Ohh yes I did. Mr. J’s birthday burger was a Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burger! I’ve tried in the past making fried mac & cheese fritter to top a burger with, but haven’t had luck keeping it together. Stuffing it was a success! We topped them with bacon jam, caramelized onions, and sliced tomato.
1 box prepared mac & cheese (w/ butter & milk. There will be extra, also known as a side)
1/2 pound ground meat (I used ground pork for mine & ground beef for Mr. J’s)
1 slice of cheddar (or shredded)
suggested toppings: caramelized onions, bacon/bacon bits/bacon jam, tomato slices
Prepare the Mac & Cheese according to your package. Then refrigerate at least 10 minutes stirring a few times to cool it down.
Divide the meat into 2 halves and form the ground meat into a ball for each burger. Pull off about 1/3 to become the “cover”. Form the remainder of each into a patty.
Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mac & cheese onto the center of each patty.
Add some extra sliced or grated cheese.
Place the remaining ground meat ontop and pinch with the edges of the patty. Work it with your hands to really connect the top to the patty. Form it into a ball and then flatten a bit.
Grill to cook through. The meat is thin but you want to be sure the meat cooks all the way through without any raw meat amongst the mac & cheese.
This was a fun one. It definitely felt unusual and like a good choice for a birthday burger. The little one got a head-start on dinner but then I gave him some mac and cheese when we were eating and he loved it! I mean, who doesn’t, but like father like son!
Happy Birthday Burger Mr. J!
Here’s the history of the Birthday Burgers:
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
2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese
Get. Ready. For. This.
I made the ramen burger and it was AWESOME! Yes! SHOUTING! It was so great! Yay! The crispy ramen buns stayed together and had the perfect toasted sesame flavor. The burgers had green onions and teriyaki. So good.
When I started thinking about a) I haven’t blogged in forever and b) what should the come-back meal be? I went high! RA-MEN BURG-ER. This video/tutorial is the best.
Ramen Burgers for 2
2 packages Chicken ramen
1/2 pound ground meat (I used pork)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbs teriyaki marinade
1/2 tsp sesame oil
3 green onions, diced
Boil water for the ramen and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then drain and rinse with cold water.
Whisk the eggs with a fork.
Add the noodles and 1 chicken flavoring packet to a large bowl. Mix/toss together until well coated.
Spray 4 patty-sized containers with non-stick spray. (Don’t forget this. I did and went back and washed, dried, and sprayed the containers to then put the noodle mix back in. Safe>Sorry)
Press the noodles down and cover with plastic wrap. Press or weigh the noodles down. I stacked my toddler’s bowls and lightly weighed the top noodles down. Refrigerate 20+ minutes.
For the burgers, mix together the ground meat, garlic, sesame oil, teriyaki sauce, and green onions.
Form into patties and then grill the burgers.
Heat a skillet to medium high heat and pour some sesame oil. Pan fry the ramen buns for 2-3 minutes per side. Flip just once.
Serve with more chopped green onions and teriyaki sauce.
It was really good! I think the sesame oil was really the key. I had some black sesame seeds which were also really good. I loved the flavors and was so excited the ramen worked! The craze is totally worth it.
We had some super warm days here in New England which seemed like perfect timing for a burger. This burger had dried cranberries mixed into it, brie on top, and a lemon-y aoli. Jazzing up the aoli or ketchup definitely makes a burger feel more special. Lemon pepper aoli spread is so easy and I used some leftovers for egg salad.
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp garlic, minced
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp lemon juice
Mix together the ground meat, cranberries, garlic, and salt & pepper.
Then form into patties and grill until cooked through.
Mix together the mayo, lemon juice, and pepper.
When the burgers are mostly cooked, top with brie until melted.
Serve with some dijon mustard and lemon/pepper aoli.
These were great. I liked the chewy and tartness the cranberries added with the creamy brie. So good. The zing of the aoli kept it from being too rich. These were good burgers and seemingly appropriate for winter burgers!
What MAKES this burger not your average burger, is the vehicle the Texas toast provides. I never have Texas toast but I was obsessed with this idea and it took a few weeks to come to fruition. Texas Toast bakes up surprisingly soft and easy to bite through for a burger! My toppings could probably get more amped up a bit, but dinner was fast approaching. The burger gets BBQ sauce in it, and on it, with some meat rub, onion, and some great flavors. I topped the bread-shaped patties with colby jack cheese and a bbq sauce/ketchup smear.
4 slices of cheesy Texas Toast
1/4 pound ground beef/chicken/pork
1/4 white onion, diced finely
1/3 cup BBQ sauce
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 tsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp yellow mustard
2 tbs dry rub
2 slices colby jack cheese
Mix the meat with onion, bbq sauce, liquid smoke, worcestershire sauce, and mustard.
(we did his & hers patties of beef=his & ground chicken=hers)
Form into thin oblong patties, keeping in mind the size of the Texas toast.
Dust the outside with the rub.
Bake the Texas toast according to the package (likely 8-12 minutes).
Grill until cooked through, being careful not to overcook.
Top with cheese & sprinkle some more rub onto the burger.
Mix together 1 part bbq sauce & 1 part ketchup.
Assemble the burger with chopped lettuce, pickles, burger, and BBQ/ketchup sauce.
I was a bit fearful that the bread would be too crusty and thus hard to eat since it is also so thick! It wasn’t at all! Yee-haw! I loved the smokey flavors and how juicy the burgers came out being. I’m telling you, liquid smoke goes so nicely here. Get some. It’ll take your chili to the next level.
Yum. We loved this. I have the other half of the Texas toast package so we’ll see where that goes. It seems like just the perfect snack…just saying.
Ohh yes I did. You’re welcome. This burger was de-lightful. I’m on a roll with burger ideas and know they tend to fizzle out a bit once I get into fall/winter mode, but this one was so fun. The burger toppings are inspired by a cobb salad. Hard boiled eggs, bacon, sweet lettuce, blue cheese dressing, etc make eggs-cellent toppings! It’d also be great on a cobb salad bed rather than a bun, if that’s your thing.
You could do this year round in a pan/griddle and it is a great cooking-for-one dinner idea or prime when you’re in the “what’s for dinner” scrounging through the fridge.
Burgers (mine was a chicken burger)
2 strips of bacon per burger
cucumber, sliced thinly
2 hard boiled eggs
blue cheese dressing
Hard boil the eggs and let them cool then pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Grill the burgers.
Top with lettuce, cukes, egg slices, bacon, and blue cheese dressing.
This was a fun one. I used potato rolls that just seemed to make this burger. Yum.
My ratios were a touch off, but his breakfast burger was so fun. What’s more breakfast than bacon, an everything bagel, cheddar cheese, and a sunny side egg?! The bagel is pretty huge making an already small-ish burger look tiny but this one is a winner.
I mixed up some maple mustard for a touch of sweetness and a little mustardy tang. That and the egg yolk are the only condiments needed!
I made breakfast burgers on english muffins with bacon jam that were really incredible. Breakfast for dinner is the best!
Does the swiss cheese and arugula make this American burger acceptable for Bastille Day? Ohh well, not quite on-theme but I once went to Bastille Day at the French Library in Boston and the crepe toppings included M&Ms so this is wayyy more appropriate for this French holiday (or my fav Parisian Burger). This burger has the buttery sautéed mushrooms that remind me of a steakhouse side dish. They are little sponges to soak up the butter and give an earthy flavor. Some melted swiss + herb aoli + arugula round this out perfectly. This is soooo good as a burger, but could easily be a piece of chicken or steak on the grill then topped with the mushrooms & swiss.
2 burger patties seasoned with salt & pepper (mine was ground chicken & Mr. J’s was ground beef)
1 cup of baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs butter
2-3 tbs mayo
fresh herbs of your choosing: I used: oregano; basil; chives; & rosemary
2 slices of swiss
arugula or spinach
Heat the grill or a grill pan and begin cooking the burgers to your preferred done-ness.
Warm a skillet to medium-low heat. Add the butter to melt.
Sauté the mushrooms for about 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
Mix together the mayo & herbs. I have a bunch of thriving herbs so I grabbed some of a bunch of them. You could easily just use whatever 2 you might have on hand. I had a 1:1 ratio of the mayo so it was suuuuper herby.
Lightly grill the buns at the end and top the burgers with the mushrooms then the cheese.
Assemble each burger with bun > arugula > burger > mushrooms > swiss > herb aoli on the top bun.
It was Mr. J’s idea, our grillmaster, to hold the mushrooms on with the cheese. They were so good on this burger. I love mushrooms but not everyone is such a fan. I think because these are baby portobellos with a bit more flavor and after they’ve bathed in butter, anyone would like them!
I began making Mr. J a special Birthday Burger back along the same time the blog started. I’ve made a lot of fun burgers so I have to be sure I save an idea or two when his bday rolls around mid June. This year’s picnic burger was very fun and all about the toppings.
In 2015 it is a Picnic Burger with potato sticks and coleslaw.
In 2014 it was a German Burger with horseradish, caramelized onions, pickles and a pretzel roll.
In 2013 it was a Vermont Burger with maple mayo, cheddar, bacon, and spinach.
In 2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger enough said.
In 2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese.
colby jack cheese
special sauce: 1 part mayo, 1 part ketchup, a touch of dijon mustard, a touch of sesame oil (optional)
I had no idea if it was going to be hard to find potato sticks, or if they’re not just a snack from the 1990s. Turns out, they were just in the snack aisle and I could buy just a single can. It is so funny to me that they come in a can. You pull the plastic ribbon around the top and pop the aluminum top off. Really, opening them is half the fun, but they had so much more potato flavor than chips do. They conveniently stuck to the cheese to stay on the burger while the cole slaw provided a crunch and a creaminess.
Need other burger topping ideas? Find ‘em all here!
I found pretzel rolls at my regular grocery store and was super excited. Maybe more excited than I should have been! The last time I wanted pretzel rolls I had to pop into Whole Paycheck and they weren’t that great. I knew these would be perfect for a burger (and they were). I’m grinning and twiddling my fingers to scheme up the use for the 2 I stashed in the freezer for future use muah-ha-ha-ha.
smokey aoli (mayo & liquid smoke)
I love pretzel rolls. The grocery store had long ones too and I hope both sizes are here to stay. The liquid smoke is a staple in my chili and I figured a dribble would be good in a spread on this burger. It lasts forever and the mayo only needed a little to become something special. I didn’t season the burger meat, but a dusting of some bbq rub might have been tasty.
To kickoff the New Year, Mr. J and I came up with a last minute menu of sliders & frappes. Who would have thought January would be the time I’d post some new burger toppings?! It was a freezing night so we cooked the sliders inside and it was so fun.
We both cook but don’t always cook together. Mr. J did the burger cooking and I helped prep the toppings. I was really happy to settle in with a fire, sliders, and yoga pants…especially at the start of 39-weeks preggers at that point. Seriously, I can’t believe that I’m still pregnant…40 weeks + 6 days. Holy Moly. Anyyyytime now little one – come on out!
Just a little googling for inspiration and we came up with toppings for 3 different sliders.
Chicken Burger Slider with Boursin cheese spread and caramelized onions:
This one was our fancy-ish one. I loved the spreadable cheese on here and it was definitely handy for Mr. J to do the burgers and for me to let the onions caramelize on their own time. I often am rushing them, or get distracted and they crisp too much. The onions were perfectly sweet with the herbed spread.
Chicken Burger Slider with bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream & chives:
This one was the all-American one. We cooked the bacon first, then cooked the burgers in the same pan in some bacon fat. Yes. Delicious. The tang of the sour cream was good with the cheddar and smokey bacon.
Italian Slider with Marinara & mozzarella:
This one had a schmear of marinara on the roll and then the burger was topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella. My basil had wilted but that would have been good too. I liked the all encompassing cheese on here.