Patty Melt with Bourbon Whiskey Onions and a Kicked Up Burger Sauce

The patty melt. What’s not to love about a patty melt. It’s a delicious combination of a burger and a luscious grilled cheese. It’s typically served on rye bread with sautéed onions, but a nice white bread tastes just as good. It’s been a diner staple for years and it really doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It’s like the under dressed burger when looked upon for the first time, you might not think much of it, but then you take that first crunchy, juicy cheesy bite, you soon realize that this is truly the star of the show.

For me the patty melt is not only a total indulgent comfort food, but it also reminds me of my dad. When I was a kid if my mom had to work late or wanted a girls day out with friends, he would take me to one of our special places for dinner. I call them special places, but really they were the Kmart café way back when….yes it shows my age and don’t knock it the food was good from what I remember…and a little mom and pop burger place not far from where we lived. He introduced me to my first patty melt there at that burger place. It was so simple but oh so good. This patty melt is no different… ok a little different. On the outside it might look like a typical patty melt, but it packs a tasty delectable punch. It has that same juicy patty that has been smashed a little thinner like a regular patty melt with the melted cheesy goodness of swiss and Colby Jack. It’s topped with onions that have been simmered and caramelized in bourbon whiskey, butter and brown sugar. Then there is the burger sauce, a slightly spicy, creamy sauce that adds just enough kick to send this melt over the top. Just when you didn’t think it could get any better, it’s all nestled between two slices of buttery grilled Texas toast. Now I’m really wanting another patty melt.

Here’s what you need to make your own:

This was for 4 burgers

*Texas toast; 2 slices per burger

*2 TBS butter

*sliced swiss cheese, 1 slice per sandwich

*sliced Colby Jack cheese, 1 slice per sandwich

For the Bourbon Whiskey Onions:

*1 medium onion, chopped

*2 TBS butter

*1 1/2 TBS bourbon whiskey

*1 1/2 tsp. brown sugar, or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. salt or more to taste

*cracked pepper to taste

For the Kicked Up Burger Sauce:

*1/4 cup mayonnaise

*1 TBS. Dijon mustard

*1/2 tsp. chipotle chili powder or more to taste

*1/2 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

For the Patties:

*1 1/2 lbs ground beef

*1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*2 tsp. onion powder

*2 tsp garlic powder

*cracked black pepper to taste

*1/2 tsp. salt

For the onions:

In a medium sauce pan add all of the ingredients for the Bourbon whiskey onions.

Stir all of the ingredients together and heat on medium high heat until the onions start to cook, then turn the heat down to medium low. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the onions are soft and turn a golden brown, stirring often. Taste and add more salt if needed.

For the Burger sauce:

In a small bowl, combine all of the ingredients and stir well to blend together.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the Patties

In a large bowl, place in the ground beef and the rest of the ingredients for the burger patties.

Mix until combined, but do not over mix or the patties will not be as tender; form into 4 patties.

Heat a large cast iron pan to medium high heat. When the pan is very hot, add the patties to the pan.

With a spatula, press down on the patties to flatten them out a bit.

Cook for about 3 minutes and flip them over and continue to cook another 3 minutes or until the patties are done.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Wipe out the pan but it’s ok to leave some of the drippings behind if desired.

Heat the pan on medium heat and add 1 TBS of butter.

After the butter has melted place 1 piece of bread for each sandwich into the pan.

then assemble the patty melts by adding a slice of the swiss cheese.

then a hamburger patty

a slice of Colby Jack cheese

Spoon on some of the onion mixture on top of the cheese.

Then slather on some of that delectable sauce.

And lastly, top with another slice of bread. When the bottom bread is toasted, add another tablespoon of butter and gently turn the sandwich over.

Continue cooking until the other side of the bread is toasted as well.

Carefully turn the sandwich over with the sauce and onions right side up and place on to a plate.

Serve while still warm and enjoy!

Homemade Pepperoni Bacon Pizza with Store Bought Dough

Hubby and I eat our fair share of pizza. It’s a great go to meal and well……we love pizza. There are a few good frozen brands out their that is good to keep tucked away in the freezer, delivery is great as well, but it can get costly so making it at home is the best way to go. It’s really easy, especially when you can use premade dough. You can make your own dough, but I find that there are some good premade dough available and that makes it even easier and faster. Most local grocery stores now sell balls of dough as well as some pizza places will sell their dough. It’s mostly about finding the right one that you prefer.

Making your own pizza is like having a blank canvas. You can make it just the way you like, let your imagination and taste buds go wild. My hubby has even created a pizza with pepperoni and some leftover Chinese boneless spareribs. Did I think at first he had went a little too wild and crazy with the topping? Sure I did…but one bite and I was hooked. That being said, for this one I wanted to start out simple, but again add anything you like.

Here’s what you need:

*pizza dough

*olive oil for the pan and the pizza dough

*pizza sauce either from a jar or homemade; I used some already made

*favorite pizza toppings; I used pepperoni and 3 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled into pieces

*1 1/2 cups or more of Shredded cheese; I used a blend of cheddar and mozzarella

I find that letting the dough set out for 30 minutes before using it makes it easier to work with.

Preheat oven to 425°.

If using a pizza stone, preheat the stone then add some corneal before adding the dough. I find this keeps the dough from sticking.

If using a pizza pan or sheet pan, brush with olive oil.

Roll out the dough and using your finger tips, gently stretch out the dough to fit the pan. It’s ok if it isn’t perfectly round or square, I call that rustic and it’s what makes it unique. No matter how hard I try, mine has never looked perfect so yes, we shall call it rustic. Brush the dough with a little olive oil.

Prebake the dough for about 5 minutes.

After the dough is prebaked, spread on some of the pizza sauce.

Then sprinkle on the cheese.

Add on the toppings.

Bake for about 7 to 8 minutes or until crust is done and cheese is melted.

Cut into slices and serve.

Rosemary Mustard Roasted Potatoes

These Rosemary mustard potatoes are so simple to make and they are a great side dish to chicken, pork and even steak. The Dijon mustard really adds a nice tang to these delicious potatoes. They are roasted in the oven and turn out crispy on the outside, but soft on the inside.

Here’s what you need:

*1 IB or more red, yellow or russet potatoes, cut into bite size pieces; I usually use red potatoes, but my store was out so I used russet.

*3 TBS Dijon mustard

*1/4 cup olive oil + more for the pan and to pour over the potatoes while cooking if needed

*2 tsp. dried Rosemary or 1TBS fresh rosemary chopped

*1/2 TBS smoked paprika

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1 tsp. salt or more to taste

*1 TBS white wine

Preheat oven to 425°

In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients except for the potatoes.

Add potatoes to the bowl and toss to coat.

Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a baking pan. Pour in the potatoes and spread in an even layer.

Cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until potatoes are golden brown on the outside and soft in the inside.

If the potatoes appear to dry out during the cooking time, drizzle with more olive oil.

Place in a serving bowl and serve.

Air Fryer Boneless Herb Pork Chops

I found some beautiful boneless pork chops at the grocery store the other day. I have cooked pork chops so many ways, but never in my handy dandy air fryer. I admit, I was nervous. I have used my air fryer quite a lot recently, but mainly for frozen foods, hard boiled eggs and I have to say, hot dogs are awesome done in the air fryer. I wasn’t sure how this pork would turn out, but I’m happy to say, they turned out great. They were moist and so flavorful with the sage, rosemary and Thyme and it took half the time to cook in the air fryer than in the oven.

Here’s what you need:

*boneless pork chops

*salt to taste

*1 tsp. dried sage

*1 tsp. dried rosemary

*1 tsp. dried thyme

*olive oil for lightly coating fryer basket

In a small bowl, mix together sage, rosemary and thyme.

30 minutes before cooking the pork, pat them dry with paper towels. Sprinkle pork chops with salt on both sides, then sprinkle them on both sides with the sage mixture.

Preheat the air fryer at 400° for 5 minutes.

With a silicone basting brush, lightly coat the bottom of the air fryer basket with the olive oil. You can use cooking spray, but I try not to use this because over time it leaves a sticky coating on the basket.

Place the pork in the basket in an even layer where they are not touching.

Cook for 5 minutes and flip them over, then cook for another 5 minutes or until the pork reaches an internal temp of 145°

*Note*

Cooking time might vary depending on the brand and size of the air fryer.

Let the pork rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Skillet Potato and Bacon Breakfast Scramble

I love breakfast. Pancakes are great, but give me some eggs, fried potatoes and bacon….throw in a biscuit and I’m in heaven. This breakfast scramble meets all of those requirements and more. It has golden diced potatoes, crispy bacon, chives and some tasty Gruyere cheese all tossed together with some fluffy scrambled eggs. Not only does this make a hearty breakfast, but it’s easy as well and all done in one skillet.

Here’s what you need:

This is for one serving, but you can easily double it for more.

*2 eggs

*3/4 cups frozen diced potatoes; I did used these still frozen

*2TBS or more of canola oil

*2 slices of bacon

*salt and pepper to taste

*1/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese or any other cheese you prefer

*2 tsp. dried chives or 1 TBS fresh chopped chives, or more to taste

Heat a medium to large skillet to medium high heat; add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon and crumble into pieces and set aside. Drain some of the bacon drippings, but leave about 1 TBS in the pan.

Pour in the canola oil and add the frozen diced potatoes to the skillet. Cook until golden brown, stirring occasionally.

While potatoes are cooking, whisk eggs in a small bowl.

add some cracked pepper to the eggs; set aside.

Turn the skillet down to medium heat and add the bacon.

Slowly pour in the eggs.

Add salt and pepper to taste, then add in the cheese and the chives.

With a spatula, start mixing the eggs with the potato and bacon until it’s all incorporated but the eggs are still soft.

Place on plates and serve.

Pan Seared Marinated Steaks with Rosemary Garlic Butter

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know by now that I love a good steak. You might also be thinking…another steak post? Yes, but this time I wanted something a little different. I marinated these lovely steaks. I don’t usually do that, I just add a few things to them and sear them in the skillet or on the grill. This marinade added so much flavor and the rosemary garlic butter took it to the next level. This marinade is quick to mix up and great for any cut of steak or even chicken or pork.

Here’s what you need:

*Desired cut steak; I used Ribeye

Marinade:

*1/2 cup soy sauce

*1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

*1 TBS olive oil + 1 TBS for cooking the steaks

*1 TBS lemon juice

*1 TBS brown sugar

*1 1/2 tsp. Penzey’s Mitchell Street Steak Seasoning or you can substitute

*1/2 tsp onion powder

*1/2 tsp. garlic powder

*1/4 tsp. paprika

*1/8 tsp. dill weed

*pinch of allspice

*cracked pepper to taste

Rosemary Garlic Butter:

*3 TBS butter; softened

*2 large garlic cloves smashed and minced

*1/2 TBS dried Rosemary or 1 TBS fresh chopped

Mix all of the ingredients for the marinade together.

Place steaks in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over the steaks. Gently squeeze the bag to get as much of the air out as possible and seal.

Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or over night, turning the bag over at least once during the marinating time.

While the steaks are marinating, mix all of the ingredients to the rosemary garlic butter.

Place butter mixture on a sheet of plastic wrap and start rolling the plastic wrap around the butter.

Form the butter into a sort of log shape.

This will make it easier to cut the butter into slices later.

Twist the edges of the plastic wrap to secure the ends.

Refrigerate until ready to use.

Take the steaks out of the refrigerator and out of the marinade 45 minutes before cooking; dry well with paper towels and discard the marinade.

Heat a cast iron pan with the olive oil to medium high heat. When the pan is searing hot, add the steaks.

Take the Rosemary garlic butter out of the fridge and cut in half and place on one side of the pan.

When the butter starts to melt, tilt the pan and using a spoon, begin basting the steaks with the butter mixture. If the butter starts to burn, turn the heat down to medium.

Cook for about 3 minutes while continuing to baste the steaks with the butter mixture.

Turn the steaks over and cook another 2 to 3 minutes for medium rare. Cook about 4 minutes for medium.

  • Medium Rare (soft, dark pink inside): 145 degrees F
  • Medium (soft, some pink inside): 160 degrees F
  • Well Done (very firm, no pink inside): 170 degrees F

Take the steaks out of the pan and place on plates; cover loosely with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

Spoon any leftover pan drippings over the steak if desired and serve.

Loaded Waffle Tots

It’s been a while since I’ve pulled out the waffle maker and tried something new. I had some leftover frozen tater tots and thought I’d try loaded waffle tots….I don’t know why, but I love the sound of waffle tots….makes me happy.

These turned out so crunchy and satisfying with the crispy bacon and melted cheese on the warm tater tots pressed into a delicious waffle, then topped with the cool tang of sour cream and chives. The only thing that I will do a little differently next time, is when making these in a Belgium waffle maker, there needs to be more tater tots on top to fill in the gaps. Other than that these were a hit.

Here’s what you need:

*frozen tater tots; I did not thaw mine

*1/4 cup of shredded cheese per waffle; I used a cheddar Colby jack blend

*2 slices of bacon per waffle, cooked crisp and crumbled

*sour cream, to taste

*dried or fresh chives, to taste

Heat waffle maker and spray with non stick spray. Line the tots on the waffle iron.

If you have a Belgium waffle maker like I used, I recommend placing more of the tots to fill in the gaps. I did not do this the first time. They came out really good, but not as solid as I wanted.

Close the lid and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Carefully remove with a spatula and place on plates.

Sprinkle on the cheese, then add the bacon.

Top with sour cream and chives.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with Guatemalan Slaw

Nope, it’s not Tuesday but who says you have to eat tacos only on a Tuesday. These slow cooker pork tacos are good for any day of the week. All you have to do is throw together some ingredients, marinate the pork then do a nice rub down with some spices and let the slow cooker do all the rest of the work. Look at that tender, tasty pork topped with some crunchy Guatemalan slaw (my version anyway) and cilantro and tucked away in warm tortillas. You know you want one too so go….go and make you a few right now…. ok you can make more than a few, no one will know, I won’t tell.

Here’s what you need:

*aprox 3 LB pork loin; pork shoulder works great too, but this was all my grocery store had at the time.

*1 pkg of flour tortillas

*chopped cilantro for garnish

Marinade:

*1/2 cup orange juice

*1/4 cup lime juice

*1/2 large onion, chopped

*4 garlic cloves

*2 TBS soy sauce

*2 tsp. white wince vinegar

*1 TBS. Worcestershire sauce

*2 tsp. brown sugar

*1/4 cup olive oil

*1/2 bunch of cilantro, chopped stems and all

Rub:

*2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 tsp. cumin

*1/4 tsp chipotle powder; or more or less to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder

*1 tsp. garlic powder

*1/2 tsp. salt

Braising Liquid:

1/2 cup orange juice

2/3 cup sprite, 7 up or Sierra Mist

1/2 large onion, chopped

For the Slaw:

*1 bag of shredded cabbage

*1 TBS Mayonnaise or more to taste

*cilantro, chopped to taste

*olive oil, to taste

*salt to taste

*lime juice, to taste

In a blender, combine all of the ingredients to the marinade

Blend until well combined.

Place the pork in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over the pork; squeeze as much of the air out of the bag as possible and seal.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or over night. Turn the bag over at least once during the marinating time.

30 to 45 minutes prior to cooking, pull out the pork from the bag, with paper towels wipe the excess marinade off. You still want to leave some on if possible.

Mix all of the ingredients together for the rub.

Place the pork in to a shallow dish and rub the spice mixture on all sides of the pork.

Let sit for 30 to 45 minutes.

Mix together the braising liquid; set aside.

Place the pork in to the slow cooker. If it has a fat cap, that will go right side up. Pour the braising liquid over the top and around the pork.

As you can see, I did not cover the pork over half of the way up with the orange juice mixture. I wanted just enough to give it flavor and tenderize it, but I also wanted the flavor of the pork to shine through instead of the braising mixture.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

While the pork is cooking, mix up the Guatemalan Slaw. See recipe on the link to Slow Cooker Apple Whiskey BBQ Pulled Pork with Guatemalan Slaw. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a large cutting board. Let it sit for 15 minutes.

With 2 forks shred the pork.

Place in a bowl or shallow dish and cover with foil to keep warm.

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium high heat. Place a tortilla in the pan and heat until it starts to have a few dark spots, about 15 to 20 seconds; flip it over and warm the other side. Repeat with each remaining tortilla.

Place the shredded pork on a tortilla and add any desired condiments such as cheese, sour cream or guacamole. Top with the Guatemalan slaw and cilantro. Serve and Enjoy!

Creamy Cheesy Beef Skillet Pasta

This dish is total comfort food. I made this after a really long, stressful day at work and it is definitely a winner. The beefy tomato sauce and pasta make this a really hearty meal, while cream cheese gives it a nice creamy flavor. Then there is the cheese…. I mean, you can never have too much cheese. I had some nice Gruyere and aged cheddar that I grated and threw in some Monterrey jack, it really made this cheese loving girl happy. What’s even better is that it’s all cooked in one pan….yes even the pasta. Can I talk about the pasta for a minute? I found this Conchiglie pasta at one of my Fresh Market stores.

I had never even heard if this one before, but I thought it would hold up great in a beefy tomato sauce. They look like a cross between shells and elbow pasta.

What’s even better, is that all of that beefy sauce and cheese fill up the center of the pasta, then when you bite into it….it is heaven. This dish is definitely for a cheat day, but it’s worth it.

Here’s what you need:

*1 LB ground beef

*1 small onion, chopped

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*olive oil

*14.5 oz. can of diced tomatoes, undrained

*28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

*2 tsp. dried Basil, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried oregano, or more to taste

*2 tsp. dried marjoram, or more to taste

*1 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp. chili powder, or more to taste

*1 tsp salt, or more to taste

*2/3 cup of chicken stock

*2 1/2 cups Conchiglie pasta or elbow pasta, uncooked

*4 oz. cream cheese

*2/3 cup shredded Gruyere cheese

*1/2 cup shredded aged Cheddar cheese

*1/2 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese

Heat a large deep skillet on medium high heat, add a few tablespoons of olive oil. When the pan starts getting hot, add the onions and the garlic.

Sauté until the onions just start to get tender, about 2 minutes. If the onions and garlic start to turn brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the ground beef to the pan and turn the heat back up to medium high heat if you had to lower it.

Break up the beef while stirring the onions and garlic to combine. Cook until the beef is brown, about 5 to 8 minutes stirring frequently; drain if needed.

Add in the diced and crushed tomatoes.

Stir to combine the tomatoes with the onion beef mixture. Next, stir in all of the spices and herbs.

Lower the heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes; taste and add any more herbs or spices.

Dump in the pasta and the chicken stock.

Stir to combine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pasta is al dente.

Cut the cream cheese into cubes.

Add the cream cheese to the beef and pasta mixture.

Gently stir until the cream cheese starts to melt, then add in the shredded cheeses.

Stir carefully to melt and combine the cheese with the beef pasta mixture. Do not over mix or the pasta will start to break apart.

When the cheese is melted and heated thru, serve with some nice crusty bread.

Chicken with Herbs, Prosciutto and Fontina Cheese

I made a version of this dish several years ago when I discovered my love of prosciutto and fontina cheese. Since then I’ve tweaked it a bit….well ok a lot. My original version I stuffed the cheese inside the chicken, which was good, but most of the cheese ran out. This time I melted the cheese on top of the prosciutto. I really liked it better this way, not to mention it’s way easier. This chicken packs a lot of flavor. It’s seared with herbs, wrapped in prosciutto and topped with fontina cheese then cooked in a white wine lemon sauce. This dish is great when you want to serve a little something special or you just want something a little different than your everyday chicken dinner.

Here’s what you need:

This Makes 3 Servings

*3 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

*1 1/2 tsp. dried sage +1/2 tsp

*1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

*1 tsp. dried Thyme

*2 TBS butter divided

*2 TBS olive oil

*Thin sliced prosciutto; 1 or 2 slices per chicken

*Fontina cheese, sliced

*1/2 cup white wine or you can use chicken stock

*1/3 cup chicken stock

*the juice of 1/2 of a lemon

Preheat oven to 400°

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels.

Mix together 1 1/2 tsp sage, oregano and thyme. Season the chicken on both sides with the herb mixture.

and yes, that is one extreme close up of the chicken. I don’t know if I was really hungry or just really getting into the beauty of that chicken.

Take one slice of the prosciutto and wrap it around the chicken.

It’s ok if the prosciutto does not completely cover the back, it will stay once seared.

Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat and add 1 TBS of butter and the olive oil. When the oil and butter mixture is very hot, add the chicken. I start with the side where the prosciutto may not fully cover the chicken into the pan first.

Cook for about 3 minutes and then turn them over. If the oil and butter mixture seems to get too hot, turn the heat down to medium. Turn the chicken over and cook another 3 minutes.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

To the pan add the remaining butter, white wine, chicken stock, lemon and 1/2 tsp. sage. If the heat was at medium, turn it back up to medium high heat until the sauce starts to lightly bubble. Stir with a spoon or whisk making sure to scrape up all of those delicious bits stuck to the skillet that the chicken left behind.

Cook until sauce is slightly reduced and starts to thicken, about 3 minutes.

Add the chicken back to the skillet and place into the oven. Cook about 15 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temp of 165.

Top the chicken with the fontina cheese.

Place under the broiler until cheese is melted.

Take out of the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over the chicken.

Enjoy!