Fried Pickle Double Cheeseburgers with Big Mac Sauce

Fried Pickle Double Cheeseburgers with Big Mac Sauce

Double cheeseburgers topped with beer-battered fried pickles and homemade special sauce for a play on big macs. These are so much better, a big improvement because. . . fried pickles. . .On a burger.

Helloooo and get in my mouth now.

These are the very same fried pickles I made a week or two ago when all I could think about was topping a burger with them and how good would that be(?).

Fried pickles + burgers = fate…. 

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Baked Meatballs with Pasta in Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Baked Meatballs with Pasta in Parmesan Spinach Sauce

Homemade meatballs baked on top of penne pasta smothered in lots of rich, creamy spinach sauce. This comforting pasta dish is perfect for serving on a special family night or bringing to a potluck or party.

The recipe starts by making the meatballs with ground beef, garlic, parsley, bread crumbs and egg. While they get busy baking halfway there’s time to boil the pasta and make the awesome sauce.

The sauce is made of chicken broth, half & half, spinach (frozen or fresh) and Parmesan cheese on top of the stove where it’s then pureed with a hand blender making the spinach front and center in every bite from the first to the last.

You absolutely-positively must  like spinach. A lot. It can’t be avoided, you can’t eat your way around it or pick it out.

#Sorrynotsorry…. 

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Feta Stuffed BLT Burgers

Say hello to the gussied up burger version of the BLT with a layer of creamy feta cheese hidden inside.

If you ever stuffed cheese into the middle of a burger before then you know it’s no easy feat to keep it contained once it begins to melt.

With feta cheese you don’t have that problem because it can’t and won’t melt. It gets warm and soft without being oozy.

Feta Stuffed BLT Burgers

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Meatball Muffins

Meatball Muffins

To make these meatball “muffins” ricotta meatballs are nestled in a savory, biscuit-like muffin batter and baked in a muffin pan. They’re just as tasty at room temperature as they are warm, making for a great appetizer or lunchbox treat and are best served with marinara sauce on the side for a little dunking action, … 

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Feta Meatballs with Spinach Couscous & Tzatziki

Baked Greek Meatballs

Baked meatballs loaded with feta cheese, roasted red peppers, Greek yogurt, onions, garlic and Parmesan cheese with a no-cook couscous freckled with spinach and a bright tzatziki sauce for serving.

The delectable meatballs come together quickly in one bowl and bake up nicely on an olive oil greased baking sheet. They brown and take on a little crispiness with tender, flavorful insides that stay moist thanks to the Greek yogurt and onion. You can’t taste the Greek yogurt in the final product and you can substitute with sour cream or milk if you like. While they’re baking you can throw together the couscous, tiny orbs of pasta that cook in mere minutes.

The couscous is one of the easiest sides in existence to make using just one-bowl and ten minutes of time to prepare including prep. It’s made by combining finely chopped baby spinach, red onions and couscous in a bowl then pouring hot water over it. Cover the bowl and five, magic minutes later you can fluff it up, mix in a little Parmesan, give it a squirt of fresh lemon and a drizzle of olive oil for a side dish that’s ready to serve with just about anything. It’s good in a pinch and tastes like you went to more trouble than you really did.

Tzatziki is a cucumber sauce traditionally made with Greek yogurt. For a richer sauce I make mine with sour cream or sometimes a mix of both, plus dill, garlic and lemon. It’s cool, creamy, tangy, and a little sweet from the dill weed. You should make the sauce first so the flavors have a little time to marry.

You can serve these layered in bowls the way I did – and loved – or stuff them into pita pockets or wraps. You can just make the meatballs (or use the leftovers) and drop them into your favorite tomato sauce to serve with pasta. They would make great appetizers too! Stick a toothpick in them with the sauce on the side for dipping and you’re good to go.

They will disappear fast no matter how you chose to serve them.

Like all tasty things it’s hard to eat just one.

Greek Meatballs with Spinach Couscous

Feta Meatballs with Spinach Couscous & Tzatziki

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 18 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Feta Meatballs with Spinach Couscous & Tzatziki

Baked meatballs loaded with feta cheese, roasted red peppers, onions, garlic and Parmesan cheese with a no-cook couscous freckled with spinach, and a bright tzatziki sauce for serving.

Ingredients:

tzatziki:
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
1/2 cucumber, peeled and diced, remove the seeds
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dill weed
1 - 2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
a couple pinches each salt and pepper
meatballs:
olive oil, for greasing pan
2 eggs
1/4 cup Greek yogurt, sour cream or milk
1 + 1/2 pounds ground beef (85% lean)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 roasted red pepper, diced
1/3 cup minced yellow onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed between fingertips
1 teaspoon coarse or kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
couple pinches of nutmeg or cinnamon
1 cup crumbled feta

Instructions:

  1. Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a large roasting pan or baking sheet with sides generously with olive oil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and yogurt together. Add the remaining meatball and use a fork or your hands to combine. Form into balls one to one and a half inches wide. Place on baking sheet, close together but not touching. Bake 12 - 18 minutes until cooked in the middle. Break one open to check.
  4. Meanwhile make the couscous. The recipe is below this one.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/greek-meatballs-with-spinach-couscous-tzatziki/

Spinach Parmesan Couscous

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Spinach Parmesan Couscous

Ingredients:

4 cups fresh baby spinach
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1 + 1/2 cups couscous (like this )
1 + 3/4 cups boiling water.
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
a handful of pine nuts, sliced almonds or chopped walnuts, optional

Instructions:

  1. Make stacks of the spinach leaves and cut them into thin strips lengthwise then cut the strips across into tiny pieces.
  2. Add them to a heat safe large bowl with the onion and couscous.
  3. Pour in the boiling water, stir and cover tightly with a plate or a piece of aluminum foil. Let sit five minutes.
  4. After five minutes fluff up the couscous with a fork.
  5. Add the parmesan, lemon and oil and work it in with a fork until it's evenly combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Garnish with nuts if desired.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/greek-meatballs-with-spinach-couscous-tzatziki/

Slow-Cooker Chili Con Carne

Chili con Carne

Chili con carne with hearty hunks of beef slow cooked in tomatoes with a ton of spices, bacon, garlic, onion, chipotle and jalapeno peppers. No beans allowed. Not in this chili. This chili is a celebration of meat.

I don’t use a crockpot for convenience here but rather for the way it magically transforms the toughest of meat into something tender and edible. This isn’t a recipe where you can throw everything right into the crockpot and be done, there’s some work to do before that can happen.

The first thing to do is get your bacon cooking – in the oven – those days of cooking messy, splattering bacon on the stove are history. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil, lay out your bacon and 15 minutes or so later you will be rewarded with perfectly cooked bacon. Let the grease cool off a little, fold the aluminum foil up around it and discard. Your pan and stove top are left clean.

You can usually find chuck steak, the cut I use for this, already cut up, it will be labeled chuck cubes for stew or something similar to that. Those have to be seared first in a hot pan to brown and caramelize, followed by the garlic, onion and jalapenos. Don’t worry about the vegetables picking up those browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan because we want that. That’s more flavor.

Let’s talk spices. Initially I was going to use dried chiles but decided to make it easily accessible to everyone by using dried. This is hot, hot, hot. In addition to the jalapenos I use canned chipotle peppers in adobo, smoked jalapenos surrounded by a spicy sauce. I also used chili powder, ground ancho chile peppers, ground cumin and Mexican oregano. {If you want to make it without “heat” omit the jalapeno and chipotle peppers. The ancho peppers are quite mild – I feel comfortable telling you to leave it in or cut the amount in half.}

I like to serve it over rice to catch the rich, rust-colored sauce, with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese, green onions and giant dollops of cooling sour cream. Tortilla chips are a must for scooping and dipping. I also set aside a couple of slices of bacon to crumble over top.

Now you’re armed with everything you need to make yourself one awesome bowl of meaty chili.

Slow Cooker Chili Con Carne

Slow-Cooker Chili Con Carne

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 8 servings

Slow-Cooker Chili Con Carne

Chili con carne with hearty hunks of beef slow cooked in tomatoes with a ton of spices, bacon, garlic, onion, chipotle and jalapeno peppers. No beans allowed. Not in this chili. This chili is a celebration of meat.

Ingredients:

8 ounces smoked bacon
2 - 2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck steak or roast, cut into 1/2 - 1-inch cubes
coarse sea or kosher salt and fresh black pepper
vegetable or olive oil, for browning the meat
2 large yellow or Spanish onions, diced
2 jalapeno pepper, seeds and stems removed, diced
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo plus 2 tablespoons of the sauce they come in (like this )
4 cloves garlic, minced
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth or 1 bottle dark beer
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 tablespoons chili powder (like this )
2 teaspoons ground ancho chile pepper (like this )
1 teaspoon dried oregano (preferably Mexican), crushed between your fingertips
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 tablespoons masa like this or 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons cold water
for serving:
shredded sharp cheddar or pepper jack
tortilla chips
cooked rice
sour cream
avocado
chopped green onions

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large roasting pan or baking sheet with sides with aluminum foil. Lay the bacon down in one layer and bake 12 - 15 minutes or until crispy. Drain on a paper towel lined plate.
  2. Season the cubes well with salt and pepper. Heat a tablespoon of oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the cubes in batches turning to brown on 2 - 3 sides. Add more oil to the pan in between batches as needed. Add them to a 4 quart crockpot or larger.
  3. Add 2 more tablespoons oil to the pan set over medium heat and cook the onion, jalapenos and garlic until softened, seasoning them well with salt and pepper. Add the chipotle peppers and sauce, stir and cook 2 more minutes. Add them to the pot.
  4. Add the tomatoes, broth, vinegar, all the seasonings including 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and the masa or cornstarch slurry. Crumble up the bacon, set aside a little bit for garnishing and add the rest. Stir it all together.
  5. Cook on high 4 - 5 hours or low 8 hours, tasting during the last hour or two and adding more seasonings, salt or pepper as needed.
  6. Serve with your choice of garnishes over rice, if desired.

Notes:

To make it without the heat omit the jalapeno and chipotle peppers. The ancho peppers are quite mild – I feel comfortable telling you to leave it in or cut the amount in half.

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/slow-cooker-chili-con-carne/

Slow Cooker Beef Goulash Soup

Beef Goulash Soup

Crockpot goulash soup with ground beef, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and oodles of sweet paprika permeating every single delicious bite.

Traditional Hungarian goulash is a stew typically made with tough cuts of beef that rely on the collagen from the meat as a thickener rather than flour or roux. It can be made with potatoes, carrots, peppers, soup pasta, rice, cabbage and even sauerkraut.

One thing is a constant and that’s the sweet paprika. Without it all you have is an everyday, run-of-the-mill stew. Or soup. The slow cooker works wonders on developing and bringing out the best in the paprika making it mellow and moreish. Caraway seeds are common too but if you don’t have them on hand you probably won’t miss them.

My soup version uses lean ground beef along with potatoes and savoy cabbage. They make a great threesome. The starchy potatoes slightly thicken the rusty colored broth and along with the finely shredded cabbage give the soup some body.

This might not be as rib-sticking as the more traditional, meatier versions but it will warm you, body and soul, just the same.

That’s a promise.

Goulash Soup

Slow Cooker Beef Goulash Soup

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Slow Cooker Beef Goulash Soup

Crockpot goulash soup with ground beef, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbage and oodles of sweet paprika permeating every single delicious bite.

Ingredients:

1 pound extra lean ground beef
olive oil, for sauteeing
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
1/2 roasted red pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons sweet Hungarian paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or thyme
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 heaping teaspoon caraway seeds, lightly chopped
4 cups beef broth
1 can petite-diced tomatoes, with juices
2 cups diced potatoes
2 cups thinly shredded savoy cabbage
sour cream, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat brown the ground beef, breaking it apart as it cooks. Remove it to a 4 quart or larger crockpot.
  2. In the same skillet heat 2 - 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat and add the peppers, onion and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often 5 minutes.
  3. Mix the paprika and marjoram into the vegetables, if the pan is dry add another tablespoon oil. Cook 2 - 3 minutes then add the Worcestershire sauce. Let it cook about 1 minute then remove to the pot.
  4. Add the caraway seeds, broth, tomatoes, potatoes and cabbage with about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  5. Cook on high about 5 hours or low 7 - 9 hours. Taste and season if needed before serving. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Notes:

Inspired by Food & Wine

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/slow-cooker-beef-goulash-soup/

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

Crockpot Beef and Rice Enchilada Soup

A Tex-Mex soup packed with ground beef, rice, corn, green chiles, tomatoes, cheese and topped with sour cream and tortilla chips. It’s a beef version of my favorite chicken enchilada soup.

A warm, spicy hug in a bowl.

While the slow cooker does almost all the work it isn’t completely hands off. It takes a few minutes of prepping. You can do it the night before if you need to quickly throw it together in the morning.

The ground beef has to be browned separately in a skillet before heading into your crock-pot and the onion, garlic and bell pepper sautéed. I experimented with putting them in raw but they just don’t get the depth of flavor I like. It makes a giant difference in the end.

Green chiles, chili powder and cumin make it spicy without being mouth-burning hot. If you like it hotter you can add ground cayenne pepper or a canned chipotle pepper or two.

I used the same trick for thickening this soup as I do for chicken tortilla soup and finely chop up a few corn tortillas. They melt into the broth and bring in some of that ‘corny’ flavor you would get if you were eating a true enchilada. Plus they add ‘oomph’ to the broth and make it heartier.

Ground Beef & Rice Enchilada Soup

I want to hug this soup to my heart and never let it go. I want to eat it at least once a week, twice would be better, for the rest of my life.

I want to eat it in the biggest soup bowl I can find. I want to pile it high with extra cheese, tortilla chips and lots and lots of sour cream. Like ten times what you see in the picture.

And I don’t want anyone to bother me while I’m eating. Just leave me alone with my soup spoon and overflowing bowl.

Even if I face plant. . .

Do not disturb.

Crockpot Ground Beef Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Slow Cooker Enchilada Soup

A hearty and flavorful Tex-Mex soup!

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 small green or red bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
coarse salt and fresh black pepper
1 can (11 ounce) Ro-tel diced tomatoes & green chiles with the juices
4 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 + 1/2 cups corn
3 corn tortillas, cut into small cubes
1 tablespoon chili powder like McCormick
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano (preferably Mexican), crushed between fingertips
1 + 1/4 pounds lean ground beef
1 cup brown or white rice
1 + 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese or monterey jack, plus more for serving
sour cream, for serving
corn tortilla chips, for serving

Instructions:

  1. In a medium skillet heat the oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until softened, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile to your crock-pot (4 - 6 quart) add the Ro-tel, broth, corn, tortillas, chile powder, cumin, oregano and 1 teaspoon coarse salt and about 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Mix in the cooked onions, peppers and garlic.
  3. In the same skillet brown the ground beef over medium heat breaking it apart as it cooks. Once it's browned through drain off the grease and add to the pot.
  4. Cook on high 3 - 4 hours or low 5 - 6.
  5. During the last hour cook the rice according to package directions and stir the cheese into the soup. Taste and season as needed.
  6. To serve: add a couple of spoonfuls of rice to a soup bowl and ladle the soup over top. Garnish with shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips.

Notes:

Copyright ©2013 Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice by Reeni Pisano All Rights Reserved

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/slow-cooker-beef-and-rice-enchilada-soup/