I grew up, making very few dinners myself. My mom worked evenings for most of my childhood so we were often left with two options for dinner. 1. A casserole that was prepared by mom and waiting in the fridge for us to heat up in the oven. 2. Dad was cooking.
Now, my dad is great. He's a smart guy, a chemical engineer in fact, but cooking just isn't his forte. Even to this day, he likes meals that require no more than four ingredients. His specialty is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And many a times I've seen him eat Perry's ice cream for dinner. If dad was 'cooking,' that usually meant we were having a frozen dinner or some soup. He heats and eats, no prep required.
The only thing I ever did in the kitchen was bake and the recipe was generally from the back of the chocolate chip bag.
The last Christmas before I moved to Madison was used to prepare me for my eventual move out of the house. I got pots and pans, towels, a laundry basket and the BHG cookbook. All a single girl needs!
These days I have cookbooks for anything I'm looking to prepare, but I still enjoy looking back at my first cookbook, leafing through its wrinkled, sauce-coated pages, my own handwritten notes adorning the margins. I think of the time I spent in my closet-like kitchen, cooking on my 1950's stove and turning out my first meals on my own.
One Year Ago: Baked Pear Salad
Two Years Ago: White Chicken Chili
Southwest Chicken Burger
Adapted from Better Homes & Garden New Cookbook
This recipe was one of my favorites from back in the day. You'll notice I wrote "So Tasty!" next to the recipe! I remember clearly making these burgers several times and crossing the avocado from the ingredients list (I'm not a fan). I even made these for boyfriend at the very beginning of our relationship! As I later learned, boyfriend has a serious disdain for most Mexican food. I had no idea and put salsa on his burger, so either he secretly likes hot salsa, or he really liked me!
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup finely crushed tortilla chips
3 tbsp green pepper, finely chopped
3/4 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
4 Monterey Jack cheese slices
4 hamburger buns
In a medium bowl, mix first five ingredients with a fork. Add ground chicken and mix together with your hands. Work quickly to distribute the ingredients. Divide mixture in four and form 3/4-inch thick patties.
Cook patties on the grill (or your grill pan) for about 7-8 minutes per side. The internal temperature should reach 165 F. Add slice of cheese in the last minute of grilling.
Place each burger on a bun and top with lettuce and salsa.