Tip Tuesday: A New Approach to a Taco on Taco Tuesday!

Happy Taco Tuesday, everyone!  A few months ago, I came up with a taco alternative that satisfied my inner burger cravings.  I have seen (even at some Tex-Mex restaurants) taco meat lumped on a bun resembling nothing more than a sloppy joe but called a taco burger.

But what if you kept the burger in patty form and simply seasoned the meat (mixing in taco seasoning) before cooking the patty?  Topped with cheese and put in the oven for a few minutes for the cheese to melt and stopped with some toppings (shredded lettuce, tomato slices–or pico de gallo, and guacamole), maybe even a special sauce (equal portions of sour cream and salsa mixed together), and you have the following:  (You may commence drooling now!)

You have a burger (minus the shredded lettuce–for some reason that freaked him out and the pico because of the onion) that Muffin adored.  A taco hedonist’s paradise.

Yes.  It really was that delicious.

And he wanted the extra burger (but we were out of the sour cream-salsa sauce and the guac…which he tends to pronounce Whack-a-Mole), but without two of his favorite toppings, he vetoed it.

That is why this burger is being made again, two weeks after it was made the last time, for Taco Tuesday.

Here’s what I did:

The Real Taco Burger

Source:  My Twisted Mind

1 pound ground beef (This is the time for 80/20)

1 pkt taco seasoning (I use reduced sodium)

prepared guacamole (or homemade…you will need close to 1 cup)

1/4-1/2 cup sour cream

1/4-1/2 cup salsa (not restaurant style–you want chunks)

shredded lettuce

4 sharp cheddar cheese slices

3/4 cup pico de gallo (or four hefty tomato slices and 4 onion slices)

4 hamburger buns (I didn’t do this last time but would recommend because of the goopiness of the substances on the insides–toast them.)

Combine the taco seasoning with the ground beef, making sure it is thoroughly integrated.  Shape into four equal patties.  (At this point, I would chill/freeze the patties so they hold up better in the pan.  I didn’t do this last time but will be doing so again.)

Combine equal parts sour cream and salsa and set aside.  Preheat oven to 285 degrees.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat.  Place patties in the skillet.  Cook until “DONE” on one side, then flip and repeat.  Place them on a baking pan (preferably one lined with aluminum foil for easy clean up) and top each with a cheese slice.  Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted on top of each patty.

Once patties are ready (redolent of taco-style spices and chili), slather the inside of each bottom half of the buns with the salsa-sour cream mixture.  Sprinkle shredded lettuce atop that.  Nestle the patties on the bed of shredded lettuce.  Top with tomato and onion slides or a mounded amount of pico de gallo.  Mound 1/4 cup of guacamole on the top bun and top the burger.

Consume with chips and salsa.

What is your favorite taco alternative for Taco Tuesday (with mandatory viewing of The Lego Movie)?


Tip Tuesday: How a Component of a Recipe Can be Used for Other Things

Tip Tuesday

My sister has taught me many things throughout my life.  For the purposes of this blog, we will focus on all that she has ever taught me about food.  Even then this was a copious amount of things.

Her first official “paycheck” job in high school was at a now-defunct local hamburger chain, Short Stop.  While at Short Stop, she learned many, many things.  The one that I am most grateful for is learning how to make one of their most unusual burgers:  the Diablo Burger.

The Diablo Burger uses cheese singles, mayonnaise, a patty, and a yummy melange that is the purpose of this article:  onions and bell peppers sauteed in onions and seasoned with Creole seasoning (referred to down here as “Tony’s” or Tony Chachere seasoning).

My sister uses that same pepper-onion mixture (that I call Diablo veggies) when she has a hot dog bar when we visit.  This mixture is AWESOME on hot dogs!  I have a feeling it would be awesome on pretty much anything (grilled chicken or steak) including ice cream.  Okay, maybe not on ice cream, but having visited the Tabasco factory and tasted the raspberry chipotle ice cream, it might be good on the ice cream.

So, how is it made?  The amounts are purely up to you, so it’s more of a process than anything.

Diablo Burgers

Adapted from Short Stop Restaurant by my sister

Diablo Burger

For each serving:

one hamburger patty, seasoned with salt and pepper and cooked on a griddle or in a skillet

one hamburger bun


cheese single

“Diablo veggies” (see below

I tend to mayo both sides of the bun (not necessarily a very thick coat, unless that is your thing, chicken wing).  I then place the cheese single on the bottom mayo’d bun.  Top the cheese single with a patty (still hot hopefully) and then the Diablo veggies.  I think more is more on the Diablo veggies, as you can tell from the picture above.  Top with the other bun and consume with fries or chips.

Diablo Veggies

A 1:1 ratio of onion (large) to bell pepper (equally large)

butter or margarine (eyeball it…usually around 1-2 tablespoons)

Creole seasoning, to taste (as mentioned above, we tend to use Tony’s)

Render the onion and bell pepper into strips.  Melt butter or margarine in a skillet over medium heat until melted and just starting to bubble.  Add the bell peppers and cook until soft and showing color.  Stir in Tony’s to taste.  And I mean, to taste.  You don’t want to make this too spicy for any spice phobes in your house.

Use in any variety of recipes.  (If you try it on ice cream and it’s awesome, please let me know!).

What is your favorite recipe component that you like to reuse?

Date Night Log: A Date Night Surprise

Date Night Log


Date Night Log:  Saturday, March 8, 2014

Dinner, a Nearly Double Feature, and Dessert

So, date night was going to be making cookies and watching a movie.  Then, we went shopping to Sam’s and Kohl’s with my parents.  And Muffin’s nap started at 3:30.  By now, many people realize that means that Muffin is (pretty much) out for the night.  So, date night actually included dinner, movie, baking cookies, and watching a movie.

For dinner, I had what I will now call a Blue Rocket Burger.  Josh used his burger press to again grill beefy pork burgers (the beef-pork mixture makes for such a yummy patty).  He also grilled asparagus and sausage that we had purchased from Sam’s that he plans to use in his lunches this week.

The Blue Rocket Burger, asparagus, sausage, and potato salad (purchased on sale at Albertson’s).

Anyway, I call it a Blue Rocket burger because it has blue cheese on it as well as Arugula (purchased on produce markdown at Brookshire’s for 99 cents and also called rocket).

After dinner, Josh crushed the corn flakes for Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies (the Joanne Fluke/Hannah Swensen mystery series/Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder recipe).

He put on Naked Gun on Netflix that we watched while I baked the cookies.  I made them smaller this time, so they made a lot.  I think the next time I make them, I will roll them out in balls and freeze half to bake again later.

I put a few on a plate for us to share.  We attempted to watch Robin Hood:  Men in Tights, as well, but we fell asleep partway through (plus, Muffin woke up after that one began, so it turned out to be not a date part of date night).

The date night dessert

Yes, Daisy joined us for date night.

Date night was fairly successful.  Lesson learned from this date night?  Take the opportunity where it finds you.  Like when Muffin is sleeping.

How has date night gone for you, lately?