Archive for MEAT

Juicy Cheeseburgers with Baked Smothered Fries

I may be dating myself, but one of my favorite burger places to eat was Cool Spot, a quaint drive-in burger joint in Barrigada owned and operated by Josefina and Francisco Cruz.  The juicy burgers and hot-out-of-the-frier french fries were the perfect lunchtime meal when I was going to high school.

Anyone can make burgers at home, but to me, it’s about the special sauce that set these apart from ordinary.  You don’t have to use my recipe below, but give it a try.  The addition of my special sauce sets these apart from ordinary cheeseburgers.

Juicy burgers are not hard to make, but surprisingly, you’ll find that most homemade burgers use store-bought patties that turn out dry and hard.  Here are some tips to ensure moist, juicy burgers every time.

  1. Use ground beef that has at least 18-20% fat.  Beef that is too lean will make your burgers too dry.
  2. Do not over-handle the meat.  Add your seasonings to the meat then mix as little as possible.
  3. Do not–I repeat, do NOT smash the patties with your spatula!  Doing this squeezes out a lot of the meat’s natural juices that keep the meat moist.
  4. In addition to not pressing on the patties as they cook, another tip is to flip them one time only.  If you like rare burgers, cook them for 2 minutes on each side, 3 minutes on each side if you like them medium-rare, 4 minutes on each side for medium, and 5 minutes for well-done burgers.

Fantastic burgers go hand-in-hand with french fries, but no ordinary fries will do.  Try my version — potato slices (wedges are good too) that are generously seasoned then baked and topped with shredded cheese and bacon.  Yum!!

Give my recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them. 🙂

Juicy Burgers with Baked Smothered Fries

Ingredients for the Smothered Fries:

  • 2 large potatoes (russets are great for this)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I use garlic-infused olive oil for more flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (you can add more after baking if you’d like it more salty)
  • 1 cup shredded cheese blend (I like a blend of cheddar, mozzarella, asadero and queso quesadilla)
  • 5 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced

Ingredients for the Special Sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons Best Foods real mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup sweet pickle relish

Ingredients for the Burgers:

  • 3 pounds ground beef, 80-82% lean
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 12 slices of your favorite cheese (I used American cheese in these photos)
  • 12 sesame topped burger buns
  • Optional toppings:  romaine lettuce leaves, sliced tomates, pickles, bacon strips


1.  Prepare the fries.

Peel the potatoes then cut them into 1/4-inch sticks.  Place them onto a large baking sheet.

Drizzle the olive oil over the potatoes.  Use your impeccably clean hands to toss the potatoes to evenly distribute the oil.

Sprinkle the garlic powder, chili powder, paprika and salt over the oiled potatoes.  Toss to evenly coat the potatoes.

Bake the potatoes at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

After the fries are done, taste one and add more salt if you’d like.

Sprinkle the crumbled bacon and green onions on top of the fries.

Add the shredded cheese.

Bake for 5-10 more minutes, or just until the cheese melts.

Serve alongside the juicy burgers and ENJOY!

2.  Prepare the Special Sauce while the fries are baking.

In a small mixing bowl, place the mayo, mustard and ketchup.

Add the onion powder.

Add the Worcestershire sauce and relish.  Stir, mixing well.  Set aside.

3.  Make the burgers while the fries are baking.

In a large mixing bowl, place the ground beef, garlic, salt and black pepper.  You can also add some chopped onions (optional).  Mix together (do not over-mix) then separate into 12 balls.  Flatten each ball into patties, about 1/4-inch thick (they will shrink as they cook, so don’t make them too thick or you’ll have burgers that are much smaller than the buns).

Cook over a hot grill or skillet (see my tips above for how long to cook them).

Top each burger patty with a slice of cheese.

4.  Assemble the burgers.

Spread some of the Special Sauce onto each sesame bun half.  Top the bottom bun with a juicy burger patty, pickles, tomato slices, bacon strips and romaine lettuce.  Place the top bun on the assembled burger, serve with a side of Smothered Fries and ENJOY!


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Chicken Noodle Soup

Chicken noodle soup is comfort food at it’s best.  This soup is quick and easy to make.  Cook up a batch when you’re feeling under the weather, or when you need something to warm you up on cold days.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Chicken Noodle Soup 


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I use garlic-infused olive oil)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 small bag baby carrots, sliced
  • 6 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons Dashida (or you can use 2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 bag (8.8 ounces) dry egg noodles (see the photo below)


Place a large soup pot over medium high heat.  Add the olive oil to the pot.  Heat the oil for about a minute.

Add the chicken pieces to the pot.

Cook the chicken until they are no longer pink.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic to the pot.  Stir to combine the ingredients.

Cook over medium high heat until the onions are translucent.

Add the chicken stock, water, and Dashida (or bouillon) to the pot.

Add the bay leaves.

Add the black pepper.

Add the parsley.

Bring the soup to a boil then add the egg noodles.

This is the brand of egg noodles that I like to use.  You can use any brand you like.

After about 5 minutes (or until the noodles are done), remove the bay leaves from the soup.

Taste and adjust the seasonings to your liking.

Serve while hot and ENJOY! 😀


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Ground Beef Stir Fry

Stir fried lean meat and vegetables are delicious and healthy meal choices. Use your favorite vegetables or whatever is in season.

I like using the leanest ground beef I can find — I used 96% lean ground beef in this recipe. Broccoli, mushrooms, bell peppers and onions were my vegetables of choice today, but I also love adding eggplant, zucchini, and carrots.  Use your favorite vegetables.

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Ground Beef Stir Fry


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Dashida
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 broccoli “crown”, cut into pieces
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 container sliced mushrooms (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce, more or less, to taste


1. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the garlic, Dashida, and black pepper.

2. Add the broccoli, onions, bell pepper and mushrooms. Stir to combine the ingredients.

3. Add the hoisin sauce to the pan. Stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high; cook for about 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are done to your liking.

4. Stir in the soy sauce. Cook over high heat for another minute or two.

5. Serve with steamed white or brown rice and ENJOY!


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Hannah’s Carne Asada Tacos

My daughter loves to cook as much as I do, and she loves to experiment with new dishes.  This is her take on Carne Asada Tacos, complete with her recipes for the Marinade, Guacamole, and Pico de Gallo.

Give her recipes a try.  I think you’ll like them. 🙂

Hannah’s Carne Asada Tacos

carne asada tacos


  • 4 pounds skirt steak, with excess fat trimmed off
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • Sour cream
  • Guacamole
  • Pico de gallo
  • Shredded Mexican cheese blend

Hannah’s Carne Asada Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • The juice of 2 oranges
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup of chopped cilantro

Hannah’s Pico de Gallo:

  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • The juice of 2 limes
  • Salt, to taste
  • Optional: chopped hot peppers

Hannah’s Guacamole:

  • 3 large avocados, peeled, seeded, and cut into small pieces
  • 1 small red onion, finely minced
  • The juice of 3-4 limes
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • Optional: 1 medium tomato, diced (the guac pictured here doesn’t have any tomatoes since I made pico de gallo)
  • Optional: diced hot peppers, like jalapenos


Mix all marinade ingredients together. Pour over the skirt steak (I recommend marinating the steak in a ziplock bag). Let the steak marinate for at least 2 hours. Grill until done to your liking. Slice the meat against the grain (so that it isn’t tough when you bite into it). 


Mix all the Pico de Gallo ingredients together. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to develop. Serve with your carne asada tacos.


Mix all the guacamole ingredients together. I like to gently stir my guacamole so that you still have chunks of avocado. If you prefer, you can mash the avocados with a fork for a smooth texture. Serve with your carne asada tacos or with chips.


Grill a tortilla until warmed. Fill with slices of carne asada, some guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream and cheese. Enjoy!

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Baked “Fried” Chicken

Healthy Fried Chicken — is there even such a thing? 🙂

My recipe below is healthy, or at least it’s a less unhealthy version, and it does not skimp on flavor. Despite being baked, you still get that crispness we equate to delicious fried chicken. How, you ask? Well, let me tell you.

Use chicken WITH the skin on. The fat from the skin will crisp the chicken as it bakes.

I also marinate the chicken for several hours — up to a day. My marinade is very similar to what you’d use to make Karaage Chicken. Don’t skip the marinade — it takes it to a whole other level, let me tell you!

This is also a gluten-free recipe since I dredge the chicken in corn starch instead of flour. Be sure to look on the corn starch label to ensure it’s gluten-free (not all brands are). I use Argo brand cornstarch, one of the few that is gluten-free.

Give my recipe a try. I think you’ll like it. 🙂

Baked “Fried” Chicken


  • 5 pounds chicken wings (or your favorite chicken pieces, skin on)
  • 3 cups cornstarch, for dredging the chicken pieces in
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Marinade Ingredients:

  • 2-inch piece of ginger
  • 3 tablespoons sherry cooking wine
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 4 tablespoons sugar


1. Prepare the marinade.

In a small bowl, mix all of the marinade ingredients together.

Grate the ginger into the bowl.  Add the sherry cooking wine, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.


Add the garlic and sugar.


Stir to combine. Set the marinade aside for now.

2. Marinate the chicken.

Rinse and clean the chicken pieces. Place into a large ziplock bag.

Pour the marinade into the bag.

Make sure to get all the garlic and ginger out!

Squeeze any excess air out of the bag before sealing. Marinate the chicken for a few hours or up to a day. Keep the bag refrigerated while the chicken marinates.

3. Bake the chicken.

Pour the chicken out into a colander to drain out the marinade.

Prepare the cornstarch mixture. Mix together the cornstarch, garlic powder and black pepper.

Dredge the chicken pieces in the cornstarch mixture.


Place the chicken (skin side up) onto a baking pan lined with parchment paper.

Note: In the photo below, the pan is not lined with parchment paper (I forgot to do it). DO NOT forget like I did or the chicken skin will stick to the pan as it bakes…especially metal pans. I also baked half of the chicken on a stoneware pan; the chicken baked up better on the stoneware pan without being lined with parchment paper (most of the wings didn’t stick but some still did).

Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for a total of 45 minutes.

After baking for 15 minutes, turn the chicken over. Bake for another 15 minutes, skin side down.

After 30 minutes of baking, turn the chicken over, making it skin side up again. Bake for the final 15 minutes.

Serve immediately and ENJOY! 🙂

This goes great with red rice. Click here for my recipes for Red Rice and Red Rice using Brown Rice.


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