October 24, 2015

I've Been Thinking About My Blog Lately...and All-In-One Burgers

It's been over 2 years since I have posted anything new to this blog, and I have been thinking a lot about why--lo those many months ago--I made the decision to stop writing and cooking. My blog had been a big part of my life for years. It was my outlet and my hobby. So why didn't I want to do it anymore? Why did I stop? Thinking back, I've come to realize the answer...I was unhappy. When I think about that period in my life, I have the distinct memory of feeling numb, and stuck, and not the least bit creative or inspired. I didn't want to cook. I took no pleasure in the process of making food for my loved ones. I didn't watch cooking shows. I didn't read any cookbooks, and I certainly didn't create any new recipes on my own. I merely wanted to get meals on the table as a means to survive. Quick and easy preparation...the path of least resistance. I became stagnant, and I didn't want to be bothered with actual cooking. Within my self-assessment of why I stopped blogging and cooking, I have come to understand that being unhappy effected everything. Well, duh right? Funnily enough,it wasn't so obvious for me. I never realized that the dissatisfaction that I was feeling overall was also being played out in my own kitchen. I knew I didn't have as much patience (just ask my kids about that one) and I was anxious and depressed,but I just never put two and two together.

Fast forward two plus years (and a bunch of significant life changes) and I am, once again, happy. I have the perspective I needed to resolve what I was going through and correlate that those feelings translated to cooking and writing, too. Overall, I think the break was exactly what I needed. I am settling into the rhythm of my own life and my interest in cooking has sparked once again. I have been looking at recipes, purchasing cookbooks, and I find myself looking forward to cooking dinner every night. I think I have decided to keep this blog (and actually update it) as a means to catalog what I am doing with recipes. During my hiatus,I've often referred to my blog to look up different dishes and I was thankful that I kept it as a database of sorts. I've decided that I want to keep the ongoing record by adding new meals that we love. I don't care about followers (I don't think I still have any, anyway), monotizing/advertising, keeping a rigid blogging schedule, or making the graphics look all fresh and cutting edge. Writing HTML code was always a pain in the ass for me, so I'm skipping it this time around. I've decided I want to start updating my blog again for me. I feel like I've rediscovered my voice. I may change my mind on all the other stuff eventually, but for now, the blog is going to be a myopic endeavor; purely for my own amusement.

So, with all of that said, here is my first new recipe since July of 2013. And trust me, it's a good one.

All-In-One Burgers
Adapted From: America's Test Kitchen The Best Simple Recipes cookbook

6 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 pounds 90% lean ground beef
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 teaspoons yellow mustard
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until brown and crisp, 10-12 minutes. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate.
Break beef into small pieces in bowl, then add bacon, cheese, mustard, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Lightly knead mixture by hand until combined. Divide into 4 equal portions, then form each into loose ball and gently flatten into 1-inch-thick patty. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

In the same skillet used to cook the bacon, drain off most of the fat (but leave enough of the leftover bacon bits and a tablespoon or so of the grease). Fry the burgers over high heat, without pressing on them, until well seared on both sides and cooked through; about 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare. If you like your burgers a bit more done, add a another 1-2 minutes per side.

Once the burgers are finished cooking,transfer them to platter. Cover with foil and let rest 5 minutes before serving.

I served mine on pretzel buns with mayo and ketchup, since the mustard was already combined into the burger. Whoa mama! These were delicious. All of my kiddos ate them with enthusiasm, including my youngest daughter...the pickiest of the picky. The original recipe calls for grilling the burgers, but I decided to cut out the middle man and just cook them in the skillet that I used for the bacon. It was one less thing to clean up and all the bits of bacon-y goodness were still in the pan, ready to be embedded into the seared burgers. The same pan was a good call, the burgers ended up to be exactly how I wanted them...juicy, bacon-laced perfection.

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