A few years ago I decided I was going to be a vegetarian. I came to this conclusion after one of my many 400 mile commute days…where I cruised from Nebraska through South Dakota…had my company-paid-for vegetarian dinner, then made my way back home to Nebraska. Then I told my husband about my plan. If any of you know the good ol’ Nebraska boy’s mentality…you know he might send you out the front door if you tell him you are giving up meat. But then my dear husband reminded me of all the things I would be missing…& I think it was the loss of the IN-N-OUT Burger that put me back over the edge. I do love a good burger. Especially if I am making a trip home to California & can order one animal style. [droooooling] So…I decided not to follow through with my genius plan. Driving 70,000 miles a year can make you a little crazy, I decided.
But…to the meat of things, who doesn’t love a good burger? Especially a mini-burger! YUMMMM! I was inspired to make sliders by a recipe in the recent Everyday Food Mag, but the burger recipe they provided was a bit lackluster. I used my favorite red meat burger recipe & it was a dinner enjoyed by all–even caroline gobbled up her “mee” (meat) and fries…and broccoli & cauliflower & grapes of course. ;)
RANCH BURGER SLIDERS
Recipe originally found HERE.
Yield: 8 servings
2 pounds lean ground beef (I only used 1lb for this meal)
1 (1 ounce) package ranch dressing mix
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup crushed saltine crackers (I always use two slices of whole wheat bread, crumbled, instead)
1 onion, chopped (I used about half, for 1lb of meat this time)
- Preheat the grill for high heat.
- In a bowl, mix the ground beef, ranch dressing mix, egg, crushed crackers, and onion. Form into hamburger patties.
- Lightly oil the grill grate. Place patties on the grill, and cook 5 minutes per side, or until well done.
All ingredients on the left, including the left over onion from yesterday’s tacos. We love Alexia Fries. These counted as our veggie for dinner. For the sliders, I bought whole wheat dinner rolls from the bakery at Target. I whisked the egg & ranch together before adding the meat & onion. I used my beaba babycook as a food processor for the bread crumbs. :) That little thing is starting to get more & more useful over time.
Don’t over mix the meat, but form into flat patties, size of your choice. You can always make these big, or small. I did small just for fun this time.
I am a big fan of PAM Grilling spray to grease the grates. My burgers always seemed to stick & this does the trick. They slide right off. Be sure to spray BEFORE you heat up the grill. Shot on the right is what was left to clean up as I put the burgers on the grill. Trash square & all. ;)
I don’t like super melted cheese on my burgers, so I sprinkle it on after I pull them off the grill. It melts to the perfect texture, even away from heat!
FREEZING & BIG BATCH COOKING TIPS
Burgers are one of my favorite items to assemble in big batches & freeze. I usually freeze them raw, but I have also cooked & frozen with some really great success. Here are a few pointers:
- Glad Press’n Seal is a great product for freezing burgers. I individually wrap each burger, then put them in a gallon sized Ziploc Freezer Bag. We typically go through them all before I encounter any problems with frostbite.
- Expand your Burger Palette. There are so many lean burger options that are SO tasty. Turkey Burgers, Salmon Burgers & Beef Burgers all taste SO much better when you make & mold them yourself. I have made & frozen all different kinds of burgers. Some we eat open faced. Some we eat without buns. Some are big & some small. I have never met a burger caroline would not eat right along with us.
- Make BIG batches. Why not buy your meat in bulk at the store & make three pounds of burgers at once? You will, overall, have less work chopping the veggies & packaging if you do more at once. 3lbs of burgers could feed you for quite a number of meals, depending on your family’s size! Costco’s organic beef comes in packs of three lbs total–& is not frozen. ;) It is NOT grass fed though. :(
- Cook Organic. It is very difficult to find organic burgers. It is even more difficult to find organic, grass fed burgers. When making them yourself, you can be as discriminating as you like with ingredients & once frozen, they are super easy to defrost & heat up for a quick meal–especially useful if you only need to feed yourself.
- Cook for Baby. When caroline was little, I would hand press her 1 oz patties made from the grass fed beef I bought at the farmer’s market. I cooked them & froze them. When she was ready for a meal, I popped them in the microwave for 10 seconds & they were ready to eat. She got one patty a day for a really long time.
- Freeze the BUNS too! I try and make my husband’s lunch sandwiches with any left over buns from the week’s meals, but sometimes I freeze them too. If they don’t stay too long in the freezer, they come out even moister than they went in! I hate throwing away moldy bread, so freezing is a great option if you know your family will not go through all the buns you bought.
Got a link to an awesome burger recipe? Please share! I am always looking for new ones to add to our rotation! :):):)