a balanced plate with room for dessert

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Whiskey BBQ Burgers with Caramelized Onions & Cheddar

whiskey bbq burgers with caramelized onions & cheddar |

There’s something about a perfect burger that just screams “summer”! Even though it’s only spring, and even though it’s been a fairly cold spring so far, this burger made everything a-okay. I forgot for a few hours that summer was still forever away. Mike and I enjoyed these burgers with some grilled asparagus, grilled potato wedges, and of course, some fresh whisky sours.

whiskey bbq burgers with caramelized onions & cheddar |

Whiskey BBQ Burgers with Caramelized Onions & Cheddar
serves 4

for the whiskey barbecue sauce:
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1  teaspoon black pepper
1  teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup bourbon

for the caramelized onions:
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow onion, sliced
1 teaspoon brown sugar

for the burgers:
1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, thinly sliced
4 kaiser rolls, lightly toasted

  1. To make the whiskey barbecue sauce:  combine all barbecue sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes, or until thick.
  2. To caramelize the onions: heat olive oil and butter in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Add in onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Add in brown sugar and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are caramelized and soft, another 10 – 15 minutes.
  3. To make the burgers: shape beef into 4 even patties. Make a depression in the middle of each patty with your thumb. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a grill to high heat and cook burgers until slightly charred and browned on one side. Flip and cook burgers on second side until browned and slightly charged. Top with sliced cheddar cheese during last minute of cooking.
  4. To assemble burgers: place a patty onto the bottom of  roll. Slather with barbecue sauce and top with a heaping spoonful of caramelized onions. Top with other side of the roll and serve immediately.


Grilled Banana S’Mores

grilled banana s'mores |

I had no idea something as simple as a s’more could be so good. I’ll be honest – s’mores have never been that good to me. When we go camping, I usually pass on making them for a few reasons: 1) I’m not patient enough to toast the marshmallow ~perfectly~, 2) the effort put into making them was too much for me, 3) they just didn’t taste that good. I was much happier just skewering a marshmallow, torching it, and then popping the burnt morsel into my mouth.

All that said, I couldn’t wait to share this with you. So imagine my horror when I started typing on my laptop only to find out that my space, N and B keys don’t work. I started copy/pasting those letters and wrote out a couple sentences when it hit me – type it on my iPad! Duh. It’s still slower than typing on a keyboard, but a lot faster than having to paste in all my Bs, Ns, and spaces.

So, why is this s’mores recipe so good? I think it’s the addition of the grilled banana. Or maybe it’s the fact that all I had to do to make them was stand by the grill. I will admit that I spent about 90% of my 11 mile run on Sunday thinking about these bad boys. I told Mike that every mile I ran = 1 s’more. (Note: I didn’t end up eating 11 s’mores yesterday… but I kind of wish I had). So, here you go. Enjoy this supremely gooey, delicious mess.

grilled banana s'mores |

Grilled Banana S’mores
makes 4

1 medium ripe banana
1 teaspoon brown sugar
4 graham crackers, halved
1 .5 ounce bar of milk chocolate, broken into 4 pieces
4 large marshmallows

  1. Heat grill to medium.
  2. Lay banana flat. Cut a slit down length of banana. Sprinkle brown sugar into the opening. Grill banana for 5 minutes, or until brown sugar is bubbling. Remove from grill and let cool slightly. Peel and slice into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. Lay graham crackers down on grill. Top 4 crackers with chocolate and 4 crackers with marshmallows. Cover grill and cook until chocolate is melted and marshmallows are softened.
  4. Place sliced bananas on chocolate and place marshmallow cracker on top. Serve immediately.