I cannot believe that Christmas is almost here. I haven’t even gotten my tree yet and let’s not talk about gift shopping. I have friends who are already done and here I am without even a list. Time to kick it into gear. From now until Christmas I thought I would share my Christmas morning, through recipes, with you and your family.
As the kids started getting a little older, I realize that with all the hoopla before Christmas day; the decorating, cookie baking, pageants, and parties, that the actual day itself was over before it even began. We open presents and the kids run off to play with their new toys and the day is rather anticlimactic.
That is when I decided to prolong the day. Today we get up and make a beautiful breakfast buffet, or “Meat Fest” as it has been affectionately termed. My husband and I work side-by-side in the kitchen getting everything ready. The kids set the table and lay out the food on the buffet table. Then we all sit down in the dining room and enjoy a leisurely mid-morning meal filled with laughter, stories, and yes, anticipation.
My butcher was having a sale of pork tenderloin this week, so I picked up a few. I’m so glad I did because we are having company tonight. I have decided to make a bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin. This recipe has minimal preparation, is slow roasted in the oven, and comes out juicy and delicious. It looks elegant and makes the kitchen smell delicious. Guest will think you have been in the kitchen preparing all day.
Well, I’ve got to be honest here, this recipe came about out of curiosity more than anything else. A coworker was telling me about a peanut butter burger he had for lunch. At first, I thought, yuck!
I started to quiz him about the flavors: what worked well, what did not? What other ingredients were on the burger, etc.? He said the burger was good but, he felt using natural peanut butter would have been better. Excuse me? Mad respect for a palate that can differentiate between natural and regular peanut butter when layered on a burger!
What could make this better? I started thinking about Thai food, which uses peanut sauce in many dishes, and then I thought, Yum!
Peanut butter on a burger does work! Here is my version of the peanut butter burger.
Make the peanut butter sauce (see recipe below) while the sauce is thickening, about the consistency of a thousand island dressing.
Fry the bacon. Place on a paper plate lined with paper towels to drain fat. Set aside.
In the same skillet as the bacon cooked in add jalapeno pepper slices and cook until slightly browned. Place on a plate, cover to keep warm.
When the peanut butter sauce is smooth and thick take off the heat and keep warm.
Patty four patties the same size as your buns. Press your thumb in the center of each patty to provide shrinkage. Sprinkle both sides with meat seasoning.
Warm a large skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil, and let it warm with the pan. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the patties leaving a little space between each one. The patties should sizzle when they hit the pan. Turn when you see a nice dark, golden-brown sear on the underside. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the burgers.
Top the burgers with a slice, or two, of cheddar cheese as soon as you flip them. If the cheese isn’t melting fast enough, cover the pan with a lid to encourage the cheese to melt. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes.
Assemble the Burger: On the bottom bun, spread the peanut butter sauce. Top with a cheese patty, add grilled jalapeno pepper slices, 2 bacon slices, lettuce leaf, a tomato slice, an onion slice. Top with the bun top.
Gourmet burgers are all the rave right now. And why not? Is there anything better than a burger. I’m sure you’ve all seen a mac-n-cheese burger on a menu near you. Two of my favorite foods: good and good, right! I had to try it. I ordered me up a good ole plate of comfort and although it was good I was disappointed that the two flavors did not blend into one another. It was just mac-n-cheese on top of a burger.
So, I asked myself, how could I combine the two flavors better? That’s when I came up with the idea of a mac-n-cheese stuffed meatloaf wrapped in bacon. Artery overload? No doubt. But oh, so good! And this coming from a girl who normally does not care for meatloaf.
Start with your favorite mac-n-cheese recipe: homemade, or from the box. Here’s my three-cheese recipe. Place 6 ounces of elbows pasta in a pot and cook according to package directions.
While the pasta cooks prepare a seasoning mix for the meat. Grind red and black peppercorns, sea salt granules, garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika and crushed red pepper into a spice blend and set aside. This will make more then you need for this recipe so save it to season steaks, burgers, etc.
Drain the pasta. Set aside, and keep warm. Heat butter and heavy cream over medium heat until butter is melted. Add three types of shredded cheeses. I use cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan. Stir until melted and smooth adding more cream as needed to ensure a smooth cheese sauce. Add the pasta and mix until pasta is covered. Take off heat and set aside.
Make the meatloaf. Combine milk, egg, ketchup, and mustard. Stir in breadcrumbs. Crumble in meats. Mix until well combined and when I say mix you know what I mean. Take your rings off, wash those hands and get in there.
On a large cutting board lay out a sheet of parchment paper. Drop the meat on the paper and pat out into a rectangle the length of your pan. Sprinkle the meat seasonings over the meat.
Layer another sheet of parchment paper over the meat and using the paper turn the meat over.
Remove the top layer of paper. Do not season this side. Layer the mac-n-cheese over the meat. A little or a lot, your choice.
Using the paper to help roll the meat and mac-n-chez into a spiral discarding the paper when done. Wrap bacon around the meatloaf and place in a loaf pan.
Add more ketchup to the top of the meatloaf.
Bake in 350° oven for 1-½ hours. Let stand 15 minutes before slicing allowing the juices to seep back into the meat.
I hope you enjoy!
• I dedicate this recipe to Jen whose love of cheese might just border on an addiction. We love you!
When you think waffles do you think Belgian? I think German, as in my Oma, who would serve us waffles on the Sunday mornings we stayed with her. What I love about waffles is they are airier than a pancake. You can stuff them, stack them between layers of fruit, drizzle them with chocolate, even pour country gravy over them and eat them topped with fried chicken. Come on that’s good stuff.