Guest Chick Monday with Romance Author, Ava Milone!

Hey everyone, please join us in Ava’s kitchen where she shows us how to make something truly delicious AND healthy!  You can visit with her anytime right here. 🙂 

Ava, Thank you for sharing with us how you stay so trim and beautiful–inside and out!

Good morning, Chicks! Thanks for having me as a guest blogger today.

My job as the cook in our house is to create healthy, simple meals that serve the nutritional needs of a competitive athlete AND a recreational couch potato.

Mr. Ava is a mountain bike racer who can burn 4000 calories on a single training ride and can literally eat anything he wants, pretty much any time he wants. For me, unless I’ve got a specific event that I’m targeting, most of my time is spent behind my desk, with an hour of exercise squeezed in a few times a week. We don’t have the same nutritional needs, so I have to create meals that serve both of us, just with different portions.
I’m a serious multi-tasker, so I like to make simple meals with little to no measuring, and NO BABYSITTING. One of my go-to dinners is Turkey Burgers with Cottage Fries – easily adaptable to whatever spices you have on hand and probably less than two bucks per serving.

Here’s what you need:

 20 oz ground turkey
1/3 c panko (Japanese bread flakes)
5 medium potatoes, washed, skin on (1 potato per person + extra for later)
1 medium carrot, washed, finely grated
 Extra virgin olive oil
 Worstershire sauce

Whatever spices make you happy – I like Emeril’s Original Essence, Garlic Powder and Zatarain’s Big & Zesty Creole Seasoning. Mix it up, depending on what you have on hand.

 Sliced cheddar cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 400º. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Also, preheat grill (medium setting if you use an indoor grill like I do).

Quarter potatoes length-wise, then halve quarters (each potato gives you 8 wedges). Place in a large bowl, drizzle with olive oil and liberally sprinkle with seasonings (Creole in this instance). Toss to coat. Arrange seasoned potato wedges in a single layer, skin side down. Bake for 25 minutes at 400º.
With a wooden spoon (or your hands), mix ground turkey in a large bowl with 1/3 cup panko, grated carrot, and a splash of Worstershire sauce. Liberally sprinkle with garlic powder and Emeril’s Essence.
**Grated carrot adds a little extra layer of flavor and the nutritional bonus of Vitamin A. Experiment a bit and add zucchini, onion, sprouts, or even the tiny broccoli florets (no stalk). Just remember, these will add moisture to your meat mixture, so add extra bread flakes if you need to, to keep your burgers from falling apart.**
Form the meat into a loaf and turn over onto a cutting board. Cut in half, and half again, form into patties. Place on preheated grill and cook through (about 8 minutes for mine). If you’re in the mood, place sliced cheese on top of the burgers and cook for an additional minute of so (just to melt – and don’t close the lid again on your indoor grill! That would be a mess!)
We use sandwich thins instead of traditional burger buns. Sometimes, I’ll lightly toast them, butter and sprinkle with garlic. Tonight we went for Dawson’s Awesome Sauce and plain ol’ ketchup and mustard.
This meal took 30 minutes from start to finish, with plenty of built-in clean up time.
Another bonus – a large batch of cottage fries yields plenty to keep in the fridge for a quick, portable, healthy afternoon snack.
Sometimes, simple is better, especially if you’re short on time or motivation to be in the kitchen. Hope you enjoy!

15 thoughts on “Guest Chick Monday with Romance Author, Ava Milone!

  1. This sounds so delicious, my mouth is watering. I want those cottage fries! They would never last as an all-day snack in my fridge. I would eat them in one sitting.

    • They usually all go to work with Mr. Ava the next day and he brings home the empty container. He’s also been known to stuff them in a snack baggie and stuff them in his jersey pocket before a ride. That boy loves him some potatoes!

      Thanks for visiting Jamie!


  2. Oh, YUM, this does look good! I haven’t had much success in making fries out of real potatoes, but this version looks easy enough for me to try. Thanks, Ava!

    • It IS super easy Abigail. Since they’re thick-sliced, there’s no worry of them getting soggy. And 25 minutes gets them just right for us – soft on the inside, just a little crisp on the outside. It’s really hard to mess these up!


  3. Yum, cottage fries! I make a version with sweet potatoes and my kids gobble them up (so sneaky!). Ava, I wonder of we aren’t somehow related– my grandmother’s maiden name was Milone, and my husband and I gifted our oldest daughter with it as her middle name. It’s really rare that I ever see anyone with it spelled with an Italian “i” instead of an Irish “a” 😉

    I love how unique it is!

    • I tried making fries with sweet potatoes and the Things would have nothing to do with them. I wonder if I did it this way if it would make a difference? What seasonings did you use, Kimberly?

    • Usually, I’ll mix in a sweet potato for me – the lower glycemic index is better for my diet. But I’m a little iffy on Cajun-spiced sweet potatoes…

      If you toss them in the olive oil and just put salt on them, it gives it a great flavor. I’ve also tried them with cinnamon, but the cinnamon burned and Mr. Ava said they smelled like gun powder. 🙂

      And Kimberly, I’m not sure if we’re related or not. Anything’s possible! 🙂


  4. Good morning ladies!

    I have made fries this way before with different seasonings, they are yummy!!
    Very easy and no mess what so ever. 🙂

    I do like your version of the turkey burgers. Adding grated carrots or the zucchini, onion or sprouts is new to me, I will definitely give it a try.
    Thanks for the new idea.

    I’m trying to be a healthier eater, but my old habits are always bugging me to mis-behave! Lord knows I’m great at being bad!! LOL!!

    Have an awesome day ladies! 🙂

    • Dalila – thanks for commenting!
      The key to diet changes is to make SMALL changes – switch sandwich thins for kaiser rolls, change up the fattier red meat with lean turkey (or leaner beef!). Drink lots of water. But more importantly REWARD yourself when you’ve met a goal (yes, even chocolate).


  5. Ava – this sounds great. I never thought of adding carrots or zucchini to turkey burgers. Great idea! What kind of potatoes do you find works best for the cottage fries? The photos look like maybe you’re using white or Idaho. Have you tried it with yukon gold or red (though these might be too small)?

    • Hi Charlie! These are actually yukon gold (in some of the pictures I thought they looked like bananas!) I’ve used red, white, sweet, baking, petite red and yukon. I’ve not really found a potato that this doesn’t work for, though the petites are a little tough to slice into wedges.

    • You’re quite welcome, Ava, and we hope you’ll be our guest again sometime!

      Your Cottage Fries remind me of the wonderful Potato Logs we used to get at a little restaurant in my home town. Boy do I miss those things. I hadn’t thought to try to make them, but I’m definitely going to follow your directions and just do it!

      Also, I’ve never made turkey burgers, but yours sound really good. I think the on-the-verge-of-being-vegetarian Trim Man will like them, too. 😀 What do you think if I used Italian bread crumbs instead of panko? I have it on hand and would like to use it up before it gets stale. If you don’t think it would work/taste as good, I’ll get the panko.


      • Lis –

        I use the panko because it’s lighter than bread crumbs (also, I had it on hand for another recipe!) But I’m sure Italian bread crumbs would work, and add a different flavor. 🙂

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