Tag Archives: side dish

Juicy hamburgers and baked parmesan garlic fries

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Dinner the other night was super simple, but it came out SO GOOD I just had to blog about it.

Juicy Hamburgers and Baked Parmesan Garlic Fries
(Parmesan Garlic Fries recipe from Iowa Girl Eats)

To be honest, if we want burgers I’ll usually just buy a pack of patties and cook them up. But we had some lean ground beef in the freezer and I just had a craving. You know how those go. So I decided to make burgers from scratch!

All I did was break up the ground beef and mix in salt, pepper, and 3 pressed garlic cloves. (Yes, I finally own a garlic press. I got a Pampered Chef press for Christmas. 🙂 How was I living without one!?!?) I also remembered a long time ago, I think on Food Network, seeing a tip to add water to your beef to keep the burgers nice and juicy. So I added some water (I didn’t measure but it was probably 2-3 Tbs.) and hand-mixed it into the beef until it was absorbed. I formed the meat into 4 patties (2 went right in the freezer) and placed them on a grill pan over medium heat.

After about 4 minutes we flipped them, added mozzarella cheese, and put the buns on to toast.

I noticed the meat was taking a little longer to cook all the way through, so I did turn the heat up to medium-high for probably the last 2 minutes.

The boyfriend’s toppings (bacon and onion).

My toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, raw onion).

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of the finished product, but that’s because we devoured these burgers. The garlic flavor was just the perfect amount. And they were so so so so juicy and perfectly cooked. I wish I knew how they turned out so good. It was either the addition of the water or the fact that I started cooking them on a lower heat. I’m not sure! But next time I make these I’m doing it the same way!

Now on to the fries!

I had one medium-sized russet potato and initially wasn’t sure if this would make enough fries for the two of us. But I cut it into really thin rounds and that ended up being plenty. The recipe said to soak the potatoes in water for 1-8 hours to remove some of the starch. I soaked these for about 2 hours.

I then drained the potatoes, and mixed in salt, pepper, garlic powder, parmesan cheese, panko bread crumbs, and extra virgin olive oil. I didn’t measure anything out, just did it by eye. I spread them out on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.

Bake at 450 degrees for 20-30 minutes, flipping the fries over halfway through.

Oh. My. Goodness. These were so good.

The panko bread crumbs added such a great crunch. And let’s be honest, almost everything is better when you add garlic powder and parmesan cheese. The only thing I’ll do differently next time is to cut these a tad bit thicker. Some of them burned because they were too thin. I think the addition of panko bread crumbs will ensure that the crunch is still there, even if you cut them a little thicker.

Overall it was a faaaaabulous dinner!

Do you make burgers from scratch or just buy the patties? I don’t think I’ll ever buy patties again! These burgers were so amazing!

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Thanksgiving recap

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Sorry for the lack of posts recently – the past few weeks have been really hectic!

The boyfriend and I were with my aunt, cousin, her husband, and their five-year-old twins for the holiday. Along with some extended family, there were 15 of us at Thanksgiving dinner! We drove down to Orange County last Wednesday afternoon and just got back Sunday night after a great day at Disneyland!

Unfortunately, I totally neglected taking pictures of all the food. But I managed to snap this one – the remnants of the cranberry apple baked brie appetizer I made – it was a hit!

Cranberry Apple Baked Brie
All I did was unroll a sheet of puff pastry, spread on Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter, put a wedged of brie in the middle of the puffed pastry, and wrap it all up. I whisked an egg and brushed a thin layer on top of the pastry, and baked at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until it was golden brown. Here’s a picture of what it actually looked like (from Iowa Girl Eats) since I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough – this dish was devoured!

This was a successful appetizer. It was gone in no time! And you can totally use any type of jam/spread you want for the flavor. I got the idea here, which used pumpkin butter. But the cranberry apple butter was an amaaaaazing complement to the cheese.

I also contributed the mashed potatoes. Unfortunately this is the only picture I got of them, haha – but that’s what 10 pounds of potatoes looks like!

You can obviously cut down the portions on this, but these are the amounts I used to feed 15 people (and we had plenty left over).

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
– 10 lbs potatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
– 2 sticks of butter, at room temperature
– 24 ounces sour cream, at room temperature
– 1/4 cup milk, at room temperature
– 2 heads garlic
– salt and pepper

– To roast the garlic, cut off the tip of each head, drizzle with olive oil, and lightly salt and pepper. Wrap in tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
–  Cook the potatoes in salted water until fork tender, about 15-30 minutes depending on how full your pot is. I actually separated the potatoes into 2 pots so they would cook faster. Drain and return to pot.
– Add garlic, butter, and sour cream. To add the roasted garlic, hold by the stem of the garlic head and just squeeze the cloves out. They should slide out pretty easily.
– Mash everything together with a masher (I made the boyfriend do this part).
– Add in milk in small amounts at a time, until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
– Add salt and pepper.

I’m so sorry I don’t have a picture of the finished product! But these potatoes tasted amazing. There was just the right amount of garlic, and the sour cream makes them so creamy.

We spent the day at Disneyland on Sunday with the family, so unfortunately we didn’t get to take any leftovers home. (We had a cooler but still didn’t want to leave food in a hot car for the entire day.) But if you still have leftovers, check out these great ideas on how to use them!

Some other photos from the holiday…

Our beautiful turkey, stuffed with apples, onions, sage, and rosemary

One of the table settings

Southern California sunset (the picture really doesn’t do it justice)

Disneyland!

What was your favorite part of the Thanksgiving dinner?
I’d have to say my cousin’s yams!

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Delicious twists on Thanksgiving favorites

Halloween is over, so that means it’s time to start thinking about the holidays! Since we’re flying back to Massachusetts for Christmas, we’re spending Thanksgiving with my cousin down in Orange County, and I’m already thinking about what I want to make. Check out these amazing ideas for traditional Thanksgiving dishes with a unique twist. I’ll let you know what I decide to try out! (All photos/recipes from Closet Cooking.)

Side Dishes

Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes topped with Caramelized Onions and Mushrooms

Onion Gratin

Maple Dijon Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes with Coffee Gravy

Roasted Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions, Gorgonzola, and Crispy Fried Sage

I must say, I’m partial to anything with goat cheese in it so those potatoes are my pick!

Main Course

Parmesan and Sage Roasted Turkey Breast

Maple and Chipotle Roasted Turkey Breast

Ham Crusted with Mustard and Gingersnap Crumbs

Roasted Lamb in Coffee Sauce

I won’t have to worry about making the main dish, but I think the maple and chipotle turkey and the ham sound the best!

Desserts 

Vanilla Apple Crisp with Caramel Sauce

Maple Pecan Pie

Dulce de Leche Apple Pie

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Pear and Cranberry Crumble 

I’m leaning towards the crumble – they are so easy and it’s hard to mess them up!

Have you started thinking about Thanksgiving dishes yet? Do you usually go traditional, or does your family switch things up?

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Go-to healthy snack- kale chips

Tonight’s pre-dinner snack was one of the boyfriend and my faves – kale chips. Every time we have these, I still have to remind myself that I am eating a green leafy vegetable because they are SO GOOD. Salty, crispy, garlicky – they’re as good as a potato chip, I promise!

Just wash and pat dry a few big leaves of fresh kale (or use a pre-cut bag from Trader Joe’s!)…

…rip off the leafy parts until the stalks are bare…

…and toss the leaves lightly with olive oil. Not too much or they will get soggy, but enough so there’s a light coating – about a teaspoon or two. Transfer into a baking pan and shake on salt and pepper. Then you can really add any seasoning you want. We always add a healthy coat of garlic powder, and sometimes parmesan cheese.

Then bake at 350 degrees (or, if your oven is on crack like mine, 325) for about 10 minutes or until they start to get crispy around the edges. My camera isn’t the greatest and wouldn’t focus enough to portray the crispiness accurately, so here’s Kath’s pic of a finished chip.

I swear, you will start to CRAVE these. And you don’t have to feel guilty because you’re getting your veggies in! And yes, family, Bob eats these and LOVES them! 🙂

What are your favorite healthy snacks?

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First blog kitchen trial – Bob’s Red Mill Golden Cornbread

Ok. So to recap what I explained in my Kitchen Resolutions post, I have a tiny kitchen, I lack several basic kitchen tools, and I’m a messy cook. Here’s the proof of what I’m workin’ with.


(Please excuse the dirty dishes in the sink.)


Yes, that is all the counter space I have.

And due to the lack of cabinet space…

…we have this super attractive storage rack for non-perishables, appliances, and other stuff. I’m actually sightly embarrassed posting this because it’s such an eyesore! But, you’ve gotta be resourceful when living in tiny urban spaces.

So that’s my kitchen, now on to the recipe! Even though it’s in the high 80s in LA still, I was craving a warm, autumn-y baked bread. So I tried out Bob’s Red Mill’s Golden Cornbread recipe. I love any recipe where it doesn’t require me to make an extra trip to the store – I already had these few, simple ingredients on hand.



To further illustrate my messy cook tendencies, I promptly spilled cornmeal all over the counter and floor. Typical. Anyway, the recipe is super simple. Of course, because of my lack of a sifter and an electric beater, I “sifted” the dry ingredients by mixing them with a fork…

…and nuked the butter in the microwave so I could easily incorporate it by hand into the batter.

I just crossed my fingers that my modifications didn’t affect the texture! (Notice the little dribble of batter that didn’t make it into the pan – another example of my messy tendencies!)

It looked pretty good coming out of the oven…

…and then it crumbled into pieces as soon as I cut into it. This was my second attempt at cutting a piece. (Sorry again for the blurry pics – I get next to no natural light in my kitchen and I’m still struggling with flash settings!)

To be honest, I wasn’t thrilled with this recipe. I think I just like my cornbread more on the sweeter side. I added some butter and a drizzle of honey to finish off my piece, and it was pretty good! I’m wondering if the recipe just yielded a crumblier bread, or if it had to do with my lack of sifting and electric beating??

So kitchen trial #1 for this blog was a semi-success – it’s definitely an edible bread, and between the boyfriend and myself, I’m sure we’ll finish it off. Hopefully this weekend’s recipe will be more of a winner!

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