What I ate: Cowboy Burger

I’ve made a few stuffed burgers and every time I make them I think of a new one! This time I did a cowboy burger with caramelized onions and cheddar cheese stuffed into the burger. I mixed in and topped them with barbecue sauce.
Three Bite Rule: Cowboy Burger
It was a a good combo and I think the barbecue sauce in the ground chicken was great touch to keep it juicy.

Restaurant Recreation: Big Mac Pizza

I was sad to miss out on the Mac Daddy pizza at the Pizza Rumble so I knew I’d have to recreate it ASAP at home! I can’t eat red meat so I couldn’t partake in the beef one so I made it Emily-friendly at home. It was such a winner and one I’ll totally make again!
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza

Ingredients:

Pizza dough
¾ pound ground turkey/chicken/pork
1 white onion, chopped
8 oz shredded yellow cheddar
2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs ketchup
2 tbs mayo
1 tsp relish
1 cup shredded lettuce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425-degrees and precook pizza dough until starting to get puffed and the bottom is getting crisp (about 15 minutes).
While dough is cooking, brown the ground meat and add onion after about 7 minutes of cooking. Continue cooking until meat is cooked through and onions are translucent.
Remove crust when semi-cooked and top with cheese. Add the onion and meat mixture on top of cheese. Sprinkle with ½ the sesame seeds and return pizza to the oven for about 10 more minutes.
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza
Mix mayo, relish, and ketchup together to make special sauce.
3 Bite Rule: special sauce
Remove pizza and top with lettuce, special sauce, and the remaining sesame seeds.
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza

This was really a fun pizza. The flavors went together really well and although I can’t say I’ve ever eaten a Big Mac, there’s a reason everyone knows the jingle and why the burger has been popular for 40+ years. The special sauce really makes this.
3 Bite Rule: Big Mac Pizza

I found a cheddar blend of shredded cheese intending for melting, aka, it had some processed American cheese which was perfect.

I actually didn’t want to buy iceburg lettuce just for this so I used spinach. Choose your green, you’re in charge! I only topped the pieces we’d be eating that night so we weren’t reheating lettuce on top of pizza the next day. I forgot pickles on mine. Oops. There will definitely be a next-time so I can right this wrong in the future.

This would be a really fun one to make as mini ones as apps or to a potluck. How come nobody brings pizzas to potlucks anyway?

Bacon Wrapped Burgers

I was really excited for my menu for Mr. J’s birthday. My guy loooves a good burger so I thought about a bacon wrapped burger. I guess Birthday Burgers are a tradition now since I made stuffed burgers for his birthday last year.

I googled and saw a few that put bacon around the edge. That’s not good enough. I was thinking of weaving it to make a little bacon wrapping.
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It seemed like it would cook ok, it just might need to be secured with toothpicks (I recommend counting them to be sure they all come out). We strategized that getting the bacon crisped on the first side might help keep it all together before flipping.

Ingredients
2 burgers
strips of bacon (4-6 strips per burger)

Directions
Lay 3 strips of bacon and interlace 3 other strips in the opposite direction to form an L.
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Place burger on the bacon intersection. Fold the flaps over and weave them together.
bacon_burger_assembled_590_390Mr. J’s was a beef burger. I did ground pork. Though I didn’t eat Mr. J’s burger, I have to say I think the 4 strips of bacon is plenty (versus the 6 on his).

I served it with a cucumber ribbon salad. It was plain greek yogurt, dill, garlic, and pepper.
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I sliced the cucumber with a mandolin but was afraid to make them too thin. I figured not slicing my hand off was a good birthday present too.
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The burgers were reallllly good. I topped mine with swiss and Mr. J’s with American cheese. I think it was a fun meal.
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Now what kind of burger am I going to make for his bday next year??

Cheeseburger Pizza

Sometimes when I have a good thing going I don’t know why I change it up. I have pizza dough I love (Portland Pie Co) that I get at the grocery store. It comes in regular, beer, and basil but I especially love the garlic.

I’m not sure why I haaaad to try making biscuit dough crust. It was terrible. It tasted OK but looked quite sad. It was crumbly and never molded together. I made Cheeseburger Pizza which was phenomenal despite the crust being not so great.
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Ingredients:

Pizza dough
1/3 pound ground meat (I used ground pork)
1/3 cup tomato sauce
1 ½ cups shredded cheddar cheese (or cheddar and mozzarella mixed)
1 tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
pickles, chopped
lettuce
ketchup and mayo to drizzle

Directions:

Prepare pizza dough and prebake until crisp at 400 degrees.
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Cook the ground pork until cooked through and drain. Return to the pan and add onions for a few minutes until softened.
Assemble the pizza by topping the dough with sauce, meat, onions, and cheese.
burger_pizza_assembled_590_390 Bake 20 minutes or until heated through and the cheese melts.
burger_pizza_baked_590_390 Top with pickles, lettuce, tomato, and drizzle with ketchup and mayo.
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This was a really good pizza. I liked the flavors and it was a great use of some basic ingredients. I had the pork leftover and frozen from another dinner so it was also a great use of frozen meat. Frozen ground meat isn’t great as a burger but as taco meat, or pizza toppings the lack of freshness isn’t apparent.

I’ll make it again I’m sure. Pizza is such a regular weeknight dinner because the leftovers are so good too. I ate leftovers even though the “biscuit” crust wasn’t great. Here’s the biscuit recipe if you want to give it a go but I recommend sticking to regular dough.

I have another pizza to post soon and I have an idea I haven’t tried yet so stay tuned!

Salmon Burger

I’m posting out of sequence so it might look like I’m eating bugers non-stop. Mr. J had some venison so I bought myself some fish. Salmon was on sale so that sealed the deal. If I’d been coordinated, I’d have made a pie for pi day so, happy 3.14!

I’m talking $2.68 for a POUND of salmon. That’s several servings. Whoa!
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I was doing to cook it in the oven with butter, lemon, & dill but then I had this strange hankering for a salmon burger. It came out of nowhere. I’ve never even EATEN a salmon burger before, but this was wicked good.

Ingredients:

½ cup panko breadcrumbs
¾ cup breadcrumbs
1 pound salmon
1 tsp dried dill
1 tsp lemon juice
1 egg½ tsp garlic

Directions:

Cut salmon off the skin
Add breadcrumbs, salmon, dill, and lemon juice to a food processor and pulse a few times until combined. (I was out of breadcrumbs so these are some homemade croutons becoming breadcrumbs).
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Mix in an egg and garlic by hand.
Form into patties & grill
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I served these with spinach, some tzatziki, and mustard on a grilled wheat roll. I liked the creamy component and thought the cukes, garlic, and dill of the tzatziki were really good with the salmon.
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I made 3 burgers out of it and really enjoyed this as something different. The other 2 are frozen and I’m sure will be a great surprise some night when I feel like there’s nothing for dinner.

It stayed together much better than I expected, but I did arm Mr. J with some super duty aluminum foil for the burger on the grill.

I wouldn’t ever order a salmon burger at a restaurant so I think this was a fun/easy one to make at home. I think if a restaurant is cooking my fish I’ll have them taking the tougher method.

Cost Breakdown:

1 pound of salmon: $2.68
breadcrumbs: ~$0.55
lemon for juice: $0.89
roll: $1.59
tzatziki: $0.41
total:  $6.12 (for 3 burgers) or $2.04 each!

Greek Stuffed Burgers

Way back when I made stuffed burgers. These were themed for Mr. J (blue cheese & bacon) but I had all sorts of plans for other fillings.
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It’s been quite awhile, but I made them again! This time I made a Greek inspired one and grilled it. Ohh my burger goodness. I filled them with feta and topped them with spinach, red onions, and cucumber. These burgers are delicious and great for something different.
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Hmmm. Sky’s the limit for burger toppings/stuffings. Maybe a cowboy caramelized onions/bbq sauce/cheddar stuffed burger will be next. Or maybe a Southwestern with Pepperjack cheese and salsa.

Veg Burg

I scoped out a whole bunch of veggie burger recipes but ended up just including whatever I remembered when I grocery shopped. These were good, but could have used more crunch. I love when I have control over my burger since I’m not a red-meat-eater and have fewer choices.
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Ingredients:

1 cup oatmeal
½ can black beans
1 eggplant, grated
1 cup panko
3 green onions, chopped
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs soy sauce
1 egg
salt & pepper

Directions:

Blend oatmeal until it becomes like a flour
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Drain and blend the black beans in a food processer
Saute onion and garlic until translucent
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Combine beans, onion, garlic, shredded eggplant, green onions,  soy sauce, egg, and S&P in a bowl and stir to combine.
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Form into patties and bake at 375 degrees for 10 min before flipping and baking another 10.
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I packed these for lunch this week and served it on a light English muffin (toasted) with cheddar and spinach on the burger. I liked these a lot. I think the eggplant and beans made it really sizeable and filling.

I think next time I’d add in some nuts or sunflower seeds. I think another grain might have been good. Barley? Rice? I’ll keep that in mind next time.
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I baked instead of frying or grilling since they’re not known to stay together well. I froze extras and think they’ll be a great find in the freezer once I’ve forgotten them at a time when I feel like there’s nothing for dinner.

Since you know, or have noticed, that I rarely bake so it may surprise you that I have a muffin top pan. I have never made muffins in it but love it for things like this! I use it all the time for anything patty shaped! Crab cakes, burgers, zucchini fritters…you name it. It is super handy. Once I have a kitchen with space, I’m sure I’ll bake more.

Stuffed Burgers

For Mr. J’s bday we had a multi-day celebration. Since his birthday was a weekday AND a Bruin’s playoff game, I knew it should be fun, quick, and something to psych him up for the game (as if he needed help getting excited)!
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I made stuffed burgers after having such success with the burgers on the grill pan inside. I see them on menus but of course they never seem to offer them as turkey or chicken so I can’t usually partake.

I made Mr. J a beef burger stuffed with blue cheese and bacon. I made myself a turkey burger stuffed with Monterey Jack and bacon.  SO good! They were also very easy.

Ingredients:

1/3 pound ground beef/turkey for each burger
2 slices of bacon, cooked & crumbled
2 tbs chopped, shredded, or crumbled cheese
2 rolls

Directions:

Form the patty with most of the meat for the burger. Reserve the last bit for the top.
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Add cheese and bacon.
Apply the reserve to the top of the filling while forming the sides to meet the top.
Grill on each side, covering if needed to cook through
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He was happy to have ground beef at home for a change since I do everything in turkey or chicken. We both thought these were fun and want to try again too! I was thinking going Greek with feta and spinach would be great as well.

stuffed_burger_doneme_290_200stuffed_burger_donej_290_200

Ranch Burgers and Apple Slaw Apartment Style

You could pour ranch dressing on an Old Navy $5 pair of flip flops and it would make them taste good. I took a tastier approach and was so excited about my creation. I made Ranch Chicken Burgers and Zesty (mayo-less) Apple Slaw in my own kitchen…no party required!
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Ingredients:

¾ pound ground chicken
½ packet dried ranch dressing/dip mix
3 tbs ranch dressing
2 bulky rolls

Directions:

Mix ground chicken, ranch mix, and dressing
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BBQ or cook on a grill pan flipping once.
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Serve on toasted rolls with ranch dressing on top.
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Ground chicken and ground turkey are more likely to fall apart so don’t overflip! I took a tip from my pal Guy on Diners Drive-ins & Dives: I flipped them but feared they weren’t going to be fully cooked so I covered them and added a touch of water for some steam.

They were cooked perfectly! That is tricky without my trusty meat thermometer but I was so proud of myself. They were juicy and I definitely tasted the ranch.

I paired it with some slaw. This was awesome and is a nice alternative to creamy slaws. I put in some apple I planned to use otherwise but had on hand.

Ingredients:

3 cups shredded cabbage/slaw mix
½ gala apple, chopped into matchsticks
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs veggie oil
¼  cup cidar vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tbs dijon mustard
dash red pepper flakes

Directions:

Heat oils, vinegar, sugar, mustard, and red pepper over medium heat just until warmed through.
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Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Toss with cabbage and apples.
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Refrigerate several hours and pour off excess liquid.
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I liked how light it was with a zesty crunch. This would be a great picnic or bbq item. I only made enough for 2 or 3 servings which was perfect.

Green or red onion would be a great add in and broccoli slaw would be great too. Shortly after making the burgers I made them again and Mr. J cooked them on a BBQ. Aside from our poor puppy not having a yard, not being able to use a grill is our biggest issue with this apartment and something we greatly look forward to enjoying in a house someday.

These made me super jazzed about other burgers inside. I can’t eat red meat so I miss out on fun ones at restaurants like stuffed burgers since they rarely come in turkey or chicken burgers. I’ll just have to make it happen! I have a feeling Mr. J would love a blue cheese stuffed one. I was thinking cheddar or spinach and feta stuffed. Stay tuned!

New Neighborhood Burger Joint: Boston Burger Company

Mr. J and I had a simply wonderful day feeling famous during our engagement photo shoot. Seriously. At times the lens on the camera was about the length of my arm and people were looking to see if we were famous. I was nervous but it was SO fun. Afterwards we were “all dressed up with nowhere to go”. Well, we weren’t super dressed up so we could pretty much go anywhere! We broke out a Groupon for Boston Burger Company and could just stroll there from our apartment.
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We got even more excited while we waited in a crowded hallway of the tiny restaurant. We scoured the menu while we waited so it definitely felt like we earned it.Our meal started with an appetizer of mac and cheese bites. So amazing and cheesy. The noodles were the slightest bit al dente. Marinara dipping sauce always seems weird to me with these but the citric acid is a great contrast.
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We got fries, not because we actually needed them but how could we pass on one of the 12 variations? Most of ‘em came home with us but they were delicious! We got garlic Parmesan and really loved them. They were thick cut and had a strong zing of garlic which I love!
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I chose “The Pilgrim” which is a turkey burger with homemade cranberry mayo, stuffing, and American cheese. I swapped out the cheese for cheddar 1) because I like it better than American cheese and 2) because I thought the sharpness would be nice against the sweet and tart cranberries.
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It was so great to see such a substantial amount of cranberry spread on there. I was really impressed and loved every bite. Ohh, you’d like to see a cross section? Sure!
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Mr. J got the “Ranch Burger”. It was a beef patty with bacon, American cheese, and ranch dressing. He really loved it. The bacon was piled high but didn’t seem like it was over the top. Normally he leans towards burgers with without cheese but with blue cheese crumbles or blue cheese dressing. Did you notice the buttery grilled bun? Yum!
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The burgers come with coleslaw or baked beans (we went with the slaw, which was good). They also come with homemade potato chips. These were really impressive! I loved how much the rich potato flavor came through!

The waitstaff was so great. I’ve waited tables and these ladies knew what was up. It is such a small restaurant but there was a really bubbly vibe.

Luckily we could mosey on home after filling up while toting to-go boxes. I already know what I want to get next time.