Chicken Parm Sliders

I have been a burger-like mood lately. I mean way more than usual. The delicious burger I shared last week is great – but obviously, like I said, more of a “cheat day” type meal.

Lucky for you, this week’s post is still a between-the-buns offering, but is more on the healthy side. Best news? Perfect for a game day gathering – which is majorly important now that football is upon us (Woo hoo!). These savory sliders are easy to prep ahead of time, pop in the oven and during a time out, dress them up and plate them!

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I had some ground chicken to use and I can only imagine your surprise that it didn’t go towards buffalo something or other. Instead, I added some sautéed onions and marinara sauce that keep the patties from drying out while cooking. I’ve done this as a dinner for two with some crispy zucchini chips as a side, and have also done a big batch for a larger gathering – easy to customize for any size group!

Chicken Parm Sliders (Makes 8 sliders / 5 WW points per slider)

2 tsp. olive oil

3/4 cup yellow onion, chopped.

2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

2 tsp. minced garlic

1 pound ground chicken (I usually opt for ground chicken breast – leaner)

1/2 cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan

1 Tbsp. bread crumbs (I use whole wheat crumbs if possible)

1 cup Prego Light Smart sauce, divided

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

8 whole wheat slider buns

1/2 cup reduced-fat mozzarella, shredded

Fresh basil leaves for topping

Spray butter (I use “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” spray)

Preheat oven to 375.

Heat olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and Italian seasoning and saute for 3-5 minutes until onions are softened.

In a medium bowl, add ground chicken, half of the Prego sauce, grated parmesan, sautéed onions, bread crumbs, salt and peppers. Mix together by hand until ingredients are dispersed evenly. Form into 8 small patties. Line a plate with wax paper and add patties. Cover and chill at least 20 minutes to ensure binding.

When you’re ready to cook, remove patties. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and cook at 375 for 15 minutes. Flip and cook another 10-15 minutes until cooked through. Remove patties from the oven.

Add a cooked patty to the bottom half of each slider bun. (I also spray the top halves and put them in next to the patties to let them toast a little.)Top with about 1 Tbsp. of shredded mozzarella. Add 1 Tbsp. Prego sauce from the remaining 1/2 cup. Return to oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted slightly. Top with a basil leaf and bun.

Then, well, you know what to do…

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Have a great weekend y’all!

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Whiskey-Glazed Cheeseburger

Right now Annie is stuck in my head. You know, how she’s always excited about tomorrow?

Well friends, I am BEYOND excited for tomorrow. Because tomorrow is my Christmas. That’s right – IT’S COLLEGE GAME DAY!

In order to celebrate this day accordingly, we’re going with a bit of a cheat meal. I know, I know – normally I give you delicacies that are cheating…without cheating. But I couldn’t resist. It was so delicious and I have been thinking about it since I made it. So let’s get down to it…

The burger itself is stuffed with blue cheese. I’ve thrown crumbles in the meat before, but this way there’s just a yummy, salty, cheesy center. Delicious by itself.

But then we add the whiskey glaze. I am not even a huge fan of whiskey, but it adds a ton of flavor – like a boozy, smoky barbecue sauce.

Then, you add the cheese. I just threw a slice on there because it just made life simpler and this burger was already rather ambitious for me. Because then you add the crispy onions. Yeah, I went there.

Oh, and I have an obsession with pretzel buns. I could definitely save a ton of WW points, and dare I say make this less of a cheat meal – but I was already committed. Something to share with my readers who really want to make a splash at their football watch party or Labor Day cookout this weekend! So, I give you the Whiskey-Glazed Cheeseburger – best paired with an ice cold beer…

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Whiskey-Glazed Cheeseburger (Serves 4 – let’s not even discuss points right now)

Inspired by and adapted from HalfBakedHarvest – original recipe here.

For the Burger…

1 pound Laura’s Lean Ground Beef (I went 92% lean this time around)

4 Tbsp. reduced-fat blue cheese crumbles

1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. Seasoned salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 slices Kraft singles (I used the 2% milk ones)

Mix together beef with Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Divide into 4 equal portions and make a well in the center of each. Add 1 Tbsp. of blue cheese in the well and form the burger around it, enclosing the cheese in the center of the burger.

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When you’re ready to cook – fire up the grill to medium-high and cook 7-10 minutes on each side until cooked through.

For the Crispy Onions…

1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced

1/3 cup skim milk

4 Tbsp. white whole-wheat flour

Pinch cayenne pepper, garlic salt and black pepper.

2 tsp. vegetable oil

Add onion slices to milk and soak 10-20 minutes. Add flour and seasonings to large ziploc bag. Remove onion slices, let excess milk drip off, and add to ziploc bag. Toss to coat onions.

Heat oil in a medium skillet. Add onions and saute 3-4 minutes, flip and cook another 3 minutes until both sides are crispy. Keep warm in oven if needed.

For the Whiskey Glaze

1/4 cup whiskey (I used Jack Daniels – representing Tennessee y’all!)

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. honey

1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Whisk ingredients together in a small saucepan, bring to a boil. Reduce and let simmer 5-7 minutes until thickened. Keep warm.

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Assembly

Get your burger bun – I found pretzel buns at our local grocery store and deem them winners!

Add your burgers to the center of the bun – which may be slightly larger than the burger (no complaints here!). Spoon glaze evenly over the top of each burger. It’s okay if it seems like there’s a lot – it will run down and start soaking into the bread.

Then add your cheese slices. Then top with the crispy onions. Add the top half of your bun and prepare to say “Mmmmm” a lot. The first 2 bites had me amazed that this creation just came from my kitchen.

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And then I got to the center.

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Goodness. I may be making this again this weekend to celebrate a hopeful victory for my team(s). If you give this a try – let me know what you think and if you modified it all, I love hearing how people make recipes their own!

Happy Labor Day weekend y’all – and happy beginning of COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON!