This summer has been remarkably busy so far—how is it already mid-July?!—but I’ve been doing my best to make the most of it, especially since it’s the last one I’ll be spending in Michigan (fingers crossed for completing my dissertation this next year!). To that end, I’ve gone on my annual cherry-picking excursion, attended various events around town, and even signed up for a library card! I know, I know…the last one sounds pretty anticlimactic, but after I moved off to college, I grew accustomed to relying on the university library, and eventually I just sort of forgot that public libraries existed. I also sort of forgot that non-academic books existed. As a kid, I spent many a summer night so deeply engrossed in a book that I couldn’t put it down until sleep overtook me, and it’s been really nice to get back into reading for pleasure.
Another way that I’ve been celebrating summer is through dishes like this bacon cheeseburger gnocchi! Even though we can enjoy burgers throughout the year (and likewise, the ingredients for this gnocchi are readily available throughout the year), there’s something quintessentially summery about a cheeseburger. Since I don’t have a grill, I decided to make a deconstructed version and toss some gnocchi into the mix—but you could also use pasta, if you prefer! Unlike a traditional cheeseburger, which is usually pretty sparse in the vegetable department, this gnocchi can stand as a meal all by itself, since it’s just as much a salad as it is a meat and potatoes kind of dish.
I’m going to keep this short and sweet—after all, I have to conserve my words for my dissertation, since it’s certainly not going to write itself! Have a great week, and if you’ve read any great books lately, please leave a comment and let me know! I’d love to hear your recommendations.
- 1 package (16 ounces) gnocchi
- 5 ounces cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 4 ounces bacon, cut into 1/2-inch squares
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 5 ounces arugula
- Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Cook the gnocchi according to the directions on the package. Set aside.
- Stir together the cheese and cornstarch in a medium saucepan. Add the evaporated milk and garlic powder and cook over low heat, whisking often, until all the cheese is melted and the sauce has thickened slightly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate or bowl, leaving the grease in the skillet.
- Place the onion in the skillet (you may need to add a bit of vegetable oil if you are using turkey bacon, which has less fat), reduce the heat to medium, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until slightly softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the ground turkey, salt, and pepper, and cook until no pink remains. When the turkey is nearly done, add the tomatoes.
- Once the turkey is done and the tomatoes are slightly wrinkled in appearance, turn off the heat and stir in the gnocchi, bacon, and arugula. Let sit for 1-2 minutes before serving. Drizzle cheese sauce on top of individual portions as desired.
- I use ground turkey and turkey bacon, but feel free to substitute ground beef and regular bacon.
- For a simpler version, skip the cheese sauce and melt grated cheddar cheese on top.
- Cheese sauce recipe adapted from Cooking Light (Oct. 2014).