It is not the end of summer until my family has our last cookout. While it has been too cold these past few weeks, the little ones braved the cold pool water temps for one last swim. And, while the kids were swimming, I was prepping burgers in the kitchen that I hoped would wow guests -- and, did they ever! I think this cookout will be talked about for months to come, as the stuffed burgers I created were so juicy and delicious. Even though I have been trying to watch my weight, I had to go off my diet to each the "Southwestern Stuffed Burger" I came up with.
If you follow my blog, then you know one of my passions is cooking. When I am not reading cookbooks cover to cover, I am rolling up my sleeves and trying to recreate recipes or come up with new ones based upon dishes I have tried out at restaurants, seen in magazines or online, or had friends make and serve at gatherings. For me, I find being in the kitchen and preparing meals for my family and friends to enjoy therapeutic. While I haven't had much free time since the girls arrived to spend hours in the kitchen like I did pre-children, now I have a reason to make time as a blogger, as I a Good Cook Expert, and are given fun recipe challenges. Last month, I had to come up with an original avocado recipe (I ended up making a super moist avocado banana bread), and the month before that I turned a caprese salad into a tasty sandwich. In addition to creating new recipes with a given ingredient or topic, I am also sent Good Cook cooking gadgets and products to help create these tasty recipes.
As part of the current good cook stuffed burger challenge, I was sent the following items that could be used in my original beef stuffed burger creation:
Red Nylon Turner - I never seem to have luck with spatulas, let alone ones made of nylon or silicone. I find that I am either cooking at too high of a temperature when I got to flip food in a pan, only to melt the ends of my spatulas. When I first received this turner, I thought it looked a little flimsy, as you could easily flip and bend the ends of the kitchen tool. But, when I used it to flip my stuffed burgers being cooked on the cast iron grill, this nylon turner stood up to hot temperatures, didn't melt, and actually allowed me to flip a burger with ease. I didn't have to try to shimmy two spatulas under the burger in order flip it. Who knew you could be in love with a kitchen tool so much. I can't wait to get up in the AM and make eggs and pancakes for my family, so that I can try out this nylon turner further. :-)
Cast Iron 11-inch Square Skillet - I was given a cast iron skillet when I got married, but never knew what to do with it. After hearing from friends and family about how to season and care for an iron skillet, I opted to give the skillet to my mom and use the non-stick cookware I was given instead. But, over the years, as I have become more skilled in the kitchen, I am finding many fall/winter recipes calling for a cast iron skillet to cook foods. So, when the folks at good cook sent along this heavy duty cast iron skillet, I couldn't wait to try it. My mom was over and showed me how to properly season the skillet. And, then when it came time to cook up the stuffed burgers, I couldn't get over how well this iron skillet cooked up the burgers evenly, while still leaving them juicy in the center. This is one skillet I will be reaching for when in the kitchen.
Stuffed Burger Press - I don't know if you ever tried to stuff a burger. I have been trying to successfully stuff a burger for years. My first attempts including me trying to mold evenly proportioned burger patties and then trying to fit ingredients in the center before creating an outer seal. But, I found that when it came time to cook and push on the burgers, that the seam would give way and the stuffed contents would leak out, leaving the center empty when cooking was done. I also tried so called stuffed burger presses, but could never get a big enough center to stuff cheese or other toppings. And, again, the seams created by pushing two beef patties together, would give way once I started cooking them -- even on low temps.
"Our new twist on a box grater—the sleek folding grater--opens and stands firm so you can grate a Parmesan wedge on the fine or coarse side. Then it closes for compact storage. This versatile greater is ideal for shredding course vegetables such as zucchini or grading semi-hard cheese like Gouda."
Folding Grater -- This was the one item I didn't use in creating my "Southwestern Stuffed" burger. I had thought to great cheddar or Mexican cheeses and add to the center of the burger, but I also wanted to be cautious of those who don't like cheesy burger, or who were lactose intolerant. My husband, however, filled "by request" grill orders and added a slice of provolone or smoked cheddar cheese to the shop of the burgers prior to adding a spoonful of the homemade pico de gallo on the top of the stuffed burger. I can't wait to use this handy 2-sided grater for future pizza night family nights, making homemade lasagna, and other family favorite recipes, like zucchini bread. Mmm. :-)
Non-Slip Flexible Cutting Board -- I have so many wooden cutting boards that have seen better days. So, I have been in the market for a new slip resistant cutting board to use for dicing, chopping, etc. The few that I have picked up didn't stay in place. One even slipped off the table when I went to cut with a sharp knife a couple of weeks ago, before the understand of it was wet. So, when I received this cutting board as part of the Stuffed Burger Challenge, I couldn't wait to try it out. This non-slip cutting board is so lightweight, while being amazingly durable. I used my sharp knives on it and was not left with scratches in the cutting board. And, unlike wooden cutting boards, which can spread bacteria if raw food is cut on it, this cutting board his prevent cross contamination -- which I love! I am so happy that after months searching, I have finally found a cutting board that is big enough to let me chop and dice various vegetables, but also fits nicely on the counter, without slipping.
Mini Chef Knife -- Let me first start off by saying that this is one sharp knife. I usually shy away from having knives like this in the house, as my husband has visited the ER one to many times when trying to slice open rolls or bagels with knives similar to this fine edge chef knife, that he had found in the kitchen drawer. But, for review purposes, I tried out this chef knife, and have to say that I was impressed. I was able to cut fresh produce like tomatoes and ripe avocados with ease. Other knives would have left these product slices smooched or ripped up. In addition to cutting the produce with ease, I other found this chef's knife to work great in cutting up uncooked bacon slices or cubing beef stew meats the other day. The only thing I wish this knife had, because it is so sharp, is a protective sleeve. Other good cook knives I own have all come with a plastic protective sleeve, to help protect you from cutting yourself if you store the knife in a drawer, as well as preventing dulling, etc.
After thinking about what type of stuffed burger I was going to make and serve up at annual end of summer cookout, I decided on a black bean and homemade pico de gallo stuffed burger. Other stuffed burger ideas I had were a pizza stuffed burger where I was going to add pepperoni slices and thin slices of fresh mozzarella cheese to the center of a hamburger and then drizzle the top of the cooked burger with marinara sauce; another idea was to use my family's favorite Italian meatball and homemade pasta sauce recipe, and turn the round meatballs into hamburger patties, with a slice of fresh mozzarella in the center, and homemade pasta sauce drizzled on top. There were so many other recipe ideas I had, and some my husband pitched to me like a hamburger stuffed with peanut butter, or another with peanut butter and bananas. I think he was channeling Elvis when he was helping me think out a tasty stuffed burger idea. But, I finally settled on the black bean and pico de gallo stuffed burger, or as I call it the "Southwestern Stuffed" burger, as family and friends who come to eat at our house, always enjoy the fresh bean dips, 7 layer dips, homemade guacamole and homemade pico de gallo with freshly baked tortilla chips. I always find these dip and salsa bowls empty when it comes time to clean up. And, on numerous occasions, I have had family and friends who invite us to their gatherings, ask me to bring my homemade pico de gallo.
Here is the oh so simple "Southwestern Stuffed" burger I created for my end of summer cookout, and that became the standout and most talked about thing during and after the cookout.
Who doesn't love black beans and freshly made pico de gallo? Instead of piling this on top of a burger, I stuffed my beef patties with this tasty Southwestern mix - and, it was a hit!
Serves Cook Time Total Time Prep Time 4-6 15-20 min. 50.min. 20 min.
For the hamburgers:
- 2-3 lbs. 85-90% lean hamburger (more or less depending on the number of people you are feeding or the size of the patty you want to create) *A 1/2 lb. patty works best and gives you space to add a generous layer of black beans and pico de gallo.
- hamburger roll
Homemade Pico de Gallo:
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 large white onion, chopped
- 1 green jalapeno, seeds removed and chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: tortilla chips for extra dipping; avocado slices
- First, start off my dicing up all ingredients for the Pico de Gallo recipe, and placing in a large bowl. Stir up, and then place in the refrigerator to chill for 2+ hours.
- Next, using the good cook burger stuffer, add a layer of ground hamburger (the leaner the better). Then, use the stuffer side of the press to create a pocket indent in the beef patty.
- Fill the pocket with black beans and pico de gallo. Don't overfill as it will cause the seam to give way while cooking and the stuffed ingredients to spill out.
- Add another layer of hamburger to the burger press, making sure you are covering the pocket filled with your stuffed ingredients. Then, using the flat presser side, flatten the hamburger, sealing in the two layers of meat.
- Heat a cast iron skillet or grill. When hot, place your stuffed burgers on the grill or skillet and cook about 8-10 minutes each side -- more or less depending on the size of the burger. The burgers I created were 1/2 lb. beef burgers, so they took longer to cook.
- Let burgers rest once thoroughly cooked before cutting them open or plating. Add cooked burgers to the buns, and then spoon more pico de gallo on the top before placing the top bun on.
Because I had created so many of these stuffed burgers, I ended up having my husband cook half on the outdoor grill, while I cooked the other batch with the Cast Iron Grill the folks at good cook sent along. Personally, I found that by cooking the burgers on the cast iron grill, that they came out extra juicy, with beautiful grill marks. My mom commented on how the stuffed burgers I cooked up and plated looked like something out of a cooking magazine or cookbook. :-)
So, even though the leaves are starting to turn, the kids are heading back to school (if they haven't already), and the pools are being closed up, doesn't mean you can't enjoy a few more cookouts or grilled meals with your family. Why not invite family and friends over, or have your family come up with ideas on how to stuff a burger. I have to tell you that after failed attempts at a stuffed burger in the past, the "Southwester Stuffed" burger has gotten me excited about coming up with other ways to stuff a burger. My husband issued me a challenge this evening, where he wants me to create a stuffed breakfast burger. I am thinking to fill the good cook burger stuffer with ground sausage and stuffing the inside with a fried egg and bacon; or, maybe I will do a omelet type burger. Either way, I will serve it up on a toasted English muffin or homemade biscuit. Mmm, I am getting hungry just thinking about what I could make. I do know, however, that my past fails at creating a stuffed burger will never happen again, thanks to the stuffed burger press and other kitchen gadgets and accessories I was sent from good cook for the stuffed burger challenge.
Are you getting hungry just thinking about the stuffed burger that I created. Well, I think I can get you even hungrier, as I am not the only good cook expert that given the challenge of created an original stuffed burger recipe. There were over 40 other good cook experts who were given the task to create either a stuffed burger with beef or anything else (non-beef) burger. I have been reading each and every post. and have to say that sticking to my diet is going to be challenging, as there are so many stuffed burger recipes I want to try from the recipes shared from other good cook experts.
Have you ever made a stuffed burger? If so, what did you stuff your burger with? Or, have you tried one at a restaurant, and consider it one of the best things you have ever eaten? If so, I would love for you to comment and share your favorite stuffed burger recipes or ideas.
Because this is a good cook stuffed burger challenge, I would love your vote for my "Southwestern Stuffed" burger. You are allowed to vote for my burger creation up to 3 times within a 24hr period. Each vote qualifies you to enter into the drawing to win 1 of 10 Good Cook Burger Stuffing Kit. Thank you in advance for your vote, and I hope that if you get a chance to try out my "Southwestern Stuffed" burger, that you and your family will enjoy it just as much as mine has. :-)
Don't forget to follow good cook on Twitter to stay up to date on fun challenge other Good Cook experts and myself are participating in, as well as discounts on kitchen tools and more -- https://twitter.com/goodcookcom.
Want to try making stuffed burgers at home? Right now, Inspired by Savannah readers can enjoy a 25% off coupon code valid at goodcook.com, that can be used to purchase the Good Cook Burger Tools (like the ones I was sent to review and use in making my stuffed burger creation). Simply use coupon code "BurgerLovers" at checkout to receive the 25% off discount (valid for a limited time only).
Disclosure: I was sent samples from the folks at goodcook.com in order to write up an honest review. The views shared are mine and mine alone.