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.


Pimento Cheese Burgers with Fried Green Tomatoes

So one of the many gifts we received for our wedding was a burger press. You place part of the meat on one side and whatever you want to put in the middle, then the another part of the meat on the other side, press and voila!! It’s truly a must-have kitchen staple. It’s available at Williams Sonoma and you could also probably find something similar at Bed Bath and Beyond.

But seriously… go get it!

Heat up your grill (or have your husband do it like me 🙂  ) To get started, take your meat and combine the worcestershire and seasonings in a bowl. Take your meat press, and place a portion of the meat on one side of the press then take the same amount and press on the other side of the press. Take a spoonful of pimento cheese and place in the middle of one side. Then press the two sides together and slide the burger out. If you don’t have a burger press, make a patty with your hands, then add the pimento cheese on top of the burger once it’s cooked.

When the grill is ready place your burgers on the grill and cook to desired wellness.

While the burgers are on the grill, take your green tomatoes and cut thick slices, about 1/4 inch thick. Take a baggie and mix the flours and seasonings. Place a tomato slice and close the baggie, mix well to coat all sides. Repeat until all of the slices are done. Take a skillet with olive oil and turn on med-high heat. Take your tomatoes and cook on the skillet until golden brown on both sides, about 5-10 minutes. Spray with additional olive oil in between batches.

Take your toasted bun and place your lettuce, then burger, then fried green tomatoes. If you don’t have the burger press, add your cheese in between the burger and tomatoes. For a healthier dish, serve with a side salad.

One of the best burgers I’ve had!! The pimento cheese and the fried green tomatoes go perfectly together!! And you don’t need any condiments!

These Southern style burgers will not disappoint!

What you’ll need:
For the burgers:
4 burger buns
4 burger patties, about 1/3 lb each
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
1 tsp each of garlic salt, dried minced onion, and cajun
salt and pepper
a spoonful of pimento cheese with jalapenos for each burger
a burger press, if available.
For the fried green tomatoes:
1-2 green tomatoes, sliced 1/2 in thick
2 tbsp flour
2tbsp cornmeal
salt and pepper
olive oil

Genuinely Irish Shepherds Pie

I know that a while ago I posted about Shepherd’s Pie, that was closer to when I first started this blog. In my opinion, it was very tasty, but it tasted way too American-ized! So I started researching True Irish Shepherds Pies and came across this amazing recipe on a new favorite blog: Peace, Love and French Fries.

Once I read the recipe ingredients involved: Guinness, Red Wine, and Worcestershire Sauce.. I was sold!! RJ and I frequently like to eat at this amazing Irish Pub by our house called Culhane’s (which was also on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!) and they use Guinness in a lot of their recipes, and their food is amazing! I knew when I saw this recipe that it would not disappoint.

If you aren’t an experienced Shepherds Pie maker, you will want to give yourself about 2 hours or so to make this dish. You could also just make the meat mixture the night before so all you’d need to do is make the mashed potatoes and combine to place in the oven! It’s a good time saver, and the meat would get a chance to really absorb all of the flavors. I was too excited to eat this meal, so I decided to make time for the few hours it would take and it was worth it!

To get started, go ahead and peel and cut your potatoes into cubes. Place into a large pot and pour water just about an inch above your potatoes. Add salt. Boil for 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place back into the pot off the heat.

While the potatoes are boiling, go ahead and prep your veggies. Dice your onion, carrots and mince your garlic. You want to try and cut evenly for a nice even saute. Set aside and take your ground lamb (or beef) and place in a dutch oven (If you don’t have one like me just use a large skillet) Cook on medium -high until the meat is almost all browned. Drain excess fat and oils. Then add your veggies and cook until they are soft. Add butter, stir until melted through. Add your flour by sprinkling one tbsp at a time mixing in between to really thicken up the meat. Deglaze your pan adding the broth, wine, and Guinness by scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add Worcestershire and spices, stir.  Simmer for 15 minutes on medium-low. Add peas and continue to simmer until softened and sauce has a thick consistency (about another 10-15 minutes).

While your meat and veggies are simmering, go ahead and make your mashed taters! Add butter, milk, shredded cheese, and my own addition (which isn’t really Irish, but I feel it has to go into every batch of mashed potatoes!) cream cheese and garlic salt! Mash with a masher or use a hand mixer until well blended. Taste to make sure it isn’t missing anything! Add parsley and chives, mix well. I ended up adding a lot more milk to my recipe than the one I followed, but I just prefer a creamier batch of mashed potatoes. Save some shredded cheese to add to the top when baking!

Once your sauce has thickened up and your taters are ready to go, take a greased oval baking dish (or square if you feel you need more room) and pour your meat mixture into the bottom. Spoon on your mashed potatoes gently, being careful not to bring the meat mixture to the top. Press your spoon down slightly to create little peaks in the dish. Sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top. Place in the oven on 350 for 20-30 minutes.

I think its very pretty when it has that burnt look to the tops of the mashed potatoes, so after 20 minutes (the meat was already boiling over and the taters were golden, cheese melted) I turned the oven up to a broil and placed the dish on the top rack. You want to keep a close eye on this once it’s on broil to prevent burning! Rotate every minute or less until it’s evenly browned on the top.

Ohh look at that beauty!! If you’re dieting, I would suggest this being your cheat night! This meal is amazingly satisfying and a little bit goes a long way! The amount of rich flavor is super gratifying after a long day and if it’s a cold day out, there’s nothing else like it to warm you up!

A big thanks to Pace, Love and French Fries for this awesome recipe! Slainte!

What you’ll need:
For the Taters:
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into equal cubed pieces
4 tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups grated white cheddar cheese (I suggest using Dubliner Cheese, straight from Ireland!!)
1/2-1 cup milk (start with 1/2 and go from there!)
3 oz cream cheese, softened
Handull of fresh parsley, chopped
Handfull of chives, chopped
Garlic salt and pepper to taste

For the meat and veggies:
1 1/2 lbs ground lamb or beef (I used lamb, trust me it tastes much better!)
1 large sweet onion, diced
3 large carrots, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
1 cup Guinness stout (I ended up adding a splash more of Guinness)
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef broth
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried sage
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
salt and pepper