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Weber’s Ideal Cheeseburgers

It was Victoria Day long weekend here in Ottawa last week, and one of the highlights of course was the food. Friday, Steve made simple BBQ chicken, Saturday we went out for dinner at The Heart and Crown pub. I had chicken and waffles for the first time with spicy maple syrup of all things but it wasn’t my favourite. Sunday I made an amazing one pan chicken recipe that I will share later, and last night Steve made burgers! Amazingly, I made only one sweet dish, which was Baked French Toast with Apple Maple Syrup. Very delicious as well. (I totally forgot to take a pic). I’ll start by sharing the burgers so that you can start dreaming about making your own. 🙂 If you mince the onion very small you might be able to get away to feeding it to picky eaters! Miss M. still won’t try eating a burger but she did love the chicken I made which is a total triumph!


Weber’s Ideal Cheeseburgers

1½ pounds ground chuck (80% lean), preferably ground to order by your butcher
2  tablespoons minced white or yellow onion
1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 Tbsp ketchup
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

2  tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4  hamburger buns, split
4  slices aged cheddar cheese, each about 2 ounces
4  leaves butter lettuce
16  dill pickle chips

1. Mix the patty ingredients, including 1 tablespoon ketchup, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and then gently form four patties of equal size, each about 1 inch thick. With your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indentation about 1 inch wide in the center of the patties to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook. Refrigerate the patties until ready to grill.

2. Prepare the grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat (400° to 500°F).

3. Lightly season the patties on both sides with salt and pepper. Butter the cut side of the buns. Grill the patties over direct medium-high heat, with the lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160°F), 9 to 11 minutes, turning once. During the last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, place a slice of cheese on each patty to melt, and toast the buns, cut side down, over direct heat.

4. Build each burger on a bun with a lettuce leaf, a patty, pickles, and ketchup, if desired. Serve immediately

©2014 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Big Book of Burgers™ by Jamie Purviance.



Mother’s Day Goodies

Not much is going on over here except I’ve been recovering from the head cold of doom! I missed two days of work and ended up in the E.R. because my body didn’t like my meds 😦 Needless to say, I haven’t been cooking much. But I was feeling halfway decent on the weekend. The little Miss had a play date on Saturday and Sunday I spent in my night gown, cooking up a storm. Breakfast was a mishmash of two recipes I’ve made previously – those amazing Cheddar Garlic Biscuits and the Boursin Cheese Sauce I made a while back. Sooo goood! For lunch my guy BBQ’d some pork tenderloin, and in the afternoon I made Cinnabon Cake. For dinner I made slow cooker Honey Garlic Chicken. It was pretty good but lacking a little depth. I think Steve and I are developing a taste for spice, so next time we might add a bit of warmth to the dish, plus a touch more garlic. I’ll post the recipe once it’s perfected. 🙂

cheddar garlic breakfast sandwiches

Garlic Cheddar Biscuits

Every once in a while I get the biggest craving for biscuits – last weekend was one such time. The itch needed to be scratched and this was the recipe to do it! From what I hear they’re reminiscent of Red Lobster’s biscuits. To rack up even more comparisons (and the saturated fat content) I melted some butter and added garlic powder, then drizzled it on top of the biscuits before serving. *drool* This unassuming recipe from Canadian Living Magazine actually beat out Ina Garten’s biscuits for top spot on my all-star recipes list. They’re so fluffy and flavorful! And a bonus – you don’t need buttermilk or extra large eggs.

These biscuits can accompany just about anything. I made some wicked breakfast sandwiches with them and ate an extra couple as-is! They would also go well with soup, and of course sea food! Dangerous my friends. East coast cook-out here we come!


Quick Cheddar Biscuits


1-3/4 cups (425 mL) all-purpose flour

4 tsp (18 mL) baking powder

1 tbsp (15 mL) granulated sugar

1 tbsp (15 mL) dried parsley

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2 mL) garlic powder

1/4 cup (60 mL) butter, cubed

1 cup (250 mL) shredded old Cheddar cheese

1 cup (250 mL) milk

In large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, parsley, salt and garlic powder. Using pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add Cheddar cheese and milk, mixing with fork until ragged moist dough forms. Drop by 1/4 (50 mL)cupfuls, 1-1/2 inches (4 cm) apart, onto greased baking sheet.

Bake in centre of 425°F (220°C) oven until lightly browned, 13 to 15 minutes. Makes 12.

Garlic Butter Topping

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Whisk together ingredients, then brush on top of the biscuits right after you take them out of the oven. Sooo good!

Ham + Smoked Cheddar Breakfast Bake

Ham + Smoked Cheddar Breakfast Bake

I’ve been trying to get rid of the Christmas weight and it hasn’t been easy, especially on the weekends. This past weekend I really wanted to do the breakfast bake thing that I had hoped to do over the holidays so I went through my cookbooks to try to find one that fit in an 8×8 pan. Then I discovered I don’t have a metal 8×8 pan! lol I do have my new brownie pan so I made one inspired by a recipe in the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook. For fillings we chose smoked cheddar, ham, and bacon. We didn’t have any breakfast meats available so Steve went to the grocery store and by the time he got back, we were running out of time. A couple of shortcuts ended up making things a little problematic. I forgot to toast the bread first which I think lended to it’s overly wet texture the first time I took it out of the oven, so I suggest not skipping that step. And I was short on time so I only chilled it for 30 minutes and took it out for about 10 minutes before putting it in the oven. I don’t think it quite had enough time to come up to temperature because when we took it out after 55 minutes it was still too wet in the middle. I put it in for another 20 minutes and it was much better. When we reheated it the next day it was even better. The flavours were lovely. Next time I would try adding some shallots or green onion to the mix, but other than that, I think this one’s worth putting in the extra effort next time.

Note: You can play around with the meat, cheese, veggie combos, just pay attention to the egg to bread ratio. C.I. original recipe has, 1 1/2 cups half and half, and 1/2 cup dry white wine reduced to 1/4 cup. I used all half and half and omitted the wine.




Breakfast Strata

8-10 slices supermarket French bread (½-inch thick) or Italian bread (6 – 7 ounces)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces ham steaks, and a half a package of bacon
Table salt and ground black pepper, 3 shallots diced (optional)
6 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated (about 1½ cups)
6 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley leaves or about a tsp of dried

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. Arrange bread in single layer on large baking sheet and bake until dry and crisp, about 40 minutes, turning slices over halfway through drying time. (Alternatively, leave slices out overnight to dry.) When cooled, butter slices on one side with 2 tablespoons butter; set aside.

2. Cut the ham steaks into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. Cook bacon either in a frying pan or in the oven, until just cooked. Cut into 1/2 inch pieces. Transfer to medium bowl with the ham and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Butter 8-inch square baking dish with remaining 1 tablespoon butter; arrange half the buttered bread slices, buttered-side up, in single layer in dish. Sprinkle half of meat mixture, then ½ cup grated cheese evenly over bread slices. Arrange remaining bread slices in single layer over cheese; sprinkle remaining meat mixture and another ½ cup cheese evenly over bread. Whisk eggs and parsley in medium bowl until combined; half-and-half, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread layers; cover surface flush with plastic wrap, weigh down (soup cans or juice boxes are great), and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

4. Remove dish from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes. Meanwhile, adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Uncover strata and sprinkle remaining ½ cup cheese evenly over surface; bake until both edges and center are puffed and edges have pulled away slightly from sides of dish, 50-60 minutes. Cool on wire rack 5 minutes; serve.

Copycat Restaurant Burgers and Poutine

My friend Steve and I went to the Big Rig Brewery back in May and I had the Killer Bee Burger (with onion rings and honey bbq sauce), then last month we went to the Bier Markt on Sparks Street and we had the Candied Bacon Poutine. (For our international friends, poutine is french fries topped with cheese curds and gravy). For this long weekend I wanted to make something special for Canadian Labour Day so I decided to try recreating these dishes.

It was the first time I fired up the grill I found at Loblaws – one sale for $10! The recipes in the Weber cookbooks are great but the guides to setting up a bbq are not as detailed. I could not find how to tell if your BBQ is at the correct temperature. For that I flipped through my trusty old Betty Crocker Big Red Book. It tells you how to set up a pyramid style charcoal grill or the chimney starter method and it gives guidelines for when the coals are ready. (These methods can also be easily found online but I like having my cookbook right there when I need it.) Once your coals are coated in a light grey ash, hold your hand over the grill and count how many seconds you can hold it there.

2 seconds = high heat         3 seconds = medium-high heat       4 seconds = medium heat       5 seconds = low heat

To grill 1/4 lb burgers, cook over medium heat for about 5-6 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature reaches at least 160F degrees.

To assemble the Killer Bee burger, use your favourite burger recipe, then add applewood cheddar, bacon, beer battered onion rings, and honey-bbq sauce. I used old cheddar and regular onion rings instead. For the honey-bbq sauce I was inspired by this recipe from The Kitchen Whisperer so I added 1 part honey to 2 parts of my favourite Kansas City BBQ Sauce and simmered for 5 minutes. It was awesome!

For basic poutine, deep-fry your favourite straight cut fries as usual, then top with fresh, white cheddar cheese curds and top with gravy.  For the candied bacon poutine, in addition to the cheese and gravy, add chopped candied bacon, a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream, and sprinkle with chopped green onion. The Bier Markt used gravy made with pan juices but I decided to try making classic poutine gravy. It ended up way too thick and I kept adding water to try to get the right consistency. I think next time I will reduce the cornstarch and water mixture to teaspoons instead of tablespoons. Maybe it’s because I used oxo instead of broth? I did halve the recipe because it was just two of us and 4 cups of gravy would have been a bit much! The taste was authentic diner gravy though. All and all the whole meal was soul satisfying my friends!




Cayenne-Candied Bacon


2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 pound thinly sliced bacon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a broiler pan with aluminum foil, and position broiler rack on top of pan. Lightly coat the rack with the vegetable oil.

Combine the brown sugar and cayenne in a shallow dish, stirring to mix well. Press 1 side of each slice of bacon firmly into the spiced sugar to coat well. Arrange the slices of bacon on top of the broiler rack in a single layer, sugared-side up. If there is any sugar remaining in the dish, sprinkle it on top of the bacon slices evenly. Bake until the bacon is crisp and the sugar is bubbly, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then to a plate or serving dish to cool. (Can be made several hours ahead) Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse, 2002

Ricardo’s Poutine Gravy


1 tablespoons cornstarch

1 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 Tbsp unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cans 10 oz (284 ml) beef broth, undiluted (or 2 prepared oxo packets)

1/2 can 10 ounces (284 ml) chicken broth, undiluted ( or 1 prepared oxo packet)

Pepper to taste


In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add the flour and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring until the mixture turns golden brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
Add the broth and bring to a boil, stirring with a whisk. Stir in the cornstarch and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Season with pepper. Makes about 2 cups.


Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and I ended up craving it for 2 days straight. I guess it must be the cooler weather, I just want to bake up something scrumptious and comforting. This biscuits are delish! I did cut down on the salt a bit – about 1/4 tsp less – and that turned out just right. I rolled them out a little thinner, made 11 instead of 8 and they cooked much quicker in about 17 minutes. I ate 4 straight out of the oven, smothered in butter, I couldn’t stop myself! Have you noticed that food is my life? lol

These would be nice to serve with Thanksgiving dinner perhaps, or make a breakfast sandwich with them. The next day I filled them with a sloppy joe type mixture. I’ll share the recipe in the next post.


Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits

By: Ina Garten, (The Barefoot Contessa)

Ingredients (8 biscuits)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1½ tsp. salt
6 oz. (12 Tbs./1½ sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
½ c. cold buttermilk, shaken
1 cold extra-large egg*
1 c. grated extra-sharp Cheddar
1 egg
splash of milk
Aromatic Salt or Maldon sea salt, optional


Preheat the oven to 425° F.

Toss the cheese with a Tablespoon or so of flour taken from the 2 cups. Set aside.

Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter using a pastry blender until you have a coarse meal and the butter is the size of peas.

Combine the buttermilk and egg in a small measuring cup and beat lightly with a fork. Add to mixture and stir until just combined. Add reserved cheese and mix untiljust combined.

Dump out onto a lightly floured board and knead gently about 6 times, but no more than twelve.

Pat dough and gently roll dough out until it about an inch thick. Using lightly floured biscuit cutters, cut eight biscuits from dough and place on a parchment or silpat lined sheet tray.

Beat egg with milk and brush the tops with the egg wash, sprinkle with salt (if using). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the tops are deeply golden and the biscuits are cooked through.

Good hot, warm, or at room temp.

*Notes: If you only have large eggs, simply add a drop or two of the beaten egg you are going to use for the egg wash (before adding the milk) to the beaten egg in the dough mixture.

If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can use this substitution:

1. Place a Tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.

2. Add enough milk to bring the liquid up to the one-cup line.

3. Let stand for five minute. Then, use as much as your recipe calls for.

Single Girl Chip Dip


I’m not a football fan at all, but all this talk about Super Bowl snacks made me hungry. I was really in the mood for some chip dip, but I’m not going to eat a whole pan of it by myself. That’s when I remembered my friend Mr. M’s amazing chip dip. I found the recipe in my e-mail and quartered it. The amount is just right for a  7oz ramekin, and just right to get in my belly! I served mine with rye crackers instead of chips because, let’s face it – the dip is the all star in this game 🙂 I just might make some more to enjoy during next weekend’s Hockey Night in Canada!

Single Girl Chip Dip

1/4 pkg cream cheese

1 tbsp + 1 tsp mayonnaise

1 green onion, minced (or a little less depending on your taste)

1 small garlic clove, minced (or a little less depending on your taste)

1/4 – 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients together. Place in ramekin, place ramekin in a cake pan (just in case anything bubbles over). Place in oven and bake for about 7 minutes. Stir and bake for another 7 minutes or until edges of the dip are bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand for a couple of minutes before eating. Enjoy! (Just double it and you’ve got a quick treat for two.)

Group size (bake in an 8×8 pan):

1 pkg cream cheese

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3-4 green onions

3-4 cloves of garlic

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

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