Showing posts with label Ground Turkey. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ground Turkey. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Make an 8-Napkin Patty Melt (with advice from Mandy Patinkin) via Cleo Coyle

Whenever I make a patty melt, I think of Mandy Patinkin (one of my favorite actors) and a scene from his television show Dead Like Me, in which he lays down the culinary law for putting one together. 

If you're curious (or would simply like 2 minutes and 21 seconds of entertainment), watch the YouTube clip below. In the scene, Mandy plays a short order cook at one of the show's standard settings: Der Waffle House

(Der clip includes adult language.) 

Whether you melt der cheese on der patty or on der bread, patty melts are absolutely delicious, and even better than burgers (in my opinion, anyway). 

The traditional version is made with juicy ground beef, but you can certainly mix it up with ground turkey or chicken. The only drawback to making these instead of burgers is an extra step or two in the process, which is why I make them extra-large—eight big ounces per patty melt. No, I do not eat the whole eight-ounce sandwich myself, and that's the point.

Cut this mondo patty melt in half, and you’ve got dinner for two—a four-ounce serving each. Cook two of these big boys, and you’ve got dinner for four. 

Less sandwiches = less work. 

And less work always helps me eat with joy...

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle, patty melt
maven, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cleo Coyle’s 
Patty Melt 

The 5-Napkin Burger is a real-life eatery here in New York City, which is what inspired my 8-Napkin Patty Melt. Why eight napkins? One napkin for every ounce of meat, of course. :)

My readers might remember this sandwich from a scene in my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Holiday Buzz

Coffee hunter Matteo Allegro, weary of the healthy but tasteless appetizers served at a string of Manhattan holiday parties, ventures into the December night to bring back a more satisfying snackthis 8-napkin patty melt. 

Of course, a patty melt this large is made for sharing, and Matt entices his partner in the coffee business, Clare Cosi, to share it with him while she shares the facts (and a cogent theory) behind the murder of a part-time employee. 

To see more recipes from the book, click here.

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A few tips for the
perfect patty melt…

* Be patient with grilling the onions. Cook them long enough to caramelize and you’ll have a much tastier sandwich.

* Use large slices of bread and shape the patty long in order to fit the bread.

* Don’t make the patty or bread slices too thick, about an inch. 

* Once your ingredients are ready (the onions caramelized; the burger cooked), build the entire sandwich on a spatula. This will allow you as much time as you need to fix the ingredients just right. Then you can move the spatula to the hot pan, and slip the entire sandwich into the bubbling butter in one quick move.

* To prevent your grilled onions from falling out of the sandwich, follow the "building" instructions in the recipe (you'll see it below). The trick is with the placement of the cheese.

* Use the spatula to push down on the sandwich during cooking; a simple way to make a delicious “pressed sandwich” without a sandwich press. 

Cleo Coyle's 8-Napkin
Patty Melt Recipe

Makes two 8-ounce Patty Melts (for four servings) 


1 large yellow onion 

vegetable oil and butter

4 large slices of bread (see my note below*)

16 ounces (1 pound) ground beef

8 slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese 

Kosher or sea salt

*A note on the bread: A patty melt this big requires large (but not overly thick) slices of bread. Fresh crusty Italian or rye bread from a rustic loaf will make a truly amazing patty melt. If using pre-packaged bread, go for the super-sized sandwich-style and not the standard slices. 


Step 1: Cook the onion – Peel and chop the large yellow onion. Place a pan over low heat, melt a bit of butter, add a splash of oil, and stir in the onions. Slowly cook the onions, stirring often, until they are caramelized (soft, sweet, and dark golden brown), about fifteen minutes. Set the cooked onions aside.

Step 2: Form and cook the patty
The shape of the ground meat patties should fit the bread that you're using, so shape the meat accordingly. Each patty should be 8-ounces in weight and about 1-inch in thickness (or a little less). Cook the patties over medium-high heat, three to four minutes per side. For best results, try to flip the patties only once. When the patties are cooked through, set aside. 

Step 3: Build your sandwich – Start by b
uttering two slices of the bread...

- Place one slice on a spatula, buttered side down
- Lay two thin slices of cheese on the bread. 
- Place the cooked ground meat patty onto the cheese. 
- Place a third slice of cheese over the patty.
- Add half the caramelized onions. 
- A final slice of cheese should cover the onions (when it melts this last slice will help to hold the savory sweet onions inside the sandwich). 
- Finally, top the patty melt with a slice of buttered bread, but this time you want the buttered side up. 

Step 4: Grill and press – Heat a skillet and add a bit of butter. When the butter begins to bubble, use your spatula to transfer the fully-built sandwich to the hot pan. From this point on, treat the patty melt as if it were a grilled cheese sandwich...

Toast one side for three to four minutes and then flip. After flipping, press down hard on the sandwich with your spatula. Pressing the patty melt as it cooks will help the parts of the sandwich fuse together. Grill for three or four more minutes, until the cheese is completely melted. (Make the 2nd sandwich exactly the same way.)

Serve hot! A dill pickle is a thing of beauty with a patty melt. The bright tartness of the pickle (not to mention the happy, green color) nicely complements the rich unctuousness of the sandwich. Cole slaw, French fries, or potato chips are tasty sides, too. However you serve it, I certainly hope you will...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
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Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.  


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Slim Sloppy Joes by Peg Cochran

My husband generally prefers food that is quick, uncomplicated and easy to eat. (And he has to have mint jelly with his lamb--go figure!) This recipe for Skinny Sloppy Joes fits the bill--without too big a caloric hit. This is a super fast meal that is likely to be a favorite with kids as well. Perfect for the night you'll be dying Easter eggs and/or making up those Easter baskets and don't have time to fuss at the stove!

If you must have beef in your sloppy joes, you can substitute lean ground beef for the turkey.

Oddly enough, the town where I come from in NJ sells a sandwich called the Sloppy Joe (a few surrounding towns sell them as well) but it's nothing like the standard recipe. It's three pieces of rye bread, ham or turkey--your pick, cole slaw and homemade Russian dressing. They are to die for! I'll post that recipe another time!

Skinny Sloppy Joes

1.25 lbs lean ground turkey (1 package)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
2 cans (8 ounces each) tomato sauce
2/3 cup corn kernels
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar or Splenda
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Hot sauce to taste
Whole-wheat hamburger buns

Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey and break into crumbles. Cook until no longer pink. Remove turkey from skillet and drain any liquid.

In the same skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 minutes.

Return the turkey to the skillet and stir in the remaining ingredients (except for hot sauce and buns). Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Add hot sauce to taste.

Serve on whole-wheat hamburger buns with the toppings of your choice.


Chopped onion
Pickle slices
Low-fat grated cheese
Sliced olives
Tomato slices
Banana peppers
Jalapenos (my favorite!)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pass the Purple Poultry, Please!

Recently Curt and I went out with some friends. During dinner I told them about this blog, and Nancy—who has produced her own cookbook—shared a super easy recipe with me that she suggested I include here at Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen. It was so simple, she insisted, that I didn’t even need to write anything down.

She was right. It is ridiculously simple. So simple you’ll be able to go shopping for this without a list. I came home and made this the following week. And it was just as delicious as Nancy claimed it would be. I’ve named it the “purple poultry” because there was one tiny detail Nancy left out, and that was that dinner comes out purple ;-)

Here it is, in plenty of time to kitchen-test before Thanksgiving:

Super-moist Turkey

1 Whole Turkey – gizzards, etc. removed
½ bottle red wine (I used Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 can beer
1 can pop (or for you non-Chicagoans – “soda”)
1 stick of butter

Place turkey in roasting pan with the breast facing down. Add all ingredients. Cover tightly with foil and bake (number of hours varies according to size of turkey.)
My turkey was 12 pounds and I baked it at 350 for 2 hours. At the 2 hour mark, it was almost done, so I turned it over and let it brown for about 25 minutes. I served a perfectly moist, and delicious.

This turkey came with a gravy packet which I heated in a saucepan. I added the liver and about 2 cups of the leftover wine/beer/pop liquid and it made for an absolutely fabulous gravy. And lots of it. There was plenty of liquid left. I didn’t have any other use for it this time, but I’m open to suggestions for next time.

Very moist, very tasty turkey. But it’s purple, not brown. You know how we’re not supposed to have too much of the fatty skin? Well, make this turkey and that temptation will fall away ;-)

Norman Rockwell might never have been inspired to paint "Freedom from Want" if Grandma had been serving this bird, but I enjoyed it and I’ll make it again.
Have fun!


My White House Chef Mystery series includes State of the Onion, Hail to the Chef, and Eggsecutive Orders (coming in January). All from Berkley Prime Crime.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Guest Blogger: Author Annette Blair - Gluten Free Turkey Chili

Please welcome our guest blogger: nationally bestselling author Annette Blair! Annette's new mystery, LARCENY AND LACE, premiered at #6 on Barnes & Noble’s mass market mystery list (#50 on the list that included all genres), and #15 on Bookscan’s Mystery list! Congrats to Annette on her fantastic showing out of the gate for this second title in her new Vintage Magic Mystery series. ~Cleo Coyle

And now, here's Annette...

Anyone who knows me is probably laughing because I’m daring to post here at Mystery Lovers Kitchen. When we were building our place, a co-worker asked if I was having a sunroom put in where the kitchen should be. Another said, “Why don’t you get one of those cardboard stove samples for that spot and save some money?”

Okay, so the nearby deli named a sandwich after us. Now don’t get me wrong, I was a domestic diva once. I kept a garden. I pickled things! I made tomato sauce from home grown tomatoes, cooked for umpteen guests on holidays. I baked and decorated wedding cakes and made my children’s clothes. I was a bodacious super mom.

But one day, they went to college and I became a prep school Development Director. I raised millions of dollars, traveled the country, and worked sixty hour weeks. No time to cook. When I wasn’t raising money, I was writing. No wonder local restaurants gave us Christmas presents.

I became a full time writer six years ago, but the domestic goddess never returned. My sister cleans my house. My son does the real cooking while I stay in my “cave” writing a buffet of stories. Besides single title paranormal romantic comedies for Berkley Sensations, I now write cozy Vintage Magic Mysteries for Berkley Prime Crime. I have to admit that when I was offered this series, my agent wondered if I had the knowledge of sewing and vintage fashions necessary to pull it off, but I surprised her with my secret past.

Madeira Cutler, my heroine, is a fashionista, a New York dress designer who, in A VEILED DECEPTION, came home to Mystic, Connecticut to plan her sister’s wedding. Then the jezebel trying to steal the groom was murdered. To save her sister, the prime suspect, Madeira turned sleuth and never looked back.

She stayed in Mystic and owns a vintage dress shop, now, in an old morgue cum funeral chapel carriage house, a copy of one that exists—my husband and I rented it for years. Like Maddie, we found caskets and such, though we never found a ghost like Dante Underhill, a former undertaker, who can’t seem to leave Mad’s building.

From her late mother, a psychic witch, our sleuth inherited at least one mystic gift, maybe more. Madeira can read vintage clothes. She sees snippets of things that happened when people were wearing the clothes, events that can help her solve crimes, or turn her in wrong directions. Maddie also has a problem: Detective Lytton Werner. In third grade, he mocked her fashion sense, so she called him Little Wiener, shouted it, actually, in a full cafeteria. The name stuck. This is the man she has to contend with, cajole, scam, and psych out . . . whatever it takes a tricky, trendy sleuth, who knows more than she should, to get her point across and the perps in jail.

In LARCENY AND LACE, Werner “detains” Madeira at the police station, until her alibi is confirmed. She talks him into letting her spend her incarceration in his office eating Mexican take out (hey, they say we should write what we know), while she throws a lot of "what ifs" at him regarding the case. It’s one of several turning points in their relationship.

In honor of Maddie and the Wiener’s Mexican truce, aided by two six packs of Dos Equis, I’m sharing a wonderful recipe for gluten free Chili that my son developed. Frankly, it’s the best Chili I’ve ever tasted.

Gluten Free Turkey Chili
Makes approximately 15 servings

2 lbs of ground turkey
1 ginormous chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, diced
½ cup chili powder
1 ¼ tablespoon ground cumin
3 16 oz cans of stewed tomatoes
1 ¼ cup catsup
½ cup of brown sugar
½ cup of molasses
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ tablespoon dry mustard
2 26 oz cans kidney beans
2 26 oz cans pinto beans

1. In a large kettle or Dutch oven, cook the ground turkey over medium heat with the onion, garlic, chili powder, and cumin.

2. When the meat is cooked and the onion is transparent, stir in the stewed tomatoes, molasses, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and mustard. Bring to a boil then simmer on low for half an hour, stirring occasionally.

3. Drain off half the liquid from the canned beans before adding them to the sauce. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Simmer longer according to taste and consistency.

4. Serve in soup bowls and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Goes well with a bowl of gluten free nachos, with or without your choice of dips. Enjoy.

If you'd like to learn more about Annette Blair and the many wonderful books she's written, visit her Web site by clicking here.

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