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Easy Indoor Slider Burgers with Spicy-As-You-Like-It Special Sauce

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It’s burger season. It’s also unpredictable, chance-of-rain just about everyday season, which might just foil your grilling burgers plan, unless you’re like my dad who grills in snow, sleet, and rain. Weather is no more a deterrent for my father than it is for the mail man. I guarantee he’ll have ribs on the grill during the apocalypse. I like that about him.

I, however, am a fair-weather griller. Thankfully, burgers can still be enjoyed on rainy days with these simple, indoor burger sliders. The kids love these tiny tasty burgers. Who am I kidding? We all love these burgers. Hot dog buns, split into thirds make the perfect little slider buns. A dill pickle slice and spoonful of my spicy-as-you-like-it special sauce complete each perfect mini burger.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to making these tasty burgers, which may quickly become one of your easy go-to weeknight meals!

Step 1: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scatter 1/2 finely diced onion in an even layer at the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish or half-sheet pan. **Click HERE  for a step-by-step photo guide for dicing onions.

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Step 2: Crumble 1 pound of ground beef over the onion. **Use 80/20 ground beef. It makes a difference!

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Step 3: Press the meat into an even layer. Sprinkle with seasoned salt. (I used Old Bay seasoning.)

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Step 4: Bake for 18-20 minutes. While the burgers are cooking, divide 7-8 hot dog buns in half. Cut the bottom halves into thirds. Top each piece with a spoonful of special sauce and a dill pickle slice.

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Step 5: Once the meat has cooked, remove it from the oven. Pour off any excess juices. Top the meat with slices of American cheese. Place in the oven for another few seconds to melt the cheese.

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Step 6: Arrange the tops of the hot dogs buns on top of the meat. Cut through the buns and meat so that each bun is cut into thirds. **A pizza cutter makes a convenient cutting tool.

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Step 7: Pick up each bun and burger portion and place it on top of the prepared bottom buns. Enjoy!

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Spicy-As-You-Like-It Special Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonaisse
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dill relish
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Tabasco, to taste
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste

Directions

Combine the mayo, ketchup, dill relish, onion powder, and garlic powder until well blended. Add a few dashes of tabasco sauce, then stir and taste. Continue adding tabasco, as desired. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

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The Hangover Burger

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Thought I was so slick. Went down to the grocery store Friday night and picked up all the things I would need for tonight’s dinner. The supermarket was quiet, peaceful, a virtual oasis of food; unlike on summer weekends, where it transforms into a frenzied circus of activity. But I was ever so clever and got it all taken care of Friday night.

Then, I woke up this morning, not so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; the result of a small child who decided to start his day at 5:00am. I made the kids their breakfast, tended to the labrosaurus rex, and started the coffee. I had a hankering for some eggs in a hole; the dish my mom used to call Rocky Mountain Breakfast. So I heated a little butter in a pan, removed the centers from my bread, cracked the eggs into the middle, and fried them up. Then I sat down to enjoy my delicious breakfast.

Boy, did it hit the spot! I could have eaten two more, but I’d used the last of the eggs. I sat there, lingering over the last bite and then it struck me. Right smack in the middle of my head. I’d intended to use those eggs for tonight’s dinner. Foiled again by my overwhelming food cravings!! So much for avoiding the supermarket on the weekend.

Tonight’s dinner is an indulgence; a guilty pleasure. You’d better start running in place right now, cause it’s going to take some work to burn off the calories in this one. It might be a good idea to have your blood pressure checked before consuming. It will be worth it though.

Austin Grill, a Maryland based Tex-Mex restaurant has a burger on their menu called The Hangover Burger. I’m not exactly sure whether this burger is intended to be the cure or the cause of the hangover. But, lordy, lordy is this a good one! I ordered it once and dreamed about it forever after. The burger features a beef patty, smothered with chili, bacon, queso, roasted jalapeño peppers, and a fried egg. It’s the egg that really does it for me!

Tonight, we’re having my version of The Hangover Burger. Once, you’ve made the chili, there’s really nothing to it, besides putting the pieces together. Here’s how it’s done…

Austin Grill-Inspired Hangover Burger

Ingredients

  • Burger Patties
  • Hamburger Buns or Hard Rolls
  • Bacon
  • Chili Con Queso
  • Chili*
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Jalapeño Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper

*For my easy recipe for Spicy Beef Chili, click here.

Directions

Cut the jalapeño in half. Remove the seeds and ribs. Roast in a 300 degree oven for about 45 minutes, until softened. When cool enough to handle, cut into small pieces. Set aside. Cook the bacon and place a few slices on each bun. Season the burgers with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the burgers to your preferred doneness. While the burger is cooking, warm the chili and queso. Place the cooked burgers on top of the bacon. Top with a spoonful of chili and a spoonful of warm chili con queso. Sprinkle with the roasted jalapeño peppers. Top with a freshly fried egg.

Serve with a side of steamed broccoli, to make yourself feel better about eating the burger.

I foresee many salads in my future.

Blue Cows in a Blanket

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When my husband and I got married, we decided to have an all hors d’oeuvres cocktail reception. When we shared this idea with my parents, my dad made a joke about the quantity of pigs in a blanket that the caterers would be dealing with. Though we were thinking more along the lines of Smoked Duck on Pecan Crackers with Red Currant Chutney, Saga Bleu Polenta Rounds with Beef Tenderloin, and Seared Sea Scallops on a Salpicon of Lump Crabmeat and Sweet Yellow Corn with Poblano Pepper Aioli, the idea of a Pigs in a Blanket themed reception made us giggle. We even arranged for the caterer to present my father with his very own tray of pigs in a blanket just prior to the ceremony. I think the bill from the caterer listed them as ‘Cocktail Franks en Croute’. Fancy! Whatever you call them, the tray was empty in a blink.

Blue Cows in a Blanket is my beefy little twist on Pigs in a Blanket. It’s basically a bacon blue cheese burger, wrapped in puff pastry and baked until golden brown. I came up with the idea awhile back, while trying to devise a way to fit bacon blue cheese burgers into a cocktail party menu. You can make the burgers larger or smaller, depending on your needs. And, the best part is that they can be almost fully prepared ahead of time.  Just wrap the cooked burgers in the pastry and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake and serve!

Blue Cows in a Blanket work well as an hors d’ oeuvre or as a main course alternative to a traditional burger. Tonight, we enjoyed them as a main course with a Wedge Salad on the side, playing off the blue cheese and bacon in the burger.

Blue Cows in a Blanket

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup Bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1/2 cup Bleu Cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 package (2 sheets) Puff Pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Gently combine ground beef, bacon, cheese, and salt with hands, just enough to evenly distribute the bacon, cheese, and salt. Form the mixture into about 18 small meatball-sized balls.  Gently flatten into small patties. Place on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 8-10 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Keep the oven at 400 degrees.

Meanwhile, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the thawed puff pastry sheets into squares that measure approximately 12 x 12 inches. Use a pizza cutter to cut each sheet into 9 equal-sized squares. You should have 18 squares that measure approximately 4 x 4 inch each. (Don’t worry if they aren’t exactly square or equal-sized. The dough will stretch when you wrap the burgers.)

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place one cooled patty in the center of each square. Wrap the pastry around the patty and press the dough together on the bottom. Place each wrapped patty on the baking sheet, seam side down. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and brush each pastry with the beaten egg. Return to oven and cook for 10 more minutes. Serve immediately.

For the Wedge Salad: Cut a head of iceberg lettuce into 4-6 wedges. Top with chopped tomatoes and crumbled bacon.  Drizzle with blue cheese dressing.

Salmon Burgers with Horseradish Sauce and Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Butter

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I make my salmon burgers the same way I make my crab cakes… heavy on the seafood, light on the filler. I like big chunks of salmon, blended together with just enough egg, bread crumbs, and mayo to hold it together.  A bit of mustard and creole seasoning adds the perfect flavoring! Served on an kaiser roll with a spicy horseradish sauce, this is a delicious way to enjoy salmon! I use fresh salmon fillets in my recipe, but you can substitute canned salmon, if desired.

Corn on the cob, served with chipotle butter makes a perfect side dish for this meal.  Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers; spicy and delicious! You should be able to find canned chipotles in adobo sauce in the Mexican or Latin foods section of your grocery store.  Adobo is simply a seasoned tomato-based sauce.  You can either discard the adobo sauce, or use some of it in the butter. You’ll only need 1/8 cup of pureed chipotle peppers for the butter, but puree all the peppers.  You can store the unused puree in the freezer for future use. (I’ll share my recipe for Chipotle Steak Quesadillas with you soon!)

Chipotles in Adobo

Salmon Burgers with Horseradish Sauce

For the burgers:

  • 1 pound salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp Creole Seasoning
  • 4 Kaiser Rolls

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup Sour Cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp Horseradish Sauce

To prepare the salmon – Preheat your broiler. Place the salmon fillets under the broiler and cook for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. When the salmon is cool enough to handle, flake the fish into large chunks.

To make to burgers – Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, combine all ingredients, except the salmon, until well blended. Gently fold in the salmon. Form into four burgers. Spray a baking sheet with a little Pam or a small amount of olive oil. Place the burgers on the baking sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes until heated through.

For the horseradish sauce – Combine sour cream with 2-3 Tbsp horseradish. (I use 3.)  Stir until well blended. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Serve burgers on kaiser rolls with lettuce, tomatoes, and horseradish sauce. Makes 4 burgers.

Salmon Burger with Horseradish Sauce

Corn on the Cob with Chipotle Butter

  • 4 ears of corn, husks removed
  • 1/8 cup pureed Chipotle Peppers
  • 1 Stick Butter

Remove chipotle peppers from adobo.  Wipe off excess adobo. Puree peppers in a blender or food processor until smooth.  Melt butter in a small saucepan over very low heat.  Add 1/8 cup pureed chipotle pepper and stir. Gently cook over very low heat for a minute or two. For the smoothest result, you can pour the melted chipotle butter through a fine sieve to remove seeds and any large chunks. (I skip this step!) Pour chipotle butter into a bowl and refrigerate, stirring every 15 minutes, until firm. Allow butter to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using. To cook the corn, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the corn and boil for about 5-8 minutes. Spread chipotle butter on corn and enjoy!!

Chipotle Butter

Salmon Burger with Corn on the Cob and Chipotle Butter

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