French Onion Soup Burger

We got our new fridge and no longer have to live out of a dorm-sized fridge so the sky’s the limit for meals! I made this French Onion Soup Burger just in time for Labor Day weekend. Caramelized onions and really good cheese made these special but quite easy.

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Soup Burger

French Onion Soup Burgers
Ingredients: (for 4)

1/2 onion
1 tablespoon butter
~1 1/2 pounds ground pork
1/2 packet Onion Soup mix (uses for leftovers at the end!)
sprinkle of salt & pepper
gruyere or fontina or other melting cheese
onion rolls
arugula

Directions:
Caramelize the onions by slicing and sautéing over low heat with butter and a drizzle of olive oil for ~20-30 minutes until golden brown and soft. (I did a whole onion and froze the rest for another time. This can be done in advance up to a week in the fridge or 6+ months in the freezer)
Preheat the grill.
Mix together the ground pork with the soup mix, salt, and pepper. Slice the cheese and the rolls.

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Soup Burger

Form the meat into patties and stuff with some cheese. Either divide each patty with half on the bottom some cheese and the remaining to cover the cheese OR ball the meat to form a well in the middle to add the cheese, then press the meat around it to cover the cheese.
Grill the burgers until cooked through (pork needs to get to 160-degrees on a meat thermometer). Add more cheese on top at the end to melt.
Assemble the burgers with onions on top of the burger and cheese, and arugula.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - French Onion Soup Burger

These were great! The patties were so flavorful and cheesy. The kids split a burger – one asked if there were any without onions, but ate it anyway. Next time I might even put more caramelized onions into the burgers too!

Leftover caramelized onions freeze well and I’m sure these will go into a quiche or onto a pizza or into a panini. They will also liven up even a turkey melt so I never bother to make just a tiny bit.

Leftover onion soup mix is great in any burger or meatloaf. Some sprinkled onto the outside of the patty would amp up the flavor even more. Use it into any other soup, like white bean, sausage & kale soup, or French Onion Deviled Eggs are so fun and only uses a bit too!

Waffle Breakfast Burger

For the 10th year of a Birthday Burger, we had this breakfast burger on a waffle with sausage mixed into the patty, a maple aoli, and some goey gouda cheese. Happy birthday my love!

The Three Bite Rule - Waffle Breakfast Burger

Waffle Breakfast Burger
Ingredients: (serves ~4 with a smaller burgers like sliders)
1 Belgian waffle
~3/4 pound ground beef/pork/chicken
~1/4 pound breakfast sausage
2 tablespoons mayo
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
4 slices gouda cheese
1 small sliced tomato

Directions:
Prepare waffle (optional: I added some shredded cheddar into the batter) and let it cool. Slice into 4ths, and sliced in half width-wise for 4 ‘buns’. (2 ‘buns’ pictured). Toast them before serving if they were made in advance.

The Three Bite Rule - Waffle Breakfast Burger

Mix together the ground meat and breakfast sausage until incorporated but not overworked. Preheat the grill.
Grill the burgers until cooked through (depends on the ground meat and the pork). Top with cheese.
While the burgers cook, whisk together the mayo, maple syrup and hot sauce.

The Three Bite Rule - Waffle Breakfast Burger

Assemble the burgers with a spread of sauce on the insides of the waffles (since I halved mine) and add the burgers and sliced tomato.
Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Waffle Breakfast Burger

These were so fun! I had ground pork with the breakfast sausage. I could definitely taste both flavors. Maple breakfast sausage might be very sweet but give it a go!

They would be so fun for a brunch. Using formed sausage patties on tiny waffles (with the cheese and tomato and sauce) would be a great finger food for a breakfast spread!

Adaptations:
Use frozen waffles (a standard one, like an Eggo waffle, would need a whole waffle as the top bun and a whole waffle as the bottom bun – those cannot be halved width-wise! They could be cut smaller to fit a slider-size burger too)
Swap any cheese!
Add a fried egg!
Use maple sausage!
Go for all the hot-sauce you’d like – for me, it was really to keep the sauce from being so so sweet.

The Historical Timeline of the Birthday Burgers:
2020 it was a BLT burger with ground bacon IN the burger and tomato jam
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

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes

Let’s chat comfort food. I’m glad fall is in the air and I’m ready for some foods to give us a little hug. I took the flavors of a burger into a speedy sloppy joe- the extra mustard and addition of relish and liquid smoke gives it all the burger flavors. I used meatless but any ground meat/meatless works!

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

Cheeseburger Sloppy Joes
Ingredients: (for 4)
3/4 pound ground meat (I used Gardein Meatless Crumbles)
4 burger rolls
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon relish
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
4 slices of American Cheese

Directions:
Add ground meat (cooked through if using beef/chicken/pork), brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, relish, and onion powder to a large skillet over medium-low heat. (I used meatless crumbles which can go into the pan frozen.)

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

Add in worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke (if using), and a splash of water.
Cook for 5 minutes until well incorporated and bubbling.
Toast the buns.
Spoon the sloppy joe onto each bun and quickly top with cheese to melt it.

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

Add some pickles and extra ketchup and mustard, if desired. Enjoy!

The Three Bite Rule - Cheeseburger Sloppy Joe

I loved this! Sloppy Joes cook SO quickly and are easy to stretch meat a bit further than a patty might. These are a great way to use a meatless product too.
Mixing some shredded cheddar would be good too- though maybe not so photogenic. Liquid smoke is a fantastic addition to these, in chili, in burgers, and any sauce or spread that has bacon in it! I find it on amazon but may have seen it at the grocery store too.

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