Cooking 101 for guys- impossibly easy mini bacon cheeseburger slider pies
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I’ve heard from quite a few guys that the reason they don’t cook is that they get home late from work and are so hungry they simply go grab a burrito from some fast food place.  I say bull.  Make these.  You will like them.  You can carry them with you easily and eat for lunch or a pre-workout snack.  They will keep in the fridge for a couple of days no problem.  Ideally, you will warm them slowly in the oven.  If you microwave them, I promise not to judge. Serve them with a side iceberg lettuce salad or celery and carrots and your mom and I will be proud of you.

Prep time- 20 minutes

Cooking time- 30 minutes.

Makes 12 mini pie sliders

 

Ingredients-

1 pound of lean ground beef

1 onion chopped

2 garlic cloves, pressed

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp. cumin

3 slices of bacon

2 jalapeño peppers, chopped (seeds in)

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Baking mixture ingredients-

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup biscuit flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free, but any biscuit mix will do)

3 eggs

butter for greasing the tins

Condiment suggestions-

dill pickles, ketchup, sriracha, avocado, tomato slices, relish, hot mustard, Sauerkraut- whatever you like.

 

Directions-

1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.  Cook your bacon slices in a cast iron pan on medium heat.  If you don’t have a cast iron pan- it’s time you got one.  Alternately you could cook your bacon in the pan you own. Remove cooked bacon from pan and set aside on paper towel. Remove the pan from the burner for a second and carefully wipe a bit of the bacon fat out of the pan with some paper towel (not all of it!).

2. Return pan to medium heat and add your chopped onion to the pan.  Cook for a minute or so until it is just starting to soften.  Add your ground beef to the pan and using a wooden spoon, break it up into smaller chunks.  Stir occasionally.  When it is starting to brown nicely, season with salt and pepper a bit and  add your garlic, just a sprinkling of cumin, stir it in.  Meanwhile, cut your cooked bacon slices width wise into thin strips. When your beef mixture is browned through, add the bacon.  Turn off the heat and stir in your jalapeños.  Take a test bite.  Add more salt and pepper if required. Set aside.

3. Measure out your biscuit mix into a medium size bowl.  Whisk in your eggs and milk until fully incorporated.

4. Grease your muffin tins well with butter (put some butter on a piece of wax paper or paper towel and smear that stuff all over the inside of the muffin molds). Alternatively, use cooking spray (boring)

5. Add one Tbsp of the biscuit mixture to each tin, then top with 1/4 cup of your bacon/beef mixture.  Next add another Tbsp of biscuit mixture, top with a sprinkling of shredded cheddar and throw those bad boys in the oven, setting the timer for 30 minutes. (Look through that door a few minutes before hand to make sure you are not over cooking).  They will have a nice browning and a toothpick should come out clean when the pies are done. Mine took 28 minutes.  I baked mine on convect.

6. Carefully tease your pies out of the tins so that you don’t break them (a fork or knife will do the trick)

7. Top with a dill pickle slice and ketchup -or any of the other toppings I have suggested.  Or maybe you have a fav burger topping of your own.

 

As I was eating mine- I was saying to myself, mmmmmffff, this is so F’n good.  I think you will like them.

 

About Learning to Cook-

I found this recipe on Betty Crockers site.  Keep in mind their target audience is Mom’s with small children.  I was certainly interested in a portable hand held burger but it was obvious to me that the recipe would be bland.  They don’t even call for salt and pepper! So what did I think?  I thought Bacon!  I’ll add bacon.  And since I’m already cooking up this bacon, I’m gonna cook this beef right in the bacon fat.  Savory goodness.  Salt and pepper of course, no chef forgoes these!  And Cumin for a little added interest.  I like spicy stuff, so I added the jalapeños. Their recipe calls for Worcestershire sauce, but since I was adding cumin and smoky bacon, I didn’t need that.  Also, I could tell the biscuit mixture was a little sparse, so I made up a bigger batch.  And the cheese.  I watched their video and honestly the pies came out rather bland looking.  So I put my cheese right on top.  Browns up nice and adds a good crispy top.  And that is how you will think once you start to cook more.

 

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cooking for guys 101- spicy chili beef nachos & salsa
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Serves 2-3 hungry guys.

1/2 hour prep- 12-14 minutes cooking time

 

Ingredients
Salsa
1/2 small red onion, chopped coarsely
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, washed and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cloves garlic , peeled
2 tbsp pickled jalapeño peppers , drained
1/4 tsp. salt
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes , drained

red chili flakes, to taste

fresh ground black pepper, to taste

 

Spicy Beef
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1 small onion , chopped fine
3 cloves garlic , minced
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. salt
1 pound extra lean ground beef
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp. brown sugar
2 medium chipotle chili (from can in adobo sauce) , chopped, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1/2 cup water
2 tsp. lime juice
Extras-

1/2 red bell pepper, washed and chopped fine
1 bag corn tortilla chips
4 cups shredded jalapeño Jack cheese
2 jalapeño chiles (medium) washed, sliced into thin rings

black olives, sliced
Directions-
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. For the salsa-  Pulse onion, cilantro, lime juice, garlic, jalapeños, tomatoes and salt in blender until roughly chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Season to taste with red chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Transfer mixture to fine-mesh strainer and drain for a few minutes (get the water out).  Place drained salsa in a small bowl and set aside.

3. For the beef-  Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion about 4 minutes until soft. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt and cook, about 1 minute. Add beef and cook, breaking meat into small bits with wooden spoon and scraping pan bottom to prevent scorching, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste, sugar, chile, and adobo sauce and cook until paste begins to darken, about 1 minute. Add water, bring to simmer, and cook over medium-low until mixture is nearly dry, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in lime juice and cook for a few more minutes until most of the liquid is gone.
5. To assemble- Spread half of chips on parchment lined baking sheet.  Scatter cheese over each chip individually. Next add some jalapeños, red pepper, olives and a little meat onto each chip,  add another layer and repeat with remaining chips. Bake until cheese is melted and just beginning to brown, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream.

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Cooking 101 for guys- Quick & easy tomato soup with crispy pancetta
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You are gonna like this a lot.

6-8 servings, will freeze in batches no problem

prep- 10 minutes, cooking- 30 minutes total

Serve with a grill cheese or garlic toast.  The easiest way to make garlic toast? Make toast. Rub it 3 times with a cut slice of garlic. Voila!  Garlic toast for dipping in soup.

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil

2 onions (yellow or white), coarsely chopped

3 – 14 ounce cans of diced tomatoes (no added sugar)

1/2 cup tomato paste (thats about one small can)

2 cups chicken stock

1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 cup orange juice

4 cloves of garlic, pressed or chopped

8 slices of Pancetta

sour cream- you can get low fat or non-dairy if you like

fresh chives

sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.

 

Directions:

1. Heat a Tbsp of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Once the oil is warm, add the chopped onions and cook ( and stir occasionally) for about 4 minutes until the onions are soft. Add the garlic and cook and stir for about 1 more minute.  Add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken stock, balsamic vinegar, and orange juice. Add a little salt and pepper at this time. Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat to low/med and partially cover with a lid. Cook for 30 minutes.

2. While soup is cooking, Heat a tiny bit of olive oil in a non stick fry pan at medium heat and spread it around well with a flipper or wooden spoon.  Add the Pancetta slices and cook for a minute or so on each side until crisp.  Remove from heat, cut into slices and set aside.

3.  When the 30 minutes are up, remove your soup from the heat and transfer to a blender in batches (I like to use a ladle) .  Don’t fill your blender to the top with hot soup.  About half way.  Before you turn it on, you want to make sure you are wearing an oven mitt and that you have a t-towel over top of the lid.  Press down firmly on the lid before you start that blender. The lid will try to pop a bit when you are blending hot soup.  You really don’t want hot soup in your face.  Blend the batches just until the onion pieces are getting blended.  No need for a perfectly uniform texture.  It’s better with a little rustic texture.

4. Ladle the soup into bowls, arrange pancetta pieces over the soup and using clean kitchen scissors, cut some fresh chives on top.  Spoon a bit of sour cream or ricotta into the soup, give a swirl and season to taste again with salt and pepper.

5. Serve with garlic toast or a grilled cheese or salad from the leftover veggies from my last recipe!

tips- If you make this for any woman, she will think you are a culinary genius.  And, if it’s summer, and you use around 13 FRESH, chopped tomatoes instead of the canned variety, she will say yes.

If you want to use bacon instead of Pancetta, I really don’t have a problem with that.

 

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