Grilled Cheese Green Chile Burger-Where’s the Beef?

Where’s the beef?  Remember that line from the old Wendy’s commercials on tv?  Everybody was saying it.  I’m not really sure what that was referring to.  But I think it was the little lady who said it that caught our attention.  Anyway – I liked beef then and I like it now.  I just don’t eat it very often.  Not nearly as often as chicken and certainly more than fish.

Savannah picked beef as our topic for Saturday Dishes this week, so I dutifully followed her suggestion and made a Grilled Cheese Green Chile Burger on Grilled Toast.  If I’m gonna make it beef it might as well have every other flavor I enjoy too.  Now this can be made with ground turkey or chicken and still have all the flavors.  Not me, oh no!  Beef it will be and it was good!  Not the most original beef dish, but my favorite!  What’s yours?

Grilled Cheese Green Chile Burger

I got a new Le Creuset Red Skinny Grill for my birthday.  I love this.  It is just the right size for a small serving.  The wind was blowing at 50+mph when I made these, so no way would I do them on the outside grill.  It worked great.

Grilled Burger

Grilled Cheese Green Chile Burger

Then add the toppings and you’re ready to eat.  Steak fries would be good too.(In my dreams!)  Ok, so you can’t see the beef too well because I like all the toppings just as well as the beef.  Green chiles and avocado especially.   I don’t care for too much lettuce on my burgers unless it is finely shredded and on top of a Whataburger.

Come on over to Saturday dishes and share your favorite beef dish.

Saturday Dishes

Plank Grilled Zucchini Boats with Cous Cous

From MiddleSister:

My husband actually picked this recipe to support my healthy eating.  Poor thing, the next morning, I found an empty leftover take out pizza box.  But, I loved it.  The original recipe came from Cooking Light’s Way to Cook Grilling cookbook.  I changed it up quite a bit.  I grilled and then stuffed the zucchini.  It suggested stuffing and then grilling.  I added bacon and flavored olive oil.  Personally, I think you would get much better flavor out of the shallots and spinach if they were sauteed and then you added the broth.

While it really was quite filling and satisfying as a main dish, I think next time, I would serve one as a side dish to a chicken breast with Chimichurri or a lemon-basil chicken breast.  You could also chop up the zucchini and mix it in with the cous cous, but then use a larger skillet. I would still salt and grill it because the flavor of the zucchini alone was amazing.

Zucchini Boats

I just can’t decide what to take to Yahoo Shine Supper club this month.  So, I’ll take this one over with my beets.

Hank’s Barbecued Chicken and My Pumpkin Streusel Cake

The last weekend of summer is what Labor Day means to me.   I hope the weather man knows that and begins to forecast cooler weather.   I skipped watering the flowers for a couple of days and they were drooping and looking frail from the heat and lack of water.

I did think about a grilled meal for this long weekend and what would go with it.  Green chile cheese grits, bar-b-que chicken and a decadent cake for dessert.  So, I made the whole thing.  Not good for the diet, but boy did it taste good!   The Hatch green chiles were a great addition to the cheese grits.  For the chicken, no low fat boneless skinless stuff.  Legs and thighs with the skin on were on my menu.  My son said he hadn’t had that much good food to eat in a long time.  “Music to a mother’s ears!”  Of course, the second helping of everything put him out for a nap.

I topped it off with a Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Cake.  I’m taking that to a pot luck dinner, but I needed a taste tester.  He volunteered.  He said it was great, if all the sugar didn’t put him in a coma.  I doubt it will do that.  It was a huge cake slice though.

This does not mean I’m not cooking again anytime soon, but nothing so rich and decadent as all those in the same meal.  It was fun.  Yes, I thinking cooking is fun and very relaxing.   Then I had to take pictures and write about it to share with you, my friend.  Wish you were here in my kitchen to join me.

Hank usually order cheese grits or scalloped potatoes, salad and broccoli with the chicken.  He cooked outside while I cooked inside and I cleaned up.  He had menus that went together.  I miss those menus, but not the cleaning up. I am celebrating his menu this weekend and adding a Pumpkin Streusel Spice Cake to top it all off.

Green Chile Cheese Grits

  • 1 cup grits (quick cooking, not instant)
  • 4 cups salted water (bring to a boil)
  • 1 stick Parkay margarine
  • 3 cups grated cheese, Cheddar is my favorite
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce (or more)
  • 4-5 Hatch green chiles , roasted, peeled, seeded and diced

Cook the grits according to package directions.  (I don’t like the instant grits, but quick grits is all I can find any more.)

When the grits are done, add the eggs and beat in quickly.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix well to melt the margarine and cheese.

Pour into a well-buttered casserole dish and bake uncovered for 45 minutes at 350°.  The edges should begin to brown and crisp.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest for at least 15 minutes to set before serving.


Bar-B-Que Chicken

  • 1 large chicken or 6 large chicken parts  (We like legs and thighs)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • water
  • Hank’s bar-b-que sauce or your choice of bottled sauce (see below)

Put the chicken in a large bowl and add enough water to cover.  Add 1 cup vinegar and salt and pepper.  Let marinade in the refrigerator at least an hour or 4 is better.  Drain well and pat dry.    Season generously with salt and pepper.

Place 2 pieces of chicken in a foil square and I sometimes double wrap them if using skin-on chicken.   Wrap tightly to allow to steam.  I use a gas grill,  but coals work too.  Turn over 2  times (every 15 minutes).  Then remove the chicken from the foil and allow to brown on the grill and baste with the bar-b-que sauce.

Hank’s bar-b-que sauce was unique.  It involved a basic bottled Cattleman’s Bar-B-Que sauce, a couple of tablespoons of butter, lemon pepper dry marinade, catsup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, salt and pepper and finally 2 tablespoons of brown sugar.  What a concoction!  I seldom do all that.  Any bottled sauce works for me in a pinch. 

Pumpkin Streusel Cake



  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 15 oz. can pumpkin
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 ½ cup chopped pecans


Preheat oven to 350°.  Grease a Bundt or tube pan well.

In a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until fluffy on medium.  Add the pumpkin and eggs and mix well.  Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and spices.  Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and beat on low speed just to combine.  Stir with a spatula to be sure all ingredients are well combined.

Combine the streusel ingredients in a bowl.  Put about 2/3 of the batter in the Bundt pan and add ½ of the streusel mix evenly over the batter.  Drop in the remaining batter and spread over the streusel.  Add the remaining streusel on the cake top.

Bake the cake for 55-60 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes on a baking rack.  Invert on a plate.  Using another plate turn the cake streusel side up for a pretty presentation.

Drizzle with a maple glaze(below)

Maple Glaze

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon maple flavoring

Milk to thin to the consistency needed to drizzle on the cake.

Have a slice and enjoy!


I think I will take this to my favorite parties this week.  Mrs. Happy HomemakerKing’s Court,
  Jam Hands Or so she says  Recipe Box



Olympics III

The 2012 London Olympics are finally here.  I’ve been looking forward to this date.  From July 27 to August 12, 2012 probably 24 hours a day you can watch every sport imaginable for the summer games!  All the hype and press about who our team representatives will be, what the USA is wearing (not to mention where it was made), the anticipation about London being prepared and secured will all be answered and tested during those days.

The USA has been in every Olympics since 1896 except for 1980 when it was boycotted.  Teams USA have won 930 gold medals, 729 silver medals and 637 bronze medals in the summer games.  Jolly good show!   Now on to London!  Tally ho! 

I tear up whenever I hear our national anthem played and watch those kids beaming with pride and satisfaction as they are honored for their dedication to their sport.   The hours of hard work and dedication finally pay off and they are amazing to me. It is sort of like writing a food blog. (NOT)  When I get tired I just skip a few days!  I bet they don’t have that option.

Keep a chart of the US medal count at your house to keep your kids involved in watching and learning what those swimming lessons or sports teams they play on can lead to in the future.  Every one of those Olympians started somewhere.

I thought a week of menus and blogging everyday with recipes from various countries would be my 2012 Summer Olympics!  No gold medals will be awarded.  I don’t have a uniform I have to wear, although when I get home from work I have a uniform I put on for the garden or kitchen.  It is not to be photographed and certainly it is not stylish – rather cool and comfy!  This will be fun to see what I come up with and how much stamina I can show.  So I better get busy cooking, photographing, and blogging.  As the tv announcers would say, “Stay tuned for more from El Paso.”

Today’s menu will represent the USA.  Burgers and dogs on the grill, baked beans, and apple hand pies a la mode will be our menu. (Heavy enough on the carbs?)  This is a typical US menu though, don’t you think?  I will use turkey for the burgers and chicken for the dogs and whole wheat buns and frozen yogurt rather than ice cream to go with the apple pie.  Those are good diet choices, right?  But the intent is there and you can certainly amend the choices of products to fit your family’s preferences.


USA Gold Medal Turkey Burgers (not the country)

  • 4 slices turkey bacon
  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion or shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 small red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco hot sauce
  • 8 slices deli sliced pepper jack cheese
  • 4 whole wheat buns

Chop the garlic and veggies. Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Drain on paper towel until ready to use on the burgers.

While the bacon cooks, combine turkey meat, garlic, onion, cilantro, bell pepper, jalapeño pepper, Tobasco hot pepper sauce, salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 4 equal parts and form meat into patties. Prepare the grill with a little vegetable oil on a cloth so the turkey does not stick to the grill. Cook on the grill over medium high flame for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Place sliced cheese over the patties in the last minute or so of cooking.

Pile on the whole wheat buns with your favorite condiments: mustard, mayo, catsup, pickles, relish, tomatoes, lettuce. 1 slice of bacon halved is a great addition, but can be omitted if you choose.

Best All-Round Dogs on the Grill

  • 1 package hot dogs (your fav)
  • 1 package whole wheat hot dog buns
  • Butter at room temp
  • Wooden or metal skewers
  • Condiments:
    • Red onion, finely diced
    • Pickles, finely diced
    • Grape tomatoes cut in quarters

Skewer the hot dogs to allow for easy turning and it keeps the hot dogs from curling.

Cook over medium-high flame turning about every 2-3 minutes until your desired charred level is reached. (one of my granddaughters doesn’t want anything “burned”)

Spread each bun with a little butter to aid in the toasting and adding a bit of good taste too. Toast the buns on the grill while grilling the dogs.

When the dogs are done use the bun to pull the dogs off the skewer. Add your condiments and an instant meal is ready to go in your hand.

Next is a very quick and easy version of baked beans. I have dressed them up a little over the years. My husband introduced these to me. He thought he was a gourmet cook. Whenever he made something it involved every spice in the kitchen and I had to taste it several times before he considered it ready.

Hank’s Gold Medal Baked Beans

  • 2 cans Van de Kamp’s pork and beans
  • 2 tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar (I use the Splenda brown sugar blend)
  • 1 small medium onion sliced thin
  • 1 green or red bell pepper seeded and sliced into strips
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1-2 tomatoes sliced thin


Put the beans, mustard, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, well-mixed into a glass baking dish with a top or use foil when baking.

Add the onion, pepper, tomatoes and bacon in layers. Cover and bake at 350° for about 30 minutes until bubbly hot and the bacon looks cooked. Remove the cover and continue baking for 15 minutes to brown the bacon.

Let these cool before serving. These can be served at room temperature.

I’m not going to elaborate on the oven fries, except to tell you that you can also choose oven baked sweet potato fries. These come in a bag in the freezer section of your grocery store and are perfectly acceptable substitutes for the deep fried deliciousness of real French fried potatoes (which should be used when the menu for France comes up.) We can substitute potato chips if you prefer.

Last, on to the apple pies. This is a shortcut to what my mom would make. If she were here we would let her make one for us. She made the best pie crust. I even ask her for the recipe once and she looked at me and said, “I don’t have a recipe.” So I watched and made notes, but they still don’t turn out like hers. I use the premade, store bought pie crusts and they work just fine (if you don’t have Momma’s to compare them to).

The All American Gold Medal Apple Hand Pies with Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 1 package store bought pie crust
  • 1 can apple pie filling
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 egg well beaten


On a board lightly dusted with flour lay out 1 pie crust. Use a plate to cut out small circles of pastry dough abuout 5-6” in diamerter. Place the circles on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Spoon about ¼ cup pie filling in the center. Add a piece of butter and sprinkle with about a teaspoon of the cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar mixture. Brush the edge with the beaten egg. Fold the crust over to form a half-moon shape. Seal the edges by rolling the edges back on the pie or use the tines of a fork. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg wash. Sprinkle with a little more of the cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown and it may crack a little.

Serve warm with a scoop of your favorite vanilla flavored ice cream. Last week’s blog has a great recipe for homemade vanilla custard ice cream. Check it out.

Now, get busy before the opening ceremony starts! Be prepared to have your family elevate your menu and meals to a gold medal stand!

Hooray for the red, white and blue and you!

I am sharing this with Six Sister’s Strut Your Stuff Saturday.  One of my favorite parties of the week.  I am not alone as I was ready right at 8 and 25 people were still in front of me.

Good for July but still good for the Recipe Roundup in September!

Hooray for the Red, White and Blue!

I’m rather patriotic.  I tear up at the Star Spangled Banner unless some twit is singing it on tv at a football game or NASCAR.  A certain amount of dignity is required, I think.  I love 4th of July parades, fireworks displays and bands.  The Boston Pops can keep me in tears. My high school band was a very special group of students.  We all felt pride when it came to the National Anthem and our school song.  I’m going to get to be a part of that in September at a high school reunion at homecoming.  (Hanky alert!)

I had to come up with a food for the 4th and chicken is my “go to” food.  Plus it is white.  Blue potatoes.  I never thought I would cook blue potatoes, but what better opportunity to use some of those little things.  Paula and I agree – potatoes are one of our favorite foods.  These little tiny things can’t have too many carbs in them.  Red is for tomatoes and red onions.  This is a simple recipe.

Red, White and Blue Chicken Skewers

  • 1 package of chicken tenderloins cut in half or 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in strips lengthwise
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 large red onion, cut in 8ths
  • 8 small blue potatoes, left whole
  • Salt and pepper
  • Low-fat salad dressing or your favorite marinade

I pre-cooked the potatoes in the microwave for about 4 minutes on a glass plate. Spread  the chicken with low-fat Italian salad dressing.  You could certainly make your own dressing.  Then I used metal skewers or you can pre-soak some wooden skewers for the kabobs.

To assemble the kabobs:

  1. Onion
  2. Chicken
  3. Tomato
  4. Chicken
  5. Potato
  6. Chicken
  7. Tomato
  8. Chicken
  9. Potato

This should make 4-5 kabobs depending on the length of your skewer.  Mine were about 10” and it made 4 very full kabobs.

After assembling salt and pepper and add an additional herb.  I chose a garlic/herb seasoning with no sodium.

I put these on a hot grill and cooked for about 7 minutes on one side and about 6 minutes on the other.  Only turning once so the tomatoes don’t fall apart.  Use tongs and turn them by using a piece of the chicken to hold on to as you turn.

Additional salad dressing can be added to one side before you turn and on the other side after turning.   Remove to a platter and allow to rest while you assemble your salad.

Revvvvvvv Your Engines for a Burger Bash


Nascar BurgerIts that time of year…and we are sooooo ready for NASCAR events to begin.  For Tumbleweed Contessa’s family, NASCAR means barbecue.  We began our preparations with a trip to the Savory Spice Shop at the Arboretum in Austin.  Armed with some cumin and other unexplored spices, we are ready to get grilling (or have a man in the house do so.)  There was a family meeting on whether to have turkey, beef, chicken or veggie burgers (really, who has a veggie burger?)  We decided on beef and hit the store – while we use a lean beef, don’t go too lean because you lose all the flavor.  You can flavor your meat as we have suggested below or with variations (add some chopped shallots, onions, chives or jalapeños) and go heavier or lighter on the seasonsings depending on your taste.

We also like to make our burgers smaller — go sliders!  You can pick up slider buns at most local grocery stores.  You can also ask them order those buns if they are not regularly stocked.  My store does not regularly stock them.  Once they are grilled, the toppings complete your unique slider or burger.  We have ketchup, mustard, mayonaise, red onions, pickles, olives for olive tapenade, lettuce, tomato, jalapeño, and a variety of cheeses to melt over the top (American, blue, swiss, cheddar, jack, pepper jack.)  For a tangy twist, flavor your mayonaise with your favorite flavor.  I like balsamic vinegar and Worstershire, horseradish or wasabi — just a little goes a long way.

Today, we have agreed to have some chips and baked beans, but any of your favorite burger side dishes will do just fine. Rev your engines because its time to get back to NASCAR and time to get grilling with our burger bash!  Its a Slider celebration!

  • 2 pounds ground beef (93% lean)
  • 5 tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning (or your favorite steak seasoning)
  • 2 tablespoons Worstershire Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder

Mix it all up and let the mixture rest for about 15 minutes, while you chop the toppings.  Shape them into balls of about 1/3 cup and flatten them out.  Make sure to put a thumb print smack dab in the middle so they cook evenly.  Since its raining today, we are grilling inside on the grill pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes on your first side and 2 minutes on the other.  A little longer if you like them cooked more than medium. Melt the cheese before removing from the grill and you are ready to eat.

This makes between 12 and 16 sliders.

I updated this for the Grilling party at This Week’s Cravings in August.  Still good!