Friday Recipe Exchange: Stuffed Burgers

Stuffed Burger Uncut Snap

Stuffed burgers, yum. It’s grilling season. And as much as I love a good grilled burger, I’m always looking for a way to elevate them to something beyond ordinary.  I’ll probably have several posts over the summer with different ways to dress up ordinary ground beef for the grill. Today though, I’m going to start with my new favorite, stuffed burgers with sharp cheddar and jalapenos.

Before I get to that, let’s start with my basic burger recipe, one I’ve been making since I was a kid, that makes sure even the leanest ground beef comes out moist and flavorful. That recipe is here.

Next, JeffreyW has been playing with perfecting sliders here, here and here. If you can get through those photos without your mouth watering, you’re stronger than I am.

Your turn. What’s your favorite way to prepare your burgers? Are you a turkey or veggie burger person? If so, what’s your favorite way to fix them? What is your “must have” on a burger? Ketchup? Mustard? A thick tomato slice? My must have is ketchup. Lots of it.

For tonight’s feature recipe, I’m going to take you step by step through a single burger prep. It should be easy to multiply the ingredients for as many as you’ll want to make. I’m using sharp cheddar and pickled jalapenos, but you can use blue cheese, mild cheddar, jack, swiss, or any favorite cheese. An ounce of cheese per quarter pound of ground beef is about the right ratio to keep everything from falling apart and still have a nice melted center. Add grilled onions, mushrooms or peppers to change things up. The ideas are endless.

Jalapeno-Cheddar Stuffed Hamburgers:

Stuffed Burger Final

Ingredients for each burger:

  • 4 oz ground beef
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp crushed garlic (opt)
  • 1 oz sharp cheddar, sliced thin
  • 2 or more slices of pickled jalapenos

Mix salt, pepper and garlic into the ground beef. Form two, 2-oz patties. Place jalapenos on one burger, cheese on the other.

Prep2

Place the two sides together and seal the edges completely. Gently flatten the burger, but be careful because you don’t want the cheese busting out of the center.

Prep1a

The key to grilling or frying these is low and slow. Medium heat seals them and allows the cheese to melt without drying the burger out. I flipped at the 5 minute mark, but depending on the heat, 3-4 minutes may be enough to flip. They’re thin, so the beef cooks quickly, but you want to make sure the cheese melts. I would say minimum 4 minutes per side.

If cheese starts to leak out, flip and flip again as needed. DON’T press down on these burgers while you grill, you’ll have a cheesy mess.

Now the warning. Did I say WARNING? Yes I did. You’ll need to rest these burgers to let the cheese cool a bit. Otherwise you could be biting into a scalding cheese center. You’ve been WARNED.

That’s the basics, now let your imagination run wild. Maybe I should have titled this, How To Stuff A Wild Burger.

Until next week…..

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Super Bowl Recipes: Buffalo Chicken Dip

No secret I have friends in Patriot-land and it seems in the last few years Colorado/Denver and Boston/New England have gone against each other in various sporting events and I’m forced to fall back on my original upbringing – New England all the way.  Although I will admit I was truly torn between the Red Sox/Rockies World Series match-up.  I alternated between my Rox gear and my BoSox gear.  This year, no such dilemma as the Patriots face off with the Giants.

So from the land of the Patriots comes another Super Bowl recipe from my friend Butch Maier.  Take it away, Butch:

Now that the Patriots are in the SuperBowl I will reveal my winning dip that I have been making. by the way the Pats record is 7-0 when I make ths dip,Alabama won a national championship with this dip so here goes………….(btw)NO GIANTS FANS can use this weekend.

BUFFALO (not bills) CHICKEN DIP…..

  • 8oz pkg of cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup of blue cheese or ranch dressing
  • 1/2 cup of Texas Pete hot sauce or Franks Hot Sauce will do
  • 1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • I use 2-12oz cans of chicken or use 2 boneless breasts
  • plenty of scooping chips.

Stir is softened cream cheese,dressing,hot sauce,cheese,and chicken mix it all around in a big bowl then put in a 9 inch pie plate smooth out and I bake 20 mins at 350 until its bubbling…..

In the interest of blog equity, I’m willing to post a Giant’s fan recipe.  Email me with it or hit the comments with it.  😀

Mmm…sliced tomatoes

I ran a letter up to the mailbox yesterday evening and was hailed by a neighbor.  I turned the quad up his drive to see what was up and he asked if I wanted a few tomatoes.  Sure, I’ll take’em off your hands, I told him.

Not too sure where these were grown, I suspect Mexico but all the neighbor would say was that they came out of Texas.  He ekes out his retirement and disability money by selling veggies out of his pickup truck.  Has the portable tables and awnings and stuff to make himself at home for the day off the roadside or in a friendly parking lot.

I’ve never inquired too closely into the chain of commerce that brought this tomato to my table-he seems shy about it for whatever reason.  I asked once and he shrugged and said that he has them brought up.  I suppose he meets a truck somewhere and buys off of it.  Perhaps he fears competition if the details get out.  Maybe the operation skirts some regulation and he fears The Man shutting him down.

Blue cheese!

Found some domestic blue cheese while I was checking for some ground lamb at a store I seldom visit any more.  It’s kind of out of the way, it’s been years since I was last in there.  I found some ground lamb (yes-gyros!) but I was most pleased with the cheese-bought a pound of it at a very decent price.  It’s yummy!

I’ve been having a ton of trouble getting pics to upload today.  My main uplink network is causing me all kinds of troubles, and my standby net has a set of its own.  I’m fussing with cat 5 today, trying to sort out networking issues.  I keep my photo files on a network drive that the backup network couldn’t see.  I’m on the kitchen computer right now, it seems to be seeing everything ok.  The living room computer says I see the external drive!  I see it!  But for some reason the World Press flash uploader refuses to find it.  Sigh

Mmm…crab dip*

*no actual crabs were harmed while making this dip-uses the fake crab meat stuff

I’ve made this several times in the last few months, and a few iterations of the recipe before this I had a bit of blue cheese salad dressing left over and thought I’d toss it into the mix.  It was so good I went with real crumbled blue cheese the last two times.  Always before I’ve added a small can of real crab meat so that I wouldn’t have to blush when I claimed it to be “crab dip”.   We didn’t have any in the cupboard today so it went without.  Can’t see that it makes much difference in the taste–the blue cheese flavor predominates so that the fake crab meat is not much more than a useful filler.

I’ll list the ingredients used in it this time, these amounts are approximate for the most part, and you should always feel free to use other stuff in yours.  Some finely minced fresh hot peppers come to mind if you prefer spicier dips.

1 lb of the fake crab meat

12 oz of whipped cream cheese

5 oz of crumbled blue cheese

~1/3 c mayo

2 ribs celery

2 T of chopped parsley

fresh ground black pepper

salt to taste

I used a mini food processor to mince all the ingredients.  I wouldn’t chop the stuff too finely lest it end up a puree-it needs to have some solid bits in there.  Go with whatever size works for your own tastes.

Mmm…lasagna

Decided to use up that excess spinach in a nice lasagna.  It worked out very well, despite my not having quite enough pasta for the traditional (at least in my kitchen) three layers of noodles.

I used 2 pints of the tomato sauce we canned from last summer’s garden.  Four cheeses:  Riccota, Parmesan, mozzarella, and a generous grating of asiago.  I ransacked the freezers for some Italian sausage to no avail, but did uncover a package of ground pork so I made my own “Italian” sausage.  Mince a couple of cloves of garlic, sprinkle in some dried basil, oregano, thyme, and fennel seed.  Salt and black pepper to taste, as well as some red pepper flakes.  I shook in some paprika and a dash of cayenne just for fun.  Mush it all together in a bowl and then brown the meat in a pan and then set aside on some paper towels to drain.

I sautéed the spinach in some garlic and olive oil, doesn’t take long for it all to wilt down.  Chop it roughly after cooking and set it to drain in a sieve over a bowl.

Some recipes say mix the shredded cheeses with the riccota, others say spread them separately when assembling the layers.  I mashed all them together except for the asiago that was grated over the top.

Anyway, assemble the layers as you see fit because I bet you’ve done it before and who am I to dictate methods.  lol

I covered my casserole with foil and cooked it at 350 for 45 minutes, then peeled the foil so the top could toast a bit, say another 15 minutes.  Take it out and let it rest for a while, really, let it cool down for 20-30 minutes.

Serve with garlic toast and a nice salad:

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I set the leftover slices of lasagna out on a sheet pan lined with paper and have it in the big freezer so that I can individually wrap the frozen blocks and stow the lot of them in a big plastic freezer bag.  Makes it really easy to get out just enough to thaw and reheat for a nice lunch.

 

Beef & Pepper Subs with a Pear-Walnut Salad

A little mini-menu for you tonight. This is quick and easy and the pear salad has a nice, fresh flavor that is really complimented by the walnut oil and blue cheese.

Beef & Pepper Subs

  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb sirloin or flank steak, thinly sliced*
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4 large crusty Italian sub rolls, sliced
  • 8 oz Provolone or American cheese, sliced (opt)

skillet

Heat oil in skillet, add meat, garlic, onions & peppers. Allow to cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add immediately to rolls. Top with cheese. If desired you can also then pop under the broiler to melt the cheese (keep an eye on them, so they don’t burn)

*it’s easiest to do if it’s slightly frozen when you slice it

Walnut Pear Salad

  • 3 pears, thinly sliced
  • Bibb lettuces leaves
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ tbsp walnut oil (opt)
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ¼ cup honey (more If needed)
  • 2 oz crumbled blue cheese

large platter

saucepan

Arrange lettuce leaves on platter, add pear slices. Combine walnuts, oil, vinegar & honey in saucepan, mix well, and heat until honey is melted. Taste and add more honey or vinegar if needed. Pour over pears. Crumble cheese over salad.