Taco Burgers and Pickled Cucumber Tomato Salad

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Tonight from Martha’s “budget” menu, Brian chose Taco Burgers.

A zippy burger twist, I was very intrigued to try. Not usually a huge fan of jalapeños, I think the pickled juice made them milder and more palatable. The patty tastes like taco meat, flavored with salt and pepper and a generous teaspoon of chili powder. I am a big fan of this recipe and will definitely make this one again.

The grocery list:

1 lb lean Ground Beef

1 jar of Sliced Pickled Jalapeños

1 t Chili Powder

S&P

3/4 t Sugar

1 c chopped Iceberg Lettuce

1 Cucumber

1/2 medium Red Onion

1 large Tomato

4 Hamburger Buns

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This is the star ingredient of the night. You will need as many of these suckers as you can stand to top your burger and 2 tablespoons of the juice to make the dressing for the salad.

I found this at Safeway in the Hispanic food section. They had lots large cans in authentic brands but after some thorough searching I found El Paso brand in a small jar! America.

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Start by making the salad so it has some time to marinate in the dressing. Slice about half of the tomato into four slices to top the burger later. Dice the other half of the tomato into 3/4 inch chunks for the salad.

Pour 2 tablespoons of pickled jalapeño juice into a medium sized bowl and whisk it with 3/4 teaspoon of sugar. Add the diced tomatoes to the mix.

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Chop the ends of the cucumber off and slice it into thin half moons. You can slice it right down the middle and chop each half or cut 3/4 of the way down the cucumber and slice the whole (see picture). After beginning the latter end ending with the former, I found the first way to be more efficient and safer with the knife.

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Slice up half of the red onion. Set aside some of this to top your burgers later if you wish.

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Add the cucumber and onion to the bowl and mix with the tomatoes and jalapeño juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Wrap with cling wrap and set in the fridge until later.

Steal a cucumber slice.

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Use your hands to mix the pound of ground beef with a teaspoon of chili powder. Form four equal-ish sized patties. Sprinkle each side with salt and pepper. If you are lazy like me, just sprinkle the side facing up. Place this side in the pan first and sprinkle the other while it is in the pan.

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Cook the patties for four minutes on each side in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. I was going to use my new grill pan, but I accidentally added some oil to a very hot pan and created a smoke storm in the kitchen. Use Pam if you don’t have nonstick.

Add a slice of cheddar cheese during the last minute of cooking if you wish. I did.

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Load ’em up! You can top with the salad, that would be amazing. Or you can use the tomato and onion you set aside earlier and the lettuce I mentioned in the grocery list. Don’t forget the jalapeño!

Even I, a wimp, ate 2 on my burger! Delicious! 🙂

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Chili To Go

Today at lunch, Brian requested a vat of chili to take home and consume throughout the week. I have never made chili. So I looked up an award winning recipe on.. drum roll please.. PINTEREST! I tried My Biscuits are Burning’s award winning chili, with a few variations of course.

Pull these things out (or acquire them from the store – as I had to):2013-10-20 17.35.40

2 cans of tomato sauce (16 oz)

1/2 jar of salsa (choose your heat!)

1 can of light red kidney beans

1 can of dark red kidney beans

1 tsp black pepper

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 pkg of chili seasoning

2 lbs ground beef

1/2 white onion

Brown the ground beef along with the onion in a large pot over medium heat. This took about 20 minutes on the Enterprise, maybe 10 on yours. Depending on the fat content of your chuck, drain the mixture – I used 80/20 and drained about half of the liquid out.

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Add the tomato sauce, salsa, drained kidney beans, black pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and package of chili seasoning to the pot and stir well to combine everything.

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Simmer on medium-low for an hour uncovered, stirring occasionally. Then cover the pot and continue to simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally. You could put it in a crock pot to keep warm or make it to go!

This chili is zippy and meaty. I would make it with medium or mild salsa but Brian likes it spicy.

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I cooled the chili for about an hour before distributing it into different containers for freezing. Let those containers cool before putting them into the freezer. This recipe made about 12 cups of chili. You could easily make it in a crock pot by browning the beef first and then transferring everything to the crock pot (high for 4 hours, low for 8 hours).

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Enjoy on hot dogs, over rice, with a baked potato. The possibilities are almost endless with chili. 🙂