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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Go Bold Burgers

Recipe: Grilled Burgers with Arugula, Bacon, Bleu Cheese, and Caramelized Onions

The other night I was outside and could smell someone grilling something and wham! I wanted a burger. I think smelling meat cooking on a grill is a lot like smelling popcorn. You didn’t really have any urge to have it, until the smell wafted over to you.
Burgers are fairly common at our house because they are quick, don’t take a huge amount of effort, and we almost always have the 3 essential ingredients (meat, buns, cheese) on hand. Those three ingredients are the jumping off point; from there we put on whatever is available and tickles our fancy. In all honesty, I don’t think we’ve eaten the exact same burger more than twice.

As I was starting to caramelize the onions I realized that I have never posted a single recipe on here for a burger. So I decided to change that!

Consider this a freestyle recipe

Go Bold Burgers

*Makes 4 burgers
(printable recipe)

- 4 six ounce burgers, ½” – ¾” thick *See tip below
- 4 buns
- 6 slices of bacon, cooked
- 1 small/medium onion, sliced
- seasoning for burgers, whatever you prefer
- crumbled bleu cheese
- arugula
- tomatoes, sliced
- butter for caramelizing, couple tablespoons
- optional: course ground or Dijon mustard


1. Start by caramelizing your onions in butter over medium-low heat. (Click here for my “How To”.)

2. Once your burgers are formed, season them any way you like. I sprinkled ours with a little garlic powder, onion powder, season salt, and black pepper.

3. Heat your grill to high and place burgers on when ready. Cook to desired temperature. About 10-12 minutes for medium, it will depend on your grill’s temperature. When you have about a minute left add your cheese to the top. If you want your buns heated or toasted, add it at this time as well. Be sure to keep an eye on them! Once cheese is melted and buns toasty, remove from grill.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Pancakes

I have a lot of love for pancakes. When we (me, my sister, and cousins) were little my grandfather would make us pancakes and they were the absolute best. We would get so excited if Grampie was making pancakes for us, especially the pancake men! He even got up early on the morning of my high school graduation to make them for me while everyone else was still asleep. I actually think that is the last I’ve had them. Funny how we remember those little details like that in life. I’ll have to put in a request the next time I’m home.

To this day I can’t tell you what secret ingredient was in there to make them extraordinary. In fact, I think he used Bisquick. Perhaps it was all the love and care that they were made with? Or maybe it was the fact that he made them for us at lunch time? I’m guessing it was the former.

Needless to say it’s slightly disappointing that Brent doesn’t like pancakes. He has a food aversion to buttermilk that stems from some childhood trauma. Even regular pancakes I make without buttermilk he has a hard time enjoying. So I set out to make something a lil different, but not too crazy. Somehow this idea came to me and I ran with it.

Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Pancakes
*Serves 3-4
(printable recipe)

- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 ½ tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 ¼ cups milk*
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Extra melted butter or cooking spray for the griddle
* The original recipe called for 1 cup but I found the mixture to be too thick. If you like a thick batter, use only 1 cup of milk.


1. In a large bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Whisk mixture to incorporate. Melt butter in the microwave and add brown sugar. Stir to melt sugar. Allow to cool, then add milk, vanilla and egg and then mix together.

2. Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients and stir to combine. There will be some lumps, don’t worry about them.

3. Heat a nonstick griddle to medium-high heat until hot. A drop of butter or water will sizzle when it’s ready. Lightly grease your griddle with melted butter or using cooking spray. Pour a small amount (about ¼ cup) of batter unto the hot griddle. I use a measuring cup to do this. It works great!

4. Cook pancake until golden brown on the bottom and bubbles start to form on top. About 2-3 minutes. Then flip and cook an additional minute or two until the other side is also golden brown. Continue with the rest of the batter until gone – don’t forget to re-grease your pan in between batches!

5. Serve immediately or transfer to a warm ovenproof plate in the oven until ready.

Thoughts: I’ll start off with the most important part – Brent liked them! And I found them to be pretty great too. They were fluffy with the right amount of “spring” to them. The cinnamon flavor shined but wasn’t overpowering, while the vanilla played nicely in the background. I found that the brown sugar added some depth of flavor as well. Obviously it has a different kind of sweetness than white sugar does, and I thought it complimented the cinnamon beautifully. I think it worked in that secret ingredient way that makes people say “what is THAT?” in a good way.

I think these would be perfect to make for a Saturday or Sunday morning breakfast this weekend! And if your pantry is anything like mine, you already have all the ingredients on had. How easy is that?

Pancake recipe adapted from: The Joy of Baking

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Nacho-Style Potato Chips

I put this recipe in the category of “what in the world was I thinking”; because it is sinfully tasty and let’s be honest - I really should be eating healthy things for dinner, not potato chips loaded with chicken, bleu cheese, bacon, and a spicy, creamy wing sauce.

Though the potato chips were baked and homemade… so I had that going for me at least.

Still, I make these sorts of recipes on nights when Brent is working late so I can eat all of it with no shame. In fact, when he came home at 10:30PM and asked what I had for dinner and if there were leftovers, I hesitated to tell him. I mean what girl eats a whole pile of nacho-style potato chips for dinner?

I do apparently. I just can’t help it. While I love yogurt, fruit, and veggies…I can’t help loving sour cream, butter, and cheese more.

So here is the recipe for you to try. Share them with a friend and or scarf them down all on your own – it’s up to you!

       Buffalo Chicken Nacho-Style Potato Chips

*Serves 4 as an appetizer
(printable recipe)

- 1 chicken breast
- 6-8 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 3-4 teaspoons of buffalo wing sauce, adjust to your taste
- ½ cup bleu cheese
- ½ cup scallions, chopped
- homemade potato chips or regular ones

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homemade Dark Russet Potato Chips

Growing up my mom called these “Home Fries” and would serve them if we had hamburgers for dinner on the weekend. I always thought of them more like potato chips but a little more substantial since they are thicker. This is actually going to be a two part post because while you can certainly enjoy these by themselves, I actually made them for a really guilty pleasure.

First things first.

Homemade Potato Chips

*Serves 4
(printable recipe)


- 2 large russet potatoes
- 1.5 tablespoons oil – veggie, olive, canola – whatever you prefer (I used olive oil)
- Salt and pepper

1. Clean your potatoes well. Peel off the skin if you wish, I leave them on. Slice your potatoes thin and evenly. No more than 1/8 of an inch, but a little thinner is better. A mandolin is perfect for this, but not necessary.

2. You will probably have to do this in a couple of batches or using more than one baking sheet at once. So take a portion of the oil and brush a good amount on the sheet. Then take the potatoes and swipe them in the oil on one side and set them down on the other. Similar to how you would dredge chicken or fish in flour. Keep them in a single layer.
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