The PERFECT Burger!

I don’t know about your neck of the woods but here in mine… IT HAS BEEN HOT! 

I’ve always said that I much prefer the cold to the heat.  I’m pretty much a bear in reverse.  Hibernation happens during the summer months for me.  Otherwise I turn into the Wicked Witch of the West. 

Seriously…

Don’t ask Anthony about the Lagoon incident.  It was reeeaaaally hot that day.  The end.

So anyway, the nights have been nice lately.  A little thunderstorm rolls in, cools things off a bit, don’t have to worry about watering the lawn or the pathetic garden.  And then it’s hot again. 

But I really didn’t mean for this post to be about the weather.  Let’s talk burgers!

Anthony has perfected the art of burger grilling.  He is the burger master!  The king!  It all started when we kept seeing pins on Pinterest with these delectable burgers.  We’d look at the recipe and think… hmmm, we should try that someday. 

And then one day we did.  There was no looking back from there. 

So, although I couldn’t even begin to tell you which one was ‘the one’ that we actually went for (they were all so similar), I can tell you that Anthony has got this down to a science.  No true measurements or anything just one of those “to taste” recipes, really.  And of course his secret ingredient… BACON! 

And so, for your viewing (and tasting) pleasure, I present to you…. THE PERFECT BURGER!!

Perfect Burger

And some Sun Chips but really, you could switch that out for whatever… totally optional. ;)

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ground Beef (he likes to use 85/15)
  • Mozzarella and/or Pepper Jack cheese, shredded
  • Seasoning salt
  • BBQ Sauce (Anthony swears it has to be Jack Daniels Original No. 7)
  • Bacon, cooked 3/4 of the way and chopped
  • Bacon Grease

Make sure the grill isn’t too hot.  These need to cook fairly slow so that the inside is done at the same time as the outside.  You don’t want these babies to burn!  Nothing worse than having the outside charcoaled and the inside still red. 

Cook bacon about 3/4 of the way.  Not to the point of crispy.  Chop into small pieces.  OH and save the GREASE!  Anthony swears by this!

For every pound of ground beef you’ll add approximately 1/4 to 1/2 lb. bacon, 4-8 oz. cheese (whichever kind you prefer), 1 or 2 Tablespoons Seasoning Salt, and 1/2 to 3/4 of a bottle of BBQ sauce.  Then get your hands in there and just mix it all up!  It’s a messy process. 

Form into patties.  One pound makes exactly 7 burgers for us.  This is just the right amount for my family.  The burgers are thick!  Form a deep well in the middle, this is important! 

Once burgers are on the grill pour bacon grease into the well. 

Burgers and Grease

Flip when that side is done (after a few minutes) and continue cooking on the other side.  Obviously, right?  (You never know… there are people that sue McDonald’s for having hot coffee… don’t most people prefer it that way?  Just sayin’.)

These burgers are so tender they literally fall apart in your mouth!  I think it’s the slow cooking that does it.  OH MAN!  They are GOOOOOD! 

Seriously, go make them.  Enjoy!

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Sweet Corn Mac & Cheese

Does anyone else watch The Next Food Network Star?  LOVE that show!!  There were so many people I was rooting for this season but my absolute favorite became Yvan. 

Not only did Yvan have a great story but I loved his POV (point of view… for those of you who are as slow as me to figure out what the heck that meant!). 

FAMILY STYLE!

Probably because I am a mom with a quite a brood running around which means I have quite a few mouths to feed.  It just goes so well with me!  And everything I saw Yvan make was something I wanted to try. 

Of course, there were others with fun POV’s as well… take Justin (the winner) for instance… Rebel With a Culinary Cause!  He was just kind of a strange boy with weird views on food… good weird.  And I liked him!  But I really wanted Yvan to win because while the fun things are great, I really want someone on the network that makes something the basic home cook can make without having to run out and buy all kinds of strange ingredients. 

Like fish heads… or using fish bones as ‘chips’.  Yes, Justin did that.  No thank you!

On the second to last episode, the remaining contestants were asked to make a pilot of their new shows, then they showed the viewers a quick version with recipes included.  Yvan made Sweet Corn Mac ‘n’ Cheese and I knew I had to try it! 

If you’re like me you’ve been looking for a great Mac n’ Cheese recipe FOREVER!  I’ve never loved any recipe that I’ve tried until this one.  Please note, I did make some changes per the reviews on this recipe and a personal twist and it turned out great!  And wouldn’t you know it, even my ever-so-picky kids who hate all things homemade mac & cheese loved it.  They even asked for seconds!

Umm, who are you and what have you done with my children? 

And now, without further ado, let’s get on with the recipe, shall we?

mac n cheese

  • Two 8-ounce cans creamed corn
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp. mustard powder
  • 3 – 5 dashes hot sauces (or to taste)
  • 3 cups elbow macaroni 
  • 12 oz. medium cheddar cheese
  • 8 ounces grated mozzarella
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup croutons
  • 1 T. olive oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Move one rack to the top of the oven.

Simmer the corn with the milk, onion powder, and garlic powder for 5 minutes.

Stir cornstarch into 2 tablespoons water.  Add the cornstarch to the corn mixture.  Whisk for about 3 minutes (or until thickened) over medium heat.  Add nutmeg, salt, pepper, mustard powder, and hot sauce if using.  Remove from heat, cover and keep warm.

Boil macaroni for 5 to 7 minutes.  Drain, and add to corn cream.  Add the cheese and the egg.  Stir well.  Pour into a casserole dish or 12-inch cast-iron skillet.

Lightly crush the croutons inside zip lock bag using a small mallet or rolling pin. Add oil and crushed croutons and spread over the top of the macaroni mixture. Cook on the top rack until golden… about 15-25 minutes. 

 

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Crockpot Lasagna

Please tell me I’m not the only one who had no clue that lasagna could be made in a crockpot.  Anyone else? 

Not that it really would have mattered because I’ve only owned a crockpot for maybe a month or two.  It’s my new favorite kitchen appliance!  Who knew a simple crockpot could make dinner so simple?  Obviously not me or I would have bought one a looong time ago. 

When I heard that lasagna could be made in my new handy dandy kitchen device, I was elated.  Plus to hear that you don’t even have to cook the noodles ahead of time made me even more excited.  Maybe I was a bit skeptical thinking that the noodles wouldn’t turn out but guess what, they did!

I didn’t follow an exact recipe, I just made it the way that I normally do… simple but delicious!

lasagna 3 

You’ll need:

  • 1 – 1 lb. package lasagna noodles
  • 1 pound ground turkey or ground beef (I prefer turkey)
  • cottage cheese or ricotta cheese (I had cottage on hand so we used that.)
  • 1-2 jars of spaghetti sauce (I use traditional Prego)
  • mozzarella cheese 
  • spinach (optional)
  • diced onion (optional)

Brown ground turkey or beef along with diced onion (optional).  Start by spraying inside of crockpot with non-stick spray.  I don’t know if it’s a necessity but I did it just in case.

Place just a tiny bit of sauce on the bottom of crockpot and spread it around.  Now place a layer of noodles, breaking them as needed to fit.  It doesn’t have to be pretty.  Spread a layer of cottage (or ricotta) cheese, spinach, meat, a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, sauce.  Repeat over and over until the noodles are gone.  We like our lasagna saucy so we used a lot more than 1 jar of sauce.

lasagna 

On the last layer of noodles, put a thin layer of sauce and a heavier layer of mozzarella.  There you have it!  Put the lid on your crockpot and set it on high for up to 4 hours.  Ours was done after about 3 1/2 hours.

lasagna 2 

Your crockpot may be a different size and/or shape than mine so you may have to modify for that. 

This fed eight people (3 adults, 5 kids) and we still had leftovers for 3-4 more servings. 

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Black Bean Enchiladas

I used to have a delicious recipe for Black Bean Enchiladas.  Used to.  Can’t find it. 

But darnitall, we had already planned to have them for General Conference weekend.  It’s like a two day holiday, twice a year, for us Mormon folks.  Well, for some of us, anyway.  And holidays mean food!  Yummy food. 

Black Bean Enchiladas are definitely considered yummy food.  So, when I realized that the recipe was missing from my recipe binder, I was determined to recall the recipe from the dusty filing cabinets of my mind.  I say dusty because, let’s face it, I’m not sure how often they are actually used.  And even if they are used, I don’t have time to dust them.  ;)

I can’t say it was a complete success (recalling the recipe) because I don’t remember the exact measurements but after making my own version, I think I like these better!

I really hope you will like them, too.  And hey, they’re vegetarian (LeShel)!  And they’re clean (if you use whole grain tortillas). 

{Before it’s baked}

enchiladas1

{After it’s been baked}

enchilada2

Black Bean Enchiladas

1 (8 oz.) pkg. cream cheese

1 can refried beans

1 can black beans

1/2 cup – 1 cup salsa

1 can chopped green chilies

lots of cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar)

1 can red enchilada sauce (or make your own)

1 pkg. tortillas

 

Heat cream cheese and refried beans in microwave or on stove until soft enough to stir together. 

Stir in black beans, salsa, chilies, and large handful of cheese. 

Spoon filling into center of tortillas and roll like you would for any other enchilada recipe placing seam side down in a 9×13 pan sprayed with non-stick spray.  I usually get 8-10 enchiladas, depending on how much filling I put on the tortillas.

Pour the entire can of enchilada sauce evenly over the top of the enchiladas. 

Top with cheese. 

Place in preheated 350* oven for about 20 minutes. 

 

My family LOVES these!  Serve with Mexican style rice (and a vegetable, of course) and you’ve got dinner!!  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

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