Chili Lime Chicken Burgers & Homemade Buns

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Burgers always remind me of summer. Barbecue season, camping, etc. And even though it’s the middle of January, it’s been uncharacteristically warm in Calgary, so burgers (and even barbecuing, if I had one) are actually super reasonable. Even when they’re flavoured with lime and spices, making them even more summer-y. I think I need to buy a barbecue soon here, now that I think about it.

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These burgers are ridiculously easy, super light and healthy, and so, so flavourful. The buns, of course, take a little more work, but sometimes I just find myself in the mood to knead dough, you know? It’s actually kind of therapeutic (I can’t be the only one who feels this way…) If you’re not crazy , though, you could definitely just buy buns at the store, or even wrap these in some lettuce for an even lighter option.

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Chili Lime Chicken Burgers

Makes Four Burgers 

Adapted from Against All Grain

1 lb Ground Chicken

1/4 cup Red Onions, diced

1/4 cup Red Bell Peppers, diced

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tbsp Fresh Cilantro, minced

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1/4 cup Lime Juice

1/4 tsp Red Chile Flakes

For serving: homemade buns, sliced avocado or guacamole, sliced tomato, mayonnaise, romaine lettuce, pepper jack cheese

1. Saute onions, bell peppers, and garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly, until soft.

2. Place all of the ingredients, including the cooked onion mix, in a medium bowl and use your hands to combine well. Divide and shape the meat into four patties.

3. On a barbecue or grill pan, cook for 6 minutes on each side, over medium heat, or until internal temperature registers 175 degrees.

4. Serve, and top with anything you like (but the avocado is super necessary!!)

Homemade Burger Buns

Makes 8 Burger Buns

Adapted from The Kitchn

1 tbsp Active-Dry Yeast

1/2 cup Warm Water

1/2 cup 2% Milk

1 large Egg

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

2 tbsp White Sugar

1 tsp Salt

3 cups All Purpose Flour

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

1. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes until the yeast dissolves.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt. Add this to the yeast mixture, and whisk to combine. Add all of the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon until it is roughly combined.  Take out the dough, and knead for 10 minutes, flouring your hands/working surface as necessary. The finished dough should be smooth, slightly tacky, and spring back when poked.

3. Return the dough to the mixing bowl and cover. Let the dough rise in a warm spot for about an hour until doubled in size.

4. Place the dough back on your floured work surface and divide the dough into 8 pieces, shaping each into a tight ball. Transfer the dough balls to a baking sheet and let rise until puffy and hamburger-sized, about 30 – 45 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns. Bake the buns until nice and golden, about 15 – 18 minutes. Allow buns to cool to room temperature before slicing and serving. Buns will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for a week, or in the freezer for a month or two.

Herbed Focaccia Bread

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There is something about baking bread that makes me SO happy. I realize that it is a task that not a lot of people love doing, but something about the kneading and rolling is the best stress relief. Plus, is there anything better than the smell of fresh baked bread? I don’t think so.

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I was actually about 75% sure that this wasn’t going to work out. I mean, I’m certainly no expert in baking bread, and I’d never made focaccia before. Plus I didn’t really like the instructions on the recipe I was using, so I had to piece together a bunch of the reviews. But, oh man, did it exceed my expectations. I would go as far as saying that this could be the best focaccia I’ve ever had. Given, I’ve never been to Italy, and I’m sure that there are only a handful of times I’ve even eaten focaccia, but you guys, it was SO GOOD.

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This is one of those recipes that literally everyone will be really impressed by and you’ll laugh because you had no idea it was so easy to make but it was and now you can feel like a queen in the kitchen. In my case, a 4 foot long kitchen where you have to use your dryer for counter space – but a queen nonetheless.

I had mine with some Roasted Tomato Soup (recipe later this week!), but this would be amazing with pasta, as an appetizer dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar, or with any other soup.

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Herbed Focaccia Bread:

Adapted from Allrecipes 

Makes One Focaccia 

1 tbsp Active Dry Yeast

1 cup very warm Water (100-110 degrees, if you want to be technical)

2 3/4 cup White Flour

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp White Sugar + 1 pinch

1/2 tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

1/2 tsp Dried Basil

1 pinch Ground Black Pepper

3 tbsp Olive Oil

1-2 tbsp Fresh Herbs (Oregano, Rosemary, Basil)

Sea Salt, to taste

1 tbsp Parmesan Cheese, shredded

1. Combine yeast with 1/3 cup of the warm water and a pinch of sugar and allow to sit for about 10 minutes until foamy and the liquid has almost doubled.

2. Combine flour, salt, sugar, herbs, and black pepper, then add in the yeast/water mixture, the other 2/3 cup of water, and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Stir to combine well.

3. When the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Punch dough down, then roll into a large round circle, about 1/2 an inch in thickness. Using the pads of your thumbs, make indents in the dough liberally. Brush top with other 2 tbsp of olive oil and top with fresh herbs and sea salt. Allow to rise for another 10 minutes.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, stopping halfway through to sprinkle on parmesan cheese. Focaccia should be a light golden colour. Slice and serve warm.

*You will notice that pre-baking, there were sundried tomatoes on my focaccia. They burnt. A lot. So I had to take them off. Next time, I will put them on halfway through baking, with the parmesan cheese.