Category Archives: Burgers, Sandwiches & Wraps

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - Colleen's Kitchen

This may be the easiest recipe I’ve ever published on my blog. I mean, a total of 6 ingredients with minimal fuss in the prep? It truly doesn’t get much easier.

It all started with my typical weekly browse of the “What’s New” shelf at my local Trader Joe’s. My eyes lit upon a bottle of Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic Barbecue Sauce and I knew that baby was going home with me for dinner. The entire ride home my mind was swimming with ideas of how to use it.

In the end, though, the simplest idea is generally best. And so these Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches were born.

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches - Colleen's Kitchen

In the morning before I leave for work I simply toss some lean chicken breast, this sriracha barbecue sauce, and some slices of red onion into the slow cooker. Heck, I’ve even taken the chicken straight out of the freezer and thrown it into the slow cooker. That’s right, no dethawing.

At the end of the day, when I come home from work the house smells like someone’s been barbecuing all day in my kitchen. I then whip up a simple slaw of a store-bought coleslaw mix, lowfat blue cheese dressing, and a bit of crumbled blue cheese. Now all that’s left to do is shred up the chicken breast and slap my sandwich together.

Seriously, does it get any easier than that?

Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4 servings
  • Calories: 267.7
  • Fat: 8.6
  • Saturated fat: 3.8
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Monounsaturated fat: 2.6
  • Carbohydrates: 16.9
  • Sugar: 13.0
  • Sodium: 464.3
  • Fiber: 0.7
  • Protein: 29.2
  • Cholesterol: 75.3
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
At just six ingredients and minimal prep, these scrumptious Sriracha BBQ Chicken Sandwiches are the dinner savior of busy working families!
  • 1 lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Trader Joe's Organic Sriracha and Roasted Garlic BBQ Sauce
  • 8 oz. (about 3 cups) store-bought coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)
  • ½ cup Bolthouse Farms Blue Cheese dressing (yogurt based)
  • 1 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  1. Place the chicken, onion, and BBQ sauce in a slow cooker, cover and cook for 10 hours on low.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the coleslaw mix, blue cheese dressing, and blue cheese crumbles. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Remove the chicken pieces from the slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the chicken.
  4. Stir the shredded chicken back into the barbecue sauce in the slow cooker.
  5. Serve the chicken on a bun, topped with the coleslaw, and bite into a little piece of heaven!
Because the brands and types of buns vary widely, the nutritional value of the bun is not included in this recipe. Make sure to read the label and factor that into your nutritional count.



Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

I love it when experiments go right. I had a nugget of an idea for this recipe for Bourbon Pork Slider with Asian Apple Slaw, and on my very first attempt it was exactly everything I had been hoping for.

I set out to create a burger that was juicy and slightly sweet with a bit of a Thai influence. I decided to use pork tenderloin because I thought it would caramelize up in bourbon beautifully, and boy was I right! Marinating the pork overnight in a mixture of bourbon, brown sugar, and just a touch of soy sauce makes for incredibly tender meat that also turns a gorgeous caramel brown on the grill.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

Pork tenderloin, sliced into medallions and marinated overnight in bourbon, brown sugar and a little soy sauce, turns a beautiful caramel brown on the grill.

For the bourbon, it is absolutely imperative to use a quality bourbon that will impart a great flavor to the pork. I selected Burnside Bourbon from a local (to me) distillery, Eastside Distilling. I love Eastside’s products because they are very particular about sourcing quality ingredients from local growers and crafting a consistent, delicious product. For more of their product, just check out the Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burger that I did last summer using Eastside’s Cherry Whiskey, crafted from locally sourced Hood River cherries.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

I slice the cheeks of an apple into thin slices then cut them into sticks for the slaw.

But the caramelized bourbon pork medallions that form the base of these sliders is just the beginning. For a topper, I created a juicy slaw using gravenstein apples from the tree in my backyard. The ingredient that really makes the slaw, though, is a handful of Thai basil. This variety of basil has a slightly spicy kick, very different from it’s common Genovese cousin.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw - Colleen's Kitchen

Tender, slightly sweet grilled tenderloin is topped by a juicy, slightly spicy slaw.

I sliced the apples into sticks, tossed them with shredded cabbage, carrots and the Thai basil then dressed them with an Asian-influenced dressing of sesame oil, rice vinegar and a hint of red chile pepper flakes. A bit of black sesame seeds add visual interest and a little crunch to the slaw.

The final result is little bit of heaven: tender, slightly sweet grilled tenderloin topped by a juicy, slightly spicy slaw. This may just be my favorite “burger” creation yet.

Bourbon Pork Sliders with Asian Apple Slaw
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5
  • Serving size: 2 sliders per person
  • Calories: 244.8
  • Fat: 8.9
  • Saturated fat: 1.9
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.7
  • Carbohydrates: 17.9
  • Sugar: 12.4
  • Sodium: 172.3
  • Fiber: 3.2
  • Protein: 21.1
  • Cholesterol: 53.8
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Pork
Tender, slightly sweet, bourbon infused pork tenderloin is topped by a juicy, slightly spicy, Asian-influenced apple slaw.
  • ½ cup bourbon
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lb. boneless pork tenderloin, sliced into ¾" thick medallions
  • 2 medium green apples (Gravenstein or Granny Smith recommended), sliced into sticks
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 cups shredded green cabbage
  • ¼ cup chopped Thai basil
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar
  • ¼ tsp red chile pepper flakes
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  1. Whisk together the bourbon, brown sugar and soy sauce.
  2. Cover the pork medallions with the bourbon mixture in either a shallow dish or resealable plastic bag. Seal and refrigerate overnight.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the apples, carrots, cabbage and basil.
  4. Whisk the sesame oil, rice vinegar, chile pepper flakes, and salt together in a small bowl. Pour over the apple mixture and toss well to coat. Set aside.
  5. Preheat your grill then reduce the flame to low. Grill the pork medallions for about 2 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  6. Serve each pork medallion on a slider bun topped by a scoop of the slaw.
* I have reduced the nutritional value of the marinade by 75% since most of it is discarded.
* I have not included the nutritional value of the slider bun in this recipe as it varies widely by brand. Make sure to include that in your final count.


Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

I’ve been on a spicy kick lately. Roasted jalapenos, smoky chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, spicy sriracha sauce — it seems these hotties are literally peppering my recipe development lately. Is it the sunshine that’s been playing peek-a-boo with the rain in my neck of the woods lately? I’m not sure why. But really who needs an excuse to spice up a meal?

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

Extra lean ground turkey is infused with sweet roasted red pepper and tart lime then formed into patties and grilled on an open flame.

I’ve cleaned off the grill for the summer grilling season, and one of my favorite things to make is a good burger. I rarely use ground beef in my burgers, opting instead for a leaner ground turkey that won’t leave me feeling weighed down. And I especially love to craft burgers into sliders. The nutritional content of 2 sliders is approximately equivalent to that of 1 burger, but somehow I always feel like I’m eating more. I think it’s the visual trick of having 2 sliders on my plate instead of just 1 burger.

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

Make the aioli in a mason jar for easy prep, serving, and storage!

I elected to use an extra lean (99% fat free) for this recipe. One of the challenges of cooking with extra lean ground turkey is that the lack of fat means the meat can get too dry in the cooking process and also that the burger won’t hold together well on the grill. The trick is to bulk up the meat with additional ingredients that will both keep the meat from drying out on the grill and help to hold it together. In this case I added roasted red pepper, lime zest, and lime juice for moisture and additional flavor. I then added in an egg and a bit of bulgar to help bind the mixture together. It worked like a charm!

Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli - Colleen's Kitchen

These may be the perfect sliders for summer grilling season!

To then offset the sweet red pepper and tart lime in the burger, I created a spicy, low-fat yet creamy aioli using roasted garlic, Greek yogurt, and sriracha. The roasted garlic adds a bit of caramelized sweetness to the aioli while the sriracha brings the heat. Drizzled over the slider patty, it’s a bite of heaven.

Not to be outdone, though, I then love to top each slider with a couple slices of creamy, cool avocado and a sprig of cilantro. Wow! This may be the perfect summer burger!

Check out the instructional video with some super tips on how to make the aioli prep even easier!


Pepper Lime Turkey Sliders with Sriracha Yogurt Aioli
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 5
  • Serving size: 2 sliders per person
  • Calories: 201.5
  • Fat: 6.0
  • Saturated fat: 1.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.6
  • Carbohydrates: 11.9
  • Sugar: 2.8
  • Sodium: 207.1
  • Fiber: 1.8
  • Protein: 25.1
  • Cholesterol: 73.2
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
Lean ground turkey is infused with sweet roasted red peppers and tart lime, grilled up and served on a scrumptious slider with a spicy sriracha yogurt aioli. Dee-lish!
  • Sliders:
  • 1 lb. raw, extra lean (99% fat free) ground turkey
  • ½ cup diced roasted red pepper
  • juice of 1 lime
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup bulgar
  • Aioli:
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil (divided)
  • ⅓ cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • juice of 1 lime
  1. Sliders:
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine all of the ingredients until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  3. Form the meat mixture into 10 equal-sized balls then press flat into a patty. Use your thumb to press a dimple in the middle of each patty to keep it from over-shrinking on the grill.
  4. Preheat your grill and lightly spray with oil. Cook the patties for 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
  5. Aioli:
  6. Preheat the oven to 400F.
  7. Slice the top off of the garlic bulb, exposing the cloves of garlic.
  8. Place the garlic bulb in a small baking dish and drizzle 1 tsp of the olive oil over the exposed cloves. Replace the top of the garlic bulb, cover the dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the bulbs are roasted and gooey. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  9. In a mason jar, combine the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil, Greek yogurt, sriracha, and lime juice. Use a fork to pop the roasted cloves of garlic from their papery skin and into the yogurt mixture.
  10. Place a blender blade and cap on top of the mason jar and screw it on firmly. Mount the jar on your blender and puree until smooth.
  11. To serve:
  12. Place a slider patty on the bottom of a slider bun.
  13. Drizzle the patty with a generous tablespoon of the aioli.
  14. Optional: top with 2 slices of avocado and a few leaves of fresh cilantro.
  15. Place the top of the slider bun in place and bite!
Please note that I did not include the nutritional value of the slider buns in this recipe because the availability and type of slider buns varies from store to store. Please make sure to factor those in to your finished product, the nutritional value shown here only includes the patty and aioli.


Buffalo Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

Buffalo Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

For Tightwad Tuesday last week, I pledged to show you how to turn a store-bought rotisserie chicken into a work-week’s worth of meals. I gave you a complete list of groceries and a meal plan, as well as my first night’s meal which consisted of 4 oz. of breast meat from the rotisserie chicken and a side of roasted root vegetables.

For my second meal, I pulled off every bit of chicken that I could from the rotisserie chicken. It yielded 4 cups, loosely packed, of shredded chicken meat, both dark and white, which I promptly tucked into a container in the fridge. Make sure to save the carcass for an easy, salt free chicken stock that we’ll make for some of our future meals!

Store Bought Rotisserie Chicken


I used 1 cup, again loosely packed, of the shredded chicken for this super easy and quick meal. I love this dish because it’s not only tasty and filling, but I can whip it up in about 10 minutes with absolutely no cooking. I simply combine the shredded chicken with some diced carrot and celery, buffalo sauce, Greek yogurt, and crumbled blue cheese.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps


I love using Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise in salads such as this, or even slaws. It lends a thick creaminess to the dish without all of the fat that mayonnaise brings. Plain Greek yogurt can be a bit tart, however, so a little bit goes a long way. I also like to add other flavors – such as the buffalo sauce and blue cheese in this case – to counterbalance the tartness of the yogurt.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps

To keep the calorie count even lower, I wrap the chicken salad in tender leaves of butter or bibb lettuce. Butter lettuce is a little more expensive than iceberg lettuce, but it’s more tender so it folds easier. Plus it has more nutrients than iceberg lettuce and a much smoother flavor.

This recipe makes enough for 3 good size lettuce wraps which fills me up after a hard work out. Quick, tasty and filling – isn’t that a perfect recipe?

Tune in next week for meal 3: Black and Blue Chicken Tostadas!

Recap of a week of meals from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, all for a total of just $35.75 in groceries:


Buffalo Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 1
  • Serving size: 3 lettuce wraps
  • Calories: 322.7
  • Fat: 8.1
  • Saturated fat: 3.5
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9
  • Carbohydrates: 12.5
  • Sugar: 7.8
  • Sodium: 1684.5
  • Fiber: 5.4
  • Protein: 43.0
  • Cholesterol: 94.0
Recipe type: Salad
Cuisine: Poultry
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Quick, tasty and healthy, these Buffalo Chicken Salad Lettuce Wraps are a great weeknight meal and make good use of leftover store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • 1 cup shredded chicken (white and dark meat mixed)
  • ¼ cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp Frank's Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium stalk celery, diced
  • 3 leaves of butter lettuce
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the chicken, yogurt, buffalo sauce, blue cheese, carrot, and celery until well combined.
  2. Scoop equal amounts of the chicken salad into each lettuce leaf, aligning the salad with the rib of the lettuce leaf.
  3. Wrap the ends of the lettuce around the salad like a burrito and eat.


Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burgers

Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burgers

World, meet Eastside Distilling.

I will tell you up front that I do not have any relationship with Eastside Distilling nor have they compensated me in any form for this blog post. I simply like the business and their product, and I hope you do too!

I discovered Eastside Distilling through a Groupon deal for a tour and tasting at their distillery, which is right next to my favorite local pie shop, Pacific Pie Company, and my favorite wine bar, Vie de Boheme. I figured the business was in good company so it couldn’t be bad, and boy was I right!

The tour wasn’t much, especially when I had just returned from a trip to Ireland where I went on a very Disneyland-like tour of the Jameson distillery in Dublin. Well, in truth it’s not a distillery anymore, it’s a showpiece for tourists like me. Still, after having gone through room after room of large pieces of equipment, complete with mannequin workers displaying the distilling process, touring a small business, such as Eastside, with just a single production room didn’t exactly bowl me over.

The people and the product, on the other hand, were phenomenal. The master distiller – a woman! – wasn’t on-site that day, but our tour guide and the servers were extremely knowledgeable about the process and their spirits. I love that they make everything there on-site and source most of their ingredients locally, such as the Oregon-Idaho potatoes for their Potato Vodka, grounds from Portland Roasting Company for their Coffee Rum, and Hood River cherries for their Cherry Bomb Whiskey. And bonus: the prices are extremely reasonable. I wound up buying a few bottles to take home with me.

I particularly fell in love with the Cherry Bomb Whiskey. It’s smooth and slightly sweet without being overly syrupy like some flavored whiskies can get. I immediately started thinking about how I could use it in a recipe.


Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burgers


Given that it was summer when I started working on this recipe, is it any wonder that my mind latched on to some version of a whiskey burger recipe? For my first attempt, I caramelized a sweet Walla Walla onion, threw in some mushrooms, cooked them in a reduction of the whiskey, and added this mixture to some ground turkey. By folding the whiskey mixture into the turkey, though, it lost much of the sweet alcohol bite that I love about the Cherry Bomb Whiskey.


Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burgers


The winning combination was when I decided to use the whiskey onion mixture as more of a condiment, a nest for the burger if you will. For the burger itself, I used an extra lean ground turkey, adding in some dried cherries to bring out the sweetness of the whiskey, and some bulgar and an egg to help bind the mixture together. Topped with a bit of melted brie, this burger is a piece of heaven on a bun.



Cherry Whiskey Turkey Burgers
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 1 burger
  • Calories: 396.8
  • Fat: 8.3
  • Saturated fat: 2.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.7
  • Carbohydrates: 40.5
  • Sugar: 7.5
  • Sodium: 405.9
  • Fiber: 8.2
  • Protein: 35.2
  • Cholesterol: 95.6
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Poultry
A lean turkey burger nestles in a bed of sweet onions and mushrooms caramelized in a reduction of cherry whiskey, all topped with a bit of goat cheese brie. Can you say yum?
  • 1 lb. extra lean ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup raw bulgar
  • ¼ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, quartered and thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sliced crimini (brown) mushrooms
  • ½ cup cherry whiskey
  • salt
  • 2 oz. goat cheese brie
  • 4 sandwich thins
  1. Combine the turkey, egg, bulgar, cherries and a pinch of salt. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring occasionally, until the onion pieces are caramelized (brown and melting), about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms to the caramelized onions and cook about 5 minutes more until the mushrooms are cooked through.
  4. Slowly pour the whiskey in to the pan, stirring with a wooden spoon and using the spoon to loosen anything stuck to the bottom of the pan. Let cook until the whiskey has reduced by half then remove from heat.
  5. Form the turkey mixture into 4 equal-sized patties and grill 2-3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Top each burger with a ½ ounce piece of the cheese.
  6. To serve, lightly toast the sandwich thin. Put a scoop of the cherry whiskey-onion mixture on the bottom bun, place the burger patty on top of the onion mixture, and finally put the top of the sandwich thin over the cheese.
Since the whiskey is reduced by half before consuming, the nutritional value of the whiskey has been reduced by half. The nutritional values include the sandwich thin. If you elect to use a standard bun, you will need to adjust the nutritional values appropriately.


Spicy Grilled Tuna Wraps with Minted Yogurt Sauce

Spicy Tuna Wraps with Minted Yogurt Sauce

I blame fast food for my obesity experience. Rather, the lifestyle of being a single mom, shuttling my kids from home to daycare to school to activities, and not having the time or energy to create authentic, healthy meals.

My kids are grown now, they are 19 and 22, but my life is still full. After work, I typically spend at least an hour at the gym before going home. At least once a week I meet up with friends after work too, which means I usually don’t get home until around 6:30 at night. And if I have to stop by the grocery store to pick something up, forget about it. My cooking style and level of enthusiasm changed for the better during my weight loss journey, I rarely indulge in fast food, so during the week I look for dishes that are quick and easy to prepare.

Spicy Tuna Wraps with Minted Yogurt Sauce

That is how many of my dishes come about during the week. Sometimes it’s a happy accident that I quickly jot down to share, other times it’s a planned experiment. Either way, I look for dishes that satisfy my post-workout hunger pangs and are quick to put together. These wraps are just such a dish.

Spicy Tuna Wraps with Minted Yogurt Sauce

I whip up a thick glaze of spicy sriracha, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a touch of worcestershire sauce for flavor depth. Then I coat strips of albacore tuna steaks in the sauce and grill them up on my barbecue. Finally, I wrap them in a low-calorie, multi-grain wrap with a generous dollop of a creamy yogurt and mint sauce, packed with crunchy cucumbers as well. I often add lettuce and tomatoes as well, but just the spicy tuna with the cool yogurt and mint is enough to make me go “Mmmmm…” And aren’t those the best kind of meals?


Spicy Grilled Tuna Wraps with Minted Yogurt Sauce
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Serving size: 1 wrap
  • Calories: 389.7
  • Fat: 16.7
  • Saturated fat: 3.0
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.8
  • Carbohydrates: 27.5
  • Sugar: 5.0
  • Sodium: 572.6
  • Fiber: 8.0
  • Protein: 39.6
  • Cholesterol: 38.0
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Seafood
Grilled, sriracha spiced tuna is the star of the show in this healthy wrap, smothered in a cool, minted yogurt sauce. At less than 30 minutes to prepare, it's a perfectly delicious weeknight meal.
  • 1 lb. albacore tuna steaks (fresh, wild caught), cut into 1" strips
  • 2 tbsp sriracha sauce
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup nonfat, plain Greek style yogurt
  • 2 Persian cucumbers, diced (or 1 cucumber with seeds removed and diced)
  • ¼ cup chopped mint
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • pinch of coarse sea salt
  • 4 Flat Out multigrain flatbread/wraps
  1. Preheat your propane grill.
  2. Whisk together the sriracha, 1 tbsp olive oil, balsamic vinegar and worcestershire sauce.
  3. Coat the tuna in the sauce and set aside.
  4. Combine the yogurt, cucumber, mint, 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt until well blended. Set aside.
  5. Grill the tuna on low heat for about 2 minutes on each side until cooked through. (I suggest grilling them in a grill basket to keep them from slipping through the grate.)
  6. While the tuna is grilling, warm the flatbread on the top rack of the barbecue.
  7. Arrange the grilled tuna on the warmed flatbread. Top with about ⅓ cup of the yogurt sauce. Roll up and serve immediately. (Optional: add lettuce, tomatoes or other veggies as desired.)

Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette



Refrigerator dishes are sometimes the best discoveries ever. What’s a refrigerator dish? These are the meals created on those nights when I don’t know what to make for dinner and I stand in front of the fridge looking at various items on the verge of spoiling. As the cold air slowly flows over me, my mind clicks through the various dinner possibilities until it reaches a satisfactory conclusion and I greedily fill my arms with my bounty and set to work. This is one such creation.

Colleen's Kitchen: Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette

A couple of weeks ago, early on a Monday morning, I received an email letting me know that 2 of my recipes were selected for an article on healthy burgers by Girls Gone Sporty. Yippee! The downside is that they needed photos and my external hard drive, which houses all of memory sucking photos and videos, suddenly decided not to cooperate with my computer so I couldn’t access anything on there. They wanted the photos right away so the only solution was to whip up both recipes and take some new photos. Which of course I did.

This left me with a nice chunk of leftover eggplant. Couple that with a handful of other vegetables and some leftover baguette in danger of going stale, and you have the makings of a great refrigerator dish. I should point out that the vegetables are the real star of the show and what I love is that they are so versatile. Instead of stuffing them into a baguette, sometimes I toss them with pasta or rice. I’ve even taken leftovers and scrambled them with eggs for breakfast. It also makes a great topping for flavorful bruschetta when I’m entertaining.

Colleen's Kitchen: Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette

I cut the eggplant in small pieces, about 1/2″ cubes. Then did the same with a baby zucchini, red onion and red bell pepper. I halved a bunch of cherry tomatoes and threw them into the mix for a splash of color and a burst of juicy sweetness. Then I tossed them in a simple combination of olive oil, red wine vinegar and coarse sea salt and roasted my pretty creation in the oven.


But I wasn’t done! I had some fresh basil to use as well, so I chopped that up and tossed that with the roasted vegetables along with some salty parmesan cheese. Then I hollowed out a baguette, stuffed it with my creation, and baked it for another 10 minutes.

Colleen's Kitchen: Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette

I think my first words on biting into this crunchy, caramelized masterpiece were “Holy shit! I need to write that down!” And that is how this recipe came into creation. Seriously.

Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 4
  • Calories: 325.7
  • Fat: 10.7
  • Saturated fat: 2.3
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 1.0
  • Carbohydrates: 49.6
  • Sugar: 6.0
  • Sodium: 652.3
  • Fiber: 8.5
  • Protein: 12.6
  • Cholesterol: 5.1
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegetarian
Fresh eggplant, zucchini, peppers and tomatoes are roasted to sweet, caramelized perfection and stuffed into a warm, crusty baguette for an easy, delicious vegetarian meal.
  • 1 small eggplant, trimmed and cut into ½" cubes
  • 1 baby zucchini, trimmed and cut into ½" pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • ¼ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 oz. fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 oz. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 - 16 oz. whole wheat baguette
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Spray a baking sheet with a little olive oil and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, pepper, tomatoes and onion. Toss with the olive oil, vinegar and salt until well combined.
  3. Spread the vegetable mixture on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes, tossing halfway through to ensure the vegetables are evenly roasted.
  4. Remove from the oven and set aside to let cool slightly.
  5. Create a "canoe" out of the baguette by cutting an opening down the length of the baguette and removing bread to create space for the stuffing. Using your fingers, pull out a total of 6 oz. of bread.
  6. Combine the roasted vegetables with the basil and parmesan then stuff into the hollowed out baguette.
  7. Bake for 10 more minutes until the bread is crusty and the cheese is melted.
  8. Cut into 4 equal sections and serve immediately.


Video Demonstration of Roasted Vegetable Stuffed Baguette

Cherry Chicken Lettuce Wraps in Peanut Cherry Sauce


I have been on an Asian fusion kick lately. I think it started when I attended a Thai cooking class several weeks ago. We made salad rolls, Tom Kha soup, and pad thai that was absolutely heavenly. I had used many of the ingredients before, but it’s always fun to experience new flavors and learn new ways to incorporate old ones. Yes, even this chef still has a few things to learn.

My first attempt was a chicken based lettuce wrap. The lettuce cups are my favorite dish at PF Changs, although it’s been quite some time since I’ve been there. They are easy to make and very calorie friendly. So I looked up some recipes on the web for inspiration and got to work.

The result was okay, but it was missing something. I started sifting through my pantry, fridge and mental grocery store inventory. There was a jar of Trader Joe’s dark morello cherries in my fridge from a previous experiment and I thought “Oh that might be interesting!”

So I chopped up some cherries, combined them with fresh cool mint, scallions, shredded chicken, crisp vegetables, and some other flavorings. The result was amazing. I was definitely on to something! Next, I decided to put a twist on the peanut sauce by using the juice from the cherries instead of the traditional water or broth that most recipes call for. I also added a little spice to the sauce, because what is Asian food without a little heat?

The result was amazing. This dish has become one of my family’s favorites. There is a lot of prep work, but it cooks quickly and easily, making it a true weeknight winner.

My next Asian fusion inspiration? I am currently working on an Asian inspired spaghetti and meatballs that is turning out quite fabulous. Stay tuned!

Recipe of the Week


Cherry Chicken Lettuce Wraps in Peanut Cherry Sauce



  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 6 scallions, trimmed, halved lengthwise and diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lb. raw boneless, skinless chicken, cooked and shredded
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tsp shredded ginger root
  • 2 tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 cup dark morello cherries, minced
  • 2 persian cucumbers, cut into thin strips
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into thin strips
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 head of butter lettuce, washed and leaves separated


  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 shallot finely minced
  • 1/3 cup cherry juice (from the jar of morello cherries)
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/8 tsp red chili pepper flakes


Cook the rice in the water according to package directions.

Heat the sesame oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions and garlic and cook until the shallots are slightly browned. Add the chicken, mint, ginger, soy sauce, sriracha, and cherries. Cook for 1-2 minutes to allow the ingredients to warm up and the flavors to combine. Add the cucumbers, carrots and cilantro. Let cook for just 1 minutes to allow the ingredients to warm slightly and remove from heat quickly.

Heat the sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until the shallot is lightly browned. Add the remaining ingredients, whisking to combine, and continue cooking until it is creamy and thick.

Serving Suggestion:
In each leaf of lettuce, place a little of the cooked rice running along the rib of the leaf. Top with a little of the filling then drizzle with the sauce. Fold the edges of the leaf over – like a burrito – and enjoy!

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

For tender, delicious shredded chicken, simply boil the chicken breast in water for about 20 minutes. Remove the cooked chicken from the water, let cool so that you can handle it then shred it with 2 forks.
Nutritional Information: Calories 308.2, Total Fat 8.1g, Cholesterol 27.7mg, Sodium 587.8mg, Total Carbs 43.2g, Dietary Fiber 4.4g, Protein 18.9g

Turkey Keftede Burgers and Parmesan Zucchini Fries


I love zucchini.

There, I’ve said it. Let the great zucchini debate begin.

I am fully aware of the dreadful reputation this tender summer vegetable has in some circles. I include my sister in that group, she who, when we were kids, would hide her zucchini under the rim of her dinner plate or at the bottom of her glass of milk.

But I, being the oddball that I am, really do love it. It’s one of the staples in my summer vegetable garden. In French, zucchini is called “courgette”. Who couldn’t love a vegetable with a beautiful name like that?

I love taking the giant zucchini flowers and stuffing them with goat cheese and herbs. The flowers have a slightly peppery taste, and, when stuffed then rolled in olive oil and baked, they are a little bite of heaven.

Baby zucchini, however, are my favorite because they are so versatile. I love grilling them up with other fresh veggies like eggplant, onions, garlic, squash and tomatoes for a grilled caponata that is out of this world. I love them sauteed and tossed with some pasta, sundried tomatoes, herbs and parmesan cheese. One of my all-time favorites, though, is a gratin-like dish my mom made when I was a kid that consists of layers of zucchini, squash, tomatoes, onion and garlic topped with crispy  bread crumbs and parmesan cheese then baked.

Only when my garden is in over-drive do my zucchini make it to larger proportions. These larger zucchini are seedier and tougher then their baby selves so don’t fare as well as the star of the dinner show. Instead, they are better as a shredded supporting player, like in my Turkey Keftede Burgers featured below.

Keftedes are a traditional Greek meatball that starts with sauteed onion, shredded zucchini, and garlic then mixed with mint, bulgar and ground lamb, formed into balls and fried in olive oil. They are delicious but, alas, high in fat. I have taken all of the flavors of Keftedes and substituted a lean ground turkey then formed them into burger patties and grilled for a delicious, lowfat alternative. The shredded zucchini in these burgers is subtle, adding a moistness to the patties without overpowering it. You won’t even know it’s there.

By the way, these burgers are especially good topped with Tzatziki, a traditional Greek salad made from cucumbers, yogurt and mint.

I like to serve these burgers with a much more in your face zucchini dish: Parmesan Zucchini Fries. I seed the zucchini, cut it into french-fry-like sticks, toss them in egg white, then toss them with a mixture of panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese and bake them. They come out golden, crispy and absolutely delicious.

So what are you waiting for? Go get some zucchini and start experimenting today!

Recipes of the Week

Turkey Keftede Burgers


  • 1/2 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup bulgar
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1 lb. raw lean ground turkey

Heat a skillet over medium heat, coat lightly with nonstick olive oil cooking spray. Add the onion then mix in the salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is transparent. Add the zucchini and garlic and continue cooking until the onion browns and caramelizes. Mix in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen the crusty bits at the bottom of the pan. Let cook just a bit longer until the wine has reduced by at least half. Remove from heat and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the mint, bulgar, egg white and turkey. Mix in the onion-zucchini saute mixture once cooled. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the meat mixture to firm up.

Form the meat mixture into 6 patties of equal size. Grill on a propane grill for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: Makes 6 burger patties

I love to serve these stuffed into a whole wheat pita pocket and topped with a dollop of Tzatziki (recipe below). Neither are included in the nutritional breakdown of this recipe.

Nutritional Information: Calories 152.2, Total Fat 5.5g, Cholesterol 53.3mg, Sodium 141.1mg, Total Carbs 7.8g, Dietary Fiber 1.9g, Protein 16.6g



  • 3/4 cup nonfat, plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped chopped fresh mint
  • 1 large cucumber, scored and seeded
  • 1/4 tsp coarse sea salt

Whisk together the yogurt, olive oil, and lemon juice. Stir in the garlic, mint, cucumber and sea salt. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: Makes 6 servings of about 3 tbsp each

Nutritional Information: Calories 68.6, Total Fat 4.7g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 83.3mg, Total Carbs 3.4g, Dietary Fiber 0.4g, Protein 3.1g

Parmesan Zucchini Fries


  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 1/4 cup panko style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large baby zucchini, seeded and cut into sticks about 3/4″ thick

Preheat the oven to 425.

Toss the zucchini sticks with the egg white then toss with breadcrumbs, cheese and pepper. Spread onto a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn each of the fries over then bake for another 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings

Nutritional Information: Calories 46.1, Total Fat 2.1g, Cholesterol 4.9mg, Sodium 138.9mg, Total Carbs 2.8g, Dietary Fiber 0.2g, Protein 4.1g

Buffalo Style Turkey Burgers and Southwestern Roasted Potato Salad

What a week it’s been!
This past weekend, I moved — again — after being served notice that the place I had just moved into in March had been sold. The complicating factor to this move, though, is my garden, a paradise of fruitful vegetables that are just starting to produce. So what did I do? I decided to take it with me.
Sunday morning, a group of dedicated friends and family gathered at my old house and we began to gently but furiously dig out each and every plant, plop it in a pot, load it into the back of a truck, drive to the new house (only a couple miles away), and plant the precious bounty into its new home. We were quite the sight, parading down a very trendy Portland street with 7 foot tall stalks of corn, bushy tomatoes, and zucchini plants as wide as my kitchen table streaming from the back of the trucks and cars.
But we did it. So now I water and trim back the dead leaves and hope that all of that work will bear some fruit. For this is nothing better than a home-grown tomato, fresh from the garden.
Recipes of the Week

Buffalo Style Turkey Burgers


  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 2 stalks celery, minced
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 tbsp panko bread crumbs

Combine all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the mixture to firm up. Form into 6 patties of equal size. Grill on a propane grill on low for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Serve on a low-calorie bun with arugula and 1 tbsp of reduced-fat blue cheese dressing (not included in the nutritional breakdown).

Pay close attention to the nutritional labels on hamburger buns as some brands have more than 300 calories in just one bun. Generally, the bigger bun, the higher the calorie count. For a really low-cal alternative, try using a sandwich thin or, my favorite for this recipe, a whole wheat sourdough roll.

Serving Size: Makes 6 burger patties
Nutritional Information: Calories 124.4, Total Fat 5.4g, Cholesterol 66.6mg, Sodium 361.5mg, Total Carbs 4.0g, Dietary Fiber 0.8g, Protein 16.4g
Southwestern Roasted Potato Salad


  • 1 lb. baby red potatoes, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 red chile peppers
  • 1 whole ear fresh corn, husked
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp celery seed

Preheat oven to 425. Toss the potatoes with 1 tbsp of the olive oil. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lightly sprayed with non-stick olive oil cooking spray. In the space remaining on the sheet, lay out the peppers and ear of corn. Bake for 30 minutes, turning the potatoes, peppers and ear of corn half way through.

Remove from the oven and immediately plunge the peppers into an ice bath to cool. Once cooled, peel off the skin, gently slice open, and remove the seeds and stems from the peppers. Dice and add to a mixing bowl. Cut the corn from the ear and add to the bowl then mix in the cooled potatoes, tomatoes and cilantro.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 tbsp of olive oil, vinegar, mustard, honey, cumin, coriander and celery seed. Toss with the potato mixture then refrigerate for 20-30 minutes before serving.

Serving Size: Makes 4 servings about 3/4 cup each

Nutritional Information: Calories 223.6, Total Fat 11.1g, Cholesterol 0.0mg, Sodium 69.5, Total Carbs 29.3g, Dietary Fiber 2.9g, Protein 3.8g