Monday, 13 August 2012
There's not many of us that are not watching our food pennies these days. I know I am feeling the pinch, which means I am working hard to economize and to stretch my food pounds as far as they will go. Making what I do have stretch as far as possible.Economizing doesn't mean that you have to compromise on quality though. Take minced beef for instance. Lots of people will opt for a cheap mince, thinking they are saving money. In reality, this is just a false economy . . . as all of your savings gets poured down the drain in liquid fat . . .
You get what you pay for. I'd rather pay a bit more and have meat that is not only better quality . . . but healthier for my family. You can always stretch it out with other things to make it go that little bit further and save you that little bit extra.
I will always opt to buy a lean or an extra lean packet of beef mince. What I have here today is one recipe for cooking several packets of extra lean mince, that you can then use in several different ways, feeding a family of four each time . . .
In truth, you could probably divide the finished cooked mince into three portions (instead of two) and get three meals out of it, but I have done just two here today. Both are delicious, economical, quick and easy, and (I am hoping) quite different than anything you may have tried before.
First the cooked mince recipe. You can cook this up and then divide it into two or three portions depending on how much you want to economize, then wrap and freeze one (two) portion (s) for use at a later date, (just thaw out overnight in the refrigerator), and one for use today.
This delicious mixture has all of the flavours that you would find in a hamburger, minus the bun . . . there is pickle relish, fried onions, mustard, steak seasoning, etc. And it's fabulous all on it's own . . . truly.
Makes 8 servings worth
(so enough for a casserole and four cheeseburgers!)
Delicious minced beef sauteed with all the seasonings and flavourings you might have in a hamburger, cept it's not in a burger. Ready to use in grilled cheese sandwiches and casseroles.
2 pounds extra lean steak mince
1 TBS steak seasoning (Montreal Steak seasoning, or something similar)
1 large onion, peeled and finely minced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
2 tsp liquid beef bovril
2 TBS of hamburger relish (the pickle stuff you put on burgers)
mild mustard to taste (about 2 tsp does it for me)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Spray a large nonstick skillet with some nonstick cooking spray. Heat it over medium heat until hot. Crumble in the steak mince. Cook stirring and mashing until it is cooked through completely. (I use my potato masher to cut down on the lumps. That is just my personal preference.) Add the onion and garlic, and continue to cook and stir until the meat is beginning to nicely brown and the onions are softened. Stir in the bovril, hamburger relish, mustard and worcestershire sauce. Cook for several minutes to meld flavours. Taste and adjust seasoning as required with some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
The mince is now ready to use as you wish.
I was sitting here the other night kind of craving a grilled cheese sandwich . . . and yet at the same time I was wanting a burger. You know how it goes . . . at least I hope you do. Tell me I'm not the only glutton in the crowd! Say it ain't so!!
Anyways, I had seen on the telly one day a Grilled Cheese Sandwich Burger . . . that is an actual hamburger which has been grilled in the middle of two Grilled Cheese Sandwiches.
Yes, folks, it does exist. I think this picture is one from Friendly's. One can scarce imagine just how many calories are in one of these babies . . . and I dare say it's not for the faint of heart! Now that's what I call a real mouthful! I was intrigued. It did look rather good . . . and I was betting it also tasted really good . . . but could I dare to ingest that much fat and calories??? Never ever in a million years. I value my life too much!
And so I decided to compromise on something somewhere in the middle . . . and I put together a Grilled Cheese Sandwich which had all of the flavours of a burger . . . kind of like a Grilled Cheese Burger . . . but with only two slices of bread and half the cheese of the restaurant version. Definitely healthier and . . . if you use low fat cheese, not really all that bad for you.
The difficulty comes in trying to photograph it in a way that is actually looks as delicious as it tastes. I am no food stylist when it comes down to that sort of thing . . . but even so, this looks pretty good to me.
You've got all the flavours of a traditional cheeseburger . . . fried onions, sweet pickle relish, mustard . . . ground steak and a few other bits and bob's . . . sandwiched between two tangy slices of strong cheddar, tucked into two buttered slices of bread, (If you really wanted to be a glutton you could butter the sandwiches with garlic butter, but . . . I just couldn't do that to my arteries!) and then grilled until the bread is all toasty . . . the cheese is all gooey . . . and the three together just taste blissfully scrumdiddlyumptiously fabulous!!
As a once in a bluemoon treat this went down really well. I served them up with homemade oven fries . . . sweet potato and baking potatoes cut into half moons, tossed with a bit of olive oil and some herbs and spices and then baked in a hot oven until they were crispy. "Diner" food . . . cept it's at home.
Go on . . . tuck in . . . you know you want to. Just one bite, ok? (With a bit of ketchup on the side for dipping. Nom Nom!)
*Grilled Cheese Burgers*
8 slices of a sturdy white bread
8 slices of sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 of a recipe of Burger Mince
4 slices of streaky bacon cooked crisp (optional)
Lay half of the bread slices out onto a cutting board. Cover each with one slice of the cheese. Top each slice of cheese with 1/4th of the cooked mince and then another slice of cheese. Top with the final four slices of bread. Spread the outsided with softened butter. Heat the oven to low and have a baking pan ready.
Heat a large nonstick skillet. Cook two sandwiches at a time until they are golden brown on one side, flipping halfway through the cooking time to brown the other side. Place in the warm oven to keep warm. Repeat with the remaining two sandwiches. Cut each sandwich in half on the diagonal to serve.
I used the other half of the mince recipe to make a delicious casserole to take to a pot luck supper we were having at the church last Friday evening. I couldn't really spoon into it to show you just how delicious it was . . . but I did manage to take a few tasty pics of the outsides of it I think . . .
I tucked this fabulously flavourful beef mixture into the centre of two lucious layers of homemade macaroni and cheese . . . rich and creamy . . . cheesey delish! Then I topped it with some more cheese, buttered bread crumbs . . . and to make it even scrummier several slices of semi crisp bacon . . .
Baked in the oven for about 20 minutes so that the crumbs got all crispy and the bacon got all crisp-ier . . . and the meat mixture melted into all that mac & cheese surrounding it . . .
F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S!!! Dare I say that??? It was though . . . I would call this "empty dish delish" . . . because that is what I brought home . . . an empty dish. (I love it when that happens!!)
That can't be bad! You're family will love this, and so will you, because not only is it extra scrummy . . . but it's also quick and easy . . . perfect for those nights when you are just too pooped to work very hard at cooking a meal. A bit of a green salad on the side, and perhaps a french loaf and . . . easy peasy, lemon squeasy . . . you've fed the family a delicious meal.
*Cheeseburger Mac & Cheese*
Macaroni and Cheese with a delicious burger layer in the centre and topped with crispy bacon.
One four serving recipe of macaroni and cheese
one half of the Burger mince recipe
4 slices of streaky bacon, partially cooked and cut in half
1/2 cup of soft white bread crumbs
1 TBS melted butter
4 ounces of strong cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4. Butter a square casserole dish. Layer it in the following manner: 1/2 of the mac and cheese, the burger mince, the remaining half of the mac and cheese.
Combine the bread crumbs with the melted butter. Stir in the shredded cheese. Sprinkle over top of the casserole. Top with the bacon slices.
For this casserole today I used my Cheater's Mac & Cheese Recipe, which worked very well, but you can use any Mac & and Cheese recipe you want to use.
Bake in the heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until nicely browned and heated through. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Another good way to use this cooked mince mixture it to make up a recipe of biscuit or scone dough. Pat it out to a large rectangle and then spread the dough with some mustard and ketchup. Sprinkle with half of the cooked mince (4 servings) and then press the mince in slightly. Roll up in a tight roll and then cut into 1 inch slices. Bake in a hot oven until golden brown. You can also sprinkle the tops with cheese before baking. Delicious!