Sandwiches and Side Dishes

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Pockets

Almost every Sunday morning, either Mr. Ginge or I roll out of bed, throw on some coffee and heat up a pan for breakfast.

bacon cheese burger pockets

Our usual rotation includes french toast, bacon and eggs, and sometimes pancakes thrown in. If we are really feeling fancy, we’ll head out to one of the local diners for breakfast.

So it goes with out saying that my initial idea for this month’s Improv Challenge, hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, was to make breakfast.  Except, I could think of anything that I really loved, and that honestly as a challenge.

bacon double cheeseburger pockets

When I noticed some pizza dough in the freezer it hit me. One of my favourite treats when I was a kids was bacon double cheeseburger pizzas. I would  literally beg my dad to order it instead of  the usual pepperoni. We’ve also been on a bit of a calzone kick, every once and a while picking one up when we’re out visiting friends. And with that the idea was born. With a quick egg wash, I had something both delicious and challenge worthy.

Cheeseburger pockets
Bacon Double Cheese Burger Pockets

makes 6 pockets

  • Homemade or store bought pizza dough ( I made my own, but after the disaster I made last time, I used the recipe out of my Kitchen Aid manual ) 
  • 1 lb ( 454 g) ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 6 strips of bacon, cooked till crisp
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F/ 180 ° C. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large pan, brown the meat, onions, and garlic together, until onions are translucent and meat is no longer pink. Drain any excess fat and return to the pan. Add the beef broth, barbecue sauce, ketchup and mustard to the pan, stirring to combine.  Simmer the mixture until it is thickened.
  3. Divide the pizza dough into 6 equal sections. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each into a round to about 6 inches/ 15 cm across. I find it easiest to use a rolling pin, but feel free to stretch it out by hand.  Divide the meat mixture between the six rounds. Top with a strip of bacon and 1/3 cup of each of the cheeses.
  4. Fold one edge of the round over, so that you end up with a half moon shape. To seal the pocket, gently press the edges together, then fold over. Transfer to the paper lined sheet.
  5.  Brush each of the tops with some of the beaten egg, making sure to cover along the seams. Sprinkle with the reserved cheddar cheese
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for about  15 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and the dough is golden brown. Let cool on the tray for about 5 minutes, then serve along side a fresh salad.

Don’t forget to check out what others have come up with using Eggs and Bacon!

– Mel


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I also linked this recipe to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff Saturdays! Click the link to check out more great recipes!

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Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Improv Challenge: Greek Pasta Salad

I won’t lie. Corn and Butter stumped me.

Greek Pasta Salad

For this month’s Improv Challenge,  hosted by Kristen of Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker, I knew exactly what I was going to make. One thing immediately comes to mind when I think of Tomatoes and Peppers: Greek Pasta Salad.

When I was in high school ( and for a short time after I graduated), I worked as a cook in a small local restaurant  that did catering on the side. Especially in the summer.  Many nights were spent not only cooking, cleaning and prepping for the next morning, but also prepping for an upcoming event they were catering. I won’t lie, I hated the catering jobs. You were always fighting for space in the small kitchen, it was almost impossible to get on top of prep work, they made ten tons of dishes,  and it always meant you were in for an extra long shift.

Greek Pasta Salad

The good part about it is that you were almost always rewarded with a bowl of this pasta salad. It was sooo good. I lucked out one day, and was able to take some home with me.  I stuck the containers in the fridge, told my mom there was some leftovers from the restaurant there and then thought no more of it until I got home from and early shift the next day. It was gone. All gone.  And Mom was asking how they made it.

So we tinkered with it, and found something just as irresistible. My brother will literally mound this on his plate.  And it turns out we weren’t the only ones who thought so.  Whenever we took it to get-togethers, we were almost always asked for the recipe. A friend loved it so much, that when she got married, it was my job to bring the salad to the showers, Jack and Jill, and rehearsal dinners. Both her and her new mother-in-law ended up with the recipe afterwards.

Greek Pasta Salad

Greek Pasta Salad

  • 450g / 1 lb uncooked fusili or other curly pasta
  • 1 pint container of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup green onion, chopped or 1/2 red onion chopped ( Red onion is prettier in the salad, but gets to be overpowering if you  make it ahead of time)
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  •  greek dressing (recipe below) or store-bought creamy feta dressing.
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Rinse the pasta slightly ( otherwise I find you get a solid lump of pasta) then chill.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the pasta, cherry tomatoes, green pepper, onions and feta. Before serving, pour in the dressing and mix well. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

Greek Dressing

adapted from the restaurants house dressing and Best Recipes ever

  • 1 cup sour cream or greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 clove of garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the sour cream, feta cheese, garlic, oregano, parsley and 1/2 tsp pepper. Pulse a few times to combine and break up the feta.
  2. Add the vinegar and the olive oil and pulse for about 30 seconds. Give the dressing a taste and add the remainder of the pepper if desired. We like it quite peppery.
  3. Pour over your salad or into a container and store in the fridge.

Seriously, eat this now.

And don’t forget to check out what others came up with using tomatoes and peppers!

-Mel


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I also featured this recipe on The Weekend Potluck, the Stone Gable, and Strut Your Stuff Saturday. Click the link to check out more great recipes.

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Steve’s Pulled Beef

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to be invited up to our friend’s cabin for the day.

I always enjoy when we get invited up there. It’s located in an old ghost town that is only accessible these days by an old fire route. Mostly now it’s just a bunch of hunting camps, but many of the old buildings are still partially standing, and there is an old graveyard somewhere, although we have yet to find it.We were treated to a wonderful lunch( I provided the cookies 😉 ), and challenged to a friendly shoot out. Zombie targets were involved.  I’m happy to report that the paper zombies did not survive. 🙂

This is our friends recipe, and he is both a butcher and an excellent cook. We first had it on a prior visit up to the cabin. It was so good, that Mr Ginge beat me to the punch and asked him how he made it. And we’ve made it many times since we got the recipe. It’s perfect for the summer months because you just throw it in the crock pot and let it do it’s thing all day. So it doesn’t heat up your house.  Which  in last weeks heat wave, was golden.

A few notes on the recipe: A blade roast is key. I have tried it with different roast, and they either haven’t shredded or not worked nearly as well. Also, this is one of those recipes that can’t be hurried up. It really needs the full 8 hours to get all tender.

Steve’s Pulled Beef

serves 4 

  • 1 2lb boneless blade roast
  • 2 tbsp montreal steak spice
  • about 1/4 beef broth or water
  • 4 buns

optional:

  • horseradish
  • bbq sauce
  • cheese
  • onions
  1. Rub the roast with steak spice and place in your slow cooker. Pour the beef broth into the bottom, secure the lid and set to low for 8 hours. 
  2. After 8 hours, remove the roast and shred with 2 forks. If there are any large bits of fat, be sure to remove them. They aren’t very tasty. Return the shredded beef to the broth, mix, and continue cooking on low for another 1/2 hour.
  3. Slice the buns in half, pile on some meat and add your favourite toppings. I like mine with a bit of BBQ sauce and some sharp cheddar cheese.
I would like to say that this was the perfect meal to come home to after our little road trip, but sadly, I am not that put together and forgot. Oops.
-Mel
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I linked this recipes up to The Weekend Potluck and Strut Your Stuff SaturdaysClick the link to check out some more great recipes!

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Avocado Salsa Triangles

Avocados are a relatively “new” food for me.

I have to admit, their green colour and texture, was an initial off-put for me. Not only that, it’s not always to find a perfectly ripe avocado in small town Ontario. Often it takes some grocery store hopping in order to find a semi-ripe one.

It wasn’t until the last 18 months or so that I really started eating them.  Someone made me guacamole, and from there I was hooked. It’s cool creamy texture was irresistible. Scoop after scoop, I just kept eating it. From there I have been putting it on just everything, toast, tacos, burgers, chips, salad. I’ll even eat it right out of the shell. Mr. Ginge, however is not quite as sold. He calls them ” those guac-ey things” and promptly turns up his nose.

Fortunately, Mom is also an avocado fan, and is willing to try thing that use the soft green fruit.  She was actually the one responsible for finding this recipe, and when we discovered that we had most of the ingredients on hand, we made it almost immediately.

This recipe comes from Averie of Averie Cooks (via Pinterest).  I’ve adapted it to suit our tastes, namely changing it from puff pastry to phyllo. We have made this for lunch a few times since she came across the recipe. We’ve also tried it using crescent rolls instead of the pastry. It’s  good that way, but we preferred it with the flaky phyllo.

Avocado Salsa Triangles

makes 10 triangles. Adapted from Averie Cooks

  • 5 sheets of phyllo pastry
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 pkg cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 salsa (I used homemade)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the salsa and the cream cheese. Set aside.
  3. Working with one sheet of pastry at a time and working with a sharp knife, cut each sheet in half along the horizontal ( the longest side). Cut it in half again so that you have 4 long strips. Set two strips aside. Lightly brush one strip with melted butter, then top with the other strip, lightly pressing them together.
  4. Place a couple slices of avocado on one end of the strip. Top with a tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture.
  5. Fold the bottom corner up and meet it up with the top edge ( you should have a triangle). Keep folding over, keeping the triangle shape until you reach the end. Place on a baking sheet and lightly brush the top with butter. Repeat with the other two strips and the remaining strips.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown.  Let cool a couple minutes on the sheet, then enjoy!
Yummy!
-Mel
Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Amarula French Toast

Sundays, Mr, Ginge and I do breakfast. Occasionally, we go out, but more often one of us gets up, brews some coffee and fixes breakfast.

Usually we stick to classics, like bacon and eggs or pancakes.

This week started as french toast. He was feeling like a “special-coffee” with his breakfast, and busted out the Amarula.

In a late-morning stroke of genius, some of the liqueur found its way in to our breakfast. And my goodness, what a thought it was.

I was quite literally drooling as it cooked.

If you are having guests over for the holidays, this would make a great addition to your brunch spread.

Amarula French Toast.

serves 4

  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 c. Amarula or other cream liqueur ( we think Baileys would be pretty good as well)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp milk or cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt
  • 8 slices of bread
  • butter for pan.
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Melt a teaspoon or so of butter to lightly grease.
  2. In a shallow bowl or dish, mix the eggs, Amarula, milk, vanilla and salt.
  3. Dip a couple slices of bread in the eggs, coating each side.
  4. Cook in the skillet, a couple minutes on each side, or until golden brown, adding butter between slices if needed.
  5. Serve immediately with a light dusting of icing sugar and some syrup. ( Mr. Ginge recommends a nice Canadian amber maple syrup)

Bon apetit!

-Mel

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Love + More Love

Mmmm…. doesn’t this look tasty?

An ooey- gooey jalapeno popper grilled cheese sammy.

But wait….

Isn’t this a baking blog?

Technically yes, but this was too good not to share. And I made up for it by baking my own bread. 🙂

I came up with this recipe when I stumbled across a similar recipe on Food Gawker. Be forwarned. Food Gawker is horribly addictive. I couldn’t tell you how many pages I have flagged, because the contents have nearly made me drool all over my desk.

We love jalapeno poppers around this house. This recipe was one I could not stop thinking about. So I made it for lunch for me and Mr. Ginge on the weekend. And then again one night for an easy supper.

It’s that good.

Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese Sandwich

makes 2 sandwiches

  • 4 slices country bread
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 jalapenos finely, seeded & finely chopped ( use  less if you don’t want too much heat)
  • 2oz cream cheese softened ( about 1/4 of a brick)
  • 1/3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Heat up your pan or grill
  2. Butter up one side of each of the slices of bread.
  3. Chop up your jalapenos. A really easy way to chop them up is to make four slices down the sides of the pepper. You should end up with four flat slivers that are really easy to chop up and leaves all the seeds behind!
  4. Mix your peppers in with the cream cheese and spread on half of the slices, on the unbuttered side.
  5. Top with some of the cheddar.
  6. And your other slice of bread, buttered side up.
  7. Grill until nice and golden brown on each side
  8. Slice in half and enjoy!

Mmmm…. The best of a popper and a grilled cheese all in one!

-Mel

P.S.- if you have any of the cream cheese mix left over, it makes a really good snack spread on crackers!

Categories: Sandwiches and Side Dishes | Tags: , | 1 Comment

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