Candy Corn Pretzel Sticks

Easy Halloween Treat!!  Candy Corn Pretzel SticksIt’s almost here!  Halloween is just over two weeks away.  Have you figured out your costume yet?  I know we’ll have all sorts of ghosts, witches, and NFL players trick-or-treating at our door.  But before that happens, there will be Halloween parties galore with neighbors and co-workers…and I couldn’t be more excited!  Continue Reading »

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Sweet PotatoesWow!  What a great weekend we just had up here in New England!  The leaves are at their peak colors, and the temperatures are in the mid-upper 60’s.  Saturday was loaded with some great college football games, and of course Sunday’s slate of NFL games was fun as well.  I mixed the football in with some leaf cleanup (yup, that’s the downside of all those beautiful leaves) and grilling on the back deck.  Saturday afternoon I made another round of these delicious Buffalo Chicken Burgers along with some Cilantro-Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes.  Grilled sweet potatoes are one of my latest obsessions on the grill!  (And in case you’re wondering, sweet potatoes also taste great on the smoker.)  This recipe is pretty straight-forward and doesn’t take all that long to make.  (The secret is parboiling the potatoes before putting them on the grill.)  I know these grilled sweet potatoes will be making a couple more appearances on my grill before the winter snows arrive in a few months!

Cilantro-Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Click over to Food Fanatic for the recipe for these Cilantro-Lime Grilled Sweet Potatoes!

Food Fanatic

Classic Soft Pretzels

Classic Soft PretzelsEvery Fall it seems like Oktoberfest celebrations pop up all over the place.  The real Oktoberfest takes place in late September/early October in Munich, Germany…but that doesn’t stop all of the celebrations and festivities in other locales.  Heck, sometimes my wife and I host our very own Oktoberfest!  (By host, I mean purchase delicious Oktoberfest beer and enjoy every sip.  Lederhosen optional.)  But of course you can’t have tasty Fall beers without traditional bar snacks, right?  These Classic Soft Pretzels are one of my absolute favorite snacks!Continue Reading »

Eggplant Parmesan Burgers

Eggplant Parm Burgers from Spicedblog.comEggplant gets a bad rap.  Sure, it has a somewhat spongy texture that is a bit odd.  But it’s also loaded with all sorts of good nutrients, too!  And on top of that, eggplant can be delicious when it’s prepared well.  A couple of years ago, I had some delicious eggplant “meatballs” which really changed my opinion about this veggie.  The eggplant was cooked down, mixed with a number of spices and other ingredients, and then fried into a delicious meatball.  I remember thinking at the time that the meatballs would make a delicious burger.  I finally got around to trying it out the other day, and it tasted amazing!

Eggplant Parm Burgers from Spicedblog.comThese burgers are somewhat similar to the classic eggplant Parmesan, but the difference here is that the eggplant is cooked first.  Then the eggplant is blended with spices before being shaped into patties.  I’ve tried eggplant both ways, and I strongly prefer this style…I feel like the strange spongy texture of the eggplant isn’t as noticeable when the eggplant is cooked first.  I find these “burgers” so much tastier than a traditional eggplant parm sandwich!

Eggplant Parm Burgers from Spicedblog.comI put these Eggplant Parmesan Burgers squarely in the middle of the comfort food category…which means they are perfect for chilly Fall and cold Winter days.  Regular readers of Spiced will know that I am a huge fan of grilling and smoking all sorts of food, but there’s something about a foot or two of snow that kinda dampens my interest in grilling burgers or making pulled pork!  I suspect that these “burgers” will be a good alternative as the days get colder.  And if burgers aren’t your thing, then just form the eggplant mixture into meatballs instead of patties and serve them over a steaming plate of pasta and tomato sauce!  (If you’re looking for more traditional burgers, I suggest taking a look at these Smoky Whiskey BBQ Burgers or these Spicy Buffalo Chicken Burgers.)

Eggplant Parmesan Burgers


  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1-1.5 pounds), peeled and cut into quarters
  • 2 slices day-old bread
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp Italian seasonings
  • 1 1/3 cups Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2-1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil (or just enough oil to cover the bottom of the fry pan)
  • 1/2 pound fresh Mozzarella cheese, sliced into rounds
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 4 hamburger buns (homemade or store-bought)


  1. Fill a large saucepan about half-full with water. Add 1 Tbsp of salt and bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Add quartered eggplant and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Once the eggplant has cooked, transfer it into a large bowl. Add crumbled bread, egg, grated cheese, garlic, pepper, salt (1 tsp), and Italian seasonings.
  4. Using an immersion blender, process the eggplant mixture until smooth.
  5. Depending on the thickness of the eggplant batter, add flour until batter becomes the consistency of thick oatmeal. (This is usually about 1/2-1 cup of flour depending on size of eggplant and amount of liquid in the batter. Note: The batter will be very sticky, so be deliberate in shaping the burgers.)
  6. Add enough oil to a large fry pan to coat the bottom. Heat oil to about 350°F.
  7. Take approximately 1/2 cup of the eggplant batter and form into patty.
  8. Pat both sides of patty with Panko crumbs and transfer into frying pan.
  9. Fry patties for 2-3 min per side, or until both sides are deep golden brown in color. (Note: This step may need to be done in several batches depending on the size of your pan.)
  10. Once cooked, transfer patties to a paper towel-lined plant and pat dry.
  11. Place one patty on each bottom bun and top with 2 Tbsp tomato sauce and a slice of mozzarella cheese (note: do not put top bun on burger yet)
  12. Place burgers on cookie sheet and broil for about 2 minutes to melt the cheese on top.
  13. Finish with top bun and serve hot.