July 22, 2010

Freezer Meal Group - July

Again, I stayed with another no-cooking-during-preparation recipe for my freezer meal this month. It is also a meal that is for the grill. Even with central air, the house can really heat up when the oven is used. I chose to make Foolproof Burgers. When I first saw these on Jenny Mac's LipSmack I knew I had to try them. The recipe alone sounded great but the added fact the recipe came from Cook's Illustrated, a source I have come to trust for pretty much foolproof recipes, upped the have-to-try factor. I have never been disappointed with any recipe I have tried from Cook's Illustrated or America's Test Kitchen. These burgers are now added to the list. Yummy!

I was not totally sold on the 80% beef listed in the ingredients so I compromised with half 80% beef and 90% beef. I didn't go all out with the 90% beef because I figured since it came from Cook's Illustrated then they must have had a reason for using it. Even with that I still couldn't stick to only 80% beef. 90% beef is usually the lowest beef to fat ratio I will purchase so really it was a stretch for me. Then on top of that I had to touch it all. Since I was making so many I wanted the quickest/easiest way to get the two kinds of beef and the sauce/seasoning mixture incorporated so I did not use the fork method as recommended in the recipe. The recipe also called for A-1 but that is not a steak sauce that I have ever purchased nor do I really like it. I did happen to have some Simple Steak Sauce I had made a week (or so) ago and I used that in place of the A-1.

I made all of the burgers on Saturday. The easiest way for me was to have six sets of bowls. One bowl for the seasonings/sauce and one for each type of burger. So, yes that was 18 bowls total but I just couldn't imagine trying to mix and divide 13.5 pounds of burger all at once.

Once mixed I divided the burgers by weighing them since me and the eyeballing technique don't work very well together. I placed them on baking sheets lined with a silicone mat and placed wax paper between each burger. I put the baking sheets in the freezer overnight then divided the burgers in freezer bags once they were solid. I also have buns and cheese divided up to go with the burgers.

We grilled our burgers on Saturday and boy were they great. I reheated the leftovers in a pan with some water to sort of steam them and they were equally good the second time around. PE couldn't believe the simplicity of the ingredients when he asked me what I put in them (he was snoozing in his chair while I made them on Saturday). I will be making these again, possibly for another freezer meal swap before the grills are put away for the season.

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Foolproof Burgers
adapted from Jenny Mac’s LipSmack
Print Recipe

1 large slice white bread, crusts cut off, broken into pieces
2 Tbsp milk
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1 medium garlic clove, pressed through garlic press
2 tsp Simple Steak Sauce (recipe below)
3/4 lb 80% ground beef
3/4 lb 90% ground beef

In a large bowl, mix your bread pieces with milk. Mix with fork until it's a pasty slurry. Add your seasonings and Simple Steak Sauce. Mix. Add your ground beef and mix with a fork to keep your warms hands from melting the fat. If you are a 'hands-on' kinda person...go ahead. Form into patties. Keeping in mind that 4- 1/2 lb burgers can be formed. (Smaller or larger burgers can be formed if desired.) **Important point....when ready to put the burgers on the grill make sure you put a 'dent' or a hole in the center of each patty this will prevent the burgers from swelling in the middle as they shrink in the cooking process.

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Simple Steak Sauce
adapted from Recipezaar
Print Recipe

3 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp vinegar (any kind)
3 dashes chipotle hot sauce
dash liquid smoke

Stir all ingredients and serve.

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