08 April 2011

When I did my meal planning for April, I was looking for a slow cooker recipe that used ground turkey, because I had a bunch of that in the freezer that I needed to use. I found a recipe for Crock Pot Pizza Turkey Meatloaf. I was intrigued. As I read through it, I thought that pizza and meatloaf was kind of a weird combination, and what would I serve it with? Then the thought occurred to me to make the loaf into hamburger-sized patties instead to make pizza burgers. So I tweaked the recipe a bit and here is what I came up with.

Slow Cooker Pizza Turkey Burgers

24 slices pepperoni, divided
1 lb. lean ground turkey
½ cup marinara or pizza sauce, divided
½ cup dry breadcrumbs
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
1 large egg
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp salt
½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 hamburger buns

Dice 12 slices of the pepperoni, leaving the other 12 in slices. In a large bowl, combine the diced pepperoni, turkey, ¼ cup of the marinara sauce, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, oregano and salt. Form into 4 patties and place in the bottom of a 6 quart oval slow cooker. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours, or until they reach 165°.

Using a turkey baster, remove any liquid that has accumulated in the slow cooker. Top each turkey patty with 1 tbsp marinara sauce, 3 slices of pepperoni, and 2 tbsp cheese. Cover and cook another 5 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Serve on hamburger buns.

Makes 4 servings.

When I first told Jim about this recipe, he didn't seem too excited. He told me that he had something called Pizza Burgers in his elementary school cafeteria and that they were, to put it nicely, less than appetizing. That got me a little worried that this experiment was going to be a flop. He also admitted to me (after we ate and he loved it) that he wasn't too sure about it as it was cooking all day.

But, I am proud to announce, it was a huge hit. Jim loved these burgers. When he walked into the dining room and saw it all plated up, he said, "Wow, that looks beautiful! It doesn't look anything like the ones from the school cafeteria!" Whew!

When I was thinking about what to serve with these, I thought of how pizza is usually served with breadsticks dipped in pizza sauce. So I took frozen steak fries and "Italian-ed" them up and we dipped them in the marinara sauce. This meal is what would happen if a hamburger dinner and a pizza dinner got together and had a baby!

The burgers getting all cozy in the slow cooker. Don't be alarmed if your burgers look a little pinkish when they're done. The marinara sauce will do that. If they are only pink in the middle, they probably are not done yet, but if they are a uniform kind of pinkish, it's probably just from the marinara sauce.

I cooked these on low, but I think next time I will cook them on high so they get a little bit crusty around the edges like a good burger does.

Here's how I made the fries. I cooked one 28 oz. package of frozen steak fries as directed on the package. Then when they were done, but still warm, I brushed them with a mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, dried oregano, and salt. I think next time I will use more oregano.

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