chipotle bacon burger


Burgers are a relatively common dinner in our home. They can be plain or dressed up, beef or turkey, with or without cheese, on brioche or Sarah Lee. How does one eat burgers frequently without becoming bored, you ask?


Burgers are so easy to customize to whatever you happen to be craving. There are so many ways to spice up a burger, I could probably eat burgers every day and never get make the same one twice. Of course, I have a few favorites that tend to get stuck on repeat… but I *COULD* make a different one every day… if I really wanted to…

These, my friends, are dressed up with bacon, red onion, chipotle spread, cheddar cheese, and greens. I suppose jalapeno jack would be just as tasty on top – but we “had” to buy a(nother) two-pound brick of cheddar from Costco, so it’s been the “cheese of choice” as of late. 🙂

So if you’re looking for a way to “spice” up your usual burgers – give these ones a try!

Chipotle Bacon Burgers

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • dash of Worcestershire sauce (about 2 – 3 shakes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Chipotle Spread
    • 1 cup mayo
    • 1-2 chipotle pepper(s) in adobo, finely minced
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • 1/2 teaspoon lemon or lime juice
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Bacon, cooked
  • Red onions (grilled or not, your choice)
  • Greens of choice (spring mix, romaine, iceberg, arugula…)
  • Cheese – I recommend Cheddar or Pepper Jack
  • Burger buns

Mix beef, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and chipotle powder in a bowl until incorporated. Form into patties, salt the outside of the patties as well.

Make Chipotle Spread by mixing mayo, chipotle, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside until ready to use.

When ready to make the burgers – grill patties to desired doneness and top with cheese to melt. While resting, spread a light layer of chipotle spread over the buns and grill until toasted. Assemble burgers, adding additional chipotle spread if desired, and enjoy!

chipotle steak salad

steak saladThree words:





(OK I guess that’s four words)

Doesn’t matter, only one word really matters: “chipotle”….

I don’t know if it was feeling bad about holiday binges, maybe that mixed with low iron or something…. I have been really into two things lately: steak and salad. I know, they seem kinda like opposites, right? Either I’m ruining a perfectly healthy salad with a giant chunk of steak, or ruining a giant chunk of juicy steak with a rabbit salad.

Guess what? Don’t care. It’s delicious. Besides, flank steak is actually one of the leaner cuts of meat, and what good is having the ability to grill all year long if I don’t actually use the grill all year?

This salad was muy excelente.

We even used the leftover steak for tacos later in the week. Flippin delicious.

The “dressing” is just my usual chipotle spread that I thinned out a little bit to make it salad-worthy. You can make extra and keep it on hand to dip your fries in, put on sandwiches, etc etc… it’s basically like chipotle gold. Yes, we all know my deep love for chipotle, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely biased (BF loves it too).

Chipotle Steak Salad

[ Printable Recipe ]

For the steak:

  • 1 whole Flank Steak
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey
  • 1 Tablespoon adobo (from can)
  • Salt & Pepper

For the dressing and salad:

  • ¼ cup mayo
  • 2 Tablespoons oil
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers (in adobo)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Milk (if necessary to thin – this will shorten the shelf life, though)
  • Salt and pepper (bit of each)
  • Salad greens & veggies

1. Mix the oil, Worcestershire, garlic, adobo, cumin, oregano, and honey. Marinate in mixture for 1 hour (or up to overnight).  Remove from fridge 30 minutes before grilling. Right before grilling, pat dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

2. Either use a food processor (or just finely mince ingredients, if you can) to mix the mayo, oil, chipotles, and garlic. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper. If you’re doing this by hand, your mixture will look clotted when you first add the oil, just keep mixing until smooth.

If it’s still thicker than you want it, you can thin it out with more oil or with milk (or buttermilk) and keep mixing. Mine was still a little thick, but I just used a Ziploc with the corner cut off to drizzle it over my salad. Once you have the consistency you want, refrigerate until it’s time to use (best to do it at least an hour ahead of time to give the flavors time to mingle).

3. Set steak out to come to room temp about 30 minutes before grilling. 15 minutes before grilling, preheat your grill. You will want to cook over high heat for just a few minutes each side. Grills and steaks vary, I grill mine for about 3 to 6 minutes per side, depending on if I want it more rare or well-done.

asian steak salad


So, despite my last post being insanely delicious, I’m told that it is the start of a “new year” and that some people have things called “resolutions” and that in these “resolutions” some people, so I’m told, are trying to be more healthful. Silly me. Ruining your diets before you even start them. How dare I.

So, in your honor, those of you who have what’s called “self control” and are trying to be more healthful, I give you a (relatively) “light” meal. All the benefits of salad – being full of healthy veggies and having lots of greens to fill you up, with the added taste of a nice (LEAN) juicy steak right on top.

Now, please do not make the same error I made. Do not walk away from the grill with no concept of what time it is and allow your steak to just cook and cook away. Is it a big deal? Not really, but this steak really should have been medium-rare to medium. So be a good girl (or boy) and cook your steak over high heat for about 5 – 6 minutes per side, then tent it with foil and let it rest about 10 minutes afterward. Slice against the grain and lay atop your bed of greens.

Asian Steak Salad

[ Printable Version ]

For the meat:

  •     2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  •     2 Tablespoons oil (olive oil or vegetable will do)
  •     1 Tablespoon red wine
  •     3 cloves garlic, minced
  •     2 teaspsoons brown sugar
  •     1 1-pound flank steak

For the dressing:

  •     2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  •     2 Tablespoons oil
  •     2 Tablespoons sugar
  •     1 Tablespoon lime juice
  •     2 cloves garlic, minced
  •     1 Tablespoon ginger
  •     1 scallion, finely diced

For the salad:

  • Salad greens
  • 1 cucumber, sliced
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced

1. Marinate your meat by mixing together the soy sauce, oil, brown sugar, wine, and garlic. Pour over meat and let marinate at least 30 minutes. (I do this while it’s coming to room temperature)

2. While the meat is marinating, make your dressing by combining all of the dressing ingredients, including the scallion, mixing well. Taste and adjust, if it tastes flat try a dash of vinegar.

3. About 10 minutes before you’re ready to get cookin’, turn on your grill. Heat to high heat (about 550 degrees F). Cook the flank steak to medium-rare (about 5-6 minutes each side). Once done, transfer steak to plate and tent with foil for ten minutes while it rests.

4. Once the steak is done resting, cut against the grain into thin slices. For more even distribution, you can toss your salad with some of the dressing before plating, then place the steak over your salad veggies and drizzle with additional dressing if necessary.

Eat & enjoy… maybe think about using the left over steak for stir fry tomorrow… now that you think about it, that marinade would probably make a pretty good stir fry sauce… Let’s use brown rice instead of white, in the interest of being “healthful”. 😉

short rib grilled cheese

short rib cheese

Even though I was convinced I just saw this recipe a couple weeks ago in my Bon Appétit, I went back to my bookshelf and turns out… February 2010 cover recipe. No big deal. Apparently the cover picture was just hibernating in my subconscious waiting for the perfect time to spring out and jerk my hunger chains. Grilled cheese and short rib sandwich with pickled caramelized onions and arugula… yeah, pretty full of win.

The issue? Finding short ribs. I checked all my usual stores during my regular shopping and didn’t see any. Finally, the morning after thanksgiving, I stopped at the store on my way home from the gym. I found short ribs, but they were the “last chance 50% off buy these before they spoil” short ribs… not gonna cut it. Unfortunately for them, that let me know that the option existed. The friendly man behind the meat counter at my local Safeway grocery store was sweet enough to go in the back and cut them for me fresh. I was so excited… until he handed me the package.

30+ dollars for my package of short ribs!? Wish I had known that ahead of time. I was tempted to dump them into the cooler and abandon my dreams of short rib grilled cheese… but after waiting for like 25 minutes for the poor guy to get them, cut them, and package them specially for me, I felt obligated to purchase them. I went to buy a loaf of hearty bread and… there was none. I probably should’ve anticipated that the store would be ransacked and empty the day after thanksgiving, but I didn’t. what ever happened to home-made rolls, people? Fresh bread for thanksgiving? Come on, lazybones, a loaf of store bought bread on thanksgiving? Really? Leaving me with no options the next day? I gave up and was forced to use wimpy bread, making it more of a knife-and-fork sandwich, but delicious no less.

Still medium defeated, I returned home and began cooking. Sure, I should’ve been eating leftovers, but this sandwich was in my head. I couldn’t get it out. I needed to make it before my brain exploded. I began braising the short ribs on the stove top, made my onions ahead of time, and sat around all day while the house smelled delicious.

Boyfriend ate one and a half sandwiches, they were darn tasty. My issue was with the short ribs themselves. Even after I picked out as much fat as I could, I felt like I threw away pretty much half of my meat. $15 of meat just gone, because I deemed it too fatty. So while the sandwiches were delicious, I don’t know if I would spring for short ribs again, or if I did I might pull the trick of putting the cooked short ribs in the oven to dry out a bit. I bet that would be super tasty…

Regardless, I give you

Bon Appetit’s Grilled Cheese and Short Rib Sandwiches (with Pickled Caramelized Onions and Arugula )

[ Printable Recipe ]

Short Ribs

  • 5 pounds beef short ribs
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup low-salt beef broth
  • 1/3 cup medium-dry Sherry
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large fresh thyme sprig

Pickled Caramelized Onions

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large red onions, halved, thinly sliced crosswise (about 6 cups)
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar


  • Butter, room temperature
  • 16 slices country-style crusty white bread
  • 12 ounces Petit Basque or Monterey
  • Jack cheese, sliced
  • 4 cups baby arugula

For the Short Ribs

1. Sprinkle beef with salt and pepper. Melt butter in large wide pot over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, cook beef until browned, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to large rimmed baking sheet.

2. Add celery, carrots, and onion to pot and sauté until beginning to soften and brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add wine, broth, Sherry, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme sprig; bring to boil, scraping up browned bits. Season with salt and pepper. Return ribs to pot, propping up on sides and arranging in single layer. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour.

3. Using tongs, turn ribs over in pot. Cover and simmer until ribs are tender and sauce is very thick, occasionally rearranging ribs in pot to prevent sticking, about 1 1/2 hours longer. Uncover and cool 30 minutes.

4. Transfer ribs to work surface. Discard bay leaves and thyme sprig. Spoon off fat from sauce in pot. Remove meat from bones; discard bones. Cut meat into 3/4- to 1-inch pieces, trimming any fat. Return meat to pot.

* Can be made 2 days ahead. Chill until cold; cover and keep chilled. Rewarm just until lukewarm before using.

Pickled Caramelized Onions

1. Melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sauté until beginning to brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add vinegar and sugar and cook until almost all vinegar is absorbed, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to microwave-safe bowl; cool.

* Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover; chill. Microwave in 15-second intervals until lukewarm before using.


1. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with waxed paper. Butter 8 bread slices; place 4 slices, buttered side down, on each prepared sheet.

2. Divide short rib mixture among bread slices, about 1/2 cup for each. Divide cheese among sandwiches. Spoon about 1/4 cup onions over each sandwich. Place large handful of arugula atop onions. Top with remaining 8 bread slices. Spread bread with butter.

* Can be prepared 1 hour ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

3. Heat griddle over medium heat. Working in batches, cook sandwiches until bread is golden brown and cheese melts, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to work surface. Cut each in half on diagonal. Transfer to plates and serve.

lasagna for two


I’ve been working longer days the past few weeks. This means I get out of work late, much later than BF would like, because it means I don’t have quite as much time to make dinner before he’s ready to chew his own leg off. In order to keep all of BF’s limbs attached, I’ve made an effort to pre-make at least one meal a week. Sometimes he’s even lucky enough for me to make one of his favorite things : Lasagna.

Who doesn’t love lasagna? The best part is, I can make it all the day before. I just refrigerate it overnight, and then BF pops it in the oven towards the end of my shift. Voila – dinner is ready by the time I get home. As an added bonus – BF gets to feel like he made dinner that night. 🙂

I almost didn’t post the recipe, since it uses a jar sauce, so I kinda feel like it isn’t REALLY a “recipe”. Then I figured, who doesn’t have days where they get home from work too exhausted or too late to make dinner? And who doesn’t resort to jarred sauces once in awhile? Especially if you can find one you like (for me – that’s Trader Joe’s Bolognese).

Since we’re a small family of two (sometimes three) people, I make mine in  a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, and it’s still enough to feed us for a couple of meals. If you want to make more, just use a larger pan, or if you want to make some for later, just make an additional batch in one of those foil loaf pans and store it in the freezer until the mood strikes. (Or, in my case, to feed the boy if I have to leave town for work).

Just try to mangle yours slightly less when it’s time for your photo-op 🙂

Lasagna for TwoMakes one 9 x 5-inch loaf of lasagna

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • ½ (1.25 lb) package Italian turkey sausage (sweet or hot)
  • ½ lb lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1 package no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 package whole milk ricotta (trust me on this, please don’t use skim. If you’re going to use skim, just skip the ricotta altogether)
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning (or a couple sprinkles each of basil and oregano)
  • Shredded Italian cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Remove sausage from casings and cook with ground beef in a sauté pan over medium-high until brown. Add onion and continue cooking until soft. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in your jar of sauce and lower heat to simmer.
  2. While sauce is simmering, mix Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper into the ricotta. (If you have milk or cream on hand, you can add a splash or two to thin the ricotta just a little bit). Set aside.
  3. Assemble the lasagna: Put just enough sauce to coat the bottom of the loaf pan, and place a lasagna noodle on top. Scoop meat sauce mixture into a layer over top.Spread ricotta mixture onto one side of another lasagna noodle, place ricotta side down into pan. Top with more meat sauce, and repeat until you’re out of room.Once you’ve reached your last noodle, add your remaining meat sauce and sprinkle with Italian cheese. Feel free to grate some parmesan over top, maybe sprinkle some Italian seasoning.
  4. Now you can either – bake in a 375 degree oven until cheese is hot and bubbly (about 30 minutes) OR cool, cover, and refrigerate.

To bake from refrigerated, take out of the fridge while the oven preheats to 375. Once the oven is preheated, bake the lasagna, covered with foil, 40 minutes. Uncover and continue to bake additional 15 minutes or so until cheese is hot and bubbly


– Grease your pan or, if you’re extra lazy like me, just line it with aluminum foil for easy cleanup.

– Adding fresh parmesan on top will encourage browning. If you think it’s ready but it just won’t get brown enough, feel free to pop the broiler on for a minute or so.

– Another trick – Keep a baguette in your freezer. Let the baguette sit, wrapped in foil, at room temperature while the lasagna bakes, then throw it into the oven for the last 15-20 minutes or so of baking and it will be just as good as new.