Archive of ‘Sandwiches and Quesadillas’ category

The Killer Burger

I like to name burgers the same way I like to name my nonexistant children. I want to give them a name that sets them apart and makes them stick out from the other burgers that are mundanely named. Although I can’t take credit for the name of this burger, I do think it appropriate to keep the name because the name says it all! I have this habit, when I’m menu planning for the following week, to look up recipes that sound good and are the healthier option. Take ground turkey burgers for example, when I found <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/killer-turkey-burgers.html” target=”_blank”>Anne’s Killer Turkey Burger, I got all excited and proud of my choice of choosing white meat over red meat. But then reality struck and my desire for an all beef burger patty commandeered my desire to get the healthier meat. What I’m trying to say is I can’t stand ground turkey! Give it to me roasted and on a croissant sandwich with mayo but DO NOT give it to me in a form of a burger! That being said, I’m sure the turkey burger is outstanding in this recipe and don’t let my close-minded thinking deter you from trying the original recipe. (more…)

Don’t let the picture fool you. It may look like just the run of the mill burger but it’s so much more. This burger was so flavorful and perfect, I had dreams about it last night! I think it’s a great idea to throw these babies on the grill and add fresh toppings like ripe tomatoes, sweet red onion, and crisp, green lettuce. You really don’t need much embellishment for the amount of flavor you are going to get! Side note: Due to laziness and forgetfulness, I did not add the water chestnuts or the fresh ginger (I’m really disappointed with myself on that one!) but if you do, let me know what you think! This recipe also introduces us to Sriracha’s cousin, Sambal Oelek, a wonderful chili paste that you will be tempted to put on everything! Now, let us take a moment of thankfulness for Anne Burrell and her ingenious burger! Happy Burger making, guys!

Ham and Gruyere Panini with Rosemary Onions

Is anyone else up to their elbows in Thanksgiving leftovers? My creativity to reinvent them is running thin and I don’t know if my stomach can accept anymore stuffing. But before I get entirely tired of the ham I made (my husband hates turkey), I always make this sandwich. Ham and I got off on the wrong foot 20 years ago when my parents made me eat some ham before I could be excused from the dinner table. It was the longest night of my life and I swore never to humor ham like that again. But as the years passed and my emotional scars from ham started to heal, I thought I would give it another shot. Ham ain’t so bad! It’s all about how you make it (brown sugar and Cognac glaze, anyone?). Plus, I do love having leftover ham sandwiches and when you adorn them with onions and rosemary, you’re in for a real treat! It’s perfect for a quick weeknight meal and it’s oh so comforting. It also gives you an excuse to dust of that panini maker you asked for on your wedding registry but barely use. The sweet, mustardy onions paired with the smokey ham and nutty Gruyere makes for the best panini. It just feels like the holidays all wrapped up in a sandwich. I’m sure this wouldn’t be so bad with turkey either. There’s only so many turkey pot pies you can make, ya know? Let’s get moving on our Ham and Gruyere Panini! (more…)

Our leftover ingredient line up:

Crusty bread, butter, fresh rosemary, gruyere, dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, ham, onions, and brown sugar.

Our onions are cooked until a luscious golden brown then we add more butter (surprise, surprise), brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and dijon.

The mixture is finished with a little chopped rosemary. If you have some thyme left over from Thanksgiving, feel free to add that instead.

Now, we layer! If you are at all a professional sandwich maker like myself, you know the layering process is incredibly important and should be taken very seriously. Grab your bread and out some ham on it. See what I mean? Precision is key! We top the ham with that delicious onion mixture.

Then, just as you thought things couldn’t get anymore complicated, we take grated gruyere and using all of the strength within us, sprinkle on top of the onion mixture. I know, I know. I’m asking too much of you but we will persevere!

Finally, our sandwiches are topped with a buttered slice of bread and some more rosemary is sprinkled on top. Whether you use a panini maker or a stovetop skillet, make sure there is some butter melted so the bottom of the sandwich gets plenty of love.

Wait for it…money shot! Just kidding. Sandwiches are a little camera shy but I wanted you to see the magic that is happening inside this sandwich. It’s buttery, it’s rich in flavor, and it’s the perfect way to use up your holiday leftovers. Happy panini making!

BLTA “Spring” Rolls with 3 Dipping Sauces

I’ve been asked a lot lately what is the premise of my blog? Or rather, what kind of food do I make? These questions stump me because I haven’t really thought about it. I just blog about the things that matter to me most. I make food that I eat and think that you would enjoy. Does it need to be more than that? Maybe. But until then, I’m going to keep making meals that make us both feel special. Cool? Cool. If you need a theme to follow then these spring rolls are really going to throw you for a loop. Don’t worry! It will be fun! (more…)

I do have measurements for this recipe but the best part is…do what you want! How many times in life are you told to do that? Adjust to what you like: a little more avocado (always), a little less bacon (never). Whatever floats your boat! I will say make a few to practice with first. Things can get a little tricky but also can be easily mastered. As you can see with the ones I made, perfection isn’t the goal but yumminess is.  We ate these for dinner but they would be sublime as an appetizer or a fun snack!

Check out our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: My grocery store had these adorable little lettuces but any salad mix would work too! Bean sprouts, red onion, heirloom tomatoes (because they were leftover from this), avocado, red pepper, rice paper, bacon (bow down), and asparagus. Can I tell you a secret? I cooked my asparagus in my bacon grease. I don’t believe in waste.

Rice paper is where this madness begins. Soak it and lay it onto a damp cloth. Most rice paper wrappers will have the directions on them. Let’s load up on the goodies! Don’t see your favorite veggie here? Add it! Are we getting carried away? Let’s roll that little guy.

We move onto our 3 dipping sauces. Why 3? Because I’m OCD and I like things in threes. You could totally do one or two. Take mayo, green chilies, garlic, pepper and salt. I know, I know. That’s a lot of mayo. Where is my greek yogurt/mayo combo? Well, when I make a sauce and put mayo in the title, I really mean it. Pulse that baby!

Another fun sauce is basil with sun dried tomatoes. Add a little extra virgin olive oil if it gets too thick. A pinch of pepper never hurt anyone here. Pulse.

Our avocado, lime, Sriacha sauce is exactly what it sounds like. I added the bright red Sriacha with the green avocado and pulsed together. Don’t be like me. Just pulse the avocado, lime, and a little greek yogurt to soften things up a bit. Drizzle with Sriacha once you have put the avocado sauce in a dish or else your pretty, ripe, green avocados turn a puke green. Sorry…

I love the playfulness of this dish. We use our hands to dip and enjoy. I’m sure this will be a fun change from the usual weeknight casserole or salad. The bacon is staring at you. Say hi! Happy “spring” roll making!

Quesadilla Cubans

Pickles and mustard. Mustard and pickles. What if I told you these two ingredients are my favorite part of a Cuban sandwich? Would you give a light little chuckle but then secretly roll your eyes and judge me? I understand if you would. But in all seriousness, without those ingredients, a Cuban wouldn’t be special at all. It’s the magic of making the two kinds of pork and swiss cheese work together. The pickle and mustard cut through all of that richness making you beg for another irresistible bite.

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Along with my pickle and mustard rant, I also think it’s important to have a flavorful shredded pork. Too many Cubans have I wasted due to pre-made, unseasoned pork. A good Cuban is all team work with not one element in the spotlight (except for the pickles and mustard). I used a pork tenderloin for the pictures but the recipe is for a pork shoulder. It’s a more authentic cut of pork but I was lazy and didn’t feel like driving to the store when I had a perfectly good tenderloin at home. I will post my cooking notes for the tenderloin at the bottom. Ok, ready? Go team!
Let’s check out our ingredient line up:

From Top Left to Right: flour tortillas, limes, pork tenderloin trying to look like pork shoulder, yellow mustard, cilantro, garlic, swiss cheese, orange juice, pickles, dried oregano, and deli ham.

We first start with la marinade. Put your cilantro, orange juice, limes, garlic, oregano, and a dash of salt in a blender. That’s right, we are blending our limes with their rinds on! I told you this was going to be flavorful! Blend until pureed.

Now, we take half of that marinade and pour it over the pork. Turn it a few times to coat then leave it alone. It needs to marinate for a while. How fresh does that look? We then slow cook our pork (hello crock pot!) so it will be fork tender and easy to shred.

Do you know what comes next? We shred! Take a sample! Take two! You’re the cook and I think you deserve it!

Let’s assemble our quesadillas! Take a tortilla, schmear some mustard on it. Use yellow or spicy brown mustard. This is NOT the time for dijon. Feel me? Then scatter your pickles on top of the mustard. Then place your cooked deli meat on top (I know I didn’t show that step. Forgive me?). Take a healthy handful of that delicious shredded pork and put on top of the ham. Then, add your swiss. Lastly, schmear more mustard on another tortilla and place on top.

If you have a panini press, then this is the time to break it out. If you don’t, just heat up a skillet with some butter. Place your quesadilla in the skillet once heated and then top with another pan. After a few minutes, take the top pan off and turn over your quesadilla for even cooking. Once golden brown and the cheese is melted, remove from heat, cut and serve! This has all the yummy components of a Cuban sandwich but in fun quesadilla form! Happy ‘dilla making!

For the pork tenderloin: I made sure the silver skin was off (it won’t cook down but be tough and chewy). I cooked the tenderloin in a dutch oven at 200 degrees for about 3-4 hours. Then shred. The meat can be somewhat dry so add a little bit of the cooking liquid if it’s too dry for you.

Roasted Veggie Sandwich with Goat Cheese

So I had this for dinner last night and was going to post about it later in the week. After my first bite, I knew I had to post it today! Last night was a rare occasion wherein I only had to cook for myself! The possibilities! Why is it that when our men are away, us women cook vegetarian food? Or that’s how it is in my house at least. I don’t always need meat in my meal but Chris is a ravishing beast without it so I try to always include it. I will, however, make this sandwich for him later on and I bet prosciutto or bacon would be a lovely addition. This sandwich doesn’t have to be vegetarian but the veggies are definitely the attention getters here. (more…)

I cut up a variety of vegetables, all the same size, tossed them with extra virgin olive oil, fresh thyme, salt and pepper and roasted them in a 425 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes. Have you roasted onions before? You’re welcome. I also used eggplant, red bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini, and mushrooms (gotta love CSAs!). I then made a salsa verde with 2 kinds of basil and crumbled some goat cheese. You can use any type of bread or roll for this but the ciabatta roll takes the cake. I split it open, spread the salsa verde on the bottom half (be liberal! You want this to be dripping!) and goat cheese on the top. Add hot veggies, top with the other half of the roll and cut on a diagonal. So many flavors that all seamlessly work together. You won’t be upset when you’re told to finish your vegetables!

Sorry for the lack of pictures. My lighting wasn’t the greatest (thanks summer evening storms!) and I was too hungry to have patience. We are only humans, right? Happy sandwich making!

Old Faithful Cheeseburger

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It was a Friday night and as usual, all four of us kids were huddled around the televison. Every friday, we would grab blankets and our favorite snacks in anticipation of watching our favorite TV shows. Depending on the season, my mom would either make buttery popcorn for us to enjoy or cheesy parmesan pumpkin seeds but tonight was different. We didn’t see any delicious snacks coming our way any time soon so we just settled for those wax candies that look like soda bottles. Then it happened. My father came through the front door and the house was immediately filled with the familiar aroma of the double arches. My dad brought us cheeseburgers from McDonald’s! They were special in that instead of being doused in ketchup and mustard, they were plain. I never had a plain one before and as I opened my snack deprived mouth, the pure flavors of beef and cheese were on my tongue. No distractions, just delightfully simple. Cheeseburgers are one of my favorite meals to this day and yes, I have come very far from McDonald’s finest. To me, it’s extremely important to have a flavorful patty that if need be, could be eaten without any condiment and still be delicious. So add on your favorite toppings or not, but enjoy my rendition of the classic.

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Let’s start with our ingredients!


From Left to Right: fresh thyme, dried oregano, garlic, hamburger buns, ground beef, hot sauce, dijon mustard, worcestershire sauce, and american cheese.

We put the ground beef, dried oregano, hot sauce, dijon, and worcestershire sauce in a
mixing bowl. Then, we mince our garlic and thyme and add those into the bowl as well. If you use dried thyme, use about 1/2 a teaspoon. Don’t forget to season with salt and pepper!

Instead of using our pretty paws to mix these ingredients up, we will use a fork! A fork is working triple duty: mixing the ingredients, keeping our meat fluffy (not dense), and saving our manicures (not mine, yours?). Either way, use the fork until everything is mixed. I forgot to season until the last minute. Forgive me?

Now, we make 4 meatballs, using all of the meat. From these meatballs, you can make patties, whatever thickness you want. I like thin burgers so I do this extra step. If you like them thick, you are more than welcome to skip this step. We lay them on a surface, evenly spaced apart.

Cover the meat with plastic wrap and grab a heavy, cylindrical object i.e. a rolling pin or a Christmas wine bottle. We use the heavy object to roll the meat to about 1/4 inch patties. They ain’t perfect, but they are good.

Heat up a skillet to medium high heat with a tad bit of olive oil. Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper. Once the pan is hot, add the patties. Since they are so thin, they only need about 2 minutes per side to cook. Also, you might need 2 spatulas to flip them. After they are flipped, immediately add your cheese of choice so it gets nice and melted!

Here comes the fun part! If you do 1 patty cheeseburgers, then this recipe serves 4. If you want to do the double decker I show in my pictures, then this recipe serves 2. Just place cheeseburgers on your bun of choice and enjoy the juicy, cheesy goodness of a classic cheeseburger! Cook these up for 4th of July or any other night of the week! They definitely satisfy any good burger craving.