As the holiday season approaches, we’re preparing for the many get-togethers ahead, surrounded by good food and good company. The aromas of a roast in the oven wafting throughout the house, the sound of laughter as family we don’t see often enough catches up with […]
The inspiration for this post originated at my local public library. As my three-year-old daughter meandered through the children’s section, she chose a couple of books out…based on how pretty the spine was. One of them happened to be Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie. Once […]
During this time of the year where I’m from, the apple orchards are teeming with families hand picking their own apples, making memories that will last forever. The jackets are starting to make their yearly comeback, and everyone is starting to look forward to the fall and winter holidays. As the cooler weather of fall begins to roll in, there are certain foods that just seem to fit the season, and this is one of those dishes.
While this recipe fits fall perfectly, it’s something that I make all year round. This is one of my wife’s favorite side dishes, and whenever she sees a sweet potato or apple she asks me to put it together.
This recipe creates a dish that combines the sweetness of the apples and sweet potato with savory onion and garlic flavors. Slight modifications to this recipe can be executed to swing this recipe one direction, or the other, using ingredients listed in the Make-It-Your-Own section below. Regardless of how you tweak your version of this recipe, this side dish will bring a fantastic combination of flavors.
Another way that this dish can be subtly adjusted is by changing the type of onion used. I chose to use yellow onions in the base of this recipe to keep the bite and sweetness in balance. If you’re looking to create a dish that is more sweet, use
The challenge to this dish is getting everything cooked to the desired color and softness while avoiding over cooking. This can be navigated by adjusting the location of ingredients in the skillet. While the attention that this balance requires may seem burdensome, the reward of executing this dish with perfectly sauteed ingredients is worth the trouble.
Servings: 4 to 6
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled, and cut into bite size pieces.
- 2 medium apples, peeled, and cut into bite size pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion.
- 1 clove of garlic, minced.
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided.
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
Bowl 1 – Sweet potato, salt and pepper.
Bowl 2 – Apples, onions.
Bowl 3 – Garlic
- Preheat a 12 inch cast iron skillet (Amazon Link) over medium heat.
- Melt 2 tbsp. of butter in the skillet, then add bowl 1 (sweet potatoes, salt, and pepper).
- After a few minutes, once the side of the sweet potatoes in contact with the skillet begin to get a golden brown color, use a fork to them onto a side that hasn’t been in contact with the skillet. The goal of this step isn’t to achieve the desired final color of the sweet potato, but a lighter version, since the potatoes will continue cooking while the apples and onions cook.
- Repeat above step until all sides of the sweet potatoes have become lightly golden brown, and have begun to soften through. **See tip 1 below
- Add bowl 2 (apples and onions) to the skillet, as well as the last 2 tbsp. of butter.
- Stir occasionally, until sweet potatoes nearly reach the desired color and softness. **See tip 2 below
- Add bowl 3 (garlic) to the skillet, stir to combine.
- Cook dish until garlic is fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes, then transfer to serving dish.
- If there are ingredients in this dish that reach the desired color and softness early, transfer them above the cooking surface by placing them on top of ingredients in need of more heat. This will keep them warm and prevent excess color and mushiness.
- Don’t be afraid of leaving the ingredients alone. I’m not saying you should run to the store to get more beer and burning down your house, but avoid fiddling with the sweet potatoes every five seconds. This will help with the color development, just don’t let them turn black, which I’ve done once or twice with this dish.
- Red, White, or Vidalia Onion
- Finishing toppings: Maple Syrup, Cinnamon
- Spices: Thyme, Rosemary
This recipe is a standard at my house, and while if fits a fall theme, it’s fantastic all year round. The sweet and savory aspects of this dish will bring a warmth to your table that fits perfectly. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does.
WARNING: This is not a healthy recipe…but it’s delicious. If you’re looking to cut some pounds, or you’re watching your cholesterol, this recipe isn’t for you and you should go check out our Easy Grilled Asparagus. Even if you are watching your waistline, make these bad boys on your cheat day.
Smash burgers are very popular throughout the US, and are served many places such as Steak and Shake, In-N-Out, and … Smashburger. By putting a spin on the classic hamburger by enhancing the texture, flavor, all while utilizing a simple process makes this a must try dish at home. It will easily slide into your dinner rotation for countless meals to come.
This recipe combines a juicy burger that has a fantastic crispy exterior, with melted cheese, and classic toppings. It’s easy enough to put together on a weeknight with very little planning, and can be served alongside fries, potato salad, onion rings, or anything else you might find at a barbecue. If I had to choose my last meal, this would probably be one of my top 5 choices. Give it a shot and you won’t be disappointed!
Servings: 5 to 6 (makes 6 burgers, but the cook gets a double bacon cheese burger)
- 2 lb ground beef, 80/20, see tip #1 below
- 6 slices of American cheese
- 12 slices of thick cut bacon
- 1 tomato, thinly sliced
- 6 to 12 burger sized leaves of romaine lettuce
- 6 brioche buns
- spicy brown mustard
Plate 1 – tomato, cheese, lettuce, American cheese, bacon (once it’s been cooked).
Plate 2 – a couple of sheets of paper towel
Plate 3 – brioche buns, separated and ready to receive burgers
Plate 4 – 6 loosely formed ground beef balls. They should be somewhere in between a golf ball and a baseball…leaning towards a baseball.
- In a 12 inch cast iron skillet, cook the bacon until it’s crispy, then set aside. See tip #2 below.
- Pour off all but a few tablespoons of bacon fat and set the heat to medium high.
- Place two of the ground beef balls into the pan.
- Using a solid spatula, press the beef into a patty around a 1/2 inch thick. See tip #3 below.
- Once the first two have been in the pan for around a minute, arrange them so they are close together and add a third ground beef ball and flatten it as described in step 4.
- After the burgers have been on the first side for 5-6 minutes, flip them. Please don’t skip tip #4 below…it could make the difference between a acceptable burger and an amazing burger.
- After the burgers have been on the second side for about 4 minutes, place a slice of cheese on each burger.
- Once the cheese is melted and the bottom is crispy, transfer the burgers to the paper towel on plate 2, then to a bun on plate 3.
- Repeat steps 3 through 8 for the remaining 3 burgers.
- Add the toppings on plate 1 and the mustard to the burgers. See tip #5 below.
- Get your face ready to receive these tasty morsels and dig in.
- Ground beef comes in a variety of lean to fat ratios, and we’ve suggested using 80/20 for this recipe. Let’s be honest, if you’re going to make these amazing burgers you’re not looking for a healthy recipe. We’re already essentially frying them in bacon fat, so 80/20 should be good, but if you were going to waiver from 80/20, go fattier rather than leaner. It’s no secret that fat tastes good, so don’t shy away from it with this recipe and make the best burger possible. You can eat a salad tomorrow.
- Do yourself a favor and cut the bacon in half prior to cooking it. This makes it fit in the pan better, and easier to cook. These burgers can’t handle full size pieces of bacon anyways, so your just getting ahead of the game by cooking them at the proper size, and saving yourself the trouble of breaking them in half later.
- This is a learn-from-my-mistakes moment. If you try to use a slotted or perforated spatula during this step, as you smash the beef into patty form, the beef will tend to squeeze its way into the holes the spatula and stick. Once it’s stuck to the spatula, it’s not easy getting it off in one piece. Using a spatula like this one, you’ll avoid this problem.
- The surface texture you’re looking for is crispy. There should be dark brown spots all over the patty. This texture is what sets this burger into a league of it’s own. Don’t be afraid to flip the burger back if you don’t see the crispy texture you should.
- I really feel like 3 – half pieces of bacon are optimal for each burger. This leaves 6 halves for snacking, which is what I like to call the cooks pay.
- different type of cheese – Traditionally, smash burgers are made with American cheese, but I’ve used a variety of different types and the burgers always taste fantastic.
- different buns – any bun works, I just think brioche buns are the best.
- onion – I honestly intended to use red onions for this recipe, but I think I just forgot because I was so excited to scarf these burgers down.
- pickles – this would be a traditional smash burger topping that I neglected to use for this batch.
- sauces – I really think that classic flavors go a long way, but you could always soup your burgers up with some chipotle mayo or garlic aoili.
- hot sauce – …I put it on everything…minus ice cream.
A good pasta salad is one of those versatile dishes that is at home sitting next to anything from a hot dog to a salmon fillet. The combination of pasta, fresh herbs, fresh veggies, meat, cheese, and dressing come together to create a dish that is a staple of family parties and barbecues. I put together this dish for a Fourth of July barbecue, and it really hit the the spot. It was a delicious addition, along side the grilled chicken and potato salad.
A couple of things to keep an eye on that will elevate this dish are pasta firmness and serving temp. While al dente is considered optimal for warm pasta dishes, having al dente pasta that’s cold isn’t necessarily the best. I’m most certainly not telling you to serve pasta mush, but going a bit past al dente can create a more pleasant texture. The serving temperature will also have an effect on the dish. Pasta salad that is fresh from your almost freezing refrigerator isn’t ideal. If your eating pasta salad really cold, you’re missing out on a big chunk of the flavor. Allowing the pasta salad to warm up a bit will allow the flavor to bloom and reach its full potential.
- 24 oz. tri-colored rotini
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup diced red onion
- 5 slices of 1/4 inch thick salami, cubed
- 8 oz. mozzerella cheese, 1/4 inch cubes
- 2 tbps minced fresh basil
- 2 tbps minced fresh parsly
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup white wine vinegar
- 4 tbps lemon juice
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
- 1/2 tbsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp honey
Bowl 1 – cooked, cooled pasta, make sure this bowl is large enough to mix all ingredients
Bowl 2 – extra virgin olive oil, white wine vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, Parmesan, oregano, red pepper flakes, honey
Bowl 3 – tomatoes, onion, salami, mozzarella, basil, parsley
- Cook the rotini al dente and drain in a large colander. Once the pasta has mostly cooled, place in bowl 1.
- Pour 3/4 of the contents of bowl 2 into bowl 1 and stir until the pasta is evenly coated.
- Pour bowl 3 into bowl 1. Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. Doing this step after you’ve already mixed the dressing and pasta keeps the tomatoes from being beat up too much.
- Add additional dressing from bowl 2 if desired.
- cheese – pepper jack, colby, or feta
- red pepper