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Grilled Potatoes with Cheddar Cream Cheese Sauce

8 Aug

I have a ton of ideas running through my head for new food creations for this blog, but today I decided I would try to make due with what I already had here instead of running to the grocery store (going to NYC next weekend! Gotta save some cash!).  Of course this left me puzzled, because as a college student eating of a meal plan for the summer, I don’t have a whole lot in my apartment.  I wanted to do a grilled veggie pouch (hopefully another week!) but without going to the store it would just be boring carrots & potatoes.  This left me searching the web for something new to try with potatoes.  Thanks to Paula Deen & Food Network, I found the recipe for Grilled Potatoes! I love cheese on everything (and especially love cream cheese with potatoes), so to make it a little more interesting, I decided to try and come up with a cheddar & cream cheese sauce.

Following the recipe, I cut two potatoes (for myself) into 1/4 inch slices & boiled until slightly cooked, but still with a raw center.  While they were boiling, I put some olive oil on low heat in a sauté pan with some fresh thyme to coat my potatoes with (olive oil is healthier than butter — Sorry Paula!) & grated 1 1/2 cups cheddar.  After the potatoes were “boiled” I coated both sides with olive oil, garlic salt & pepper and put them on the grill until cooked through.

For the cheddar cream cheese sauce, with nothing really to go on, I started it out out like cream cheese Alfredo sauce.  First a roux (equal parts flour & butter) & add in 3 unrounded tablespoons cream cheese, whisking as you go.  Then I added a dash ofWorcestershire sauce, nutmeg & a dry mustard (still whisking). After removing the sauce from the heat, I whisked in the grated cheddar until smooth.

To plate, I put a few heaping spoonfuls of the cheddar sauce onto the plate & topped with my grilled potatoes so I would get a little bit of sauce in every bite then garnished with fresh thyme.


My Tips:

  • Baste the potatoes with butter using a pastry brush to get nice char marks (following Paula’s recipe)
  • Season the potatoes to your liking whether it be thyme like I used, just salt & pepper, or anything else you like!
  • If you don’t want to make your own cheddar cheese sauce, you could melt down some Velveeta or another cheese sauce like you would put over steamed broccoli!
  • Try grilling other kinds of vegetables too!

If you want to make grilled potatoes, check out Paula Deen’s Recipe: Here

WE ARE…really getting a lot of use out of the grill this summer!

Ranch Juicy Lucy Burgers & Homemade Steak Fries!

1 Aug

It’s summer time, so that means lots of cooking on the grill! If you’ve already gotten tired of typical burgers and hot dogs with a month of summer still left, I encourage you to mix things up with these delicious turkey burgers!!!

Over the past year, I’ve been substituting ground turkey for ground beef in a lot of recipes, and I’ve grown to love turkey burgers! I just really enjoy the flavor more than traditional hamburger meat.  The idea for this dinner stemmed from the Hidden Valley commercial about ranch burgers.  I figured, if it tastes good with ground beef, it will taste even better with ground turkey!  The idea evolved one day when my boyfriend, Ryan, and I were eating some simple ranch turkey burgers & he suggested to put cheese in the middle & make them Juicy Lucy’s!!!  So finally, this past friday we decided to give them a try along with some homemade steak fries!

Our Shopping List: Ground turkey meat (we got 2 lbs so we’d have leftovers), shredded mild cheddar cheese (or colby jack), Hidden Valley dry ranch seasoning/powder (we used 1 pack but if you love ranch, I’d recommend 1 pack per lb of meat), hamburger buns, 3 (roughly — I’d estimate for 1-1.5 potatoes per person) large Idaho potatoes

Ryan was in charge of the steak fries since they were his idea & I started in on the turkey burgers.  I put all of our ground turkey into a large bowl and slowly mixed in (with my hands! don’t be afraid to get messy!) the dry ranch little by little. Once mixed, form a bunch of hamburger patties out of the meat.  Try to make them more thin than you would for a normal burger.

Our fries -- fresh out of the oven!

After all of the patties are formed, you top them with some cheese & then another burger patty! The point is to get a juicy burst of cheese in the middle of the burger, hence the name Juicy Lucy!  Make sure to pinch the edges of the two patties together on each burger so all of the cheese doesn’t ooze out the sides while the burger cooks.  You can bake them in the oven or in a skillet, but since it’s summer, enjoy the time you have with your grill! That’s what we did!

For the fries, Ryan preheated the oven to 450 degrees.  He cut the potatoes into long wedges and tossed them with olive oil, steak seasoning (use whatever seasoning you like!) and salt & pepper.  We spread these out on a large baking sheet & put into the oven for approximately 20-25 minutes (turn them over halfway through if needed)

Top the burgers with mayo, more cheese (we love our cheese!) and any veggies you like (tomato, lettuce, onion, etc) & enjoy with your oven baked potato wedges!  We topped our fries with cheese (loveee it!!!) & “real-bacon” bacon bits and dipped in Ranch dressing.

Yum!!! 🙂

My Tips:

  • Experiment with your cheeses! Use what you like best!
  • Use the ranch powder to taste.  Start with 1 packet, but if it isn’t strong enough, next time try two!
  • Get the burgers started on some aluminum foil (turkey burgers tends to fall apart because it is so lean) then move to the uncovered grill if you want nice charred marks on your burgers

WE ARE… on ranch & cheddar overload!!!

Marinated Grilled Strip Steak

18 Jul

Sooo while at the store yesterday to pick up some hot dogs and such for a last-minute cook out with a friend, I spotted some yummy looking strip steaks on sale.  Individually packaged, they were just within my budget (I usually only get steaks when my Dad buys them for me!) so I picked out a good looking one to cook for dinner today.

Yesterday, while down by the pool cooking our hot dogs we were sharing a grill with some boys who were cooking some marinated steaks, etc and they offered us some to try. They were delicious and were my inspiration for marinating my strip steak.

My marinade was pretty much a concoction of the few things we had in our fridge and spice shelve:
olive oil, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, A1 steak sauce, garlic, Montreal steak seasoning & a little dried oregano.

So I poured a little olive oil into a sauce pan (I’d guess maybe a 2 teaspoons) and browned up a clove of minced garlic. Then I added in some soy sauce (again maybe 2 tsp?), the Worcestershire sauce (slightly more than the soy sauce) and the oregano.  Next I added in some A1 steak sauce.  This is an idea that comes from one of my favorite dishes my mom makes where she cooks down tips of beef in a skillet with A1 sauce. It gets gooey and sticky and just absolutely delicious. Ahh-mazing!

Next I added in some Montreal steak seasoning and allowed the mixture to simmer while I trimmed the fat off of my steak.  I know most people leave it for flavor, but I REALLY hate getting a big bite of nothing but fat when I’m hoping to bite into my nice juicy steak.  I pressed some Montreal steak seasoning into the meat, stuck it in a Ziploc baggie with the marinade and refrigerated for a few hours.

I then headed down to the pool to relax and cook my steak.  I powered up the grill on high heat & then let my steak sizzle.  I cooked directly on the grill as opposed to on aluminum foil because I love a good char on the outside edge and pretty grill marks 🙂  I also hate when the fat on your aluminum foil catches on fire and I wasn’t going to risk that with a lot of people around!

Now, I personally prefer my steaks somewhere within the medium-well to well done range so I just relaxed by the pool for awhile. Yeah, I’m that girl who orders her steaks very well done when I’m at Outback!  So I waited until my steak was nice and firm then headed inside to enjoy it with some buttered garlic egg noodles!

Yummy!

So I encourage you all, look for unexpected finds while you’re at the grocery store! They can really perk up your day & give you a special treat! (Especially if you’ve been trying to live on Cheesesteaks from the Mix & food from the dining commons for the last month and a half — like me!)

If you want to try this: I encourage you to be creative. Use what you have in your fridge.  Leftover Teriyaki sauce from the other nights stir fry? Use it in a marinade.  If you prefer to follow a recipe, check out the Garlic & Hot Pepper marinade of Bobby Flay’s here:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/grilled-steak-with-garlic-hot-pepper-marinade-roasted-tomatoes-cabrales-blue-cheese-recipe/index.html

The whole recipe sounds fantastic and it’s definitely on my list of things to try!

A simple way to test the doneness of your steak:

  1. Make a  fist and press on the muscle between your thumb and index finger. As you tighten your fist and that area will become more firm.
  2. Press on the center of your steak with your turner/tongs and compare that firmness with the firmness of your fist.
  3. If the steak feels the way your fist does when loosely clenched, it is more rare on the rare side. If you clench your fist, that area between your thumb and index finger will become more firm. This is how the steak will feel when it is more well done.

Please cook your steak to a safe temperature!  Refer to this chart for temperature info.     http://www.tasteoftx.com/recipes/Steak_doneness.html

My Tips:

  • Check to see if your grocery store is featuring a grill section for the summer months! That’s where I found my strip steaks!
  • Be creative with the marinade. Use what you already have if possible.

WE ARE… enjoying juicy steak!