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cheddar cheeseburgers with caramelized shallots

Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots

When I started planning for the Drumstick summer celebration from Monday’s post, I decided on the menu immediately and was so excited!  The theme was going to be a Mexican twist on summer barbecue favorites.  It was, until I received the most recent issue of Cooking Light and saw the Cheddar Cheeseburger with Caramelized Shallots.  These looked so good, I shifted the menu to a more traditional barbecue.

These burgers are delicious, garlicky, and combined with the sharp cheddar, caramelized shallots and arugula, all result in one amazing burger!  I prepared the patties the night before, which helped intensify the garlic flavor.  Since we’re working with very lean beef, it is important not to overhandle the beef for the risk of it becoming tough/dry.  Cooking Light shared a helpful tip for working with leaner ground beef: when mixing the garlic and beef, use a [silicone] spatula, instead of your hands, so the heat from your hands won’t melt away the little fat there is.  It worked quite well, and the result was a perfect “lean-er” burger.  I enjoyed mine plain, while Mike and my dad enjoyed theirs with some ketchup.

With grilling season upon us, these Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots are definitely a must-make!

Cheddar Cheeseburgers with Caramelized Shallots
 
Yields: 4 burgers
Ingredients
  • 1 pound ground beef, 92% lean
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 2-3 large shallots)
  • 2 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (about ½ cup)
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted (I used onion buns from a local bakery)
  • Ketchup (optional, for topping)
  • Mayonnaise (optional, for topping)
Instructions
  1. Prepare burger: Using a silicone spatula, gently combine beef and garlic. (Be careful not to over-handle meat).
  2. Divide beef into 4 equal portions, shaping into a ½" think patty. Press a small indentation in the center of each burger. Sprinkle evenly with ¼ teaspoon salt. Refrigerate until ready to cook.
  3. Caramelize shallots: Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add shallots and ¼ teaspoon salt; cook 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in vinegar, cook for an additional minute and the remove from heat. Keep warm.
  4. Grill burger: Preheat grill to medium-high heat. If needed, spray grate with grilling cooking spray or rub with oil. Cook for approximately 3 minutes per side, or to desired doneness. Top each burger with 2 tablespoons cheese and cook for 1 minute, or until cheese melts.
  5. Assemble: Place ¼ cup arugula on bottom half of bun; top 1 burger and ¼ of the shallots. If desired, spread ketchup or mayonnaise (or desired topping) on top half of buns, and place on top of burgers. Enjoy!

Source:  Cooking Light, June 2012

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Herbed Balsamic Grilled Chicken

I love cooking marinated chicken on the grill. It is such a quick and easy way to make a delicious dinner.  Mix the marinade, pour it in a Ziploc bag, put chicken in the bag and let is sit.  Easy.

So when I saw this recipe for Herbed Balsamic Grilled Chicken, it was calling my name.  I made a few changes to the recipe, which are reflected in the recipe written below.  I reduced the oil, added garlic and substituted Italian herbs seasoning for the herbes de Provence.  Combined with the balsamic vinegar, I dare say the combination resulted in the best grilled chicken ever!

Herbed Balsamic Grilled Chicken is a light, healthy and versatile dish that can easily go with any vegetable, starch or salad.

Herbed Balsamic Grilled Chicken
Yields 4 servings

1 pound chicken breast or breast tenders
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
2 cloves garlic, minced
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Pinch of kosher flake salt

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, olive oil, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper until combined.
  2. Put chicken in a Ziploc bag.  Pour vinegar mixture in bag with chicken, making sure chicken gets coated.  Refrigerate for at least two hours, turning the bag occasionally.
  3. Grill chicken over medium-high heat until cooked thoroughly (approximately 4-5 minutes per side).

Adapted from Cooking with Chrissy, originally from Bon Apétit, June 2009

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Balsamic Portobello Mushroom Burgers

I am always looking for tasty vegetarian options for the grill, and these Balsamic Portobello Mushroom Burgers are a definite winner.  The thirsty mushrooms soak up the balsamic vinegar and garlic, yielding an amazing flavor.  Paired with the goat cheese, it is a combination that pleases both non-meat and meat eaters alike. 

These burgers are very quick to make.  Just mix the marinade in the baking dish and let the mushrooms and peppers soak.  You can even get your preparation out of the way the day before, intensifying the flavor by letting everything marinate overnight.

On each burger is a slice of red pepper topped with a portobello mushroom, topped with goat cheese, topped with another portobello.  Then sprinkle on a little more goat cheese, top with spinach, close the sandwich and eat!

Balsamic Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Yields 4 servings
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for grates
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 red bell pepper (ribs and seeds removed), cut into 4 equal pieces
8 portobello mushrooms (about 1 pound total), stems and ribs removed
4 onion hamburger buns
4 ounces goat cheese (crumbled or log; if using a log, cut into slices to place in between the mushrooms)
several spinach leaves
  1. In a shallow dish (a 13 x 9 baking dish works well), whisk together oil, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add bell pepper and mushrooms, turning to make sure everything gets coated.  Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes up to overnight.  
  2. Heat grill to medium; lightly oil grates. Grill bell pepper, skin side down, until blackened, about 10 minutes; remove from grill and place in Ziploc bag. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard skin; set bell pepper aside.
  3. Starting with dome-side down, grill mushrooms, covered, until lightly charred.  Flip and grill the other side of mushroom until lightly charred and mushroom is tender.  (approx. 3 to 4 minutes per side).
  4. Dividing evenly, top bottom half of each bun with bell pepper and mushrooms.  Put goat cheese in the middle of the 2 mushroom caps.  Top with spinach and sprinkle with remaining goat cheese.  Close burger, and serve immediately.

Alternative:  This recipe would also make an excellent salad (great for someone who is watching carbs or if you just want more veggies).  To make this into a salad, follow the directions above through step 3.  Then slice the mushrooms and peppers, toss with a bowl of spinach or mixed greens and top with goat cheese.

Adapted from Everyday Food

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Mustard-Rosemary Chicken Skewers


Happy Summer!  ‘Tis the season for visits to the beach, bike rides, and of course, grilling.  I have several favorite recipes exclusive to the grill, so my anticipation of grilling season rivals that of Christmas.  While I enjoy the reliable stand bys, it is always fun to find new and healthy recipes to add to the favorites.  


So in the spirit of summer, when I saw this recipe for Mustard-Rosemary Chicken Skewers, I could not wait to fire up the grill!   Skewers are such a convenient way to serve your meat and veggies, all threaded on a handy little stick.  Plus there is something fun about having dinner on a stick.    

These tasty skewers did not disappoint.  The rosemary, mustard and balsamic vinegar are an incredible flavor combination with the chicken and veggies.  From the original recipe, I reduced the oil, used chicken breast instead of legs, and increased the balsamic vinegar, scallions, and garlic (can never have enough garlic!).  I have written the recipe below according to these changes. 

These skewers are perfect for entertaining at your next summer celebration and have landed a spot on the grilling favorites list in this house.

Have a great weekend!

Mustard-Rosemary Chicken Skewers
Yields 4 servings

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for grill (or use cooking spray on grill)
1 pounds boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
5 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces

Note: if using wooden skewers, soak for at least 30 minutes prior to grilling…perfect to do while the chicken and vegetables are marinating.

  1. In a small bowl, mix together the mustard, vinegar, rosemary, garlic, salt and black pepper.  Slowly whisk in the oil.
  2. Place chicken, bell pepper and scallions in a Ziploc bag.  Add the marinade, making sure to coat chicken and vegetables. Refrigerate at least 40 minutes.
  3. Heat the grill to medium high and brush with olive oil (or spray with cooking spray).  Thread chicken, peppers and green onions on skewers.  Transfer to grill and cook, turning occasionally, until chicken is charred and no longer pink (approx 8 minutes). 

Adapted from Fitness Magazine

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Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

It is not very often that a new recipe immediately leaps way to the top of the list.  But when I saw a tasty recipe in Experience Life magazine, I think my heart skipped a beat with excitement.  I got that ‘I just found a recipe that will change your life’ feeling.  Cheese, black beans, green onions, garlic and spices, all nestled in a tasty little jalapeno?  Seriously?  Time to fire up the grill!

In fact, I was tempted to simply grab a spoon and eat the filling straight from the bowl.

I resisted and instead stuffed these beautiful jalapenos.  The result is a delightful, healthy twist on a jalapeno popper.

This heavenly dish makes for a perfect appetizer at any summer gathering, yet is easy enough to whip together for a light weeknight dinner.  Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Grilled Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers
Yields 8 (appetizer) or 4 (dinner) servings

16 jalapeno peppers
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
4 green onions, chopped
4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon chili powder

  1. In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except the peppers.
  2. Make a lengthwise slit down each pepper, leaving the stem intact; carefully remove ribs and seeds.  (Tip: a quick rinse helps remove the seeds from the inside, lessening the heat)
  3. Distribute filling evenly among peppers (about 1 tablespoon per pepper).
  4. Heat grill to medium heat.  Place stuffed peppers on a sheet of foil on the grill.  Cover and cook until cheese mixture has melted and peppers are softened, about 10-15 minutes.

Adapted from Experience Life

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Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Chicken

Sometimes is pays to be picky.  Or at least to be cooking for picky guests.  I was hosting a summer get together and, by request, was making my “Magic Hamburgers.”  However I knew one of my guests would not eat ground beef, so I was on a two-fold mission: find something delicious that she will like and find something with ingredients I already have.

Enter Sweet & Spicy Barbecue Chicken.  Mission accomplished.

I am so thankful for my picky dinner guest.  If not for her, I would not have found this recipe and my life in the kitchen would not be the same.

In all seriousness, this barbecue sauce is incredible.  I love that it is so easily made from basic ingredients commonly found in the pantry.  The hot sauce, along with the black pepper, add the perfect zing which can be altered to your heat tolerance.  I prefer using chicken tenders, though you can easily adapt this recipe to whatever part of the chicken you like to grill.  It also makes for great barbecue chicken sandwiches.

Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Chicken
 
A simple barbecue sauce made with pantry ingredients.
Yields: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Fresh ground pepper (to taste)
  • 1 lb chicken breast tenders
Instructions
  1. Mix first 6 ingredients in bowl.
  2. Place chicken in ziploc bag. Pour ½ sauce in bag, making sure chicken is well coated. Marinate for at least 4 hours.
  3. Grill chicken as usual, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  4. Serve with remaining barbeque sauce for dipping.

Adapted from Food & Wine