Mini Burgers

It’s burger night! While the weather isn’t too bad for February, I still didn’t feel like firing up the grill, and rather than straight-up fry the burgers, I decided to steam them instead.

  • Take a pound and a half of ground beef and using a scale, portion it out and make a dozen or so 2 ounce patties.
  • Salt and pepper one side, then press in a dimple with your thumb to help keep them from puffing up into meatballs.
  • Slice up an onion. Fry it up in an electric skillet (set to 325°) with a couple tablespoons of oil and a pinch of salt until they start to brown a little.
  • Lay all the burgers on top of the onions, salted side down. Salt and pepper the other side, then put the lid on the skillet

    Steamed mini burgers

Leave the lid on to let the steam from the onions cook the meat. You don’t even have to flip them! When they’re done, remove them (along with a healthy helping of onions!) onto small buns or rolls. I used King’s Hawaiian sweet rolls.

Serve with whatever hamburger fixings you like!

40 Cloves and a Chicken

Kirsten’s favorite dish, and really easy to make.

  • Preheat the oven to 350°
  • Take a cut-up chicken, rub the pieces down with olive oil, and salt and pepper them.
  • In a large oven-safe skillet, brown the chicken, a couple of minutes on both sides.
  • Take it off the heat and add a half cup of olive oil, forty peeled cloves of garlic, and top the chicken with about a dozen sprigs of fresh thyme.
  • Cover the skillet and pop it in the oven for an hour and a half.

Yes, that’s right… 90 minutes. That’s the one problem with this dish: it takes forever to bake, so it’s not a quick meal to make on a weekday. It’s totally worth it though, for what you can do when it comes out of the oven:

  • Slice up some French bread and brush one side with the now garlic-infused olive oil from the pan.
  • Toast under the broiler, flip, brush the other side, and toast again.

Grab some of the cooked garlic from the pan and you’ll find that it’s now spreadable. Put it on the toast for the best garlic bread you’ve ever had.

Relaunching

So… A couple of weeks ago, I was laid off from the company that I spent over fifteen years with. Apart from job hunting, I’ve also found a few other things to occupy my time during the day.

I’ve gotten myself in the habit of getting to the gym every morning. Now, instead of battling the after-work workout crowd, or the early-evening classes, I’m just mingling with the senior walkers which is a lot less stressful. I’m trying to get my miles up so I can run the Wisconsin Half Marathon in May.

At home, besides doing the cleaning and housekeeping, I’ve also set a goal of trying to plan some decent meals and try to not ely so much on the prepared and frozen things that we usually have when both of us are home from work and don’t feel like putting together anything too complex before shuttling the kids around to their various after-school activities.

Since I already had this blog in place, I figured that I’d try to keep track of some of the things I make throughout the week and how well they went over with some of the picky eaters in the family.

Earlier this week, I made something that I’ve done before, and while not the healthiest thing in the world, is pretty tasty: Alton Brown’s Baked Macaroni and Cheese.

It’s pretty simple to put together and the ingredient list is straightforward. Everyone loved it except for Thing Two, who only likes his pasta with red sauce. It took a little prodding and a ton of drama, but he managed to choke it down.

Yesterday, Kirsten had her class and Thing Two had Cub Scouts, so I decided to go for quick and easy: Chicken Soft Tacos.

Nothing fancy here: I just cut chicken into small strips and cooked them in a packet of fajita mix per the instructions, but without the peppers and onions. I set it all up as a taco bar with tomatoes, lettuce, refried beans, sour cream, and cheese. For some reason, nobody wanted the Sriracha sauce but me…

Everyone was home early from school today, so I had to make lunch. Per a request from Thing One, I made cashew butter.

I made it per the recipe here, although with plain canola instead of the walnut oil, as it was too strong a flavor the last time I made it.

So that’s it. As I come up with my menus for the week, I’ll try to keep this updated. Since I have a bad habit of taking pictures of all my food anyway, this should be easy!

Things I Think I Know

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5. I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. I can’t remember the last time I wasn’t at least kind of tired.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

13. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

14. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than Kay.

17. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear or understand a word they said?

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

22. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still do not know what time it is.

23. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time!

24. The first testicular guard, the “Cup,” was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize that their brain is also important. (Ladies…..Quit Laughing.)

Testing a feed process

Testing an auto-submit to Digg process.

In-N-Out Burger

In-N-Out Burger, originally uploaded by Cheesehead_Dave.

My version of the In-N-Out Double-Double, Animal Style, as deconstructed here.

Dave’s (and Alton Brown’s) Banana Walnut Chocolate Chip Pancakes

If you’re looking for a good pancake recipe, Alton Brown’s instant pancake mix is one of his better offerings. I make that almost weekly for the kids, usually with the addition of a half cup of chocolate chips.

This morning, I felt like doing something a little different with it, so here’s the modifications I made which turned out pretty good:

  • Follow the instructions to make Alton’s mix.
  • Use one cup of mix and one cup of whole wheat flour
  • Add to the dry ingredients:
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • After you combine the buttermilk/butter/egg yolk mixture, mash up two very ripe bananas and add them to the milk. Whisk to break up the mashed banana lump.
  • Add the liquid to the dry ingredients, mix just enough to combine, and make the pancakes!