Delicious Burger Ideas … in Under 25 Minutes Each (Guest Post)

by +Tricia on February 27, 2012

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve run into the kitchen late from work to find a table full of half-starved children. (More times than I can count, anyway.) My freelance business, while wonderfully flexible in terms of projects, demands that I be available when my customers dictate. And that means there never seems to be enough time to cook a great dinner.

I’m guessing you can relate. Parents today have a lot on their plate (no pun intended) — and that means more often than not, take-out or something perhaps even less substantial for dinner.

Don’t feel guilty. You can create delicious, protein-packed burger recipes everyone will love in 15 minutes prep time or less, plus 5-8 minutes cooking time. (Have more than one pan going at a time and place three burgers in each pan to have them all finished at the same time.)

hamburger on English muffinBefore You Begin

Before we begin creating the recipes, let’s read through a few tips on preparing a great hamburger any time:

Tip One: Start with fresh, slightly fatty beef. Yes, here’s one place you want a little extra fat. If you’re watching your health, we recommend cutting back elsewhere; about 20% fat beef chuck is what you want for a delicious ground burger.

You can buy this pre-cubed to be placed in a meat grinder at home; it will still produce a fresh, delicious taste when cooked. If you don’t have a meat grinder and/or don’t wish to grind your own beef, buy chuck from the butcher and have him grind it on-site.

Buy meat when it’s on sale and fresh and store in your freezer so it’s always there when you need it. You’ll save yourself a last-minute shopping trip, too. You can even grind your meat ahead of time; just be sure to seal in airtight Ziploc double bags and freeze immediately to hold in the flavor and freshness.

Tip Two: Since our family is very particular about where our meat comes from and the quality, we’ve invest in a meat grinder. That way, we can make our own hamburger meat, as well as home-made sausages. (Ground hamburger from a grocery store will be a mixture of different cows – yup, more than one cow. Who knows what’s exactly in there?) Once you have this li’l baby in your kitchen, you’ll wonder how you ever did without it.

Try professional grade grinder with a super-duty motor such as the Waring Pro Meat Grinder (this is our favorite) or look for something smaller to start out with if you’d rather experiment before getting the real deal. Remember to read reviews thoroughly before buying.

Tip Three: Sneak in Something Healthy. Veggies are a great addition to any burger recipe. If you mince your veggies your kids won’t even notice they’re there. Or try pureeing carrots or sweet potato and adding a tablespoon or two to the burger meat before mixing with other ingredients.

Tip Four: Offer Lots of Toppings. Put out pre-cut, bagged organic lettuce, pre-shredded cheese in various flavor combos (or shred ahead of time and put in Zip-lock bags) and a little sliced tomato. I also suggest reduced sugar ketchup, olive oil mayo and sliced red onions. Encourage the family to build their own burgers with these healthful add-ons.

Tip Five: Add a fabulous bun. Whole wheat is good too, but multi-grain tends to offer the most nutritional bang for its buck. Compare nutrition labels when shopping. Another fun option: lightly toast English muffins and use as buns. Yum…my family loves these. Putting a burger on a truly delicious bun will really make the meal special.

Tip Six: Make a Quick Side. And we do mean quick! Serve kettle chips, minute rice (try the microwaveable kind and sprinkle a bit of paprika and some dried parsley on top for presentation), bakeable frozen curly fries (about 20 minutes in the oven), prepackaged spinach salad with dressing or cut veggies with sour cream to dip them in.

My Best Burger Recipes

Now comes the fun part. And yep, it’s the easy part too.

Basic cooking directions for each recipe: Grind 1 lb. sirloin or chunk in grinder before adding ingredients, or start with freshly ground butcher meat. After ingredients are mixed, broil burgers in your oven broiler or barbeque for 4-6 minutes, then flip over. Cook 3-4 minutes more.

For a pan method, oil should not be necessary in the pan. Cook on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on one side, flip over and cook 4 minutes more.

Do not flatten burgers while cooking; this squeezes all the juice out of them and makes them rubbery. (To prevent rounding of the hamburger, gently press your thumb into the center of the patty while shaping them to create an indent.)

Once you see juices forming on the top, it means the insides are successfully cooking. Flip once. If adding cheese, add 1 minute before finished.

If you’re not certain of your cooking times, use a meat thermometer; medium-well done is 165F.

Each recipe makes 4 hamburgers.

Recipe #1: Gouda-Dijon Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. freshly ground beef
  • 1/2 c. shredded Gouda cheese (buy pre-shredded to save time, or run through a food processor)
  • 1.5 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • dash Worchestershire sauce
  • pinch pepper

Mix all ingredients well and cook per instructions above.

Recipe #2: Barbecue Bacon Stuffed Cheddar Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. freshly ground beef
  • 1/2 c. bacon crumbles — buy pre-cooked bacon and cut up, or buy real bacon crumbles (not imitation)
  • 4 oz. shredded cheddar (buy pre-shredded to save time, or run through a food processor)
  • dash pepper
  • 1.5 tbsp. barbecue sauce, your preferred flavor (we recommend sweet onion, it’s fabulous!)

Mix all ingredients well and cook per instructions above.

Recipe #3: Veggie Stuffed California Burger

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. freshly ground beef
  • 1/4 c. diced green bell peppers
  • 1/4 c. diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 c. diced yellow bell peppers
  • 1/3 c. cooked white rice (try Uncle Ben’s microwaveable variety, or have pre-cooked on hand in your fridge)
  • dash black pepper
  • dash white pepper
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 tbsp. canned tomato sauce
  • 1 whole avocado
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • blue corn chips on the side (try Trader Joe’s — mmm!)

Mix all ingredients except avocado, garlic and tortilla chips. Cook per instructions above. In a food processor, blend avocado and garlic to make a simple guacamole. Top burgers with 1 tbsp. guacamole each; serve a little on the side along with a handful of blue corn chips.

Recipe #4: Juicy Ranch Beef Burgers

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. freshly ground beef
  • 1 pkg. ranch salad dressing mix, dry (about 1 oz.)
  • 1/8 c. finely chopped sweet Vidalia onion
  • 1 tbsp. pre-minced garlic (jar is fine)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • dash pepper

Mix all ingredients well and cook per instructions above, but on the longer side time-wise (3-5 minutes each side) to make sure the egg is thoroughly cooked.

Enjoy…these delicious dishes aim to please your time schedule and your families’ palates.

About the Author: Chris is a writer and website owner who has a secret passion for what’s cooking. After receiving a gelato machine for Christmas, Chris was hooked and has been trying a bunch of recipes ever since.

Image by hubs/Flickr

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