Half of today’s dinner challenge holds a special nostalgic component for me. Years ago, when I would eat school lunches in the cafeteria, they would serve burgers (of questionable patty components). While I ate the burgers, I was most fascinated by what was on the side. They always served a “salad” on the side (that I’m pretty sure was meant to go on the burger, but I ate it on its own) with lettuce, diced tomato, onion, and one or two pickle slices all in a watery mayonnaise dressing. Sounds disgusting when you hear the description, but it tasted the BEST!
When I decided to add the Quick and Easy Cheeseburger Pies from Pocket Change Gourmet to the challenge, I decided to tackle a remake of the salad. Instead, Muffin ended up making it. Today he has been my sous chef on pretty much every dish (except for the pies themselves).
Hamburger Topping Salad
4-5 large iceberg lettuce leaves (the ones beneath the two large lettuce leaves), torn by hand into consumable bites
3/4 cup finely diced onion
1/2-3/4 cup finely diced tomato
6-8 dill pickle slices (hamburger chips), diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons pickle juice (from the jar of dill chips)
pepper to taste
pinch of sugar
Note: Approach this like a marinated vegetable salad. The lettuce will wilt; that’s part of its charm. Layer the first four ingredients in a salad bowl (or have your almost-four-year-old sous chef do so). In a Pyrex-style measuring cup (1-, 2-, or 4-cup is fine), slowly whisk pickle juice into mayonnaise with a fork (drizzle it in slowly to avoid lumps). It should be the consistency of cream or creamy cole slaw dressing when you finish. Crack in pepper to taste (freshly ground only). Add a pinch of sugar and whisk again with a fork. Pour over salad and slowly turn the salad so that the leaves are moistened. The dressing will sink to the bottom, which is okay because you are going to re-turn the salad before serving.
The ketchup-and-mustard-decorated items above were the main dish…the Quick and Easy Cheeseburger Pies. Of course, Muffin’s plate was more picturesque.
But then, he didn’t eat the salad he prepared. He was saving space for ‘Zert, but that’s another story. He ate the pickles and the pie though. Josh ate four of the pies, and I ate two. These were definitely an LFam Approved meal (and the pies were Muffin Approved).
I had originally planned to double the batch and freeze the leftovers for other meals or work lunches, but I decided to do a trial run first. I do know this: I can see myself trying other variations: meatball sub pies with meaty spaghetti sauce, taco pies with taco meat and cheese, and the like. I like this method, and I like the fact that it was a muffin meal. And a Muffin meal.
But here’s how the dynamic duo at Pocket Change Gourmet recommended doing it:
Quick and Easy Cheeseburger Pies
1 pound ground beef (I used some that we ground on the Meat Factory Bee-Sheen, according to Muffin, the other day)
1 cup onion, chopped finely
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (I used a bit more because I was finishing up a bottle)
1 teaspoon garlic salt (I used 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt)
1 cup Sharp Cheddar Cheese, shredded (The next time I make it I made extra and sprinkle it on the top)