Saturday, January 15, 2011

Burgers, Fries and a Salad

We had this for dinner the other night. Sounds like a pretty simple meal right? Nothing too complicated there. Probably one of those "throw together" meals.
However, when you're dedicated to making as much as possible from scratch, it turns into a bigger deal, and yet WAY healthier. Worth it overall! For our burgers 'n' fries the other night, I started with the ketchup. I've been meaning to experiment with making my own ketchup for a long time to get away from all that sugar. I grabbed an onion, gave it a rough chop and threw it into a saucepan with some olive oil to start to cook down. Peeled three cloves of garlic and added them, whole. Then deglazed with about 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar. Added a large can of whole (or diced or pureed) tomatoes with the juice, about 1/3 or 1/2 cup molasses, some stevia, some fish sauce (but salt would work here), a pinch of cinnamon, dash of cloves and just a shake or two of cayenne pepper. I brought it to a boil and let it bubble away for (I think) around an hour and a half, until it seemed thick enough. I let it cool down enough to put it in the blender, then blended it until smooth. According to the internet, homemade ketchup will keep for about two months, so I put half in a jar in the fridge for now and half in a jar in the freezer for later. We don't eat a ton of ketchup, so I imagine that the one batch will last us the full four months. It is delicious!
As far as other burger toppings go, I already had homemade mayo in the fridge and haven't got as far as making my own mustard or relish yet, so they were still from the grocery store. Would have loved a fresh tomato on our burgers but I didn't have one. Oh well.
Then I made buns. I just use my basic whole wheat bread recipe, make it into buns and brush with olive oil and sprinkle cornmeal on top. Makes fantastically chewy buns!
For the burgers themselves I thawed out a package of ground beef from the freezer and another package of cow's liver. Then I tried out the meat grinder I asked for for Christmas! I used it for the liver so I could mix it into our burgers. Liver is SOsosososo good for you so I'm trying to work it in wherever I can. We're not huge on the taste, don't mind it, but if I can hide it in something else all the better. I found that if the liver had been a bit more on the frozen side it would have ground better, the chunks in the middle that were still frozen went through the easiest, but in the end I had enough to re-freeze half and mix the other half with the beef. Added some salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce and fried up the burgers on my trusty cast iron. We honestly could not even taste the liver, they were so yummy!
For the fries I made oven sweet potato fries. Apart from my frustration at trying to cut up my HUGE sweet potatoes (those things are not easy to get a knife through!), these were very simple. Peel, cut into wedges, toss with olive oil, salt and Mrs. Dash Original. Spread on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.
I served it all up with a salad. The other day I tried making my own croutons, then practically hit myself for not doing it before. It was so simple, and such a great way to use up the ends of the loaf! I just cubed some of my homemade bread, tossed with olive oil and salt and Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb (see a pattern here?), spread on a baking sheet and baked at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, stirring often. So much yummier than store bought, and WAY cheaper! Anyway, my salad was simply romaine, baby carrots, cucumber slices and croutons with whatever dressing you wanted. I normally always make our own dressing before we have salad, but I was honestly a little DIY-ed out after the buns and everything.
Anyways, that was our very yummy dinner the other day. Even though it's a lot more work, it's so much more satisfying to serve up a dinner like that that's delicious and nutritious. Cory was happy, and that's what matters most!

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