Turkey Burgers w/Italian Guacamole, Corn on the Cob, Artichoke Pasta Salad

 “Best (Food) Memories”

I can’t blame my entire obsession with food on being Italian.  Please tell me that the rest of you agree that some of your best memories involve food in some way.  I think about big boisterous Sunday dinners around the table.  I am convinced that the reason I talk so loud to this day is because I had to shout to be heard at the table (I was the youngest of 4).  I remember coming home everyday after school and my mom saying “How was your day?”  to which I always replied, “Good, what’s for dinner?”.  One of my most exciting memories is white water rafting in Colorado with my ever adventurous sister.  How does food fit into that memory, you ask?  I vividly remember the most delicious dinners cooked by the fire at the campsite by the River Guide.  When we were kids, there were no activities on the weekend.  My parents would load the 4 kids and my grandmother and great-aunt in the station wagon and take a ride “up the country”.   It felt like it took hours just to get few exits up the Northeast Extension.  But, of course, the highlight of the day, the best part of the trip, was when my mom handed out the lunches she made to everyone in the car.   “Food always tastes better in the car” my dad would say as he drove and ate and grinned all the way there.  Where did we go?  I have no idea.

Turkey Burgers: Try with grass-fed beef too.  Make little sliders for the kids – they now have little slider rolls!

Mix all ingredients together and shape into burgers:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. of white meat ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup of Italian Bread Crumbs
  • Dash (1/4 TSP) of: Onion powder, Garlic powder, Poultry Seasoning and Mustard
  • 1 TSP of Worchestire Sauce
  • Salt/Pepper

Form into patties.  Make sure the middle of the burger is pressed down so it cooks evenly.

  • Cook burgers on Medium-High on one side for 5 minutes and flip (only one time) and cook on Med/Low for another 5 minutes.  

    Note:  If cooking burgers in a frying pan; spray pan and cook until browned on one side, flip (only once) and brown 2nd side. Then add 2 TBS of water and reduce heat to Low for 2 minutes to cook through.

 Corn on the Cob:  Cooked in a big  pot or on the grill, you gotta love corn on the cob!  The kids love the old-fashioned corn holders too.

  • If you are in a rush, you can actually microwave all your corn in a glass baking dish with about 1/2 inch of water.  Cook about a minute each ear and then flip them over and cook another couple minutes.

Artichoke Pasta Salad:

  • Cook pasta according to directions (save about 1 cup of pasta water)
  • Heat a little garlic in olive oil in a pan.  Add a jar of artichoke hearts (with juice and cut smaller), cherry tomatoes and some fresh basil.  Cook for a few minutes.
    You can also toss all the ingredients directly into the pasta without cooking anything!
  • Toss pasta with a little olive oil and mix with the sauce.  Add salt/pepper (add a little pasta water if you need it) and sprinkle some extra basil (or parsley) on the top for color.

Italian Guacamole:  I love guacamole on my burger but I never seem to have cilantro on hand to make it.  So for a quick fix, I smash an avocado with tomato, basil, lime juice and onion powder (add salt/pepper too)!  It takes 2 seconds and is sooo good on a burger!

How Can the Kids Help?

  • Teach the kids to shuck corn early (my mom used to send us outside with a bag of fresh corn and an empty brown paper bag).
  • Mix bread crumbs with spices and mix meat with their hands (teach about raw meat and washing hands).
  • Pick apart a basil leaf into tiny pieces for the pasta (in the summer they can go outside and pick from the plant).
  • Test the pasta for doneness.
  • Set the table (outside yeah!) and get drinks.
  • Tell the kids one of your favorite (food) memories at dinner tonight.

Did You Know?

  • Corn is America’s #1 field crop.
  • Corn growing:  http://thingtheory2009.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/corn.jpg
  • Corn is used to produce fuel alcohol. Fuel alcohol makes gasoline burn cleaner, reducing air pollution, and it doesn’t pollute the water.
  • 82% of all U.S. Households own a grill or smoker.
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