it did have wine in it right?  It said so right on the menu!  You have to be mature to handle a dish like that, or so I told myself.  And when the pathetic little dish of scampi arrived with the overcooked super tiny balls of shrimp, I was in heaven.  And you best believe I ate all that sauce too.  “Come ‘ere cheddar biscuits and help a sister out!”

Please, don’t even front and act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.  You have all been to The Red Lobster and you all can dig on what I’m saying.

As I became older and properly mature (Am too!), I decided it was time to branch out and start making my own scampi-type dish.  Thankfully I have a husband who loves seafood and so he has been my guinea pig for quite some time.  In this dish, I have combined things I love:

  • Garlic
  • Wine
  • Butter
  • Seafood
  • Chopped tomatoes and red onion

However, I like to think my dish is slightly healthier than a traditional scampi because traditional scampi has a load of butter in it (I’m talking sticks of butter here) where mine does not.  Oh there’s butter, because I fully believe that butter and seafood are meant to be together.  I just don’t use sticks of it.

Andrea’s Shrimp and Scallops with garlic wine sauce

  • 10oz of fresh scallops (about 8 medium sized)
  • 12oz of fresh shrimp (about 18 medium)
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, grated (yes you read that right)
  • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped
  • 2 beefsteak tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or 3-4 romas)
  • 3 peperoncinis, chopped
  • 3/4 C -1C white wine
  • 1/2 TBSP of butter
  • 1 1/2 TBSP of olive oil
  • Sea salt, ground black pepper, pinch red pepper flakes
  • Italian seasoning blend
  • Chopped parsley and grated Parmesan for garnish

Make sure all the seafood is patted dry with papertowels.  Remove the shells, including the tail part, from the shrimp.  Either discard or save for stock purposes.  Remove the little conductor muscle on the scallops.  Sprinkle scallops with ground black pepper and sea salt on each side. Just a pinch.  In a large deep sided skillet, heat 1/2 TBSP of oil over medium heat.  Add the scallops and brown on each side, about 2 minutes per side.  Remove from skillet.  Add the remaining olive oil and the butter to the skillet.  Then add in the red onion, peperoncinis, and a pinch of red pepper flakes (how much depends on how much heat you want).  Season that with a little more salt, pepper, and the Italian seasoning blend.  Just a pinch of salt and pepper, and about 1/2 a tsp of Italian seasoning.  Cook until the red onions just begin to soften.  Add in the grated garlic and stir, then add in the wine. Don’t dilly dally after adding the garlic, as it will burn quickly.  Also, be careful here adding alcohol to heat.  You can remove the pan from the heat source for this and then return it immediately.  Stir the mixture and bring to a simmer.  Add in the shrimp, allowing the shrimp to cook in the sauce. After about a minute, add in the scallops and chopped tomatoes. Let dish simmer for about  3 minutes. Giving the shrimp time to cook and the scallops and tomatoes to heat through.  The shrimp is cooked when it turns pink, this does not take long.  The scallops will finish cooking as they are heating back up.

Remove and serve in a deep wide bowl or large pasta plate.  Garnish with chopped parsley and parm cheese.  Serve immediately and with plenty of crusty bread for dipping.

Shrimp and Scallops with garlic wine sauce

Shrimp and Scallops with garlic wine sauce

This is easily one of our favorite seafood dishes.  It’s quick to make and easy enough that you can chat while you busy away in the kitchen.  It makes for a great “date night” dish as well because you’re sharing a meal out of the same dish.  I do recommend having little plates on hand that you can scoop out portions on to as you’re eating.  Less risk of slopping on the table. Trust me on this! ;)

If you don’t have sea salt, naturally you can use kosher instead.  My preferred blend of Italian Seasoning is the Mrs. Dash variety.  It has no salt, allowing me to control the salt amounts, and it has a decent blend of herbs.  But use whatever you like and have on hand.

Since wine makes up the entire sauce base, pick a nice wine that you will drink.  No cooking wine!  That is loaded with salt and preservatives.  Use regular and a dry one, no sweet wines.  If wine is not your thing or you’re looking to not use as much, chicken stock or seafood stock can be used here as well.

We love garlic which is why I use 4-5 cloves of it but if you do not love it as much as us, feel free to reduce the amount.  Or just add the whole cloves and then scoop them out at the end.  The garlic flavor will be there, just not as intense.  You can easily chop the garlic instead of grating.  I personally feel that grating allows more of the flavor to come through.

Now you can be all mature and have a grownup seafood dish at home too!

Have fun guys!  And remember, always play with your food!

Pumpkin Penne



I love pumpkin and one thing I have resolved to do this year was to be more creative with foods. To experiment more and branch out more. I have been doing that a lot with pumpkin.

Pumpkin doesn’t have to be just regulated to pies and I’m sure all of you are aware of this fact already. I’m new to the party. Pumpkin can be savory? Pumpkin can be spicy? Well smack my bottom, let’s get this party started!

Some of you might be aware of the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest that has been going around. Well this week, Lindsay is hosting and she picked pumpkin. Since my new found love of experimenting with pumpkin, I wanted to create something that I could enter in this week’s contest.

The idea came to me earlier this week and I pondered it a bit before fully deciding what I was going to make and how exactly I was going to make it. Pumpkin Penne was the result!

Andrea’s Pumpkin Penne

  • 1 Italian sausage link
  • 1 C of pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 C of dry white wine
  • 1 C of chicken broth
  • 1/4 of a medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/2 TBSP of unsalted butter
  • 1/2 TBSP of olive oil
  • 2 1/2 C of mini whole wheat penne
  • 1/2 tsp of chili powder
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
  • Pinch cayenne pepper, pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  • Flat leaf parsley for garnish
  • Grated parm for garnish

In a medium sized skillet with high sides, add the 1/2 TBSP of olive oil and heat over medium heat. Cut the casing on the sausage and crumble into the skillet browning and cooking through ( like cooking ground meat). Remove from skillet and set aside. Either drain the grease or keep (there shouldn’t be too much), add in the butter and chopped onions. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft and transparent. Add the sausage back in and also grate the clove of garlic into the mixture. Stir everything together and then add the wine. Allow to simmer for about two minutes. While that is simmering bring a large pot of water up to boil for the pasta.

To the onions and sausage, add in the pumpkin and stir. Then add in the chicken stock and stir. Add in the seasonings and allow the mixture to simmer as the pasta cooks. The pasta should take about 7 minutes to cook, taste test to your preferred doneness. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and place back into the hot pot to help evaporate remaining water. Add the pasta into the pumpkin sauce and combine. Sprinkle in some chopped parsley for added color. Top with grated parm and serve!

Serves two with plenty of leftovers or can serve four for a dinner.

If the sauce starts to get too thick, add in more chicken stock by the tablespoon until it’s back to a smooth sauce.

Pumpkin Penne

Pumpkin Penne

This dish came out perfectly. It was creamy with just a touch of heat from the seasonings. A great way to get more veggies in for the day. The sausage gives it just enough of texture and flavor to keep things interesting.

Certainly you can use spicy sausage here if you prefer; it’s all about your preferences. If you would like to keep it straight veggie, use veggie stock and perhaps some veggie crumbles or starters instead of sausage. I think adding in even more veggies would be a great addition, spinach or zucchini would work well with this dish.

I used a Chardonnay from a box from Target. It’s not too shabby and the box is handy for cooking because it’s easy to measure out what you need. However, opening a bottle for the evening is also a great way to go!

Enjoy guys, and remember, always play with your food!