October is coming to an end. The last couple of years have been so busy for us! Months go flying by, each one bringing new challenges, but the last Monday of each month is always special: it is reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club, the best group event in the cooking blogosphere.  Food bloggers are paired in secret, stalk each others’ site in search of a recipe, cook it and blog about it at the exact same time.   The group is very popular now, there is a huge waiting list for new members, so if you are interested, send your name in.  Just keep in mind you need to be blogging for a while so that you have enough recipes in your database, and also a recipe index in your site.

This month I got a GREAT site to cook from: Cooking Whims.  Megan is funny, witty, her cooking style similar to ours.  I love this little bit she wrote about herself:

  “I love goat cheese, all things pumpkin, chocolate, and dancing to Sinatra while I experiment in my kitchen”.

Awesome!  Now, back to my assignment. The fact that we were away for 10 days on a trip to California and that our kitchen was still undergoing hellnovation made this month’s participation a bit of a stretch, but by now I am used to cooking stresses of many kinds.  Several recipes called my name during the stalking period.  For instance, her Oatmeal Ricotta Buttermilk Pancakes…  or Fish Tacos with Spicy Tomato-Cucumber Salsa… but I also flirted with her Beet Hummus,  and the Hungarian Paprika Chicken.  So, what did I choose in the end?   A turkey burger.  I could not resist that one, made ultra special by home-made marinara sauce and a stuffing of mozzarella.


(slightly modified from Cooking Whims)

for the marinara sauce
2 tsp olive oil
1 small shallot, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups plum tomatoes, chopped
6  sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1/2 tsp salt & pepper

for the burgers
1.5 lb ground turkey (50:50 dark and white meat)
1/4 cup chopped scallions
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp minced fresh basil
4 thin slices of mozzarella cheese (optional)

For the marinara sauce: Heat the oil in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent, 5-7 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and cook until the tomatoes have broken down. Pulse a few times in a food processor. Set aside on very low heat to keep warm.

For the turkey burgers: Place the turkey, scallions, Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest, oregano, parsley, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Mix with your hands, then shape into 8 thin patties.

Combine 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and basil. Divide evenly on the center of 4 patties. You may not need all the cheese. Cover each patty with the remaining patties and crimp closed.

Grill the burgers turning once, for a total of 8 to 10 minutes on a medium-high grill. When the burgers are almost cooked through, top with a slice of cheese and allow the cheese to melt before serving with a helping of marinara sauce on top.

We enjoyed our burgers “naked”, but for a real burger experience, have some toasted buns ready…  and


to print the recipe, click here


Comments:  Megan’s description of this recipe started with “This burger belongs on a show called burger wars.”.  Then, she says that another version from her blog would fight for the number one spot, the “Hummus Turkey Burger with Cucumber  & Feta Cheese“. Of course I intend to make that one soon.  Stay tuned.

We loved these burgers!  She is absolutely right, the lemon zest is a key component of the recipe, but everything comes together in perfect harmony, including the simple but tasty marinara, that calls for sun-dried and regular tomatoes.

I slightly modified the recipe by mixing dark and light ground turkey, and using about 50% more meat than she did to end up with 4 stuffed patties. Since we were going to enjoy them without buns, I wanted each to be slightly bigger. I also included fresh Italian parsley because I had some in the fridge and it seemed like a good herb to incorporate in the mix.   Once you have the mixture ready, portion 8 equal amounts over parchment paper, flatten them, add the cheese to half of them, cover with the other portion.


Pinching the sides seems hard to do, but don’t worry, it will work.  I cooked my burgers on the grill, as it would have been impossible to cook them in our improvised kitchen.


Now, as if I did not have enough grievance in my life, when I was getting ready to take the first photo, I could not find the lemon.  Keep in mind that the fridge was still in the garage, to get to it we needed to jump over a few pieces of wood and squeeze through some furniture.  So, I am going crazy searching for my lemon.  The thoughtful man I married suggested that “maybe you think you got it from the fridge but you didn’t“.  His remark caused me to go into a blazing hot monologue that traumatized for life two of our three dogs.  Chief was spared thanks to being deaf.   A second lemon quickly showed up at the scene, and we put the citric incident to rest.  Later that evening,  Phil calls me in the TV room:  cozy inside a dog bed between the sofa and the wall, a lemon was peacefully resting.


Never a dull moment, folks.  Never a dull moment…

Megan, I loved getting your blog this month, and hope you had fun with your own assignment too!

For those who want to see what Group D cooked up for the final Monday of October, click on the blue frog at the end of the post. She loves a little click! 😉

ONE YEAR AGO:  Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps

TWO YEARS AGO: Clay-pot Pork Roast


FOUR YEARS AGO: A Classic Roast Chicken


  1. I have a whole turkey breast in my downstairs freezer … I should really go and check it out cause I can almost taste these burgers with the marinara sauce.

    I wonder what the attraction was for your lemon thief. I can picture you going mad trying to find it.🙂


    • Paula, I haven’t check any of the posts this month yet – busy busy busy, and out of town today. But I promise to stop by your site soon….

      yeap, hellnovation pretty much over. The worst is definitely over!


  2. I’m so happy you made these! A lot of people have made these from my blog and the verdict is always the same…soooooooooo delicious. And now I need to put them on my menu again soon so I can enjoy them all over again🙂 Thanks for all of your kind words!


    • Nice to see you here, Megan! I LOVED getting your blog, and will definitely be making that hummus burger soon, you just wait and there will be a blog about it… not secret, mind you, you have been notified! 😉


  3. Oh, the lemon story is too funny! From the fridge in the garage to the four-legged mischief. Amazing the things that can make us lose it (I go nuts whenever a pen stops working mid-sentence — it’s small, I know, but my reaction is big, just ask my kids :)). I delight in the combination of tomatoes and cheese — it’s an ooey, gooey comfort thing that gets me every time. It turns this lovely dish into a pasta burger without the pasta! All the deliciousness you could ever want — I can well imagine how moist and utterly tasty these burgs are. And where would we be without Worcestershire sauce?! LOVE.


    • Your reaction to a pen that stops working mid-sentence gave me a huge laugh! I go ballistic – not only I trash the pen but I make sure to throw it in the trash can with a bang, in a way that there will be a 75% chance that the pen will break on impact. Sometimes I act like I am about 9 years old…😉


    • Rebecca, you are totally fine with me! I suspect we might very well be virtual sisters separated at birth! 😉

      now, did you know I am a HUGE FAN of Dogshaming? I even bought his book, arrived last week, it’s too cute… I will send that photo of Buck, what a great idea! thank you!!!!!


  4. These sound super good, Sally. You’ve begun with a burger that, turkey or not, would be goo just as it is. Stuffing it with mozzarella AND adding an additional slice of cheese to top it off really puts it over the top for this cheese lover. I’ve never really gotten good results when I’ve tried to stuff a burger. Yours here sound so good that I’m going to give it another try. I’ve already seen the worst that can happen. Time to see the best, eh? Your tale of the lemon thief cracked me up. 🙂


  5. I had a missing lemon incident that drove me nearly mad a few months ago. After searching high and low I found it — in the dishwasher! It must’ve rolled in when the dishwasher was ajar. Ugh! Either way, these burgers look SO amazing – YUM!


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