Bacon & Blue Burger with Sweet Potato Buns

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You may need to wipe up that drool on your face…

Ok, now you can finish reading about how to make this AMAZING burger! Not to toot my own horn, but one of the best burgers I’ve ever made! This would even be good without the blue cheese, if you’re not into stinky cheese.

You may be asking yourself, why does she keep posting food with bacon and blue cheese? Let’s just say I got a generous amount of Iowa bacon (the best) and Maytag blue cheese from my mother in law and went all out! It’s not every day when you can have these brands at your disposal, unless you live near Grinnell, Iowa. So I may have gained a few lbs this week, but it’s been worth it!!

I wanted to stick to my Paleo diet as much as I could (hence the cheese part) and I saw on Pinterest some people making their buns out of sweet potatoes. Genius! Like I said in my previous post, I love anything sweet and savory, and this is it to a T! I actually thought it tasted better than a regular bun, but I could eat sweet potatoes everyday so I am slightly biased. I will say it’s even messier with the sweet potato buns, but every good burger needs about 20 napkins along side it!

A couple of facts to make this burger taste the best:
1.When picking out your sweet potatoes, make sure they are thick and round enough for a nicely sized “bun”.
2. When buying your meat, get 80/20 ground beef. I prefer organic and grass fed, so the only option I had was 85/15, which was still good. For meals like tacos or casseroles you should buy lean ground beef, but for burgers, 80/20 is best. You need that fat to give it the good juicy flavor you want… trust me!

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To start, preheat your oven to 425°. Take your sweet potato and peel it, then slice to the thickest, most round part of the potato. Take a small plate and pour in some olive oil and salt and pepper. Rub both sides of the potato with the olive oil until evenly coated, then place on a baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven, turning once halfway through.

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You want to make sure they’re cooked in the middle and crispy brown on the outsides. Mine look a little burnt in the pictures, but they’re not, they are perfectly roasted!

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Take a large bowl and add your meat, seasonings, Worcestershire, Sriracha (trust me), and blue cheese. The best way to mix burgers and meatballs is with your hands, don’t be afraid to get in there! Once everything is mixed evenly, form into patties. When I make burgers, I don’t skimp on size, so mine were about a ½lb. each.

Since I am home while my husband is deployed, I don’t have all of my awesome kitchenware so I had to settle for a cast iron skillet. If you have a grill or grill pan, I would recommend that. If you have a skillet like me, spray with some olive oil PAM and turn on medium high heat. Wait a few minutes and make sure the pan is nice and hot before placing your meat down. For medium burgers cook on each side for 5 minutes flipping only once (this keeps all of the juices in). Depending on your stove and kitchen appliances, cooking times can vary.

If you have bacon already made from a few days before (#fatgirlproblems) take that out and throw it in the pan for a few minutes to get it crispy and hot again. If not, you better make yourself some bacon! Place on a paper towel to soak up excess grease, I also did this with my burgers (this helps the sweet potato buns stay solid, the grease can make them mushy and fall apart).

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Before assembling, take a small bowl and mix together your blue cheese sauce. I didn’t really measure anything, but I can use my own terms. I mixed two spoonfuls of sour cream, two of mayo, about a tbsp worth of crumbled blue cheese and about three long squeezes of sriracha. Just taste it and see how you like it, add more of whatever you think until it tastes just the way you like it!

Warning: You may acquire a major food coma after consuming this burger, but your going to have a very happy belly!

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What you’ll need:
For the buns:

1-2 very round sweet potatoes (I only made 1 burger, so I only needed 1 potato)
olive oil
salt and pepper
For the burgers:
80/20 ground beef ( I prefer organic grass fed) ½lb. per burger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cajun
4 dashes of Worcestershire
a few squeezes of Sriracha (sorry I didn’t really measure!)
a handful of crumbled blue cheese (just judge the ratio of meat to cheese and add more or less based upon that)
Bacon
Greens
For the mayo:
2 spoons of light sour cream
2 spoons of olive oil mayo (Hellmen’s of course, Miracle Whip is just plain sacrilege !! )
1 tbsp or so of blue cheese crumbles
a few squirts of Sriracha, the spicier the better in my opinion, but taste as you go.


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Paleo Day 4: Turkey Larb Lettuce Wraps

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I know you’re probably reading the word “larb” and thinking that it sounds an awful lot like the word “lard”. I know when I read the recipe titled “Chicken Larb” I was a bit put off by it simply because the word itself is just extremely unattractive. But I went down to the ingredients list and my mouth started watering and I knew I had to make this weird sounding dish! Call it Creepy Angela Food or call it weird Asian stuff, I am telling you now you will not be disappointed with the end result! If you were curious, like me, about what the word “larb” is, according to Wikipedia: Larb is a Lao minced meat salad, and is said to be the national dish of Laos. Often found in Thailand and parts of China.

As you know I am starting this lifestyle change and eating more like our ancestors did a long long time ago. If you are interested in the Paleo Diet, I suggest reading the book The Paleo Diet by Dr. Loren Cordain, Ph.D. It has some really good information and helps break down the diet and the reason it’s so good for you! I am not as strict as the author and some other Paleo eaters, I am just giving it a go for a month to see how I feel. So far it’s been a week and I have seen a big change in the way I feel. I find that I have more energy and less stomach issues. I also find myself not as hungry all of the time, which has always been unheard of for me! I actually am making myself eat snacks throughout the day even though I am not hungry because I know I need the right amount of nutrition and calories. If you’re interested in changing your life, being healthy and feeling great, I suggest you try this diet out! You can still eat the most delicious meals too!

I am doing something new today on the blog! Here is a little video of the making of this easy and delicious recipe! Get a little Jimi Hendrix in the background and you can’t go wrong!

Let’s get started on some grub.

The original recipe I derived this dish from called for chicken instead of turkey. At my local grocery store they didn’t have ground chicken available, and I love turkey meat anyway so I grabbed a pound of that. I say you can cook with either meat, whatever you prefer.

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Whisk together your lime juice, fish sauce, honey, hot pepper paste, and sriracha sauce. If you can’t find the Gochujang or don’t want to go to an asian market you can sub with some chile paste. It’s always available in the asian aisle at local grocery stores. Taste and add more honey or sriracha to your liking. Set aside.

Place your chicken stock in a deep saucepan and place on medium heat until it starts to simmer. Add your ground meat and stir occasionally until it starts to break apart about 6 minutes. Add your shallots, green onion, carrots, lemongrass, cilantro, chilies, and pepper, stir to heat evenly. Take about 4 minutes for the onion to become translucent and the carrots to get soft. Once your meat is cooked through, take of the heat and strain any excess juices (I just use the saucepan lid over the sink).

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Take your lime-chile sauce and pour in the meat mixture. Stir evenly. Garnish with some cilantro on top. Serve with a slotted spoon and bib or butter lettuce leaves.

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What you’ll need:
2-3 limes, juiced
1/3 cup fish sauce
1 tablespoon honey (or more to taste)
1 tbs Gochujang (hot pepper or chili paste)
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
3/4 cup chicken stock, no msg or preservatives added (or homemade)
1 pound ground chicken or turkey, free range, grass fed
Handfull of carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/2 of a shallot, minced
1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (gourmet garden) 3 tbs minced if using fresh herb
1 tablespoon thinly sliced serrano chile (seeds removed if you want it to be less spicy)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves (save some extra for garnish and top)
1 head of butter or bib lettuce (sometimes called “Living Lettuce”), washed and separated into leaves

This dish has SO much flavor! And it is even better leftover when all of the juices marinate with the ground meat. If you don’t want to stick to Paleo this will also be good with some steamed rice. This will definitely be a repeat dish for me! I hope you enjoy this meal as much as I did, and have your P.F. Changs lettuce wrap fix at home!

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Video

Paleo Day 1: Egg, Spinach, & Avocado filled Bell Peppers

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I know what you’re thinking.. Paleo Diet is a fad diet, you don’t need to lose weight, it’s not healthy. I honestly don’t even want to call it a diet, I think it’s more of a lifestyle change. Some people go on this change to lose weight, others do it because they feel they are gluten or lactose intolerant and feel more energetic and healthy this way. Personally, I am trying this whole Paleo thing for 30 days to see how I feel. I have always had a sensitive stomach and always seem to feel tired. After researching about the diet and hearing from friends and family about their own personal experiences, I have heard nothing but good things.

I am no Paleo expert, but I do believe in the reasoning for it and that our bodies aren’t meant to eat processed and refined foods. This video gives a quick explanation of the diet and why it works.

There is no way this way of eating is plain or boring. You can still eat so many good meals and even go to restaurants and not have to stick to just the salad section. If you love sweet potatoes like me, you can eat those too! I think my biggest challenge will be cheese. I love it. I already am preparing to let myself eat non-paleo once a week, whether it be beer, cheese, or some pasta. To me, I will stay on track much better this way.

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Enough about the diet, lets get started with this amazing breakfast! Preheat your oven to 400°. Take your bell peppers and wash them, cut the tops off and seed and core them. Once they’re hallowed out and the oven is ready, bake for 15 minutes on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

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Once they’re baked, place your spinach/kale mix, chopped meat of choice (I know the mets that I used are only around Cincinnati area), then an egg on top. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and place back into the oven for 20 minutes.

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Just like that you’re ready to eat! So simple and so good. I added sliced avocado and Siracha sauce on top. I love fresh fruit in the morning so I had some mixed berries on the side. This is so simple and easy to be creative with it! Next time I am going to add some crumbled sausage and more greens (they shrank a lot more than I had expected). Enjoy!

Feel free to follow me on my 30 day Paleo Diet journey!

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What you’ll need:
Bell Peppers, your favorite, washed, cored, and seeded
Fresh Spinach and Kale
Your breakfast meat of choice, I used Deliciously Lean Met (A Cincinnati favorite!)
1 egg per pepper
salt and pepper
Mixed Fruit on the side