Best Ever Sliders

I know the term “best ever” may at times be thrown around a little liberally, but seriousely.. BEST. EVER.
Last year my hubby and I ventured into the concrete jungle of Portland to try a new restaurant for my birthday and while I’m not a big burger fan, their sliders are amazing.  Since we don’t venture into Portland much for date nights I had to recreate them to have at home.  After a few tries I think they are pretty darn close.  If you are having a big bbq for the holiday weekend.. or you just want a good burger… give these a try, you’ll be hooked too!  And ps, this recipe does make about 16, so of course cut it down if needed, just remember they will be smaller, so expect an adult to eat at least 2.

BEST EVER SLIDERS
makes 16 sliders
For the patties:
1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground pork
1 cup finely chopped white onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp pepper

For the sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tsp deli mustard (mustard with grated horseradish root, I find it in Beaver brand)
3 T fresh basil pesto (process basil leaves with just a drizzle of olive oil in food processor)
salt and pepper to taste

To serve:
Potato rolls
melted butter
sliced tomato
crisp cooked pepper bacon
Shredded cheddar cheese

Make the sauce: whisk all ingredients together, set aside.
Cut potato rolls in half and brush cut side with melted butter.
Toast on a griddle or grill over medium high heat.  Set aside.
To make the patties, heat a drizzle of oil over medium high heat in a skillet.  Add onion and garlic, saute until softened.
Add seasonings, then mix into meat.  Form about 16 small patties.
Cook over medium high heat on a griddle or a grill until almost done, then top with shredded cheese and cook until melted.
Put spread on toasted rolls, top with a patty, bacon, and tomato.

Carrie’s Tacos


My good friend Carrie grew up eating Mexican food, unlike me, and can cook some seriously good tacos.  One day she brought all the fixings over to my house and cooked my family a big taco feast.
They are now one of our favorite meals and I suspect they will be what my hubby requests for his birthday dinner!
They are fun to make as a family and also with friends, and I wouldn’t be surprised if you don’t hear any complaints!
Carrie is serving in Afghanistan right now, so I’m really looking forward to her getting back home and cooking for her!

CARRIE’S TACOS
Corn tortillas
oil for frying
shredded cheese, (a mexican blend or cheddar and Monterey jack)
chopped tomatoes
chopped onions
shredded lettuce
cilantro
ground beef (cooked with a little taco seasoning or garlic salt)
refried beans
green taco sauce
salsa
sour cream
guacamole

Put about 1/2 an inch of olive or canola oil in a pan and heat over medium high heat.  When hot, cook the tortillas a few seconds on each side.  You want to soften them, not make them too crispy.
As each tortilla is cooked, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and blot off any excess oil.  (This is a good time to have a helper, it will go faster.)

Put a little cheese on the tortillas and fold in half.


Put on a baking sheet as you go, keeping warm in a 200 degree oven.
Repeat with remaining tortillas.
When ready to eat, open your tortillas and the cheese should be melted

Pile on toppings of your choice, repeat, and enjoy!


Recipe Source: my friend Carrie

Carrie’s Tacos

Ingredients

  • Corn tortillas
  • oil for frying
  • shredded cheese, (a mexican blend or cheddar and Monterey jack)
  • chopped tomatoes
  • chopped onions
  • shredded lettuce
  • cilantro
  • ground beef (cooked with a little taco seasoning or garlic salt)
  • refried beans
  • green taco sauce
  • salsa
  • sour cream
  • guacamole

Instructions

  • Put about 1/2 an inch of olive or canola oil in a pan and heat over medium high heat. When hot, cook the tortillas a few seconds on each side. You want to soften them, not make them too crispy.
  • As each tortilla is cooked, transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and blot off any excess oil. (This is a good time to have a helper, it will go faster.)
  • Put a little cheese on the tortillas and fold in half.
  • Put on a baking sheet as you go, keeping warm in a 200 degree oven.
  • Repeat with remaining tortillas.
  • When ready to eat, open your tortillas and the cheese should be melted
  • Pile on toppings of your choice, repeat, and enjoy!
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    Roast Beef


    We like sandwiches, but I’m a bit picky about where we get lunchmeat, since some of the preservatives, nitrates, and other “stuff” gives me migraines… and doesn’t really taste good either.
    If I’m in Portland I will pick some up some at Edelweiss , but they make their own and know what’s in everything.  (If you live in the Portland, Oregon area you are REALLY missing out if you haven’t been there.  Amazing little German sausage and delicatessen shop)
    But since I’m not in that neck of the woods regularly, I make my own lunchmeat.  Either I have my hubby smoke some, or just roast it in the oven!   It’s easy peasy!

    ROAST BEEF
    Beef roast
    Olive oil, to coat, about 1 T
    1 1/2 T kosher salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 T garlic powder
    1 T onion powder ( I only use toasted onion powder from Penzey’s Spices, it never clumps!)

    Mix the salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders together.  Wash and dry roast, coat with a little olive oil and the spice mixture.
    Set on a wire rack on a foil lined baking sheet.

    Roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes, then drop the heat down to 275 degrees for about 30 minutes, monitoring the temperature for desired doneness.  (120 degrees is rare, all the up to 160 degrees for well done.  I like to cook mine to about 145 to 150 for medium well.)
    If yours is getting too dark before done, you can tent with foil, but a little darkness gives a good crust.
    Tent with foil when done and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes.
    It’s best to let cool overnight before slicing, you’ll get thinner slices that way.
    Now, you can go make a sandwich!  This is great in a panini, with carmelized onion!

    Steak Salad

    I’m a sucker for salads.   It’s no wonder I used to work for Sweet Tomatoes I suppose.  I don’t know why people talk about salads like they’re torture food, I find them so versatile and fulfilling.
    This one is definitely at the top of my list too.  I served it with everything separate, so each person could decide how much of everything they wanted.  Which is a great way to adapt something if you don’t want to hear someone complain there’s too much Gorgonzola, or they don’t have enough steak… that would NEVER happen in my house : ) Ever.
    I have found that the candied pecans freeze really well as well.  We had leftovers of those and they kept great in a freezer container for a later dinner.
    I know this may seem like a long recipe with a lot of ingredients, but it really is quite simple if you look at the steps and a lot of the ingredients are for the dressing.  And if you ask me, homemade salad dressing and store-bought don’t belong in the same category.
    STEAK SALAD
    1 1/2 lbs strip steak, extra fat trimmed off
    FOR DRESSING/MARINADE:
    3/4 cups canola or olive oil
    3 T red wine vinegar
    1 T balsamic vinegar
    1 T Worcestershire sauce
    1 T soy sauce
    2 T lime juice
    4 T brown sugar
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tsp ginger powder
    1 tsp kosher salt
    black pepper, to taste
    FOR ONION STRINGS:
    2 onions, sliced very thinly
    2 cups buttermilk
    2 cups flour
    1 T salt
    1/2 tsp paprika (or cayenne pepper as original recipe states)
    canola oil, for frying
    FOR CANDIED PECAN BITS:
    1/2 cup pecans, chopped
    1 cup sugar
    2 T water
    FOR SALAD:
    Lettuce mix, I used romaine, arugula, and spinach
    grape tomatoes
    3/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
    For dressing/ marinade: Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until combined well.
    Adjust salt and pepper if needed.
    Place the steak in a zip top bag and pour half of the marinade in, seal tightly.
    Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
    Prepare the onion strings: Place the onions in a dish and cover with the buttermilk.  Soak for at least one hour.
    For the candied pecans: Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat and set aside.  Put sugar and water in a small pot over medium heat.  Cook to 280 degrees, which should take about 5 to 6 minutes and should be amber in color.  Remove from heat and stir in pecans quickly then pour onto baking sheet and spread pecans out in a single layer.  Cool completely.
    Make the onion strings:  Mix together the flour, salt, and paprika in a medium bowl. 
    Heat a couple inches of oil in a pot to 375 degrees.  Taking a hand full of onions at a time, remove from buttermilk and coat with flour mixture, shake off excess, then put in the oil.  Fry for just a couple of minutes until golden brown.  Move to a paper-towel lined dish and repeat with remaining onion strings.
    Cook the steak: Using a grill or saute pan over medium high heat, cook the steak for a few minutes on each side, to medium rare.  Let rest before cutting into thin strips.
    We liked serving everything separate so each person could decide what they wanted more or less of.  Use reserved dressing/marinade to dress the salad.
    Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman

    Baby Bok Choy and Beef Stir Fry

    I made this using an electric skillet when our kitchen was out of commission during it’s remodel.  I was desperate to cook a halfway decent meal and threw it together with things in my fridge on my makeshift “kitchen” (a card table with an electric skillet).  Funny thing is, it turned out being one of our favorite stir-fry dishes!  My hubby isn’t a huge stir fry fan, but he loved this one.
    BABY BOK CHOY AND BEEF STIR FRY
    1 1/2 lbs steak, thinly sliced (I used top round, also labeled london broil)
    1/2 cup soy sauce
    1 T sesame oil
    1/4 tsp black pepper
    1 tsp ginger
    1 tsp garlic powder
    1/2 cup cornstarch
    1 egg white, beaten
    oil for frying
    1 onion, sliced
    3 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
    1/4 cup peanuts
    3 green onions, sliced
    2 T sesame seeds
    Combine soy, sesame oil, pepper, ginger, and garlic in a medium bowl.
    Add meat, cover, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
    Heat a small amount of oil in a pan, enough to coat the bottom.
    Dip steak slices in cornstarch, then egg white, then fry in oil.
    Don’t crowd the pan, do a second batch if needed.
    Remove from pan, then saute the onion, bok choy, and peanuts.
    Cook until softened, then add back beef.
    At end of cooking add green onions and sesame seeds.
    Baby Bok Choy and Beef Stir Fry

    Ingredients

    • 1 1/2 lbs steak, thinly sliced (I used top round, also labeled london broil)
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1 T sesame oil
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp ginger
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
    • 1 egg white, beaten
    • oil for frying
    • 1 onion, sliced
    • 3 baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
    • 1/4 cup peanuts
    • 3 green onions, sliced
    • 2 T sesame seeds

    Instructions

  • Combine soy, sesame oil, pepper, ginger, and garlic in a medium bowl.
  • Add meat, cover, and marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat a small amount of oil in a pan, enough to coat the bottom.
  • Dip steak slices in cornstarch, then egg white, then fry in oil.
  • Don't crowd the pan, do a second batch if needed.
  • Remove from pan, then saute the onion, bok choy, and peanuts.
  • Cook until softened, then add back beef.
  • At end of cooking add green onions and sesame seeds.
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    Baked Egg Rolls

    I should really put this under a “perfect score” category. : )  My hubby loves, loves, LOVES when I make these.  I’ve made them for him throughout our whole marriage (almost 10 years now!) and he still loves them.
    I’ve never had the best luck making fried egg rolls, they just always end up limp and sad by the time we make it to the table (any tips, any one?)  But these never fail, and it is nice to be able to pop a whole tray in the oven and I never worry about them being greasy.
    The dipping sauce is one of our favorites as well.  But you could always use your favorite teriyaki sauce or whatever.  I always make them with ground beef, but you could of course use the more traditional ground pork or chicken as well.
    BAKED EGG ROLLS (with Honey Ginger Dipping Sauce)
    3 stalks celery, chopped
    1/2 head cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
    1 lb ground beef (could substitute ground pork or chicken as well)
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    3 T water
    2 1/2 T teriyaki or soy sauce
    2 T brown sugar
    3 T cornstarch
    2 green onions, sliced
    1 pkg large won ton wrappers (1 pound, should contain about 21 wrappers)
    In a large skillet or wok, cook the ground beef until cooked through over medium high heat.
    Add the celery and cabbage and cook until softened.
    Add the garlic and pepper.
    In a small bowl, mix together the water, terriyaki, brown sugar, and cornstarch until thoroughly combined.  Add to meat mixture, and stir to combine well.  Stir in the green onions.
    I like to work in 4 batches.  Since there about 20 to 21 wrappers per package, I section the filling into four and lay out 5 wrappers at a time. (Unless I’m making a double batch, then I just double it).
    Make sure if you aren’t going to be fast doing this to keep your wrappers wrapped up so they don’t dry out.  Now measure out about 1/3 cup into the middle of each wrapper.
    Fold up the bottom point like so, and moisten outer edge with either a brush or your finger dipped in water:
    Then fold the outer edges in toward the middle:
    Now roll up as tightly as you can without tearing the wrapper
    Like so:
    Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
    HONEY GINGER DIPPING SAUCE:
    3/4 cup orange juice
    2 T soy sauce
    2 T honey
    1/4 tsp ground ginger
    2 T thinly sliced green onions
    Combine everything except green onions in a small bowl, mixing until well combined.
    Add green onions, chill until ready to serve.
    Recipe Source: Egg rolls: My Stained Apron
    Dipping sauce: unknown (Had it lying around on a scrap of paper for a long time, I don’t remember if it’s one I came up with or wrote down from another source!)
    Baked Egg Rolls

    Ingredients

      Egg Rolls:
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1/2 head cabbage, shredded (about 4 cups)
    • 1 lb ground beef (could substitute ground pork or chicken as well)
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 3 T water
    • 2 1/2 T teriyaki or soy sauce
    • 2 T brown sugar
    • 3 T cornstarch
    • 2 green onions, sliced
    • 1 pkg large won ton wrappers (1 pound, should contain about 21 wrappers)
    • Honey Ginger Dipping Sauce:
    • 3/4 cup orange juice
    • 2 T soy sauce
    • 2 T honey
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 2 T thinly sliced green onions

    Instructions

    To make egg rolls:
  • In a large skillet or wok, cook the ground beef until cooked through over medium high heat.
  • Add the celery and cabbage and cook until softened.
  • Add the garlic and pepper.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the water, teriyaki, brown sugar, and cornstarch until thoroughly combined. Add to meat mixture, and stir to combine well. Stir in the green onions.
  • I like to work in 4 batches. Since there about 20 to 21 wrappers per package, I section the filling into four and lay out 5 wrappers at a time. (Unless I'm making a double batch, then I just double it).
  • Make sure if you aren't going to be fast doing this to keep your wrappers wrapped up so they don't dry out. Now measure out about 1/3 cup into the middle of each wrapper.
  • Fold up the bottom point and moisten outer edge with either a brush or your finger dipped in water.
  • Then fold the outer edges in toward the middle:.
  • Now roll up as tightly as you can without tearing the wrapper
  • Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  • To make Honey Ginger Dipping Sauce:
  • Combine everything except green onions in a small bowl, mixing until well combined.
  • Add green onions, chill until ready to serve.
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    Pineapple Terriyaki Burgers

    It seems summer is going to be gone if I blink, so we’re trying to fit in as many BBQ dinners as possible.  When I was a teenager I remember making my Dad pineapple burgers with ham.  I remembered them the other day and thought they could use a re-appearance with some added touches.
    These are our all-time favorites now and whenever we grill now it seems these make it on!
    And adding the pinapple scraps to the grills gives such an amazing flavor.  The moisture in them makes this great pineapple flavored smoke. 
    If you aren’t able to grill, you could also use an indoor grill pan or skillet, and I bet they would still be pretty amazing.  Happy Summer! (Or what’s left of it anyways)  : )
    PINEAPPLE TERRIYAKI BURGERS
    Burger mixture:
    1 lb ground beef
    2 T terriyaki sauce
    3 T finely diced onion
    3 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tsp ground ginger
    1 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp pepper
    To serve:
    red onion, sliced and grilled
    fresh pineapple, sliced and grilled (Save aside the skin of the pinapple)
    Ham, sliced medium thick and grilled
    Lettuce
    condiments of choice (We like adding fresh chopped cilantro to mayo on these)
    Gently mix the burger ingredients together and form into 4 patties.
    When coals are hot, add the skin from the pineapple to the coals.
    Grill the burgers, red onion, pineapple, ham, and buns on the hot grill. 

    Homemade Tamales

    What? It’s Cinco De Mayo tommorow? And then Mother’s Day? Yikes, I really need to get with it! : )
    I’ve had this recipe waiting to be shared for some time now, and I guess Cinco De Mayo is a good time to share it.  If you’ve never had fresh homemade tamales, you have never had tamales my friend.  They are a big favorite around here, especially when my oldest sister comes over with her family.  I think her husband has a tamale addiction.
    Since they do take some time, I like to make a double or sometimes triple batch when I make them.  The day before I’ll cook and shred the meat for the filling, and when I cook them I get 2 big pots going at the same time.  They freeze amazingly well, and no matter how many I make my husband always eyes me a little funny when I give any away. : )
    I base my recipe off the one printed on the bag of the MaSeCa I buy, it has never failed me.  And while you can use shortening, I strongly suggest using a good quality lard.  Yes, lard.  It’s the one time I use it.  I have tried it with shortening, and it just doesn’t work the same.  The flavor will be artificial, waxy, and just not right.   And have fun with the fillings, we just really prefer the plain shredded beef.
    It freezes great and I’d rather have the filling more plain since we serve them with fresh salsa.  Yum!
    TAMALES
    8 cups MaSeCa for Tamales
    4 tsp baking powder
    2 tsp salt
    8 cups lukewarm chicken broth (or water)
    2 2/3 cups lard (or vegetable shortening
    8 oz bag dried corn husks
    Filling (I used shredded beef for these)*
    Soak corn husks for about 15-25 minutes submerged in warm water (you may need to weigh them down to stay under the water with a plate)
    While husks are soaking, make masa.  Combine MaSeCa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
    Work in chicken broth with hands to make a moist dough.
    Add lard, mix well.
    Seperate husks and rinse well.
    Spread masa dough (about 1/4 cup) on each husk making a rectangle about 3″ by 4″, butted up against one edge and leaving a border on other sides, as shown.
    Spread a strip of filling down middle of masa.
    Roll the long edge of the husk so that the masa meats, encasing the filling.
    Finish rolling long side
    Then either tear some husks into little strips and tie the ends:
    or fold ends under and wrap in a piece of foil:
    Fill a large pot with water and bring to a heavy simmer.
    Stand tamales up in a colander or steamer basket and place over pot.
    (water should not touch the steamer basket).
    Cover with a wet cloth and steam for about 2 hours.
    To freeze, put foil-wrapped pre-steamed tamales in ziplocks.
    *Filling ideas: We like the basic shredded roast since we serve it with salsa and such and it freezes so well, but I’ve also had good outcome with shredded pork, shredded chicken with cheese, etc.

    Hamburger Pie

    I know what you’re thinking.  Really, I do.  Hamburger pie?!
    Are you crazy?!  Well, that’s besides the point.  You really have to try this to understand.
    My mom made this many a night for dinner in our house and it remains a comfort food for me and I suspect most of my 4 siblings as well.  It’s also something she made to take dinner to someone in need.  I don’t know of anyone who’s ever tried it and not loved it, but we’re not cookin’ for celebrity chefs round these parts either ; )  So try something different, you just might be surprised.  And another bonus, you probably have everything to make it on hand!
    Oh, and my kitchen re-do is entering the 3rd week, but I have hope! Wish us luck!
    HAMBURGER PIE
    Recipe source: my mom
    1 pound hamburger
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1 can (16 oz) green beans, drained
    1 T sugar
    1/4 tsp pepper
    1/4 tsp oregano
    1 can (10 oz) condensed Tomato soup
    2  Piecrusts, uncooked
    Cook hamburger and onion in a skillet.  When meat is well browned, add green beans, sugar, pepper, oregano, and soup.  Line a pie pan with one of the crusts and fill with hamburger filling.
    Top with other crust and crimp edges shut.
    Cut a few slits in the top of crust.
    Chill until ready to bake or bake immediately.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

    Best Ever Sloppy Jo’s

    I’ve been meaning to post this one for awhile.  I make it fairly often, especially when I need a quick dinner to make that I know will be a hit.  I’m teaching a class on 30 minute dinners next week and this will definitely be on the hand outs!  I’ll be sharing the recipe for the soft brioche buns I serve them on soon, but you can also just serve on your favorite rolls or hamburger buns.
    BEST EVER SLOPPY JO’S
    Recipe by My Stained Apron
    1 tsp vegetable oil
    1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    2 lbs ground beef
    2 T flour
    3 T tomato paste
    1/2 cup ketchup
    1 cup BBQ Sauce
    2 T Worcestershire
    1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    pepper and salt to taste
    Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
    Add onion and celery, cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
    Add beef, stirring to break up.  Cook until cooked through and no longer pink.
    Add flour and tomato paste. Stir well and cook for about 1 minute.
    Add remaining ingredients, let simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
    Serve on buns with shredded cheddar cheese.
     
    Best Ever Sloppy Jo’s

    Ingredients

    • 1 tsp vegetable oil
    • 1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
    • 2 lbs ground beef
    • 2 T flour
    • 3 T tomato paste
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1 cup BBQ Sauce
    • 2 T Worcestershire
    • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • pepper and salt to taste

    Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add onion and celery, cook until softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add beef, stirring to break up. Cook until cooked through and no longer pink.
  • Add flour and tomato paste. Stir well and cook for about 1 minute.
  • Add remaining ingredients, let simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve on buns with shredded cheddar cheese.
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