Sunday, 8 May 2011

The Challenge Has Been Accepted....

(this is the burger I made this week, but this is not my picture.  By the time I thought about taking a picture there wasn't any burger left!)

It's almost summer!  With the exception of the dump of snow we got last weekend, the weather has been ripe for barbecue season to begin.  The hub's is filling up the tank for the barbecue today and for the next few months it will be barbecued steak, chicken, ribs, grilled vegetables and anything else I can think of to throw on there..

Oh yeah!  And burgers too!

I was making my weekly grocery list yesterday and asked the hub's if he had any requests for this weeks meals.  This is how the rest of the conversation went:

me:  'So thats it?  Burgers?'

hubs:  'Yep'

me:  'Is that going to be your answer for the rest of the season?  Until the snow flies and stays in December?'

hubs:  'Yep'

me:  'So I take it that's a challenge?  For me to make burgers each week for the next X number of weeks?'

hubs:  'Yep'  (as you can tell, he's a man of many words)

me:  'Ok, challenge accepted!'

So thats the next layer to the 2011 food challenge that I've set out for myself.  Make a different burger each week for the next, I dont know how many weeks.  Lets say until...ummm...Thanksgiving weekend.  I havent actually looked at a calendar so I dont know how many weeks that is, and guaranteed when I do I'll freak out, but hey!  It's a challenge and I've accepted it!  BRING ON THE BURGERS!!!

(I will say that I am excited about this because he didnt specify BEEF burgers.  So there will be Chicken, Turkey, maybe even Salmon burgers in there!  But no soy....blech!  so bad for you!)

This week was an interesting one.  As I mentioned in last weeks post, for someone who has only made 3 casseroles in her married life, this week was an odd one because there was 2 on the menu!!  The main reason I never make the things is because the ones I cooked previously were so dreadfully awful that the Hub's asked that I never make them again.  And like a good wife I didnt.  Mainly because I agreed with him and didn't want to subject our family to that horror ever again.  But this week...well...this week may signal the return of the casserole to the fam's menu!  Seriously!  They were THAT GOOD!  The enchilada casserole was tasty and healthy and full of flavor.  And yes, it was VEGETARIAN!  The Fajitas Chilaquiles Casserole was equally as tasty, with plenty of cumin and chili and a touch of cinnamon, but I think the onslaught of flavours may have been a bit too much for the little dude.  He eats what we eat, but didnt really like all the flavour in this one.  He opted out for chicken and avocadoes, his go-to meal.  The slow cooker meal of the week was meh at best.  The rice was mush by the time I got home and the flavours were so indistinguishable that it was almost a dud.  The little dude ate 3 chicken legs though so that part turned out ok. 

The hit of the week though has to be the Bacon Bit Burgers with Gouda and Onions!  Soooo delicious and full of flavour.  The smothered onions were a nice touch and complimented the smokiness of the bacon in the burgers.  They were so good, in fact, that I'm making them today for Mother's Day! 

Here's the recipe:

Bacon Bit Burgers with Gouda and Onions

6 slices of smokey bacon chopped
2 onions - 1/4 finely chopped, 1 3/4 thinly sliced
1.5 lbs ground sirloin
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp hot sauce
1 lrg tbsp Montreal Steak Seasoning
4 crusty kaiser buns, split
4 slices gouda (smoked or not)
1/4 c. steak sauce (A1, HP or Lea and Perrins)

Fry bacon in a non stick skillet for 4-5 min until crisp.  Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain off majority of the fat, keeping about 1 tbsp. Return the pan to medium-low heat and add the finely chopped onions to sweat out in the remaining fat (2-3 min).  Remove onions and place on the same plate as the bacon to cool.

Preheat a second non stick skillet with 2 tbsp of EVOO over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add all the thinly sliced onions and top with a plate that will seal securely (or a pot lid if you have on that fits).  Smother the onions for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  If using a plate, lift it with tongs as it will be VERY HOT!  Remove from heat and stir 1/4 cup of the steak sauce into the smothered onions. 

Place the beef in a bowl and add Worcestershire, hot sauce and grill seasoning.  Once the bacon and onions are cool add them to the beef and mix well (with your hands!).  Form it into one large ball and score into 4 equal portions.  Form into 4 large patties (or split one in 2 and make 5 if you have a little person like we do). 

2 ways to cook:
Stovetop - Add a bit of EVOO to a large, nonstick frypan.  Fry burgers on medium high heat for 4 min each side for medium rare, or 6 min per side for medium well.  When flipped place gouda on top to melt.

Barbecue - dont know the times for these as I havent barbecued them yet, but keep an eye on them and use a meat thermometer if you have one.  Just dont over cook.  Nothings worse than a barbecued hockey puck!

Place burgers on the bun bottoms and top with onions and set the bun tops in place.  Enjoy!!!

To up the ante:
Toast the buns under a hot broiler until golden.  Definitely recommended!

On the menu for this week:

Asparagus Tagliatelle (veg)
Hungarian style chili with polenta
Big Bistro Burgers with Shallots on grilled bread with beet and goat cheese salad (the challenge burger!)
Chicken with spinach, artichokes and mushrooms (slow cooker).

Happy cooking!

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