Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recipe - Run for the Border Burger & Kitchen Sink Bloody Mary

I am now in full blown Use-What-I've-Got & Buy-Only-What's-On-Sale modes. Combine them together and you get a UWIGBOWOS... um.... U-Wig-Bowos? Ok. I'm not the best title creator or acronym-er... but you catch my drift. It's definitely a trial by fire way of learning how to come up with meals based on what's on hand. Creating a meal plan every week is, of course, ideal, but let's face reality folks. You're working, you've got a kid (or 5) running around, and coupons to clip...something's gotta give and hopefully it's not all of your sanity. It's going to be some of it, but maybe teaching yourself how to throw a quick off-the-cuff meal together will let you keep a few sane cells. The bonus for Lani is that I'm not calling her asking "Ok. I have 2 bell peppers, a hot dog bun, 5 green olives, a meatball, and a partridge in a pear tree. What can I make for dinner tonight?"

To top it off, I've got a full house this week. Having 3 extra [adult] mouths to feed inside my 1,090 square foot condo means finding meals that are people pleasers, that will fill us up, all while stretching my chump change. That's not too much to ask, right? RIGHT?! evil scheme seems to be working! Here's what I came up with for dinner last night, all based on what I already had in the house.

Run-For-the-Border Burgers

- Buns (I use Costco buns. I freeze 1/2 the giant bag, and open the other 1/2. Perfect item to have in the house all summer. The more we grill, the less I'm stuck in a no a/c kitchen getting cranky.)
- Ground Beef (I had some in the freezer from when it was on sale a few weeks back. Great to have on hand & stock up when it's on sale! - I had a pound of 80/20 and a pound of 90/10 that we mixed together to make the burgers.)
- Cheese, sliced (I had pepper jack slices on hand. Swiss, provolone, or any other tasty cheese would work, too.)
- 1 onion, minced
- Poblano chilis, roasted and sliced into slabs - I roasted 2 and got 3 servings out of each chili
- Tomato, thinly sliced

- Prep the onions ahead of time. A day before, if possible. Hubby happened to do these the day before because I had the menu plan on the fridge & he lovingly thought it would be a great addition to our burgers. Boy, was he right! They're like the McDonald's onions! Mince up your onion. Dissolve about 1/2 tsp sugar & 1 Tbsp salt on the water. Let the onions soak for about 2 hours. Drain, & refrigerate.
- Roast the poblanos. I spread a thin coat of olive oil on them, put them on a rimmed cookie sheet, and in the oven broiler on high for about 5 minutes on each side. Until you see some char on it. Then put them in a brown paper bag to sweat for a bit (10-15 minutes) so its easier to peel the outer skin layer off. Chop the top & bottom point off. Slice one side so you can lay the flesh out and scrape the seeds and ribs off. Then just slice into 3 equal sized slabs. Set aside.
- Get your meat ready. We always try to let the meat get to room temperature before we grill it. Hubby is in charge of mixing what ever spices and awesomeness into the ground beef. This time, he put about 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1.5 tsp garlic salt, 1 tsp pepper. He never really goes crazy with herbs and spices. It's just enough to add a little depth and to help bring out the natural tastiness.
- Grill your patties!
- When it's time to add the cheese to the burgers on the grill, we added 1 slice pepper jack, 1 slice poblano, 1 more slice pepper jack. It's a little pepper jack poblano sandwich!
- I like to grill my buns & Hubby doesn't. Do what you want. This time I put some butter on them & put them on my flat griddle pan, grilled cheese style, but without the cheese. Just the buns themselves while Hubby was grilling the burgers.
- Assemble & enjoy!

I served them up with a side of sweet potato fries. 2 for $5! Woot!

When you have a full house, the best way to take the claustrophobic-edge off is, obviously, with a little booze. We've been boozin' it up at dinner all week. Lani's Watermelon Chillers were a hit earlier in the week. These Kitchen Sink Bloody Marys weren't too shabby, either.

Kitchen Sink Bloody Mary

- V8 Juice
- Green Apple Vodka
- Worcestershire
- Tabasco
- Pepper
- Ice

Fill glass 1/2 way with ice. Add a dash of Worcestershire. A couple of dashes of Tabasco, depending on your spiciness preferences. A shot of vodka (or maybe one for every person staying in your house for the week? Ha!). A pinch of pepper. Fill the rest of the glass up with V8. Stir & enjoy!

We used the last of the plain vodka for the Watermelon Chillers, so we ended up using the Green Apple Vodka just because that's all we had. After talking about food and different tasty delights all day, my mother-in-law and I had a taste for bloody marys. As I like to say over here in this tiny little birdhouse: Use what you've got! It's worth a try, anyway. We made one with it to see how it would taste. And then we made 2 more... We didn't really taste too much of the green apple. It does add a tad bit of tart and sweet, which is actually a nice surprise contrast to the spicy and savory flavors you usually get. Sadly, we didn't have any celery poor Mary is a bit naked. It definitely hit the spot and went really well with the poblano burger. Yum!

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