Sunday, August 12, 2012

Not Your Average Burger & Fries

I have been trying out some new burger recipes lately. While we all love the traditional grilled burger topped with American or cheddar cheese, it's also fun to try new recipes with varied toppings. Awhile back, I had pinned recipes for two such burgers that I wanted to try, but without our grill at the apartment, we hadn't given them a try until recently. With all of the rainy days here at the house since we moved in a month ago, grilling has been difficult, but we have managed to luck out and get our fair share in this summer.

The first recipe I tried was for a Caprese Burger. You can find the pin here. The original recipe is from the wishes and dishes blog. It's pretty simple and easy to make.

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used lean)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 slices of tomato
  • 4 slices (1/4-inch) of fresh Mozzarella
  • 8 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 English muffins (I used whole wheat)
For the balsamic glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid reduces by half and is slightly syrupy. Remove from the heat, pour it into a bowl or glass, and set aside to cool and thicken.

Mix the ground beef and the garlic. Form into 4 equal-sized patties.

Preheat a gas grill to medium. Cook the burgers on the preheated grill for about 7 minutes per side, or until they are cooked to your desired degree of doneness.

Toast the English muffins in a toaster until they are light golden brown.

Place the burger on the bottom half of an English muffin and top with a slice of tomato and a slice of fresh mozzarella. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the cheese and top with basil leaves and the upper half of the English muffin. Enjoy!

This is probably our favorite burger recipe we have tried to date. It is such a fresh and light take on a traditional burger and you don't feel bad indulging in one. ;)

The next burger recipe I tried was for a Spicy Hawaiian Burger. You can find the pin here. The original recipe is from the homemade by holman blog. This was another easy recipe to follow.

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used lean ground beef instead of the ground chicken the original recipe called for)
  • 4 fresh pineapple rings (cut about 1/2" to 3/4" thick)
  • 4 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 4 whole wheat English muffins
  • 1/8 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Combine the ground beef, soy sauce, 1/2 the paprika, 1/2 the chili powder, seasoning salt, cumin and garlic. Lightly mix all of this with your hands and divide into 4 even balls. Form patties, making them slightly thinner in the middle and sprinkle with the remaining paprika and chili powder.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill to medium heat. Coat the grates lightly with cooking spray or oil. Grill the burgers over medium heat for about 7 minutes per side. Top with cheese for the last 1-2 minutes of cooking time, to allow it to melt slightly.

For the pineapple, grill the rings directly on the grates over medium heat. Carefully turn after 1-2 minutes.

Toast the English muffins in a toaster until light golden brown.

Assemble the burgers with cheese on English muffins, top with pineapple and enjoy!

I love the idea of combining the spicy burger and cheese with the sweet pineapple. The flavor combinations are awesome. The only problem I had with this one is that the pineapple made the English muffin super soggy, despite toasting it. I wasn't a fan of that. It might be best eaten as an open-faced sandwich instead of as a traditional burger. Or perhaps a longer grilling time on the pineapple would have helped to dry it out more? We'll have to experiment again with this one.

I have talked a lot about my Baked Sweet Potato Fries, as we eat them often, but I have never given an official recipe for how I prepare them. So here we go!

serves 4-6 people
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes
  • ~1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1-2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
Peel the sweet potatoes. Cut them into fry shapes and place them in a bowl. Soak them in lightly salted water for at least 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Drain the water from the bowl and blot the fries dry. Then coat them in a thin layer of cornstarch.

Sprinkle with the EVOO and toss to coat evenly. Next, sprinkle the salt and cinnamon on top and toss to coat evenly.

Spread the fries out in an even layer on a baking sheet, making sure to leave space between them to crisp, instead of steam as they cook. I usually need to use 2 baking sheets to have enough room to spread them out enough.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn them over. Bake for an additional 10 minutes, then turn the broiler onto high and broil for 5 minutes to help crisp them up even more if needed. If you are using 2 pans, rotate them between top and bottom racks after 15 minutes.

Serve with Spicy Ketchup. This is a delicious accompaniment to the sweetness of the fries. I love sweet-spicy combinations and this one hits the spot every time!

serves 2-3 people
  • 2 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 tsp sriracha sauce
Mix together the ketchup and sriracha sauce and serve. If you want it spicier, add more sriracha, but I normally keep it in this ratio (1 Tbsp: 1 tsp).

Burgers are a must in our house. What's your favorite burger recipe?

I've linked up to a great site this week. Be sure to check out more great, healthy recipes!

Cook & Tell Recipe Link-Up from The Shrinking Kitchen


  1. I am pinning the recipe for these fries! I have yet to figure out how to make good ones at home, and I think these may be the winner :)

    1. Awesome, thanks! :) Most restaurants deep fry them to get them nice and crispy, but then they are really heavy-feeling to eat them. These stay nice and light by baking them, but you still get some of that crisp that is so desirable. They get gobbled up very quickly here! :)

  2. Thank you! I really keep getting frustrated that mine are turning out limp and definitely not crispy. I think I'm putting too many on one pan. Here you say they are steaming, which is making them that way? I tried soaking them and blotting them dry tonight. Anyway, not sure if I need an answer for you, but hope this tip works. :)


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