Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheeseburger Fries

So... in the last few years of my dad's life, he was on a partially restricted diet and was forced to eat *gasp* healthy, low-fat foods. Bacon cheeseburgers were one of the things we always teased him about (because turkey burgers with turkey bacon are just not the same)

A couple of nights before he passed away, my stepmom snuck (sneaked?) him out of the hospital and took him for a burger and a milkshake. When my sister and I flew out to be with her after he died, we had burgers in his honor. Pretty much every time I have a bacon cheeseburger (more often than I am willing to admit), I think about my dad.

It was a year ago today that we lost him so I planned on making bacon cheeseburgers, but realized a bit too late that the ground beef I bought was 80% 20%, which meant it was going to fall apart while I was cooking it.

It's January, so I figured I could make a cheeseburger soup... of course, this is Southern California, so it's 70 degrees today and who wants soup when it's 70?

I decided to make my grossly American version of local specialty, asada fries.

1 pound-ish of ground beef
a couple tablespoons of diced onion
1 bag of frozen fries
shredded cheese
chopped iceberg lettuce
chopped tomato
diced/crumbled bacon
salt and pepper

While you're cooking the fries, brown up the ground beef. About halfway through the cooking process, add the onions, some salt and pepper and a couple of squeezes of ketchup and mustard.

On a comfy little bed of fries, put a scoop of the ground beef, a handful of lettuce and tomato, sprinkle it with cheese and bacon and top it with a drizzle of ketchup.

It's not a pretty meal, but it's a nice little twist on the bacon cheeseburger portion of your food pyramid.

(not pictured: a mess on a plate. A delicious mess on a plate)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stupidly Easy Pico de Gallo (fresh, uncooked salsa)

about 1/2 of chopped fresh tomato
a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
1 or 2 green onions, diced
about a tablespoon of lemon or lime juice 
kosher salt
garlic powder
optional - chopped jalapeno, or diced avocado

mix all ingredients together and refrigerate for an hour or serve immediately on top of tacos, meat, eggs, rice, scoop it with nachos or... you know, whatever you like with salsa.

(not pictured: it's salsa, it's red and green, like Christmas all over your taco)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Easy Peasy Rice Pilaf

I am pathologically incapable of making simple, plain rice on the stovetop. I always burn the bottom or it turns out soupy or something. If I didn't have a rice steamer, I'm pretty sure we'd never have plain rice as a side dish. Why is it so hard for me? It's rice and water and cover it and let it cook for 20 minutes.

I can, however, make a kick-ass pilaf which is better than dumb old plain rice anyway.

a tiny bit less than 1 cup of uncooked rice
1 clove of diced garlic (or some garlic powder)
5 or 6 pieces of dried vermicelli or spaghetti, broken up into bits, the smaller the better (or some orzo if you have it, but I can never find it, even when I really want it)
1 tablespoon of butter (don't use margarine, it doesn't cook the same and it's gross)
about 2 cups of chicken or beef broth (or 2 cups of water plus some boullion)
1 or 2 chopped up green onions

melt the butter over medium heat in a sauce pan. Saute the rice, garlic and pasta until it just barely starts to brown. Add the broth (or water) and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, turn off the heat, take off the lid, fluff up the rice, stir in the green onions and serve. Exactly as difficult as rice-a-roni, but with less chemical-y preservative stuff.

(not pictured - it's rice pilaf, it's beige and has little bits of green in it)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Super-Lazy and Semi-Healthy Crock Pot Chili

I know it's not a traditional chili, but it's semi-healthy, super easy and versatile enough - you can serve it on its own, over spaghetti, over polenta, over fries, over nachos... you get the idea.

1 pound of ground turkey or chicken (or beef, )
1 can of black or pinto beans
1 jar of your favorite salsa
between 1.5 - 2 cups of water (if you use too much and the chili turns out too soupy, you can thicken it with some instant mashed potato flakes)
your favorite chili toppings - shredded cheese, diced green onions, sour cream

Dump all ingredients into the crockpot, stir to mix and break up the meat and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Grown Up Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know, "grown up" cookies sound like they'd be penis-shaped, but I'm really referencing the flavor... although, I suppose you could make them wang-shaped if you really had to. These are less sweet and more rich than the standard Tollhouse cookie.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter (not margarine, not Crisco, butter)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
the scrapings of 1 or 2 vanilla beans (I say 1 or 2 because they can be spendy unless you buy in bulk, but if you buy in bulk off of eBay, you'll find that you use them in everrrrything)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
a little over 2 cups All-Purpose flour
1 bag of Ghiradelli 60% cacao bittersweet chips (I don't know of any other company that makes a chip with such high cacao content - I guess you could cut up a super good chocolate bar for the same effect)

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt down the butter (or if you're really in a mood to go crazy, brown the butter in a sauce pan - it takes a bit longer, but it gives the butter a nutty flavor.)

Mix in the sugars, egg, vanilla bean scrapings, salt and baking soda. Mix in the first 2 cups of flour, one cup at a time, then add a little extra until the dough has a perfect texture. Fold in the chips (I usually only use a little over half a bag of the chips, in your standard chocolate chip cookie, the cookie part really exists just to hold the chips together, but in these, the cookie part can stand on it's own).

Refrigerate the dough for 2 - 4 hours.

(after 2 - 4 hours) Preheat the oven to 375, lay out lumps of the cold dough on parchment paper and bake for about 14 minutes (could be a few minutes more or less, depending on your oven, the day of the week, the phases of the moon, the marital status of your favorite Kardashian) until the cookies are dark golden brown around the edges.

(not pictured: cookies, seriously, you've been eating them your whole life, you know what they look like)

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Easier-Than-Doing-Dishes Dough

I wish I could say I was joking, but there have been more times than I can count that I have chosen to make homemade pizza for dinner instead of washing dishes. I mean, really, how easy is pizza? A bowl to mix the dough, then a can to cook it and you're done - you can even eat it on paper towels, no silverware, no plates.

1 packet of yeast (for thinner, crispier crust, only use half a packet)
about a tablespoon of honey
a couple tablespoons of olive oil or melted butter (or bacon fat if you have it because... YUM!) 
1 cup of warm water or milk (warm, not hot)
3 - 4 cups of flour (I generally use All Purpose flour, but you can use bread flour. Also, I like to add in about half a cup of whole wheat flour with the mix, but don't try to use all whole wheat flour or the dough will be dense and non-yummy
salt and/or any other spices you might like to add

Mix yeast with about 2 cups of flour and some salt and/or any spices you'd like (maybe a little garlic or onion powder or some dried Italian spices). Stir in water (or milk), olive oil and honey. Add more flour, about a half a cup at a time until the dough is no longer sticky.

Knead the dough on a floured surface until it's smooth and soft. Toss it into an olive oil-coated bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let it rise in a warm place for at least an hour (or stick it in the refrigerator for 8 - 10 hours)

After the dough has risen to about double it's original size, take it out, toss it onto an oiled pizza pan (or cookie sheet), poke it all over with a fork and let it sit for another hour (you can skip this step and top it and bake it right away, but letting it rise again will get it puffier and a bit softer)

After at least an hour, poke it again with forks, top it with whatever you want on your pizza (or cut it up into strips and make breadsticks) and bake it for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and brown and the edges of the dough are golden brown and starting to pull away from the pan.

(not pictured: pizza dough, seriously it's a big white lump, not much to see)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thanksgiving in August

Okay, I'll say it - I love Thanksgiving. It's like the Super Bowl of cooking for me, I plan for weeks and cook for days. I love and hate that it's only one day a year.

This was yet another of my what-was-cheap-at-the-grocery-store recipes.

1 pound of ground turkey or chicken
1 box of stuffing, prepared and cooled off
hamburger buns
hamburger toppings of your choice

In a big bowl, mix the ground turkey with the cold stuffing, form into 4 - 6 patties and grill or fry until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 (or until it's done). These are best served with cranberry sauce on top and a side of mashed potatoes.

(not pictured: - a burger, one that doesn't especially look all that good, but it's yummy, I swear)