My husband came up with the challenge idea this week as something we could do together. He generally does the grilling in our household, and we prepped everything together for this as well. He definitely earned some brownie points with me!
We both love burgers, and one of our favorites is pineapple teriyaki burgers. So…we tried TWO recipes for the same thing…at the same time. Had to go overachiever-style like Nikita this week. :) The first one was good, but it had too many flavors going on, mainly too much ginger. The second was better. And props to my husband for grilling them perfectly. We’ll keep trying new recipes for this over time until we find THE ONE.
For some strange reason when I mentioned that I would be making gourmet burgers someone went straight to mushrooms. I do love mushrooms but are they always the first thing that people think of with gourmet burgers?
All that aside, when I read "gourmet burgers" I immediately thought of Rachael Ray. That chick knows a thing or two about burgers, gourmet or not. In the case of the burger that I chose, Rachael is inspired by one of the most uncomplicated sandwiches of all time. The Cubano. The Cubano is a pretty straight forward sandwich. The burger that Rachael makes has the ingredients of a Cubano and more. So many fresh ingredients and you'll find that this is a surprisingly healthy burger as well.
I know Gigi is allergic to mango so I'd suggest substituting mango with pineapple. If you can find an already made pineapple salsa that would be even better still. My photo doesn't do the burger justice. You will just have to trust me.
As I mentioned last week, Matt has been traveling A. LOT. He is our grill master in the House of Hays, and you can't have a Gourmet Burger without the grill (in my opinion.) This challenge was put upon us at the perfect time because we had some Omaha Gourmet Burgers gifted to us by my mother for Christmas AND we needed a simple weekend meal to relax and enjoy the paradise that is Phoenix. Matt took time out of his weekend to slave over a hot grill to make these beauties. Now I like mine with lettuce and tomato....Heinz 57 & french fried potatoes! (wink wink, parrot heads) We also added asiago cheese, avocado, mayo & mustard. And of course - a sesame bun! I bought the $2.49 Pepperidge Farms buns instead of the usual Kroger generic $0.89 buns we typically use for pork sandwiches or sloppy joes. Talk about an upgrade! Check out this big mouth gobbling up his cheeseburger. Like Gigi says, "He has no personality." HA! Not much of a recipe here to follow, but definitely worth a Saturday Bite!
The reason I'm not a vegetarian. No hate to the vegs.. But burgers..
Love this weeks challenge.
For my burgers I made simple burgers, ground beef sprinkled with fresh ground pepper and course salt. It's the toppings that set these beauts apart.
First let me clarify. I made sliders and Randy ended up cutting his little burger in half to have twice as many.
Sliders were served on Hawaiian sweet rolls and topped with swiss cheese, caramelized onions and homemade aioli. Randy added lettuce to his. Plain ole boring iceburg lettuce. It's his favorite. I also make Parmesan coated beans in replace of french fries
So many wonderful fancy gourmet burgers.
The difference between ordinary and gourmet when it comes to burgers is in the toppings. And the time it takes to kick your burger up several notches is minimal.
We would love to see what you've made. Please feel free to share
Until next week when Amy has us preparing non-muffin muffins
Jen, Amy, Nikita and Georgia
Last Saturday was St. Patrick's Day. We celebrated on Sunday with family. Nothing fancy, just traditional St. Pat's dinner. Corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots with the addition of green beans. Angie made homemade rolls (Soo good) and auntie made some yummy St. Patrick cupcakes.. All was delish.
Note: corned beef was made in the crock pot. However when it was done it looked an odd shade of grey. So I finished it up in a 350* oven for about 30 minutes. Where it turned it's normal corned beef red.
My older daughter, Jade, is being showcased this time around! She is 12 years old and loves to bake.
On St. Patrick’s Day we went to a BBQ at my uncle’s house. It was really nice to see another uncle and cousin there that I haven’t seen in a LONG time!! They were in town to enjoy some baseball games and wonderful weather, having flown in from New Jersey and Washington.
For the BBQ, Jade made some delicious and festive cupcakes using her new Wilton Two-Tone Cupcake Set. It’s supposed to separate two different cake batters as shown on the package, but it didn’t work like it was supposed to. The batter may not have been thick enough, and the green batter that she put in the centers was apparently heavier than the other. Looking at some of the reviews online, other people struggle with it also. But, the cupcakes were still a hit!!
Saint Patrick's Day has always been the one day of the year that I REALLY look forward to going to work because they always served Reuben sandwiches that are off the chain. But not this year! Apparently someone in the cafe whined that it was too much work. Putting together a sandwich is too much work...no luck of the Irish or any damn country to that lazy mofo. I digress.
I made a traditional colcannon that I enjoyed and did not share with the selfish riff raff in the cafe. So there. Stick that shillelagh straight up your tuckus!
So I had my colcannon with ham and bread and I am all the better for it!
This year was the first in a long time that we did not cook an Irish dinner. Matt who carries the Irish blood in our family was traveling for two weeks touring the Southeast for work. He was recently promoted to Head of all Workforce Management for JPMorgan Chase Worldwide. He's now taking trips to meet all of his new employees which means that he's going to be gone for the next month. Christopher and I ended up celebrating my friend's 30th birthday party instead. Enjoy a photo of me and Christopher in our Irish green.
I believe it's less about the food and more about the company, however you may as well enjoy the food while you are at it.
Georgia, Jen, Amy and Nikita
This week I chose meringue with the full intention of making meringue cookies for Christopher. He loves them! I usually make them for Christmas. BUT.....I happened to fall into a bag of lemons this week from a colleague. Citrus trees are everywhere across the valley, and the fruits are coming into season around here in Phoenix. So of course, I had to make Lemon Meringue Pie. It is most likely my favorite pie because I can't think of a better pie at the moment. I was also blessed to find a recipe in my new America's Test Kitchen cookbook. The meringue is made with cooked cornstarch to stabilize the it and prevent it from shrinking or beading/sweating. And sure enough, this method works! Matt missed out though because he touring the Southeast for work, but he might get his own pie if he brings me some more cookies home. 😁
I used a store-bought crust. Ain't nobody got time for that!
Meringue or merengue..
Seems like there's a little dance going on this week.
Okay.. So this past Sunday family dinner was all about comfort food. So I did my best to incorporate meringue into the menu.
Initially I was going to make Lemon Meringue Pie Bites. But the lemon curd was kinda gross so I ended up making the meringue nests and filled them with a strawberry fluff concoction.
These were a big big hit. The husband even commented on it several times.. Days later. He said the dinner was a big success and the little meringue pie bites ended it nicely.
Lemon meringue pie is one of my favorite desserts, but I have never made one myself…until now! It was easier than I expected, and the part that surprised me was that I already had all of the ingredients. I will probably try a different recipe next time, or make some adjustments to this one. I feel like it needs a thicker layer of meringue. And next time I will pay closer attention to the pie when it’s cooking instead so it isn’t as brown. :) My bad. Still a success though!
Original recipe from thespruce.com
I was unable to meet this week's challenge. However, I am making great progress in my coloring book!
Meringue and adult coloring books.. It was a good week.
Nikita, Georgia, Jen and Amy
Once a person realizes how easy homemade ragu is they won't find a need for the stuff that comes in a jar. My ragu varies depending on what I have on hand and what I have a taste for in the moment. Any ground meat or tofu or mushrooms. A dry wine or homemade stock. Much like pasta carbonara it's a great spur of the moment dish. It takes 30 minutes tops to make. So to hell with the jarred crap!
This go round my ragu went something like this:
Well first, this picture is VERY yellow.
I did make Ragu but it was far from "simple." The recipe originated from my new America's Test Kitchen cookbook. The sauce cooked in the Dutch oven for over four hours while I met with several window salesmen to get some quotes on replacing our terrible, single-pane, excuse-for-windows. It was actually quite funny when I paused their sales presentations to stir my Ragu. Of course, they obliged hoping to earn our business. 😊 Back to the recipe, it calls for chicken livers, mortadella (fancy bologna), and pancetta along with ground beef, veal, and pork. I have to say that I would not make this again because it is too greasy, but I'm glad I tried it.
When Amy said our food challenge this week was ragu, Randy didn't hesitate to remind me that we have his grandfather's recipe for homemade ragu.
So here is my best attempt at making his Italian grandfathers legit ragu
Wait, Ragu is something other than a brand?! Turns out it’s an Italian meat-based sauce dating back to the 18th century. And thanks to the challenge this week, I learned something new. :)
After looking through some ragu Ragu recipes, I decided I wanted to try one that used ground beef as the only meat, rather than a mix that includes veal or other. I settled on
QUICK AND HEARTY GROUND BEEF RAGU, from geniuskitchen.com. By quick, they mean 90 minutes.
This one smells really good, and I also like that there are a bunch of veggies hiding inside. I am adding it to my permanent collection of recipes with a few adjustments:
1. Half the recipe. I made enough food today for an army!!
2. Use a bit less beef broth.
Cooking is like love.
It should be entered
into with abandon
or not at all
Have a fab weekend!!
Amy, Nikita, Georgia and Jen
After a busy day, it’s so nice to come home to a meal that’s ready to eat. Hooray for slow cookers! :) I usually make shredded bbq chicken (served on buns) since it’s so easy, or sometimes beef pot roast, but this time I wanted to try something different. I found a recipe for “Crock Pot Mexican Casserole” at wellplated.com that I made a couple minor adjustments to. Also, I used Las Palmas brand for the enchilada sauce which turned out pretty good, but I can imagine a better sauce would make this dish amazing. It also needs something cold like tomatoes, lettuce, sour cream, or salsa to top it off. I opted for tomatoes AND salsa on my plate. Yum. My family and I also enjoyed scooping it onto tortilla chips.
Side note – I love my slow cooker because the pot is also stovetop-safe, so I didn’t have to use a separate pan to cook the meat first. :) Genius. Crock-Pot SCCPVI600-S
It was a cold rainy week in Green Country. So dumping food stuff in a crock pot seemed fitting. A few weeks. back my friend sent a link for Buzzfeed. I opened it and contained within were a dozen or vegan/vegetarian recipes for the slow cooker. Perfect. I have a tiny slow cooker so I thought I might be able to find a recipe in which I had the ingredients on hand. Sure enough I found soup! I had a field day using my Penzeys spices in this bad boy. I altered it slightly. Rather than fresh garlic I used minced. And full confession, I used chicken broth rather than vegetable broth. My bad!
So here's the link for Slow Cooker Tomato, Kale and Quinoa Soup
And here's the original Buzzfeed um feed:
I decided on dinner with a movie. Soup and The Dark Tower. It has Idris Elba in it...there.
A couple of weeks ago, I received a thank-you gift from a member of my credit union. It has turned out to be one of the best gifts I've ever received: America's Test Kitchen Recipe Collection from 2001-2018! It has over 800 pages of perfected recipes and scientifically-proven advice on which brand of ingredients are best or which manufacturer of kitchen appliances are best. There is so much cooking knowledge & wisdom in this Bible of cookbooks that it's difficult to put down. My first recipe to try happened to be this Slow-Cooker Beef Burgundy. Yes, it was labor intensive. And no, this is not your "weeknight-throw-dinner-in-the-pot" kind of recipe. But...WOW! The flavors are bold of pinot noir but tangy and salty of soy sauce. The gravy is thickened by small tapioca pearls in lieu of flour or cornstarch. It is definitely the best meal to have come out of my crock pot! I'm sure you will soon be seeing more recipes from this new love affair of mine! 😉
Jen's food challenge couldn't have been more timely. It has been a crazy busy week for me. It's weeks like this when I am most thankful for my crock-pot
With that I decided to use this challenge for our family Sunday dinner. So we had a chili cook off. Auntie and I both made chili while Angie made the cornbread.
Here is my chili recipe
Spring is right around the corner!! YAY!!
Jen, Amy, Nikita and Georgia
How to join:
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