Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

These burgers are from a few weeks ago. I delayed posting them because I didn’t want all of my posts to be about burgers. I didn’t want you to get bored… and I didn’t want to get bored of writing about burgers. I’ve been making a lot of burgers in the last few months. I make burgers at work and then come home and make more burgers (mind you, mine are a bit more fun because I can put all kinds of ingredients in them).

These burgers in particular were not planned. They were a last minute “you’re leaving at what time and need burgers!?” creation. I was going to roast some Anaheim peppers and add them to the mixture, but there just wasn’t enough time. I hadn’t panned on adding bacon or onion for that matter. I wasn’t very happy with the burger mixture because I had to make last minute changes. Despite that, they were very good. Bryan took two over to a friend’s place to cook for dinner… he tells me everyone else thought they looked and smelled amazing.

I kept two at home for us. I was much less disappointed with the burgers once they were cooked and served for dinner.

Have you ever had to make an unplanned meal in a hurry? How did it turn out?

Beef Burgers with Bacon and Red Onion

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 slices of bacon – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 red onion – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 8 slices of old cheddar cheese (about 200 grams) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 4 cheese buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I baked it in the oven).
  2. Grate the red onion.
  3. Crumble the bacon.
  4. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, onion, bacon, Italian seasoning, sea salt and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  5. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  6. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  7. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  8. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  9. Serve on cheese buns with two slices of old cheddar cheese and your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Spanish onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Mayo
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish
  • Dill relish

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.79 per serving + toppings and condiments).

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Beef Burgers with Asian-Inspired Flavours

One of my blogging goals I set for myself is to post three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), except on those really busy weeks when I can’t meet those goals. To help me continue motivating myself and working towards my blogging goals, I’ve decided to start participating in What’s Cooking Wednesday – a weekly blog hop/link party hosted by The King’s Court IVTurning The Clock Back, and Confessions of an Overworked Mom. I’m excited to be participating!


As you can probably tell, I’ve been making a lot of burgers lately. Earlier this week, I shared the chicken burgers with smoked paprika and rosemary that my brother and I prepared for mom’s birthday.

Bryan visits a friend on weekends who owns a barbecue. The get-together is of the ‘bring your own food to throw on the grill’ sort. So, I’ve used this as an opportunity to play with adding various seasonings to burgers. This burger with Asian-inspired flavours is his favourite so far.

I kept a few at home to try myself and it is quite tasty! I especially like it topped with avocado mayo. I would have preferred avocado slices, but none of the avocados at the grocery store were ripe and I didn’t have time to wait for them to ripen.

Bryan has asked me to make this again (even though he ate them just the other week). While I enjoyed these as well, I declined so I can experiment with a few more types of burgers. Surprisingly, he is ok with this (I was half expecting that he would be disappointed). Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when he complimented my saying he loves when I experiment while dreaming up what we will have for dinner.

What are your favourite flavours to add to (beef) burger patties?

Beef Burgers with Asian-Inspired Flavours

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 tablespoons mirin (or white wine) – approximate cost $0.25
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (more if you’d like it spicy) – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 4 hamburger buns – approximate cost $1.00

Method

  1. Combine the ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, dark soy sauce, mirin (or white wine), lemon juice, chili flakes, sesame oil and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  3. Divide the beef mixture into 4 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  5. Cook the burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns with your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Red onion
  • Green onions
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Mayo
  • Japanese mayo
  • Avocado mayo
  • Ketchup

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.85 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Chicken Burgers with Smoked Paprika and Rosemary

One of my blogging goals I set for myself is to post three times per week (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays), except on those really busy weeks when I can’t meet those goals. To help me continue motivating myself and working towards my blogging goals, I’ve decided to start participating in Mangia Mondays – a weekly blog hop/link party hosted by Delightfully Dowling & Shine Your Light. I’m excited to be participating!


June is a busy month for occasions in my family with both mom and dad’s birthdays and father’s day (not to mention it can be a bit expensive). Yes, yes, I know July is mostly over, but I want to share the chicken burgers that we made for mom’s birthday a few weeks back and I’m just now getting around to sharing the recipe.

This year, my brother and I set out to celebrate on a budget. For each occasion, we made a home-cooked meal (instead of eating out) and took care of the clean-up. This way, we treated out parents to a delicious, healthy meal and they didn’t have to do any work. We’re pretty sure they appreciated it as well as enjoyed the visit.

I didn’t get any photos from dad’s dinner, there were no leftovers for me to bring home and share with you, so I will only be posting about mom’s dinner.

When I shared the recipe for Chicken Roasted with Rosemary and Smoked Paprika, I mentioned that I might have been adding smoked paprika to just about everything I’m cooking. When coming up with the seasoning for these burgers, I insisted on using smoked paprika and consulted with my brother about what else we might use, what toppings we should buy, and what condiments would go best with the burger.

I topped my burger with mayo, lettuce, and a slice of tomato. The one in the photo is one of two that were leftover at the end of the meal, and it was surprisingly delicious the next day (I was worried it would be dry).

What do you cook for your parents on their birthday?

Chicken Burgers with Smoked Paprika and Rosemary

Recipe co-created by me and my brother

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground chicken – approximate cost $10.00
  • 1 egg – approximate cost $0.35
  • 2 tablespoons smoked paprika – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper – approximate cost $0.10
  • 8 hamburger buns – approximate cost $2.00

Method

  1. Combine the ground chicken, egg, smoked paprika, rosemary, sea salt, and black pepper in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix thoroughly using your hands (but be careful not to over-work the meat, that will make it tough).
  3. Divide the chicken mixture into 8 portions.
  4. Shape each portion into a burger patty.
  5. Cook the chicken burger patties any way you like!
    1. Barbecue the burgers until cooked through and slightly toast the buns.
    2. Fry the burgers over medium-high heat.
    3. Grill the burgers on a counter-top grill.
    4. Broil the burgers in the oven, turning once to cook both sides.
  6. Serve on hamburger buns with your favourite toppings!

Serving Suggestions

Serve with slices of your favourite vegetables and condiments.

Vegetables

  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Avocado

Condiments

  • Mayo
  • Avocado mayo
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Relish

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.66 per serving + toppings and condiments).

Check out the other posts for Mangia Monday!

Also linking to Makin’ You Crave Monday and Made by you Monday!

Guacamole

On Saturday, we decided to have a Mexican food themed dinner. It being Cinco de Mayo gave us an excuse to enjoy some of my favourite foods. On the menu was some yummy homemade guacamole, followed by spicy chicken enchiladas. But, by the time I got home at 8pm (a very late dinner time for me!), I didn’t have the enthusiasm necessary to cook the entire meal. So I started by making the guacamole, deciding that if we were still hungry afterwards then I would attempt to make the enchiladas.

The guacamole was quite filling. I’ll be making the enchiladas later this week. It was a very casual dinner/large snack. We shared the guacamole and a bag of tortilla chips while sitting on the couch watching Heroes.

I tried guacamole for the first time at Gabriel’s restaurant in Santa Fe, NM. In fact, I think this was also the first time I’d tried avocados! I remember the experience so clearly! It was my first visit to New Mexico (to meet Bryan’s family). The restaurant is famous for having fantastic guacamole made right at your table. The ingredients arrive on a cart and you choose what you want in your guacamole. The avocados are sliced and the limes are squeezed in front of you. All of the ingredients are fresh.

The first time I tried making it at home on my own, the avocados were not ripe and I was impatient. I wanted to share this recipe with my family, and decided I couldn’t wait for the avocados to ripen. Big mistake! I couldn’t cut through them (in fact, when I tried to anyway, I ended up cutting through the pit in the center of the avocado). I put the chunks I was able to peel away from the skin into a blender and they were roughly chopped, but not creamy nor tasty. I guess what I’m trying to get at here is that waiting until the avocados are ripe is a very important step. Sometimes they are already ripe (or even over ripe) when you find them at the store. You can tell that an avocado is ripe when it is firm, but squishes slightly when you press on the skin. If the avocados aren’t ripe, that is, they are as hard as a softball when pressed, be patient! Let them sit on the counter (not in the fridge) for a few days to allow the avocados to ripen. You’ll be glad you waited!

What Mexican foods did you enjoy this weekend? What is your favourite Mexican or Tex Mex food?

Guacamole

(adapted from a recipe on a magnet purchased at a museum in Los Alamos, New Mexico)

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe Hass avocados – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 lime, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
    • Or 2 tablespoons of concentrated lime juice – approximate cost $0.15
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh cilantro – approximate cost $0.15
    • Or 1 tsp dried cilantro if fresh cilantro – approximate cost $0.10
  • Sea salt (to taste, about 1/2 teaspoon) – approximate cost $0.05

Optional ingredients (not pictured)

  • Lemon juice (if lime juice is not available) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 roma tomato or other variety (if grape tomatoes not available) – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/4 – 1/2 red onion, diced – approximate cost $0.30
  • 1/2 – 1 jalapeño pepper – approximate cost $0.12

Method

  1. Prepare all of the ingredients you would like to add to your guacamole (except avocados, lime, and salt) and set aside in a bowl.  Preparing these ingredients first keeps the avocado from turning brown before serving the guacamole.
    1. Slice tomato into small pieces
    2. Mince garlic
    3. Mince cilantro
    4. De-seed and mince jalapeño pepper (See a tip on easily de-seeding hot peppers in an earlier post)
    5. Dice red onion
  2. Slice and scoop the “meat” from the avocados into a large bowl.
  3. Mash the avocados with the tines of a fork.
  4. Pour lime juice over the avocado and mix (this helps keep the avocado from browning).
  5. Add your choice of optional ingredients (tomatoes, garlic, etc.)
  6. Mix until the ingredients are coated in avocado.
  7. Salt to taste and mix well.
  8. Serve and enjoy with tortilla chips.

Makes 2 servings as a meal (approximate cost: $2.95 per serving) or 5 servings as an appetizer (approximate cost: $1.18 per serving).

We also tried the wine I brought home from Virginia. We passed the Peaks of Otter Winery (however, I picked up this wine at the market in Roanoke) on our way to the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was slightly sweet with a hint of apple flavour. I enjoyed it. Bryan did not.

Guacamole Sauce Over Spaghetti Noodles

A few weeks back I bought everything to prepare guacamole for dinner… or so I thought! Turns out I forgot one of the most important ingredients: the tortilla chips. At that point, I was hungry and didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store. I have this bad habit of spending too much on items I didn’t necessarily mean to buy if I go to the store while hungry.

Instead, I started browsing through recipes I’d bookmarked to see if there was something else I could make to use up the three perfectly ripe avocados that were on the counter. That’s when I came across the recipe for Creamy Avocado Pasta from Two Peas and their Pod. The original recipe calls for everything that I already had on hand to make the guacamole, and I decided to make a few adjustments: I added some tomatoes for colour (also, because I had them and they looked like a delicious addition), and a few slices of bacon (really, what doesn’t go well with bacon? I also wanted to add some meat to make the dish more appealing to Bryan).

Initially, I had a few hesitations about this one. Could pasta and guacamole really go together? Was I about to use the avocados that I had been looking forward to for a few days while they ripened on my counter in a dish I wouldn’t enjoy? Was I about to ruin the original recipe by making a few changes to include ingredients I had on hand?

How did it turn out? Delicious!

Would we make it again? Definitely!

What would I do differently? For one, I’d make a smaller portion. Half of what the recipe calls for. This was way too much food for two people. And because the avocado turns brown quite quickly, it doesn’t keep for more than a day.

If you do try this and want to save a portion for later, cover the leftovers with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap firmly against the pasta/sauce so that there is very little air in contact with the avocado. Then, cover it was foil so the avocado is kept in a dark place. Then, put it in the fridge for a maximum of 24 hours.

What is your favourite way to enjoy avocados?

Guacamole sauce over spaghetti noodles

Adapted from and inspired by Creamy Avocado Pasta by Two Peas and their Pod

Ingredients

  • 4 servings of spaghetti – approximate cost $1.00
  • 3 ripe avocados – approximate cost $3.00
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled – approximate cost $0.50
  • 3 tablespoons dried cilantro – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved – approximate cost $2.00
  • 8 slices of bacon – approximate cost $2.50

Method

  1. Cook the bacon (I like to bake it in the oven to avoid grease splatters) and, if desired, crumble the bacon when completely cooked.
  2. Cook the spaghetti according to the package (prepare the sauce while the pasta is cooking).
  3. Prepare the avocados by removing the pit and scooping out the delicious green “meat” into the food processor (alternately, you can use a blender).
  4. Add the lime juice, garlic, cilantro and sea salt to the food processor.
  5. Process (or blend) until smooth.
  6. In a large mixing bowl, combine one serving of pasta and sauce, tossing until the pasta is well coated.
  7. Place in a serving bowl and top with tomato slices and bacon.
  8. Repeat for the remaining servings.
  9. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Makes  4 servings  (approximate cost: $2.40 per serving).

Day 25: Chop chop

Chop chop… tomato, avocado, and artichoke chopped into pieces and smothered in balsamic vinegar. Makes a very yummy salad!

Great suggestions for healthy additions to salads. Yum! Check out the full post at http://kimmiluu.me/

Chocolate Power Balls

I’m not a huge fan of chocolate. Yes, I realize this is shocking to many. I preface with this comment so you won’t be surprised when I confess that I haven’t re-made this dish after the Raw Desserts Workshop. And it will probably be a few more months before I decide to try this again. Don’t get me wrong, it very tasty and a healthy enough treat that you could eat it for breakfast! It’s just too chocolatey for my tastes.

These chocolate power balls are very similar to the Raw Chocolate Truffles with Cashew Kream that Janne and I prepared at the Raw Food Workshop in October (image is from that workshop).

You can make a batch of this chocolatey dessert in about 10-15 minutes!

Chocolate Power Balls

Recipe by RAW food chef Renee Shaidle

chocolate power balls

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1/2 cup walnuts – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1/4 cup cacao – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 1/2 avocado – approximate cost $1.00
  • 8-10 dates – approximate cost $2.75

Method

  1. In a food processor, blend walnuts and almonds for about 30 seconds.
  2. With the food processor still running, add coconut, cacao, salt, and avocado.
  3. When the ingredients are well mixed, add the dates to create a sticky consistency. Continue to process until all ingredients are mixed well.
  4. Divide the mixture into 1 tsp portions.
  5. Roll each portion into a ball.

Makes about 15 servings (approximate cost: $0.50 per serving).

If you want, roll the power balls in nut pieces for a variation on this recipe. At the workshop, I coated mine in raw cashew pieces.

Raw Cucumber and Tomato Soup turned into Pasta Sauce

Ever since the Raw Food Workshop, I’ve been searching for ways to incorporate raw food into my repertoire. I’ve started following a few new-to-me blogs looking for ideas and searching through their archives.

If you’re interested in learning how to prepare raw foods, check out:

Please send me your suggestions if you know any other raw food blogs that I should look into!

Raw Cucumber and Tomato Soup

Adapted from Raw Food Passion

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado – approximate cost $1.50
  • ½ English cucumber – approximate cost $0.75
  • 4 tomatoes – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 dash of sea salt (more or less to taste) – approximate cost $0.10

raw cucumber and tomato soup

Method

  1. Combine the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.34 per serving)

Unfortunately, this soup didn’t go over very well. Neither B nor I seem to be fond of cold soups. I made a Gazpacho soup last summer and our reaction to both of these soups was about the same: it seems more like a sauce or a chip dip than a meal itself. I’m sure this is very tasty if you have a taste for cold soups. However, I will not be making this again.

We both dislike wasting food, so I attempted to transform this soup into a pasta sauce. I can no longer call it raw, but at least everything will be eaten. This sauce very much tastes like the remnants of the soup, but with a few adjustments, I think we will be able to finish it off in the next few days.

Cucumber and Tomato Uncooked Pasta Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 avocado – approximate cost $1.50
  • ½ English cucumber – approximate cost $0.75
  • 5 tomatoes – approximate cost $3.00
  • 1/4 cup cilantro – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 dash of sea salt (more or less to taste) – approximate cost $0.10
  • 3 cloves of garlic – approximate cost $0.25
  • ½ teaspoon of chili peppers – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 pint of assorted tomatoes (grape, cherry, yellow, etc.) – approximate cost $3.00
  • 200 grams of prosciutto slices, cut into strips – approximate cost $3.00
  • Spaghetti noodles – approximate cost $1.50

uncooked tomato and cucumber sauce

Method

  1. Combine avocado, cucumber, tomatoes, cilantro, sea salt (or, the Raw Cucumber and Tomato Soup), garlic, and chili peppers and blend until smooth and move to a mixing bowl.
  2. Slice assorted small tomatoes and add to the blended mixture
  3. Cook spaghetti noodles according to package and drain.
  4. Assemble pasta – I let the noodle cool slightly before placing them in my bowl, followed by a generous helping of sauce and topping with a few slices of prosciutto.

Makes about 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.71 per serving)

Turning the soup into a pasta sauce wasn’t a perfect solution. It tasted better than the cold soup and prevented waste. If I have make just the sauce and wasn’t trying to salvage a dish, I would have left out the cucumber and avocado. I also found that the flavour was better the next day when I ate the leftovers for lunch. (Or maybe I’m imagining it?) B was not a fan.

New Mexican Style Chicken Tacos

I’ve had a few vacations to the Southwest, in particular to New Mexico. Though I haven’t seen all of it, from what I have explored I can say that I think it is a gorgeous state. I love going for walks through Santa Fe, sight-seeing from the top of a Mesa, hiking to the natural hot springs.

While I can’t bring any of that home with me, I have tried to replicate some of the food! My visits to New Mexico were the first time I tasted both Mexican and Mexican-American food (aside from the beef tacos we make at home with the taco spice seasoning). I was introduced to a variety of new foods, both homemade and from restaurants. I miss the wonderful breakfast burritos, enchiladas, chile rellenos, arroz con pollo, and chicken tacos, among other things.

Since then, I’ve experimented quite a few times to recreate some of my favourite dishes. Most of the time, it’s not quite the same. However, I think I might finally be close with my chicken taco experiments. This recipe should satisfy my craving for a delicious chicken taco from El Parasol  until my next vacation.

New Mexican Style Chicken Tacos

Ingredients

  • 6 large tortillas – approximate cost $2.00
  • 2 tomatoes (I used Roma tomatoes), diced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 ripe avocados, pitted and diced – approximate cost $2.50
  • 1 small can of green chiles – approximate cost $2.00
  • 200 grams shredded cheddar cheese (optional) – approximate cost $3.00
  • Sour cream (optional) – approximate cost $2.00
  • Salsa (optional – I usually skip this topping) – approximate cost $2.00
  • 3 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts – approximate cost $8.00
  • 2 cups of chicken broth – approximate cost $1.75
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro (of 2-3 springs of fresh cilantro) – approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil.
  2. Add the chicken breasts.
  3. Cook uncovered until there is only a centimeter or two (1/2-3/4 inch) of broth left in the pot (the chicken should be cooked through at this point).
  4. Prepare the various fillings (chopping tomatoes and avocados, shredding cheese) while the chicken cooks.
  5. Shred the chicken (or chop into very small pieces). Note: You might want to remove the remaining broth from the heat during this process. It can take a while.
  6. Return the chicken to the broth and bring to a simmer.
  7. When it looks like the broth is mostly gone, add the cilantro.
  8. Remove the pot from the burner and cover it with a lid to keep the chicken warm.
Makes 6 servings (approximate cost: $4.13 per serving).

Serving suggestions

There are at least two ways that you can serve this dish. One is to let everyone build their own taco at the dinner table, which is a good option if you are serving guests with allergies or a variety of food preferences. I like to build it myself to make sure there is a good balance between all of the fillings in each taco. When I prepare the tacos myself, I like to grill it for a few moments before serving, which is an optional step, it tastes great either way!

Make sure you don’t over-stuff your tortilla, this increases the chances of it falling apart during your meal. With everything on hand, remember that it’s easy enough to prepare seconds or even thirds!

These tacos can be a bit messy, so keep lots of napkins on hand during your meal! Enjoy!
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