Cape Codder Burgers

These burgers combine the cranberry and touch of lime flavor of a cape codder drink – minus the vodka. The burgers are ground pork or ground chicken would work well too with dried cranberries in them with a lime aoli. The more subtle ground meat flavor is perfect to let the cranberries and lime shine!
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers

Cape Codder Burgers

Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)

1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 lime (juice & zest)
1 pound ground pork
salt & pepper
4 burger buns
1 cup lettuce

Directions:

Drop the dried cranberries into some water – just enough to submerge for 20 minutes, or overnight.
Mix together the mayo, lime juice, zest, salt and pepper. Chill until serving or make ahead of time.
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
Add the hydrated cranberries to the ground pork with salt and pepper. Mix well.
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
Preheat the grill and form into patties.
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
Grill the burgers, flipping once for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Pork should reach 160-degrees with a meat thermometer- take them off the grill around 150 and let them rest for 3-5 minutes while they finish cooking.
Serve on burger buns with lettuce and the lime aoli.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cape Codder Burgers
These were fun! I liked the cranberries in the burger instead of being a sauce. The kids ate them as-is. The little guy has taken to deconstructing burgers eating the patty and the bun separately. I never make turkey burgers – they end up so dry but that’s an option if you really like them. I think chicken and pork are much more juicy!

Hawaiian Hot Dog

Talking about Hawaiian pizza got me thinking about iconically Hawaiian flavors like pineapple, teriyaki, and pork. Let’s add ‘em to a hot dog! These hot dogs were so fun and a great change of pace – especially since we won’t be heading to Hawaii anytime soon! We fell in love with the grilled pineapple and grilled more just to eat too.
The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog

Hawaiian Hot Dogs

Ingredients (for 4 hot dogs):

4 hot dogs
4 King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog buns (or potato rolls)
3 pineapple rings
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/4 onion
1/2 cup greens (I used baby kale but spinach, arugula, collards, cilantro, or parsley would all be great)
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce

Directions:

Sprinkle the pineapple with brown sugar then grill the pineapple and hot dogs.
While those are grilling, chop the onion and greens.
In a separate small bowl, mix together the mayo and teriyaki sauce.
Warm the buns the last minute of grilling.
Chop the pineapple and mix together with the onion and greens.
Assemble the dogs with the bun, the hot dog, the pineapple/onion/greens and drizzle with teriyaki mayo.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Hawaiian Hot Dog
I loved these. The freshness of the greens and the crunch of the onion was necessary. Those came the 2nd time around when I made these. Honestly the King’s Hawaiian Hot Dog Buns weren’t any better than our grocery store potato bun rolls.

Loaded hot dogs are so fun. For our ‘home 4th of July’ we made dogs with dill relish, french onion dip, and crispy onions. I also love dogs with blue cheese dressing and bacon. These crescent dogs, 3 ways are super fun too. I never can get my hands on pretzel buns again, but these Fall Dogs with Apple Slaw topped with apple, arugula, and onion with white cheddar and dijon is to-die-for. Burger toppings work well for dogs too!

BLT Burger with Ground Bacon and Tomato Jam

Happy Birthday burger Mr. J! Annually I make a special burger and this one was such a good one! Grinding the bacon was no joke but it made for a delicious burger! The bacon flavor is totally up front. This tomato jam has the perfect sweet touch with some smoke and richness.

The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato Jam

BLT Burger

Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)

5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon ground ginger (~3/4 inch)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound ground pork
1/2 pound bacon
4 burger buns
lettuce

Directions:

In a heavy pot, over low heat, add the tomatoes, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, ginger, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, worcestershire sauce, and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low for an hour. Then remove from heat and chill until serving.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato Jam
Grind the bacon or finely chop it while raw.
Mix the ground pork and bacon together and form into burgers. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Grill until cooked through, until 160-degrees. (We cooked on a flat top.)
Assemble the burgers with the bun, mayo, lettuce, the burger, a generous scoop of tomato jam and the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - BLT Burger w/ Tomato JamEnjoy!

The tomato jam is a great part to make in advance – even a day or two before. I then ate the leftovers on toast and think it’d be great in a grilled cheese, on eggs, tossed with pasta, or on a real BLT as the T.

Here’s the history of the Birthday Burgers for Mr. J:

2019 it was a Manchego Burger with manchego, quince jam, and arugula
2018 it was a Garlic Lovers Burger with garlic butter, chips, garlic aoli and white cheddar.
2017 it was an Ultimate Mexican Burger with queso, guac, and beans.
2016 it was a Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burger topped with bacon, onions, and tomato.
2015 it was a Picnic Burger with slaw & potato sticks
2014 it was a German Burger with horseradish, caramelized onions, pickles and a pretzel roll
2013 it was a Vermont Burger with maple mayo, cheddar, bacon, and spinach
2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger - enough said
2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese

Bacon Aoli Burger

This bacon aoli is as amazing as it sounds and makes the burger. I’m glad there’s some leftover aoli for another time! It is packed with so much bacon flavor, a little creaminess and lots of smokey flavor.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Mine was a beyond meat burger which is SO good. It was, hands down, the best burger I’ve had in a long time. I made the bacon aoli in advance which totally sped up getting the burgers on the table. A toddler waits for no blog photos.

Bacon Aoli

Ingredients: (for 1/4 cup, about 4 servings)

2 strips of bacon, reserve the bacon drippings
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
salt & pepper

Directions:

Pan fry chopped bacon until crisp. Remove from the pan and reserve the drippings.
Add the mayo, garlic, liquid smoke, bacon, bacon drippings when cooled, and salt and pepper to a small bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Stir well.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
Spread onto burgers topping them with more bacon, cheddar, arugula, and tomato – like I did. Or spread onto a BLT with more bacon, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Or spread onto a roll with turkey, provolone, tomato, and arugula.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon Aoli Burger
I loved this. We had these burgers with sweet potato tots and some white wine. It truly made a perfect mother’s day dinner for me!

Get your hands on some liquid smoke. It seems like a specialty ingredient, but it lasts forever and will transform your chili, it is great in any cheeseburger-ish item you’re not actually grilling (like cheeseburger layer dip) or Rootbeer bbq sauce or in any pork dish (like pork and bacon ragu). I use it all the time and just now need another bottle. I’ve seen it for sale in the grocery store too. In a pinch, Worcestershire sauce would be a back-up.

Burger Competition

I entered a burger competition not thinking a ton about it. Build a Better Burger by Sutter Home made me think I wouldn’t get picked, but maybe I’d get some wine! I then heard I’d be in the regional finals and I won! I couldn’t believe it! I have the national finals coming up in just a few weeks. It was exciting and nerve-racking.
The Three Bite Rule - board
I had never done something like this before! Cooking everything outside- with a set time was tricky!

The Three Bite Rule - Cooking
I entered my Parisian Burger, circa 2014 (which deserves a reshoot for the blog). It is ground pork with rosemary & dijon with arugula, swiss, truffle mayo, and a fried egg on a brioche bun. Had I thought more about the possibility of cooking an egg on the grill, I might have planned otherwise! The eggs came out well though.

The Three Bite Rule - Parisian Burger
The regional finals:
There were 5 regional finals, each with 4 contestants. The winner from each goes to the national finals – that’s me! We had 60 minutes to cook 4 burgers for the judges + 1 display. The judges were 3 chefs and a former Red Sox player. The competition was outside Fenway Park then we got tickets to the game!
The Three Bite Rule - Judges
Racing a plate to the display felt like all the Food Network shows I watch!
The Three Bite Rule - Insta
We got a gift card to cover travel (so for me, that was parking but my competitors were from NH, Jersey, CT) and we got a gift card for our ingredients.
The Three Bite Rule - Area
Cooking eggs on a skillet, on a grill is tricky. I also didn’t want the eggs hanging around forever before serving, so cooking them in batches worked out pretty well.

The Three Bite Rule - plates
When they announced the winner I was super nervous. It was a long few hours of arriving, prepping, cooking, and waiting. I felt proud. This was all new to me so I just hoped to be ton time and produce my burger the best I could. I knew it’d be subjective for the judging so I just wanted to feel good about it. I couldn’t believe it when they announced it.
The Three Bite Rule - Waiting
I was really thankful to have Mr. J there with me. He calms me down and was the perfect support I needed.

Next up, the national finals:
In just a few weeks Mr. J and I are heading to Napa for wine & the final competition. Can you believe it? One of the 5 regional finals will win $25,000! Fingers crossed! We are so psyched for a few days in Napa! Follow along on instagram (@emilyran) and I’ll try to get photos for a post about the trip & the final round!

Crescent Dogs, 3 Ways

Summer isn’t quite over! There’s still time for these dogs! Though, these are pretty season-less since the dogs are wrapped in crescents and baked.  I whipped these up for a weeknight dinner since I could prep them most of the way and just heat and serve.
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways
These got delayed- life got in the way. It was a busy few weeks with the baby’s 1st birthday, our refrigerator struggled and we lived out of a drink fridge until it got fixed, an overnight away, and everything else. I made a few flavors giving some fun choice at dinner!
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Bagel Dogs: dogs, wrapped in crescents, brushed with egg wash, sprinkled with everything bagel seasoning
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Cowboy Dogs: crescents, brushed with barbecue sauce, with caramelized onions, with the dog rolled in the crescent.
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways

Taco Dogs: crescents, sprinkled with cheddar cheese, sprinkled with taco seasoning (I used Chili Lime Seasoning), with the dog rolled in the crescent.
The Three Bite Rule - Crescent Dogs, 3 ways
Try ‘em with any of your fav hot dog toppings. Chili and cheese would be fun! Bacon and cheddar would be fun! Bruschetta & balsamic would be fun!

Manchego Burger

The birthday burger continues! We celebrate Mr. J’s birthday with a burger and this year, my inspiration came from somebody who told me about the show Bob’s Burgers – which doesn’t seem like my jam, but this flavor combo sounded delightful! “A Good Manchego is Hard to Find” has manchego cheese, a sweet jam spread, arugula, and caramelized shallots. We loved it!

Manchego cheese is from Spain and made of goat’s milk. It is a bit nutty, crumbly, and hard – it resembles Parmesan but is softer and not quite as salty. It goes really well with fruit/sweet on a cheese board so it was ideal on this burger with a jam spread and sharp peppery arugula.

The Three Bite Rule - Manchego Burger

Manchego Burger

Ingredients (for 3 burgers)

~3/4 pound ground meat, formed into patties
3 brioche rolls
2-3 shallots
~4 oz Manchego cheese
3 tablespoons quince spread
2 cups arugula

Directions:

Bring the patties to room temperature while the grill heats up.
Slice the shallots and gently caramelize them in ~1 tablespoon of olive oil and ~1 tablespoon of butter over low heat, stirring regularly.
Grill the burgers until cooked to your preferred internal done-ness.
Slice the cheese and melt it onto the burgers for their last minute of cooking.
Add arugula onto the bottom of each bun, top with the burger, and shallots. Then spread the jam onto the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - Manchego Burger
Enjoy!

The cheese is just so good. I went looking for fig jam but was glad to use quince since I think I’d eat the rest more regularly than fig. Quince are like the ugly step-cousin of a pear. The little guy has a love/hate relationship to the onion family and skipped the shallots but he loooved the cheese and gobbled his slider size version with quince jam and manchego.

This might have been the first year we couldn’t quite make it happen the night-of. With 2 little ones, that dinner time is quite the time-crunch and Mr. J was just getting back into true solid foods after having his wisdom teeth taken out!

Here’s the history of the Birthday Burgers for Mr. J:

2018 it was a Garlic Lovers Burger with garlic butter, chips, garlic aoli and white cheddar.
2017 it was an Ultimate Mexican Burger with queso, guac, and beans.
2016 it was a Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burger topped with bacon, onions, and tomato.
2015 it was a Picnic Burger with slaw & potato sticks
2014 it was a German Burger with horseradish, caramelized onions, pickles and a pretzel roll
2013 it was a Vermont Burger with maple mayo, cheddar, bacon, and spinach
2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger - enough said
2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese

Meatloaf Burger

Mr. J loves meatloaf so this was inspired for him! It was a perfect early-spring burger! There’s a bit of a decadence to this one- it isn’t light or subtle. It is juicy and flavored with caramelized onions and topped with a brown sugar ketchup, arugula, and crispy fried onions.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatloaf Burger

Meatloaf Burger

Ingredients: (for 2)

1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 teaspoon brown sugar
~3/4 cup fried onions
arugula
burger buns

Directions:

Sautee the onions in a little olive oil over low heat until golden and caramelized.
Mix together the ground pork, onion, breadcrumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce and egg.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatloaf Burger
Preheat the grill or warm a cast iron skillet.
Form into patties.
The Three Bite Rule - Meatloaf Burger
Cook until the middle reaches 150-degrees. Use a meat thermometer to ensure it doesn’t over cook!
While the burger cooks, mix up the ketchup and brown sugar.
In a dry skillet, fry the fried onions for about 2 minutes until toasted.
Serve the burgers with arugula, brown-sugar ketchup, and crispy onions.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Meatloaf Burger
We all liked this one! The preschooler eats a slider-sized burger and liked it. He started with his crunchy onions on the side but added them after eating a few – I think he wasn’t quite sure what they were. We all liked was how juicy this was! We had this with our fav broccoli salad.

Mix everything and form the patties in advance for a faster weeknight dinner. Momma was raving about burgers? tacos? something she used “meatloaf” mix for. That’d be great for this burger too!

Cheeseburger Turnovers

These cheeseburger turnovers are an appetizer turned into a main dish! Follow how my mind worked: I started out with the idea of a cheeseburger eggroll but then decided I really didn’t want to fry anything so I went with crescent dough. I then the more I thought about tiny ones made me think that it’d be way faster to make fewer but big turovers/pockets. Thus, my cute app became dinner! There’s a key ingredient to make them so much more fun than burger filling into pastry….

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
I put tater tots into them! Those become such a fun and a bit unexpected bite! Like burgers & fries! I prepped and partially baked these in advance, then just warmed to eat come dinner time! I loved these burger pockets and would totally make them again. Maybe next time they’ll even get to live out life as an appetizer!

Cheeseburger Turnovers

Ingredients: (for 4)

1/4 bag of tater tot crowns (the flat disks, or regular ones will work too)
1/3 pound ground beef/chicken/turkey
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 tube crescent dough (mine was a single sheet, or pinch seams together if using crescent triangle dough)
~1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped (they’ll stay together better than a big tomato chopped)
~3 pickle spears, chopped
~1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Directions:

Bake the tots according to the package.
Saute the ground meat until it is cooked through seasoning with worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Then remove the meat and saute onions in the same pan until they are translucent and getting golden.
Chop tomato and pickles.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
Unroll the dough and slice into 4s. Top with cheese, ground meat, tots, onion, tomato, pickles, and more cheese.
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
Fold it and pinch or use a fork to close all the edges together.
Poke holes onto the top to vent and bake for ~15 minutes (bake according to the crescent dough packaging). Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with sesame seeds a few minutes before they finish cooking.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Turnover
These are so fun and a great dinner to prep ahead of time! I almost did a special sauce drizzle inside – maybe next time. If you like these, then you’ll love Chicken, Bacon, Ranch Turnovers or Chicken Parm Turnovers. I made the Chicken Parm Turnovers as mini apps for a holiday party and they were a hit!

Making fun dinners in advance is the story of my life right now. I want dinners to be varied but that time between daycare pick up and dinner is a rush. Throwing dinner in to warm up while I get to change out of work clothes, cuddle the baby before she’s ohh-so-ready for her post-daycare nap, play or at least converse while the preschooler plays, encourage hand-washing, and dodge the dogs who are underfoot to be fed- is in-ter-est-ing to say the least.

Garlic Lovers Burger

I keep a running list of burger themes to be sure I save a good one to be Mr. J’s birthday burger tradition. I actually used a McDonald’s-trying-to-be-fancy burger as my inspiration! Ours had brioche rolls seared in garlic butter, with white cheddar, garlic aoli, and chips.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Lovers Burger

There is a fun blog post critiquing McDonald’s attempt at this garlic burger. I thought it sounded like it could be amazing…if made with care.

Garlic Lovers Burger (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 burger patties (mine was a Beyond Meat one)
2 slices of sharp white cheddar
2 brioche rolls
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoons butter
3 tablespoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
lettuce
kettle chips

Directions:

Grill the burgers.
While the burgers are cooking, slice the rolls, and grate the garlic cloves.
Mix half the garlic with butter and melt it in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
Mix the other half of the garlic with the mayo, also adding the garlic powder, salt & pepper.
Melt the cheese over the burgers.
Sear the buns in the garlic butter pan.
Assemble them with lettuce, the burger, chips, and garlic aoili on the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Lovers Burger
Enjoy!

I loved the zip of the garlic in the aoli and the chips on there. Tomato would have been good but we only had little grape tomatoes. I definitely thought this was a good one!
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Lovers Burger

I used a Beyond Meat burger for mine. I don’t eat red meat, but I do eat other poultry/pork/etc so I was really jazzed to try it since I can definitely compare to meat in general! I usually use ground pork or ground chicken. Turkey is just cra-zy dry. I thought the Beyond Meat one was great! It has the exact texture and color of ground beef. Meatless ones usually have beans/rice/lentils/mushrooms for that meaty texture. I’d guess this could fool anyone. I definitely recommend (#notsponsored).

Here’s the history of the Birthday Burgers for Mr. J:
2017 it was an Ultimate Mexican Burger with queso, guac, and beans.
2016 it was a Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burger topped with bacon, onions, and tomato.
2015 it was a Picnic Burger with slaw & potato sticks
2014 it was a German Burger with horseradish, caramelized onions, pickles and a pretzel roll
2013 it was a Vermont Burger with maple mayo, cheddar, bacon, and spinach
2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger - enough said
2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese