Tag Archives: Cheddar cheese

Spicy Pimiento Cheese Bacon Burgers

So you may think that you don’t care for pimiento cheese…but you haven’t tried mine yet.  I, myself, was a skeptic forever on this southern delight.  I now know it was because I always just bought it from the grocery store in those plastic tubs in the deli section.  I’ve tried the ‘cheap’ store brands to the overpriced ‘gourmet’ varieties.  Yuck everytime (personally).  Now if you don’t live in the south, you may not have those tubs in your deli section available to purchase.  So, again, make mine! 😉  It is also FANTASTIC on crackers, toasted bread rounds, crudités (cut veggies, fancy schmancy word 😉 ) or even a spoon in the middle of a late night!

So why did I wake up one morning craving it on a burger??  Beats me…but I’m sure glad I did!!  This flavorful cheese melts so perfectly over a hot REAL hand-pressed burger…slightly tangy, a bit of heat, smooth and creamy. Plus it pairs so very well with crisp bacon and the crunch and sharpness of the white onion that helps to cut through the indulgence!

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
  • Bacon, cooked to preference (I prefer peppered)
  • 1 1/2 cups extra sharp cheddar
  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse 
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz chopped pimientos, drained
  • 1 jalapeño, stem off – keep seeds in
  • Dash or two of hot sauce (prefer a Franks style flavor)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Kosher salt & Fresh ground pepper

Garnish

  • Quality bakery hamburger buns
  • White onions, sliced
  • Mayonaisse  

I like to start this best-burger-ever by preparing the above mentioned pimiento cheese.  Start by grating the extra sharp cheddar cheese and then add it to a food processor.  Next, add in the mayo, cream cheese, pimiento, whole jalapeño (stem removed), garlic powder and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Blend till smooth and creamy!  I then take that cheese filled container and pop it in the refridgerator to chill while I finish the meal. 

     Next, start forming those patties with the ground chuck.  When doing so, do not press and work it too hard or you’ll just toughen up the meat.  Also, make sure that your patties are slightly larger than the diameter of your bun.  The meat WILL shrink up and who likes a hockey puck burger with excess bread??  No one. 

 I add a pinch of salt & pepper to the ground chuck, but I MAINLY season the meat AFTER I form the patties!  Sprinkle a liberal amount of S&P on the OUTSIDE of your patties.  It will make a great ‘crust’ when searing the burgers.  Once formed and seasoned, set aside.

Now in a large skillet, saute pan, griddle (cast iron preferred) etc. add in the bacon and cook till crisp.  Remove the yummy pork to a paper towl lined plate and reserve the bacon grease friends! 

While the grease is heating back up, I like to slice my rolls and spread mayonaisse on each cut side.  Then I either put them in my toaster oven, cut side up, on lowest setting OR I’ll sear the cut side in a pan (do this step at the same time your burger is about ready, so it stays soft and warm.  I like to make them to order if you will. 😉

In that same pan, heat the grease up to medium-high and place your patties down (I can typically cook about 3 at an time).  Please do not flip the patty more than one time (nor press down…you don’t want to squeeze out that flavor do you?), let that patty gain its ‘crust’ (about 4-5 minutes), THEN flip and let cook and crust for another 3 minutes.

Once your meat is cooked to your liking (I sure hope that’s not well-done), you can immediately place the burger on the bottom bun, top with a gooooodd amount of the pimiento cheese (which will start to melt & ooze immediately), a slice of onion and that top bun.  Give a little smash, grab a beer and many napkins and dig in!!  Enjoy! 

 

Cowboy Meatloaf

Hey, believe it or not..I’ve never been a fan of traditional meatloaf and don’t even get me started on that nonsense ketchup topping  (bleh!!).  Maybe it is because I had it all too often growing up or …well, I’m just not sure, but THIS is a winner!! (yes, I do like my Cowboy & Italian meatloaf.  I must be a bit biased ;))

This meal has all the great flavors of the West, without being overpowered by any ingredient!  The ground beef PLUS sausage is ideal, BBQ sauce for some depth & tang, combined with crunchy bacon & fried onions, potatoes and gooey, melted cheese!  Now you tell me what’s wrong with this??  Nothing!

Plus the mashed potatoes go right on top!  Not only is this kind of “fun”, but while it’s broiling, you can quickly clean up your kitchen, making for little to no cleanup afterwards!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1lb ground beef (lean)
  • 1lb ground sausage
  • 3/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 packet ranch seasoning (i.e Hidden Valley)
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 1/2 cup dried breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 lb bacon, cooked & crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 lbs potatoes (plus milk, butter, S&P), OR prepackaged potatoes fine too
  • 1/2 cup fried onions (i.e Frenches)
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • Non-stick spray

Garnish (optional)

  • Green onions, sliced
  • Bacon, crumbles
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • Jalapeno, slices
  • Fried onions, (i.e Frenches)
  • BBQ sauce  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and coat a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef & sausage, chopped onion, the packet of ranch seasoning, bbq sauce, breadcrumbs, chili powder, pepper and the 2 beaten eggs.  *I use my hands here..your best tools!  

   Bake this meatloaf (uncovered) in the preheated oven for 30 minutes/until cooked through.  There may be a bit of extra fat/grease once finished, so simply spoon a bit out of dish.  If there’s a bit left, that is A-ok!

**While the meatloaf is baking, now is when you’ll be preparing the mashed potatoes (whether from a packet or homemade) and you’ll also have the bacon crisping away, then crumble.** 

   The meatloaf should be done now, set aside for a quick second.  

Next, add the crumbled bacon (reserve a bit for topping) and the fried onions (reserve a bit for topping) to your mashed potatoes.  Top the cooked meatloaf with a good layer of these badboys and the shredded cheddar cheese.  Place this now back into your oven, set ON BROIL (baking sheet 6″ under broiler) for 4-6 minutes, until browned. 

         Once the cheesy-potato topping is browned and crisp to your liking, remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  Yes..it’s quite hot!! 

 Cut and serve big square wedges topped with the garnish of your choice…pair with a crisp salad and my easy dressing, Redneck Ranch – Railroad Wife in Texas ENJOY!! 

 

Fall Harvest Pizza

If you love the Fall season as much as I do, then you’ll absolutely adore this pizza!  It has all the savory flavors and colors this time of year is known for, with a hint of sweetness too…excellent combination!

Plus, you can get the same taste an easier route if you purchase a lot of the veggies prepped and premade dough.  A Fall family favorite right here! 

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
  • 3 links chicken sausage (I.e. Apple flavored)
  • 1 large onion, (red or yellow) sliced
  • 2 cups kale, torn
  • 1 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
  • 1 Apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2-3 Tbsp Bleu cheese, crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • EVOO 
  • Honey, drizzle
  • Sage leaves (optional), crisped
  • Cornmeal (optional), for crust  

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Assuming your pizza dough is ready for baking (if you prefer not to make your own, you can of course buy it in your freezer aisle, your local pizzeria or even a Boboli crust), we’ll prep our veggies!

Ok….in today’s world, you can absolutely buy your squash already cubed and the kale already torn in a bag, etc…genius!  However, I took the hard approach and if you did too, then here we go!  Slice your onion into slices and with a vegetable peeler, you can actually peel off the butternut squashes rind.  It’s actually pretty easy.  I peeled about half of my butternut squash, cut the peeled part off and cut into cubes.  Save the other half for another meal 🙂 

   Have a sauté pan with 1 tbsp EVOO heated to medium and add in your onions and a pinch each of kosher salt and sugar.  Allow to cook down and caramelize while stirring occasionally.  Also add the squash to a baking sheet, drizzle with EVOO and top with a pinch of salt & pepper.  Transfer this to the oven and roast for 20 minutes, till tender, while your onions are sautéing. 

   Once these are both finished cooking, transfer to seperate dishes and set aside.  *Keep your oven on that same 400 degrees for the pizza, add in either a large baking sheet or a pizza stone to heat up while you finish prepping.

In the same pan you cooked the onions down in, now add in the chicken sausage and cook through…typically about 6 minutes per side.  Once the sausage is finished, set aside and allow to cool & rest before you slice. 

   While the sausage is resting, you can now rinse and tear up the kale (if needed) and thinly slice your apple.  You should have all of the toppings prepped at this point. 

Optional:  Crisped Sage, heat 2 tbsp EVOO in pan to medium heat.  Add in a couple sage leaves and cook for about 20-30 seconds on each side.  Immediately take out and transfer to a paper towel.  You’re done! 

   It’s pizza assembly time!!  Roll out the dough to your desired shape..Don’t worry about that perfect circle here.  I think a roundish square works and is rustic and charming.

After I rolled out my dough, I carefully placed it onto a piece of parchment paper coated in cornmeal (optional).  Brush EVOO ALL over the dough top and sprinkle the with minced garlic (if your crazy like me, earlier in the prep heat up  EVOO in a pan, add the garlic to it and immediately take off the heat and set aside for this.).  

 After the dough has been brushed with EVOO and minced garlic, we’ll start layering the toppings.  It goes like this:  Caramelized onions and any drippings first, the kale leaves, the roasted butternut squash, the Apple chicken sausage (now sliced), then the Apple slices.  Top this all with shredded cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of Bleu cheese crumbles. 

  

  

  

So I used a large preheated baking sheet (upside down) as my base, and carefully lifted the parchment paper topped with the loaded up pizza onto it.  *careful that baking sheet is hot!!  Transfer to the 400 degree oven and bake for 20 minutes, till cheese is melted and crust is browned. 

 When time is up, remove the pizza and drizzle with the honey all over the top and crisped sage. Allow to rest for 5 minutes.  We prefer ours with a small salad and a good bottle of hard cider!  Enjoy! 

   

%d bloggers like this: