Better Than a Big Mac Burger


No need for fast food today ! Having an almost completely made from scratch burger is not as hard as you may think. These are all ingredients you have on hand and the burgers freeze well so you can prep for another time. This made at home version will definitely be a keeper. 

The hubby was feeling good so he grilled for us which made it even better. I totally recommend using the grill for burgers but if you don’t have it handy ( or don’t want to) I would use the oven with a baking rack or a George Forman grill ( be careful not to over cook on the George Forman because it will dry out the burger ).

So let’s get down to business.

Tools Needed

  • Grill/ Oven/ George Forman
  • 1 medium bowl/1 large bowl
  • Wisk or fork
  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring cups and spoons 
  • Large Pan
  • Storage container 
  • Spatula

Ingredients

For Burger 

  • 2 teaspoons Adobo ( you may want more or less. I always make a test mini burger before finishing to make sure I seasoned it well ) 
  • 1 onion soup packet 
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs 
  • 2.5 pounds of 73/27 ground beef ( most of the fat goes away and makes a juicier burger)

For Big Mac Sauce (Todd Wilbur’s Top Secret Chef Recipe) 

  • 1/2 cup Hellmann Mayonaisse 
  • 2 tablespoons Wishbone French dressing 
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar 
  • 4 teaspoons of Sweet Pickle Relish 
  • 1 teaspoon white granulated sugar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon of minced white onion

For the sandwich

  • American or Cheddar cheese 
  • Shredded iceberg lettuce
  • Hamburger Dill Pickles 
  • Sesame seed bin 

Directions 

The burger 

  1. Add ground beef into a large bowl and spread it out. This is so when you pour rest of the ingredients it blends out better. 
  2. Add onion soup mix and adobo.
  3. Mix the egg and milk together and pour over the adobo and soup mix. Then add the bread crumbs and mix. Mix until incorporated do not over mix it can make the burger tough. 
  4. Grab a handful of the meat and pat down into a flat circle. Leave a little dent in the middle so they don’t pop up as much. Lay on a pan each time. Depending on the size hands you have it can make about 12- 1/4 pound burgers 
  5. Put in the fridge to cool down for 1/2 hr or put in the freezer for like five minutes. This will help the flavors develop.
  6. Once cooled down grill the burgers to your liking. (We are medium well people but it came out well but they were still juicy. ) 

The sauce  

  1. In a medium size bowl add all the ingredients and mix well
  2. Place in a small storage container and let sit for at least 10 minutes ( the longer the better). This about 1 cup of Big Mac Sauce 

To finish the sandwich:

  1. Use one seasame seed bun, spread a generous helping of sauce on the lid.
  2. Add lettuce and pickles to the lid 
  3. Place cheese on the burger patty … if you want to go the traditional route use 2 patties but that is optional. If you choose to do two … (I strongly suggest putting a layer of sauce in between the cheese and the second patty) 
  4. Top the burger and dig in !


This is a keeper . I have made it twice in a week. The sauce it pretty much dead on for Big Mac sauce.  No more lines, no more paying extra for Big Mac sauce …. just homemade yummy goodness ….

Enjoy ! 

Ericka 

Hasselback Potatoes


In the interest of spicing things up for dinner, I saw a video from Tricia Yearwood that peeked my interest for Hasselback Potatoes. As I researched this recipe it seems that everyone has a different way of making them. The important part of making these potatoes slicing them without cutting all the way through them. This makes for a crispier potato. If you research this further these type of potatoes are a Swedish style side dish. This has so many possibility …. I can imagine making like a “piggy potato” loaded with meat and cheese …… ( stay tuned).

 After reviewing a few recipes ( and what I had in hand) this is my version of Hasselback Potatoes. 

Tools Needed

  • Sharp knife
  • 11 x 13 pan
  • Basting Brush
  • Small bowl or sauce pan
  • Small grater or garlic press 
  • Oven at 400 degrees F

Ingredients


  • 1/2-1 stick of Salted Butter
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese
  • 5-6 medium size potatoes 
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • Lettuce (optional)

Directions 

  1. Wash and scrub the 5-6 Baking potatoes ( I am using what I have,most recipes say Yukon Gold or Red Potatoes)
  2. Slice as many slices as you want into then potatoes but do no cut through all the way.
    3. Melt 1/2 stick of butter and the grate or use the garlic press to add the garlic to it and add 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.


    4. Add salt and pepper to taste into the potatoes and then use a brush to add the garlic butter to the potatoes. Make sure you open slices parts and add the mixture and salt to it.


    5. Bake in the oven 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Take out the oven and cost again with the garlic butter. They start to open up like an accordion. 


    6. Put back in the oven for another 20-30 minutes. Take out add cheese and place for another 10 minutes. 


    7. Add your fixin’s and chow down.


    There are other recipes that have you use a mix of olive oil and butter with a higher cooking temp to make it crispier. I was happy with this because it was like a crunchified baked potato!

    This was a great side dish to add the pork chops hubby made. I added small lettuce and tomato salad and you have a pretty well balanced meal. It did take some time and I started my prep work at 4 am ( so I wasn’t rushing at 6 pm to get it all started) but well worth the time and effort. 

    Enjoy !

    Ericka 

Garlic Parmesan Spaghetti Squash 

Happy Wednesday ! I hope you had a great one. Today was the day for the ever adverterous and daring me to make something new on a weekday …. but as they say no pain no food…. 🙂 

Spaghetti squash has always interested me but I could never find it. Low and behold last week at Aldi’s they had a few and I picked one up to finally try it. I decided to try something simple to know how it would taste and open my tastebuds to trying it in different ways. Here is how I prepared it. 

Tools Needed

  • Cookie sheet 
  • Sharp Heavy Knife
  • Spoon
  • Cutting board 
  • Fork
  • 2 Tupperware containers
  • Oven at 400 degrees F

Ingredients 



1 Spaghetti Squash ( mine was about 1-1/2 lbs)

Salt

Pepper 

Olive oil

2 table spoons of grated Parmesan 

1 teaspoon of Garlic Powder

Directions 

  1. Cut spaghetti squash in half and remove seeds with a spoon.
  2. Sprinkle olive oil, salt and pepper all over in side and poke holes throughout. 
  3. Flip over so the inside is facing down. Cook at 400 degrees for 45 minutes. 
  4. Take out of oven and with a fork scrap in long strokes the inside of the squash. It really does resemble pasta . 
  5. Dump the spaghetti into a Tupperware or bowl. Mine yielded about 5 cups. 
  6. I took about half and placed in another container. Add Parmesan and garlic powder and mix well. 
  7. Done ! 

This was very simple. For the first time trying it, I could have eaten it just fine without the garlic or Parmesan. It had a nutty flavor so it paired well with the Parmesan  and I want to try it next with alfredo sauce or to add meatballs and tomato sauce  . I did reserve half so I can try something else with it. This will have infinite possibilities.

How have you prepared it ??? Any suggestions? Leave me a comment ! 

Enjoy ! 

Ericka 

Mini Tomato Pizza

So after some trial and error recipes this weekend ( crock pot bread and a chicken recipe ) , I finally made something worth the talking about. I had some tomatoes that needed to used before they got squishy ( and I was hungry and wanted something quick). When my daughter saw me making these she kept saying, “you making tomato pizza mami?” So I said yes …. but with no dough or bread ….. end result delicious, easy and did I mention really low carb ? And even if you were not dieting, this is still pretty great! 


Tools Needed

Cutting Board

Sharp knife ( serrated if possible ) 

2 cup round container 

Medium sized cookie sheet 

Oven at 350 degrees and 450 or broil. 

Ingredients 


2 Big tomatoes (beef steak are the best but use what you have ) 

1/2 to 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese 

3/4 to 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese 

1/2 tsp of oregano 

1 tsp garlic powder

Cooking spray or Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions

1. Cut tomatoes about 1/2 inch thick
2. In the 2 cup container add the Parmesan cheese, oregano and garlic powder and mix.


3. Take the tomato slices and cover each side with the Parmesan mixture and put on a greased pan or use some cooking spray. 


4. Cover each piece with the shredded mozzarella. Sprinkle some extra oregano if desired.


5. Place in your oven at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. 


6. Take out of the oven and increase the heat to 450 or broil and put back in the oven until mozzarella is melted or browning. 


7. Add salt and pepper if you do desire. I didn’t need to but it is just preference. (Seen below is top and bottom of the Tomato. ) 

Enjoy ! This can be meal or snack …so yummy! 

Ericka 

Roasted Zucchini and Yellow Squash 

Growing up zucchini was the most abundant vegetable that grew. We mainly made zucchini bread and cooked it some how. However, I recently rediscovered these vegetables in my healthier eating and this was my happy medium to cooking something tasty and healthy. This is definitely a great way to use your zucchini  and  yellow squash harvest. 

Also the ladies at work smelled my lunch and asked me for the recipe and it’s so simple. 

So without further delay ….

Tools Needed
Knife

Cutting board 

Large cookie sheet or pan 

Oven at 400 degrees

Ingredients 

2 zucchinis sliced into strips

2 yellow squashes sliced into strips

1/4 cup  Parmesan cheese grated or 1/4 to 1/2 cup of fresh Parmesan shredded ( can add more to taste)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion

Few dashes of salt and pepper 

A pinch of Italian seasoning 

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
Directions 

1.Cut zucchini and squash into strips, place in cookie sheet and sprinkle the olive oil all over.


2. Sprinkle all the spices ( garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper)and Parmesan on the zucchini and squash and mix by hand until evenly distributed. 


3. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.


Eat these alone or package for work the next day ! Reheats well. Using the shredded Parmesan will give it more chrunch. I strongly recommend this as side dish that can go with any meat.
Enjoy !

Ericka 

Coconut Shrimp with Pineapple Dipping sauce 

This recipe was so yummy I had to make it again. Fresh and homemade. It takes a little work but totally worth it. 

I got the original recipe from a page I follow on Facebook for Bette Mills. I just made it my own because I love the coconut crust.

This is so much better and more economical than going to Red Lobster. Although the dipping sauce is different for about the cost of 1-1/2 orders of Red Lobster’s Parrot Bay Coconut Shrimp that usually has like 8 butterflied shrimp. I made 42 Jumbo Shrimp. Even cheaper if you already had the mixes handy or left over from a party or daily night cap ( I’m not judging lol).

Tools needed

3 bowls or pans

Measuring cups

Measuring spoons 

Small bowl for sauce 

Deep fryer 

Plate 

Ingredients 

Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup pina colada mix

1/4 cup of crush pineapple

2 tablespoons of white sugar 

Shrimp 

2 -12 oz bags of raw jumbo shrimp peeled

2 cups of shredded coconut

3 cups of plain bread crumbs

2 tablespoons of pineapple rum ( I used Captain Morgan )4

1 cup of milk

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of white sugar 

1-1/2 cups of flour 

Directions 

Take the sour cream, pineapple, piña colada mix, and sugar and mix well and put in the refrigerator to chill while you work on the shrimp.


Turn on deep dryer on 350 degrees F

In one pan/ bowl put 3/4 cup of flour and leave plain.

In the second bowl take the 3/4 cup of flour left, salt and sugar mix together. Add rum and milk and mix very well and let sit.

In the third bowl put 1 cup of the breadcrumbs and 1/2 cup of coconut and mix together. The recipe I used I made this mix three times. I like the crust a lot and I wanted to make sure I had plenty. If you desire less crust or light coating this is all you will need. 


Dip the peeled raw shrimp in the plain flour evenly. Shake off excess.

Dip in the batter shake off the excess. Should be thick enough to coat. 

Place in the breadcrumb and coconut mix and cover well. Place on plate and repeat.


Once fryer is ready add shrimp evenly in one layer. Fry for 2 minutes or until a nice golden brown. 


Drain and set aside and repeat.

Serve with the chilled sauce and dig in ! 

This is great even as a left over. You can reheat the next day or eat cold with the dip and it stays crunchy!!! 

Enjoy,

Ericka

Sweet -N -Sour Chicken 


Tonight I was feeling ambitious. Not only did I make the chicken, the rice and my first try at making crab rangoons that I so miss from New Jersey.

Anyway back to the chicken. This recipe has quite a few steps but so worth it in the end.

Ingredients


3 lbs of Chicken Breast or Tenderloins 

Garlic salt

4 eggs 

1 cup of corn starch 

Sauce

6 tablespoons of Ketchup

1-1/2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce 

1 cup of White Sugar

3/4 cup of Apple Cidee Vinager 

Oil for pan or deep frying 

Tools needed

1 small sauce pan

1 Cookie sheet 

1 spatula 

2 deep bowls 

Cutting board

Knife 

Deep Fryer or deep pan 

Oven 

Directions 

Cube chicken in 1 to 1/2 inch pieces. ( They can be bigger just adjust cooking time) Add garlic salt to taste to the chicken.


In a bowl beat 2 of the four eggs and in the other bowl put the corn starch and add a little more garlic salt and mix.


Put the pieces of chicken in the corn starch first and shake off the excess. Then dip in eggs and put to the side until you are ready to fry.


Fry the chicken for 4-5 minutes in the deep fryer or pan fry in 2 inches of oil until both sides are golden brown.


To make the sauce

Mix sugar, soy sauce, ketchup, and vinager together in the small sauce pan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. The sauce will thicken and it will be ready to spread on the chicken.



In your oven heated to 350 degree f, put the chicken in the oven and cook for 15 minutes and turn and cook for an additional 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens on the chicken.


Serve with some rice and what ever side…. 

Deliciousness ! 

Enjoy !

Ericka