Dinners, Sandwiches

Recipe­—Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Greens

Italian Sausage Burgers with Garlicky Greens

I love a big thick juicy homemade beef burger just as much as any one else, but I also love coming up with tasty alternatives to the all American meal. When I saw a recipe for an Italian sausage burger on Huffington Post I knew I had to try it. I love the flavor of Italian sausage and like Popeye I love my greens. So I made my own little tweaks and made these fantastic Italian sausage burgers. They were awesome! They are definitely rich, but oh so tasty.

1 lb bulk Italian sausage, formed into 4 thin patties
4 slices of provolone cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic, minced
1 bunch chard, kale, or spinach, inner stalks stripped out and greens chopped
1/4 c pesto
1/4 c mayonnaise
4 ciabatta rolls, cut in half


  • Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Add the sausage patties and cook until browned on the bottom, about 5–7 minutes.
  • Flip the patties and cook on the other side for an additional 5–7 minutes or until cooked all the way through. (Top each patty with a slice of provolone during the last couple of minutes.)
  • While the sausage patties are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the garlic and chopped greens.
  • Cook until the greens are wilted and tender and season with salt.
  • Place the ciabatta rolls in the oven to lightly toast and heat through.
  • In a small bowl mix together the pesto and mayonnaise.
  • Spread the cut side of each roll with the pesto mayonnaise.
  • Place the cooked patty on the bottom bun and top with cooked greens and top bun.

Recipe adapted from Huffington Post.

Side Dishes

Recipe—Utica Greens (Cooked Escarole)

Note: This picture does not do this dish justice! This should actually be called awesome escarole!

I recently received a bundle of escarole in my organic produce delivery and wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. After doing some research I found that on the West Coast it is commonly used in salads but on the East Coast it is more commonly cooked, Utica style. You can make this recipe with lots of other cooked greens as well. Such as radicchio, kale, and chard. This was a really great way to enjoy the cooked greens and get away from just sautéing them. All the great flavors came together nicely and created a really elegant, delicious, and complex side dish. Definitely a crowd pleaser!

1 large head escarole, cleaned and chopped into large pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 c prosciutto, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
1/2 c chicken broth
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
salt to taste
1/2 c breadcrumbs
1/4 c parmesan, grated


  • Bring a large pot of water to boil.
  • Add the escarole and cook for 5–6 minutes until wilted.
  • While the escarole is cooking heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high.
  • Add the prosciutto and garlic and cook for 2–3 minutes making sure not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the bell peppers and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  • Drain the escarole when it is done and add it to the sauté pan along with the chicken broth, red peppers, and salt.
  • Gradually stir in the majority of the breadcrumbs and cheese reserving a little bit to sprinkle on top.
  • Transfer the cooked escarole mixture to a small casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining breadcrumbs and cheese.
  • Finish off under the broiler for 4–5 minutes.
Side Dishes

Recipe—Sautéed Dandelions

If you follow me on Facebook then you may have seen that I recently signed up for organic produce delivery. It is fabulous! Every other week a box of fresh organic produce, primarily from local farmers, is delivered to my doorstep. I get 13–15 lbs of assorted fruits and vegetables. I though this would be a fun way to start trying some new things.

In this week’s box I got a bunch of red dandelions. Yes, you read that right, dandelions, the very same green that you may consider to be an eye sore in your lawn. I had never known that this nuisance of a weed was edible. Not such a nuisance anymore is it?

According to the USDA dandelion greens rank fourth in leafy greens for overall nutritional value. They are extremely high in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as potassium, iron, and calcium. There is more iron in dandelions than spinach and more cancer fighting beta-carotene than broccoli or carrots. Dandelions have actually been cultivated for medicinal purposes for centuries. It is know to be used as a treatment for liver diseases since it helps to detoxify the body and anemia since it is so high in iron. As if that isn’t reason enough to try this leafy green it also aids in weight loss! Dandelions help to speed up your metabolism and reduce water weight.

So now that we know how fabulous they are for you what on earth do we do with them!?!? Apparently dandelions are popular as an addition to a fresh salad or soup, can be used to make a tea, and are frequently cooked as a side dish. I opted for the latter. The bunch that I recevied was huge. I never knew that they could grow to be so big. The sautéed dandelions were very similar to cooked spinach or red chard with an overlying bitter tinge. I personally love cooked spinach so I liked the dandelions. However, I will say my husband and son were not fans. I’m glad I tried them and can now say I have served my family weeds for dinner. Next time I will probably use them as a veggie in a frittata or omelet rather than on it’s own as a side dish.

Note: While the dandelions that grow in your yard may be edible, they are probably not safe for consumption. Anything that gets put on your grass or soil has to be safe for eating if you are going to harvest them. Unless your yard has been organically cared for over the past 3–4 years your dandelions are not safe to consume. Dandelions safe for consumptions can be found at some local grocery stores and possibly at your local farmer’s markets. 

3–4 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1 bunch of dandelion greens
salt and pepper
half a lemon


  • Thoroughly wash and drain your dandelions.
  • Roughly chop the leafy greens.
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic.
  • Cook garlic until soft.
  • Add the chopped dandelions to the oil and toss to coat.
  • Sauté the dandelions until tender, about 10 minutes or so.
  • Season with salt and pepper and squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the greens.