Get Off The Couch and Cook

Get Off The Couch and Cook -

Retro Diner-style Cheeseburger with Burger & Fry Sauce

retroburger1

After all the turkey and sides yesterday and with all the prep work for my own post-turkey dinner tomorrow (it’d be easier if I was a better housekeeper all year-long), I really just wanted something easy but comforting.  And when it comes to comforting, these oh-so-not-good-for-you burgers fit the bill perfectly!

Soft homemade bun topped with a too-die-for burger and fry sauce, crunchy shredded lettuce, juicy tomato, even juicier burger patty, melty ooey-gooey cheese, crispy salty bacon and sautéed onion… oh, my… (*wipes sweat from forehead*)  Sorry… I just had a food… moment.

retroburger2

I originally found this recipe over at Better Recipes but the sauce was lacking… something.  So I used my adaptation of this fry sauce recipe which worked much, much better!  That’s why I call my version of the sauce “Burger & Fry Sauce.”  🙂 

There is a secret to this sauce.  It’s called Wickles Relish.  A couple of grocery stores here in the Atlantan suburbs carry it and it is by far the best relish I have ever eaten.  It’s sweet with a fun bite that is addictive.  If you can’t find Wickles, just use your favorite sweet relish but I would recommend spending a bit and ordering a jar of this.  (They have no idea I am saying this so I’m not getting paid for giving them kudos… I just REALLY like this relish.)

wickles_relish_base

Image from the Wickles Pickles website

Now, this burger is not for the faint of heart or prissy eaters.  You will get your hands and face dirty.  Unless you eat it with a fork like some heathens in my house do.

This will be one of the rare times you will see me cook frozen fries.  The retro nature of this burger just screams for skinny restaurant style fries to dunk in the sauce and, try as I might, I cannot seem to replicate them on my own in my oven.  And in the spirit of trying to keep things healthy, I refuse to deep fry anything.  However, the shoestring fries from Cascadian Farm (which my Kroger carries) seem to work perfectly and don’t make my stomach hurt….except from eating too much because this is a *hefty* burger.  Plus, I admit, it’s nice to use a shortcut when I have so much to do for tomorrow!

retroburger3

Retro Diner-style Cheeseburger
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 6 burgers
 
This burger is not for the feint of heart but when it comes to a classic comfort food, this will fit the bill!
Ingredients
  • Burger and Fry Sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 Tbsp worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 tsp kosher Salt
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 small Vidalia onion, peeled, sliced into rings and separated
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 6 slices
  • 6 hamburger buns, toasted
Instructions
  1. Prepare the Burger and Fry Sauce and refrigerate until needed. This can also be made a day or 2 ahead of time.
  2. Melt butter in the microwave for 30-60 seconds in a microwavable cup. Stir in the worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper and salt. Set aside. Put the ground beef in a large bowl and make a well in the center of the meat. Pour in the butter and careful mix with large spoon or hands until butter mix is combined evenly throughout. Loosely form the beef mixture into 6 patties slightly wider than your buns. Do not overpack the beef. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large 12" nonstick skillet over med-high heat. Cook the 6 slices of bacon, in batches if needed, until crispy, flipping halfway through, about 7 minutes. Put bacon on paper towels to drain. Drain all but 1 Tbsp of the bacon grease and return the pan to the stove.
  4. Saute the onion slices until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. They will likely pick up any black bits leftover from the bacon. Remove from pan to drain on paper towels. Do not drain grease , if any, from pan.
  5. Return skillet to med-high heat and add the burgers. Cook 10-12 minutes, flipping once halfway through, until they reach a medium doneness in the center (or longer if you prefer them more done).
  6. During the last minute of cooking, top each patty with a slice of cheddar.
  7. To assemble the burgers, start with the bottom bun. Spread 1 Tbsp of the Burger and Fry Sauce on bottom bun and top with some of the shredded lettuce and a tomato slice. Add the cheese-topped patty, 1 slice of bacon torn in half, and some of the onions. Add the top bun and enjoy!
  8. I usually serve these with baked shoestring fries and more of the Burger and Fry Sauce.

 
Burger & Fry Sauce
By: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 1½ cups
 
I had never heard of "fry sauce" until I happened across scarlettabakes.com. After reading her recipe, I was hooked. I hadn't even tasted it yet and I knew this was something that I had to put in my mouth. Now. At our house, we use it on burgers and even as salad dressing or veggie dip.
Ingredients
  • ⅔ c real mayonnaise
  • ⅓ c ketchup (I use Simply Heinz )
  • ¼ c sweet relish (I use Wickles relish )
  • 1 heaping Tbsp minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. In med bowl, whisk everything together.
  2. Store in airtight container in fridge until ready to serve.

 

 

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork

pulledpork

This is my pulled pork.  There are many like it, but this one is mine.  🙂

Seriously, if you search “pulled pork recipe” in Google, you will get over 9 million results!  Add “Slow cooker” to your query and you still get over 2 million.  With that many choices, it’s so hard to figure which one is the right one for you.  For me, I wanted to stay away from the bazillion recipes that add soda to the slow cooker.  So I removed those from my query.  That still left over 70,000 results.  Well, that was still daunting so I finally just figured out my own recipe.

I wanted a pulled pork that would be tasty with or without added BBQ sauce and on or off a bun.  I wanted a little bit of spicy heat but just a very little.  I also wanted it to be tender, moist, and on the healthy side while still being delicious.  It also had to be onion-free, of course.  (*wistful sigh*)

I am really happy with what I came up with and on my first try!  It may seem like a lot of chili powder and ancho chile powder but when cooked on 5lbs of meat, it’s really not that much. 

pulledporkmeal

I served this with roasted broccoli & cauliflower and tried to make a healthy potato gratin that turned out “okay” at best. Once I get that one perfected, I’ll be posting it for everyone. I’ve finally learned that every time I try something new, it’s okay if it doesn’t turn out stellar. I just figure out what i need to do next time. Watching shows like “Top Chef” has helped with that. I mean, if experienced chefs can mess up, then it’s okay if I do in my kitchen at home. 🙂

This doesn’t have to be a weekend-only recipe, either.  Yeah, it takes 8-10 hours in the slow cooker, but you could easily start it before work.  Just mix up your spice blend the night before to save yourself a little time. 

And since this makes A LOT of pulled pork, you will have enough for everyone plus a lot of yummy leftovers.  With the 3 adults in my house, we usually have this for dinner and it becomes about 10 lunches/snacks throughout the week.  You could even make “pork-ritos” by adding the pork to tortillas with a little BBQ sauces and some shredded cheddar. 

We are having family and friends over on Saturday for a post-Thanksgiving get-together and this is one of the items I will be serving with a few different BBQ sauce choices.  Even though there will be 8 of us, I worry about people being hungry so I am also doing a super easy pulled chicken.  Look for that post soon!

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 20 ~ 4oz / ½ c servings
 
This is my pulled pork. There are many like it, but this one is mine. It is tasty with or without BBQ sauce, on or off a bun, or even wrapped in a tortilla. This uses a leaner cut of pork than most but turns out amazingly moist and tender.
Ingredients
  • 8 med garlic cloves, thinly sliced OR 4 tsp jarred minced garlic
  • 1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ancho chile powder OR 1 tsp ancho + 1 tsp chipotle chile powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 4.5 - 5 lb pork loin, cut into 2 or 3 pieces to fit in your 5-6 qt slow cooker
Instructions
  1. Pour broth into the slow cooker and stir in the garlic. Combine all the seasonings in a small bowl. Rinse and pat the pork dry. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork pieces, including the ends and place it fat side up in the slow cooker. Cover and cook until tender, 8-10 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
  2. Turn off the slow cooker and using a large pair of tongs, break it into bite-sized pieces, discarding large pieces of fat. Serve with BBQ and/or on buns, if desired.
Notes
Nutritional information calculated at SparkPeople (http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp)
Nutrition Information
Servings: 4oz (~1/2 c) Calories: 218 Fat: 12.3g Saturated fat: 4.3g Unsaturated fat: 6.8g Carbohydrates: 2.3g Sugar: 1.8g Sodium: 196mg Protein: 23.4g Cholesterol: 65.8mg

 

 

For Thanksgiving, we are having dinner with family/friends and then heading over to another set of friends for dessert.  What are your Thanksgiving plans?

 

Chicken Alambre (with Homemade Chorizo)

Chickrn AlambreAs we get closer to the holiday season, it’s nice to have quick and easy meals, especially ones that take just one pan to cook.  And ESPECIALLY ones that are as tasty as this. Crispy pieces of bacon, mildly spicy Mexican chorizo, moist chunks of chicken, and ooey gooey melted cheese… all stuffed into a soft flour tortilla, what’s not to love?

This meal is one of many reasons why I keep a couple of pounds of homemade Mexican chorizo in the freezer.  Remember the Italian sausage I showed you a while back?  Mexican chorizo is just as easy to make.  With the sausage already made, making Chicken Alambre is as easy as this:

chickenalambrestepsAdd some chopped tomato, a bit of fresh cilantro and maybe a squeeze of lime juice and wrap in a tortilla for a plate full of deliciousness.  When we have these for dinner, there isn’t a word spoken for a few minutes as we all just revel in the flavors.  Then the yummy noises start, and shortly after, the satisfied groans of full bellies.  It makes for a happy Sashi. 🙂

chickenalambre3These are certainly drip-down-your-arm messy when you eat them but just arm yourself with lots of napkins, and maybe a bib, and you will be fine! Now, do note that this is NOT a healthy meal… by any stretch of the imagination but for a “sometimes” weekend meal, it is fine to indulge now and again.

For some reason, Mexican flavors like this always make me crave chocolate after I am done eating.  Maybe I need to get started on some holiday baking?

Ugh… later.  I’m too full right now. 😉

Chicken Alambre (with Homemade Chorizo)
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 12 tortillas
 
Crispy pieces of bacon, mildly spicy Mexican chorizo, moist chunks of chicken, and ooey gooey melted cheese... all stuffed into a soft flour tortilla, what's not to love? This is adapted from pg 152 of Food and Wine's Annual Cookbook for 2013 but the original recipe can also be found on their website.
Ingredients
  • 12 oz bacon, cut into ⅓" pieces
  • 1 lb Mexican chorizo (recipe after this one)
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1" pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, deveined and chopped
  • 8 oz mozzarella, cut into small pieces
  • 12 flour tortillas
  • Toppings: chopped tomato, chopped cilantro, fresh lime wedges
Instructions
  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.
  2. Once heated, cook the bacon, stirring often, until browned and crispy, about 7-8 minutes. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. Pour the remaining grease from the pan.
  3. Return the pan to the stove and heat up again. Add the chorizo and cook, stirring and breaking up large clumps, until cooked through, 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken and red bell pepper to the chorizo. Cook, stirring, until the chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the bacon back to the pan and add the mozzarella. Stir until the cheese is melted and remove the pan from the heat.
  6. Serve on tortillas with a squeeze of lime, tomato and cilantro.

Homemade Mexican Chorizo
By: 
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 3 lbs
 
There is a difference between Mexican and Spanish chorizo. Mexican chorizo is loose and raw where Spanish is cured in link form. This makes enough to 3 lbs but I put the measurements for a single pound in parentheses in the recipe as well
Ingredients
  • 3 lb ground pork (1 lb)
  • 3 Tbsp cumin (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 Tbsp coriander (1 tsp)
  • 1½ tsp ground clove (1/2 tsp)
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon (1/4 tsp)
  • 1½ tsp oregano (1/2 tsp)
  • 1½ tsp thyme (1/2 tsp)
  • 3 Tbsp garlic powder (1 Tbsp)
  • 1 tsp salt (1/4 - ⅓ tsp)
  • 1½ tsp black pepper (1/2 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp ancho chile pepper (2 tsp)
  • 2 Tbsp paprika (2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp chili powder (1/4 - ⅓ tsp)
  • ¼ c apple cider vinegar (4 tsp)
  • ¼ c red wine vinegar (4 tsp)
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together well with your hands.
  2. Once completely combined, split into 3 even mounds and refrigerate or freeze in resealable freezer bags. You can use the chorizo right away but it tastes better if you let it sit in the fridge for several hours before using. You can also freeze it for use later.

 

Sweet & Spicy Chipotle BBQ Chicken

SweetChipotleBBQ1Even though we are well on our way into Autumn, I still crave sticky barbecue sauce.  I know some people who only eat it in the summer… I just don’t understand those people.  Of course, when I was growing up in Northern Minnesota, my dad would use the snow blower to clear a path to the grill on the deck so maybe I just have barbecue in my veins?

What I especially like about this particular sauce is the spicy bite to it.  It’s not horrible-oh-my-gawd-my-tongue-is-melting hot but it’s got a nice friendly bite thanks to the chipotle chile powder.

SweetChipotleBBQ3Chipotle chile powder was an ingredient that always kind of scared me when I would see it in recipes.  I like spicy food, quite a bit, but I don’t like a mouthful of capsaicin.  I want flavor with the heat and chipotle chile powder has just that.  Like most chile powders, a little goes a long way.

This sauce goes well on just about any kind of chicken.  I’ve used it on skin-on, bone-in thighs as well as our standard boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  When I get brave and try to make ribs in the oven, this will likely be one of the sauces I use.

SweetChipotleBBQBiteWant a bite? 🙂

Sweet & Spicy Chipotle BBQ Chicken
By: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4-6 servings
 
The perfect blend of spicy and sweet. If you do not have chiptole powder, either use 1 tsp of Ancho chili powder OR 1 Tbsp chili powder mixed with ¼ tsp cayenne powder
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 10-20 cloves garlic, minced or 2 Tbsp jarred, mince garlic
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c tomato paste
  • ¼ c molasses OR 2 Tbsp honey
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced horizontally to make 6-8 thin pieces
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over med-low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add paprika, chipotle powder, ½ tsp black pepper, water, vinegar, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and whisk in tomato paste and molasses.
  3. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with the nonstick cooking spray.
  5. Arrange the chicken on the baking sheet and sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt, and remaining ½ tsp black pepper.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes then spoon the sauce over the chicken to cover. Bake another 10 minutes then spoon a little more sauce on the chicken. Bake a final 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.

Want to do something else with the sauce?  Here’s the recipe for just that part.
Sweet & Spicy Chipotle BBQ Sauce
By: 
Recipe type: Sauce
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: ~3 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 10-20 cloves garlic, minced or 2 Tbsp jarred, mince garlic
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chipotle pepper powder
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 c water
  • 1 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c tomato paste
  • ¼ c molasses OR 2 Tbsp honey
Instructions
  1. In med saucepan, melt butter over med-low heat. Add garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add paprika, chipotle powder, black pepper, water, vinegar, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to a boil and whisk in tomato paste and molasses.
  2. Simmer, uncovered, about 15-20 minutes or until sauce has thickened, stirring occasionally.

 

 

Roasted Broccoli

RoastedBroccoli1After the fatty decadence of the smashed potatoes from yesterday, a lighter but just as tasty vegetable was definitely needed for this meal.  I will often get the prechopped broccoli or broccoli/cauliflower mix from the produce section of the grocery store.  At my Kroger, there’s not much of a difference cost-wise unless the heads of broccoli are on sale.  It only takes a few minutes to cut the florets off the stalks, though, so it’s all about how lazy I am feeling, really. 🙂

You definitely need to use fresh broccoli for this, though, and not frozen.  Hmm… I wonder how that would work… I may need to give that a try sometime…

Anyway…. roasted broccoli.  Easy, tasty, AND good for you!RoastedBroccoli2

Roasted Broccoli
By: 
Recipe type: Side
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Makes: 4-6 servings
 
With fast prep and quick roasting, this side can be pulled together in a matter of minutes. If buying full heads of broccoli, the weight should be about twice that of what you want since the stalks are considerably heavier than the florets. You can use the stalks, too! Just peel and slice into ⅛" coins, if desired.
Ingredients
  • ~1 pound of broccoli florets (3-4 small head of broccoli, florets cut into small pieces)
  • Olive oil cooking spray (I use olive oil in a Misto)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1½ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet generously with the olive oil cooking spray. be very generous and coat well.
  3. Spread the broccoli in an even layer across the baking sheet.
  4. Spray the tops of the florets generously with the olive oil spray.
  5. Sprinkle with the garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  6. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until tender and just starting to brown.
  7. For a crunchy twist, sprinkle with ¼ cup of panko crumbs before baking.
  8. For a cheesy twist, sprinkle on ¼ cup of freshly grated Parmesan as soon as the broccoli comes out of the oven.

 

 

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