Juicy Bacon Burger

I love sports, especially football, so it is with great sadness that I acknowledge the end of football season with this Sunday’s exhibition of the Super Bowl. In honor of the final match (although it would be better if GREENBAY were playing)  I figure why not go out with a BANG and introduce you to the Juicy Bacon Burger!  I don’t know if you know this Super Bowl “factoid”, but all foods consumed on Super Bowl Sunday are CALORIE FREE 🙂 with that being said here is a bit of  heaven on a bun, kinda…

I don’t always eat burgers, but when I do it’s the Juicy Bacon Burger!  This burger is one of the juiciest, most decadent hamburgers I’ve ever eaten or made in my life. How can any sandwich with egg, cheese, and bacon be wrong? To help you get to know me better, I’m not a fan of sandwiches or hamburgers so to endorse this hamburger is a BIG DEAL. This recipe does come with a warning: you will need several napkins and a nice cold beer to enjoy the ultimate burger experience! photo-001

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz ground Short Ribs*
  • 8 oz ground Sirloin*
  • 8 oz ground Chuck*
  • 8 slices smoked bacon, thick cut
  • 4 slices Cheddar cheese
  • 4 large eggs, fried
  • ½ c Red Onions, pickled
  • 4 dill pickles, thin sliced
  • 4 English muffins, split
  • kosher salt
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • spicy ketchup (¼ c ketchup combined with ¼ c sriracha, add cayenne pepper to taste)

*If you don’t own a Kitchen Aide mixer with the meat grinding attachment, have your grocery store butcher grind the meats for you.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the stovetop grill pan and cook the bacon on medium-high until brown and crispy. Drain the bacon on paper towels while reserving the fat of the bacon in the pan and return it to the stovetop.
  2. Combine the ground meats in a bowl and season with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Shape into patties that are a bit larger than the English muffins.  Place the burgers in the hot skillet containing the bacon fat and  cook the burgers 3 minutes on each side for doneness that is  medium rare. Cook an additional 2 minutes on each side for a well done burger.
  3. Place the sliced cheddar cheese on top of the flipped burger during the final minutes of cooking.  While the burgers are resting (the resting step is VERY important because this is what makes the burgers JUICY), lightly grill the English muffins for 1 minute. Pan fry each egg to your level of doneness (I prefer the yolk to run to add to the “juiciness”).
  4. Rest a patty on each of the bottom layers of the English muffins, followed by sliced pickles, red onions, fried egg, spicy ketchup and ENJOY!

adapted from Michael Symon

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Chicken with Basil Dumplings

I’ve never needed a good reason to enjoy a warm soothing bowl of soup. While searching for a new way to give chicken thighs a makeover, stumbled across a delightful dumpling recipe from Dawn Vezina,  my daughter aka “the palate” recommended the basil twist and a star was born!

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If you prefer dark meat over the traditional chicken breast, you will find this recipe exceptionally tasty and combined with the light, fluffy dumplings this soup is perfect to combat the winter blahs and the dreaded flu.  The REAL perk is this soup is even BETTER the next day!

Ingredients:

Soup:

2 chicken leg quarters, cut

2 celery ribs, sliced

1 cup carrots, julienne

1 large onion, diced

1 can chicken stock (14 ½ oz)

2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

2 tsp beef bouillon granules

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 ½ tsp salt

1 twist fresh ground pepper

Dumplings:

2 c.  flour

4 tsp baking powder

1 tsp basil

1 tsp salt

¾ c.  milk

4 Tbsp canola oil

Directions:

In a large stock pot, combine the chicken, celery, carrots, onion, chicken broth, parsley, minced garlic cloves, beef bouillon granules, salt and pepper.  Add water to completely cover the chicken. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat , cover, and simmer for 2 hours or until the chicken is cooked through to the bone.  Remove the chicken and let stand until it is cool to the touch.  Remove the skin and tear the meat from the bones, returning the skin to the soup.

Season the soup with salt and pepper to taste. Return the soup to a simmer. Meanwhile, combine the dumpling ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix until a stiff dough is formed.  Drop the dough one tablespoon at a time into the simmering soup.  Cover the pot and simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Serve immediately

Corn Caprese Salad

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Doesn’t this salad SCREAM fresh, vibrant, and delicious? Ok so just a quick confession… I LOVE CORN! Cob, creamed, steamed, in pancakes (you’ll get that recipe later), in salads, you name it, I LOVE IT..whew ok I’m better.

I ran across this recipe 5 years ago by Cuisine magazine, and after a couple of tweaks, it has been my FAVORITE HANDS DOWN. I decided to share this recipe during a “‘Girls Night In” and after a couple of bottles  glasses of wine, the ladies not only cleaned their plates, but I believe they may have been licking of the plates as well. Take a few minutes to create this easy breezy masterpiece, I’m sure it will be your favorite too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 c. fresh or frozen corn (fresh is always best)

2 c. grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

1 c. fresh mozzarella, chopped (you may also use shredded if you’re in a pinch)

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

pinch of sugar (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Blanch the corn in boiling water for 3 minutes drain and cool.  Combine tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and corn in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk vinegar, olive oil, sugar then toss with the corn mixture. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.

201 calories per cup

Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar

Mulled Red Wine with Muscovado Sugar

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become quite the wine connoisseur and fearless in my choices. As an extreme novice I shied away from Red wine not  understanding it doesn’t belong in the fridge. Once the learning started, the world of wine opened up.  I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but the optimist in me chooses to believe it’s GOOD!  The delicate tones of a Merlot compared to the bubbly delights of a Riesling can compliment the best Ribeye or the perfect Salmon.  Not only am I an optimist, but I am adventurous when it comes to food and libations, so imagine my delight when I stumbled across this Mulled Red Wine by Marcia Kiesel. Armed with the perfect glass as my weapon, I took no prisoners! Enjoy!
CONTRIBUTED BY MARCIA KIESEL

Have I mentioned my love of a good bottle of wine? As

  1. Two 750-milliliter bottles (or the equivalent) fruity red wine, such as Zinfandel or Merlot
  2. Zest strips from 1 orange
  3. 1 1/2 cups muscovado sugar or other dark brown sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons black peppercorns, lightly crushed
  5. One 3-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  6. 3 bay leaves
  7. 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  1. Put the peppercorns, fennel seeds and cinnamon in a large tea ball or wrap them in cheesecloth and secure them with kitchen string. In a large saucepan, combine the aromatics with the wine, bay leaves and orange zest. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove the aromatics and orange zest strips. Stir in the sugar until dissolved. Serve warm, in glasses or mugs.
MAKE AHEAD Once cooled, the mulled wine can be poured into a pitcher and refrigerated for up to 3 days. Reheat gently.

Glazed Carrots with Dill

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If you have a can of lemon-lime soda and a carrot, you have the beginning of an unexpected side that’s perfect for a busy week night or an elegant meal. As a lover of vegetables, it doesn’t take much for me to eat my veggies. A recent trip the farmers market in Charlotte lead to long conversations over the different types vegetables from India, how they look, and how to cook them. Any who…back to the carrots and soda. If you love glazed carrots, but you never master the art of the perfect sugar or honey ration to water, lemon-lime soda is the answer! Take a peek at this gourmet recipe made easy and leave your comments! Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 lbs. carrots, sliced

12 oz. lemon-lime soda

1 Tbsp butter

¼ tsp fresh dill weed

salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Slice the carrots uniformly to promote even cooking. I prefer a mandolin, yes this is one of my favorite kitchen tools ♥. In a medium sauce pan, add the carrots and lemon-lime soda over medium-high heat cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and continue to eat for 10 minutes. Uncover the pan and continue to cook until the carrots are tender and the liquid is almost evaporated.  Add the butter stir until melted and add seasons.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 cups. 110 calories per ½ cup

 

Vegetable Melange

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I never knew quick and easy could be so DELICIOUS and I’m sure you will agree.  I stumbled across this wonderfully simple recipe on a quest to take simple common ingredients, but make them spectacular. The thinly shaved veggies sautéed lovingly with butter and olive oil then sparked back to life with lemon!  5 ingredients later, the plates were clean and smiles were on the faces of everyone. Enjoy

Ingredients:

1 large zucchini, shaved

1 large carrot, shaved

2 large leek (white part only), cut into strips

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Shave the zucchini and carrot into ribbons using a vegetable peeler to make long thin strips. A mandolin may work but it’s more difficult to control the thickness of the strip. Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat and saute the leek in the butter and olive oil mixture for 1 minute.  Add the zucchini and carrot and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove the pan from heat and toss the vegetables with the thyme and the fresh lemon juice.  Serve immediately.

 

 

Spicy and Sweet Potato Salad

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Now that the holiday festivities are over, I am more than ready to get back to healthier eating. This contribution to “Healthy Sides” week starts off with the yummy goodness of sweet potatoes! It’s more than the usual roasted yams or whipped sweet potato, it’s a unique twist on a familiar veggie that will leave a big impression.  The natural sweetness of the potatoes, the crunch of the pecans, combined with the added kick of the crushed red peppers creates an unexpected “party” at first bite! Taste and enjoy this delightful recipe that boasts a mere 207 calories and 25 grams of carbs per 1/2 cup serving.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes (5 cups)

1 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp kosher salt

1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

3 strips thick-sliced bacon, chopped

1/2 c. red onions, slivered

1/4 c. honey

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 c. pecans, toasted

2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

2 Tbsp scallions, thinly sliced

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. While the oven is heating, toss the chopped sweet potatoes with the sugar, oil, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes and roast for 30 minutes.  Saute the bacon until crisp and remove the fat, but leave the chopped bacon in the pan.  Add the  silvered red onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add the honey and vinegar until thoroughly combined.  Place the roasted sweet potatoes in a bowl and combine the bacon mixture, pecans, lime juice, and scallions.  Salt and pepper to taste!

adapted from Cuisine at Home