Colleen Houck

“I took hold of that scourge -filled ship and crushed it between my limbs, hurtling it into the second sun, the red one that gave me strength. But I was too late." Terraformer

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  • RECIPES: Burgers, Stuffed and Flavored

    August 31, 2015

    RECIPES: Burgers, Stuffed and Flavored


    In the United States we celebrate Labor Day on the first Monday in September. Since this 3-day weekend is the tail end of our summer many people take the opportunity to barbecue, kind of as a last hurrah before autumn rolls in in earnest. So, in celebration of Labor Day and the end of summer, this post is all about burgers. Stuffed burgers. Flavored burgers. Not so much a recipe, but tips and ideas for making stuffed or flavored burgers.

    Colleen had a family barbecue for the 4th of July so we took advantage of the pre-BBQ food prep day to work on some recipes and test a burger stuffing gadget called STUFZ. You can read our review of the STUFZ burger stuffer on the GADGET TESTING & REVIEWS page.

    Here’s what we learned about stuffed and flavored burgers:

    1. We prefer to season the ground meat before making the burgers. At least with salt and pepper if nothing else.
    2. We also found that we like burgers stuffed with cheese. The cheese really helps keep the burgers moist from the inside out.
    3. Sliced or chunked cheese is easier to cover completely with your ground meat than shredded or grated cheese.
    4. Sautéed vegetable type items work better on top of the burger than they do stuffed inside.

    2015-07-03 15.54.39
    5. There are two pretty effective ways to stuff your burger by hand. One method is to take a burger-sized ball of ground meat and make a hollow. Place stuffing in the hollow. Work the meat up and over the stuffing. The other method is to make a thin burger. Place stuffing in the center of the burger leaving a border of meat uncovered. Place a second thin burger over the stuffing and seal the edges of the burgers together.

    2015-07-03 15.54.44
    6. If you are pre-making your burgers it is very helpful to use burger papers (4×4 squares of parchment paper) in between them so they keep their shape and don’t stick to each other.
    7. Don’t go crazy with the stuffing. The more stuffing in the burger, the more likely it is to fall apart while cooking.

    2015-07-03 15.37.152015-07-03 15.42.47

    We made two different kinds of stuffing for the 4th of July. The first was a Mushroom, Onion, Gruyère burger with sautéed mushrooms, onions, garlic and Gruyère cheese all mixed together inside the burger. The second was a Hawaiian burger with a stuffing of sautéed onions and garlic, bacon, crushed pineapple, chopped deli ham and a Polynesian marinade all cooked together. Both tasted great, but based on our tips above you’ll see those burgers reworked in the list we’ve included for stuffed or flavored burger ideas.

    Some ideas we brainstormed for flavoring or stuffing burgers:
    ASIAN SHRIMP BURGER: Grind shrimp, green onions, garlic, ginger and a splash of soy sauce in a food processor. Serve shrimp burger on a French roll with mayonnaise flavored with wasabi or Sriracha.
    BISTRO CHICKEN STUFFED BURGERS: Chicken or turkey burger stuffed with Brie, Gouda or chèvre cheese. Serve on a fancy bum like brioche with apricot jam mixed with grainy mustard. Or sliced fresh pear with pesto.
    CHICKEN APPLE SAGE STUFFED BURGER: Ground chicken seasoned with sage and mixed with shredded apple. Stuffed with Gouda, Brie or fontina cheese.
    HAWAIIAN STUFFED BURGERS: Ground meat of choice formed around a whole pineapple ring. Top burgers with thinly sliced ham, caramelized onions and sweet barbecue sauce.
    ITALIAN STUFFED BURGER: Mix ground meat of choice with Italian sausage. Stuff burgers with mozzarella or provolone cheese. Serve on Italian rolls with giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables).
    MUSHROOM, ONION, GRUYÈRE STUFFED BURGER: Ground meat of choice stuffed with Gruyère cheese. Serve on a toasted French roll or a pretzel roll and top with sautéed mushrooms and onions.
    PHILLY CHEESESTEAK STUFFED BURGER: Stuff beef burgers with provolone cheese. Top burgers with sautéed bell peppers and onions.
    SOUVLAKI FLAVORED BURGERS: Ground chicken, turkey or pork seasoned with garlic, lemon zest and oregano or Greek seasoning blend. Serve in a pita with crumbled feta cheese, sliced or chopped tomato, red onion and cucumber and tzatziki sauce.
    SPANAKOPITA FLAVORED BURGERS: Ground chicken or turkey seasoned with garlic and fresh dill. Mix in finely crumbled feta. Top burgers with sautéed spinach and onions. Bake squares of puff pastry then split them to use as buns to imitate the flaky phyllo dough used with spanakopita.

    Hopefully these burger tips and ideas will come in handy if you’re planning a barbecue of your own for Labor Day or if you are just looking for ways to make burger night more interesting. As I was writing these ideas out it occurred to me that some of these ideas sound great for meatballs or pasta bakes as well. This is certainly not an all-inclusive list. Be creative with flavors of other dishes you already know you and your friends and family love and re-imagine them into a burger. 

    If you’re taste buds are ready to amp things up a bit on the grill, than we’ve made it even easier for you to try! You can enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win your very own burger making basket!

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    We’d love to hear what you think of these burger ideas and how they worked out for you, simply leave a comment below.

    This entry was posted in Recipes.

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    Author Bio
    Cindy Moore
    Cindy Moore

    Hi, Cindy Moore here. Colleen and I have been friends since we worked together while she was writing Tiger’s Curse. I'm a very creative person and a great problem solver. I love to cook, read, craft, and research random things. I love logic and information and hate not knowing the answer to any given question. I’m a bit of a perfectionist, which is sometimes good, sometimes bad. I love DIY and re-purposing things from their intended use.

    How much do I love information and answers? To the extent that I make lists on my phone of things to Google when I have a few minutes with nothing better to do. (Or, more likely, when I'm procrastinating about something I should be doing instead.) Every new thing I learn leads me to about a gazillion more cool new things. SQUIRREL!!! I love sharing new information and ideas with people. You can imagine what a dangerous place the internet is to me in my efforts to be more productive.

    I’ve been cooking since I was a kid and am a Foodie with no formal training but a large cookbook collection and internet access. I am a very picky eater due to some food sensitivities, but I love trying new foods and recipes, so I put my creativity and problem solving skills to good use while adapting recipes to my own personal tastes. I love shopping for exotic ingredients in specialty markets and online and probably have at least 12 different kinds of salt in my kitchen right now…none of which is plain iodized table salt. Given a choice I would always chose an ethnic dish over something like burgers or pizza. Asian cuisines, especially Thai and Vietnamese, are my favorites. I am totally addicted to Thai salad rolls and pork lettuce wraps.

    I’ve made a commitment to myself to reduce the chemicals and unnecessary or harmful ingredients that are in my food, bath and body products, or household cleaning products. I also I tend to think “why buy it if I can make it myself”.

    I love making jewelry, especially with natural materials like stones and fresh water pearls. Dangly earrings are my favorite jewelry item to make.

    I’m not really clear on the concept of “moderation”, nor apparently is Colleen. Nowhere is this more evident than when Colleen and I get together for our marathon holiday bakeathons. We tend to overdo things…slightly.

    All of these interests…”character flaws”?...will influence the kinds of blog posts you see from me.