Bacon-Blue Burgers with Arugula and Quick Jalapeno Jam

I know that I shared with you my Fall Bucket List yesterday and that I should be posting a pumpkin recipe or a soup recipe but I can’t bring myself to not share with you the most incredible burger recipe.

After a gorgeous weekend, Big Guy and I wanted to end the weekend {and summer} with something “totally summer.” It didn’t take us long to agree that burgers were for dinner on Sunday.

This burger isn’t anything “fancy” – in fact, it’s a little messy.  But messy equals delicious.

The burger recipe is from my newest obsession, “Seriously Delish.”  After featuring it on a Friday Favorites post as my “Favorite Drool” I ordered the book that same day.  I just had to have it.

And now that I have it, I want to cook allthethings.  It’s full of incredible recipes that will make you want to go to stay home and dirty up every single dish you own.

Bacon and blue cheese are usual suspects when it comes to burger toppings.  However, this burger becomes something special when you add a homemade jalapeno jam.

Four jalapenos were deseeded and diced (I actually used a mini food processor for this step as to avoid having jalapeno hands all night) and then simmered with a combination of water, brown sugar, a little apple cider vinegar and honey.  Once cooled, it comes a delicious spread for the burger.

Another key component – quality beef.  We used an 85/15 mix of grass-fed beef.  The beef was gently mixed with salt, pepper and olive oil before being formed into patties.

Instead of a cast iron, we grilled our burgers to a perfect medium.  Juicy and tender, the burger would have been amazing on it’s own.

Piled high:  bottom bun, jalapeno jam, burger, blue cheese crumbles, bacon, arugula, top bun.

burger

The flavor combination was unreal!  Sweet and savory – each bite was perfection.  Pungent blue cheese was balanced with the sweet jalapeno jam and the bacon.  But bacon makes everything better.

On the side, a simple tomato salad and a glass of Petit Verdot that I savored with every sip.

Goodbye, summer!  I’m counting the days until you return…

 

Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese

Imagine one of the most classic combos – grilled cheese and tomato soup.  Now combine the two and you have an ooey-gooey roasted tomato grilled cheese.    

This is officially my favorite grilled cheese sandwich to date.

And I loved using up some of what will probably be the last of our tomatoes (yep, they’re still growing and producing) in this summer-to-fall transition.

The sandwich couldn’t be easier to prepare but you do need a little bit of time in order to roast the tomatoes.

Simply halve and deseed a handful of plum tomatoes (I used 6 of our homegrown plum tomatoes).  Toss with garlic and olive oil and roasted at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the mayo, cream cheese and cheddar cheese.

Once the tomatoes have roasted, pulse in a mini food processor along with fresh basil leaves, salt and pepper.

I veered off from the original recipe and I added the tomato mixture to the cheese mixture and mixed.  I then slathered 1/4th of the mixture onto a slice of bread and topped with another slice of bread.  (p.s. Udi’s Gluten-Free Millet-Chia bread is amazing!!!)  Cook the sandwiches on a panini press until toasted and all the cheese was melted.

This sandwich has all the flavors of your favorite soup and sandwich combo in each and every bite.  I loved the roasted tomato flavors with the sharp cheddar.  And the fresh basil gave the sandwich freshness.

I typically don’t like hot soup unless it’s cold out so this is the perfect sandwich for when you want the comforting combo but it’s “too hot out.”

 

 

Mushroom and Corn Tacos

It’s about time I share a recipe with you guys.  These tacos are a perfect way to lighten up dinner after a few indulgent days.

Typically Mexican food is perceived as being heavy.  Not these tacos.  These mushroom and corn tacos are guilt-free and full of veggies and beans.

tacos

The filling is a mixture of mushrooms, onion, banana peppers (instead of poblanos), corn and black beans.

The flavor comes from spices that include oregano, garlic, chili powder, cumin, salsa verde, lime juice and hot sauce.

The corn tortillas are filled with the mixture and then topped with a squeeze of lime juice, feta cheese and fresh cilantro.

My tacos fell apart as I ate them making this a very messy dinner.  But messy usually means delicious.

And these were delicious.

 

Lobster Roll {and the unofficial end of summer}

My birthday week is officially here.  And my summer is unofficially over.  We spent our “last” summer weekend just being happy.  No rushing around, no traveling.

And lobster rolls seemed like the perfect ending to our weekend (and to our summer).  We’ve never cooked with lobster at home so it was fun to work with a new-to-us ingredient.

First we steamed the lobster tails for about 7 minutes and then shocked them in a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking.

After doing a Google search, we landed upon a YouTube video on how to remove the meat and it was actually super simple.

We chopped the meat and then allowed it to chill for about 30 minutes. While the lobster meat was chilling, I prepped the spicy mayo:  mayo, Dijon mustard, mustard powder, lemon juice, Old Bay seasoning, salt and Sriracha.

The lobster meat was tossed in a little melted butter, chopped tarragon and salt.

A buttery roll is crucial.  It can make the difference in having a good lobster roll and having an ohemgee good lobster roll.

The rolls is stuffed with the lobster mixture and then topped with spicy mayo and chives.

It seemed necessary to have a pile of Kettle Salt and Vinegar chips next to he lobster roll with a cold brew to wash it down.

Not bad for our first time experimenting with lobster.

Not bad at all.

 

Caprese Mac ‘n Cheese

The newest issue of Cooking Light arrived last week and as soon as I flipped the page and saw Caprese Mac and Cheese I knew it was on the next weeks menu.  (p.s. – Check out that deep dish pizza on the front cover; seriously drooling over here.)

Mac ‘n Cheese has always been a favorite of mine (along with beef tips and rice, right Momma?) and I love to indulge when given the chance.

But if you make it from scratch and not from a box with 93 ingredients that you can’t pronounce you don’t have to feel guilty.

This meal is:

cheesy
comforting
a little spicy
curl-up-on-the-couch worthy
satisfying
creamy
decadent
bursting with flavor
herbaceous
perfect for a rainy evening

In order to make this meal gluten-free, I used a brown-rice pasta, gluten-free panko, and subbed in cornstarch for the flour.  Instead of adding the cornstarch to the hot oil, I simply whisked it into the milk before adding it to the hot saucepan.

I loved the panko topping.  Little bites here and there were full of crunchy cheesiness.  Those were my favorite bites.  And using two cheeses makes it a mega bowl of comfort.  Sharp Parmesan and luscious mozzarella ensure that every bite is cheesy perfection.

I also baked this in one large dish instead of individual ramekins.  Either works perfectly.

What’s your ultimate comfort food?

Italian Guacamole and Jerk Shrimp Tacos

When you make a batch of Grilled Pineapple Margaritas, it’s kind of necessary to make a batch of guacamole.

margs

Margaritas and guacamole go together like peanut butter and jelly.

And while I have plenty of “classic” guacamole recipes I could make, it’s always fun to try a new twist on a classic.

guac

So in this batch of guac, we left out the cilantro and added fresh basil and parsley.  Otherwise, it’s just like the traditional guacamole you love – packed with tomatoes, red onion, salt, jalapeno and garlic.

But now I kind of want all my guacamole to have basil and parsley in the mix.

closeup

 

The sweet but smokey margarita paired perfectly with the salty chips and the savory guacamole.

I wonder what a roasted strawberry margarita would taste like…or grilled peaches…

I may have created a monster.

As for the main course, shrimp were marinated in a mix of spices including thyme, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, cayenne and salt.  I love the warmth of these spices.

The shrimp were cooked on the stovetop and then placed on a warm corn tortilla before being topped with a cantaloupe salsa.  Basically instead of your traditional tomato salsa, cantaloupe was tossed with diced red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and salt.  Sweet and spicy!

taco

And on top of the salsa, a sprinkle of salty feta.

Gotta love Mexican night!

Weekend Review {quick trip to charlotte plus delicious eats}

Good morning, friends!  I hope your weekend was as wonderful as mine.  Here’s a quick look at what we were up to all weekend…

On Thursday, after an out-of-town training, I headed farther west to visit my parents.  It was a super quick trip but it was totally worth the extra miles.

Thursday was my grandmother’s birthday and I was so happy that I was able to join my parents to take her to dinner.  My Momma was extra thoughtful and tried to pick a place that would suit Mimi but would also please my foodie-self.  She succeeded.  Nolen Kitchen has been on my list (among many others) of places to try in Charlotte for a whole now.  Nolen Kitchen is located in a picture-perfect neighborhood and it was such a treat to visit.  To start, we shared the zucchini chips which were nothing short of amazing.  Perfectly fried but not overly oily.  And for my main dish, I went with the special:  Red Snapper with Lobster and a Gouda Alfredo Sauce served over black beans and spinach.  The sauce was decadent without being heavy and I was surprised at how perfectly it paired with the black beans.  To sip, a crisp Sauvignonn Blanc.

On Friday morning I was up bright and early to try a Pure Barre class.  I have wanted to try Pure Barre for a long, long time and I couldn’t pass up the chance.  There’s a Pure Barre studio about 10 minutes from my parents house and I am no obsessed.  Unfortunately, there’s not a barre studio anywhere close to where I live…so I’ll just have to save that class for special occasions.  It hurt so good.  I was sore until Sunday night.

Post-sweat, my Momma and I met up with my sister, brother-in-law and my cutie pie, Haines, for breakfast.  I’ve heard great things about Another Broken Egg and it was the perfect place for us to sip coffee and chow down.

Unfortunately, I had to hit the road as soon as breakfast was over.  As much as I wanted to stay and be with my family for the weekend, we had plans back at home and I was ready to see the hubs.

Friday night we had a little dinner party with two of our favorite couples.

The night started with rosé  and ended with lots of laughs.

In between, we dined on short ribs that had the most amazing sauce.  (I still need that recipe, Katie!)

Thankfully the sun was out on Saturday and I was able to finish up book #4 by the pool.

Saturday afternoon, we enjoyed cocktail hour at home with Grilled Pineapple Margaritas.  Umm…delicious.

We continued the Mexican theme but I’ll share the full menu later this week.

And I also checked one more item off the bucket list last night:  Trashy Hot Dogs!!!!

The dog was loaded down with sauteed onions (I sauteed the onions in bacon fat and added a touch of maple syrup before serving), sauteed mushrooms, crisped bacon and cheddar cheese.

I can never have a regular ole hot dog again.  These totally hit the spot and was worth the wait.  So many flavors and the bun was soft and doughy while the dog had the “snap” that I crave.

Only 5 days of work stand between me and my next weekend.

Let’s do this.