Friday, June 17, 2016

A to Z Food Challenge: H

Today marked an entire week that I've had a hole in my gums. One week of applesauce, yogurt, jello, water, and soup. One VERY long week. But today marks the day where I can FINALLY try to eat things other than chicken-flavored Top Ramen. Today's the day when I got the all clear to eat - with mild provisions - and merely maintain my oral health with continuous salt water rinses, focusing on the hole with a syringe. 

Seeing as how today was my weekly food challenge AND I haven't been able to eat anything super delicious, I decided to create one of my favorite dishes in honor to commemorate this favorable day. So I present to you, Hamburgers in Brown Sugar BBQ Sauce with Corn on the Cob and for dessert, Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Brownies! To drink, Trader Joe's Lemonade ($3.39) and Horchata with Almond Milk (From Ralph's $3.99). 

I'll begin first with the amazing hamburgers we had for dinner. 

Now I know that burgers don't always tend to be the "softest" food choice, but today I'm going to share how I make my burgers juicy, tender, soft, and extra delicious. First you're going to need ingredients:

Pack of 4 Ground Beef Patties 80/20 (Trader Joe's) - $4.99
Organic Brown Sugar BBQ and Marinade Sauce (Trader Joe's) - $2.99
1-2 Brown Eggs (Trader Joe's) - $2.99 for a dozen
Van De Kamp's Hamburger Buns (Ralph's) - $1.29 for 8
1 White Onion (Ralph's) - $1.22 
2 Corn on the Cob (Ralph's) - $0.59 eache
Oil (I chose some olive oil, but you can use whatever you'd like)
Seasoning of your choice. I chose Black Pepper, Sea Salt, Montreal Steak, and Garlic Powder.
Skillet of your choice. I chose to use my Cast Iron Skillet.

Total: $13.48 Feeds: 4 - that's less $4 a burger! 

To prep, you need to cut up slivers of onions and place them into the skillet with a tad of olive oil. Place them over medium heat. This allows for the juices to start covering the skillet so that when you place the patties down, they are filled with the flavor. I love onions, so this is a must for me. 

Clean your corn and put it in a pot filled with water to boil. 

While the onions are cooking, you need to start creating the perfect pattie mixture. To do so, you simply put 2 patties in a bowl with some sauce, 1 egg (1 egg for ever 2 patties), and your seasonings. Begin combining everything evenly and once it's all nice and gooey, separate into two separate balls. Start to flatten evenly into pattie form, add a bit more oil to the skillet, and place 1 pattie down. I leave the onions in the skillet, but you can remove them. 

I have to take a second and commend how stupendous BBQ sauce and Marinade I got from Trader Joe's was. Not only was it the absolute perfect additive to the burgers, but it would go great with practically any meat! The very kind lady at Trader Joe's recommended is AND let me taste test it! I am so freaking happy I asked for her help, because I am beyond impressed! Go out and buy yourself some NOW! Back to the recipe...

I like cooking one pattie at a time, because - while it's time consuming - it allows all the oils to focus on one burger. After about 3 - 5 minutes, flip. Continue to do so until you've flipped the pattie a few times. Once the pattie is cooked through roughly 15 minutes, you'll have a beautifully juicy pattie ready to be devoured. Add a little bit of oil, and repeat the process for the next pattie. 

Your corn should be finished as well. Possibly even after the first pattie is done, so be sure to keep an eye on them. 

Once you've completed the cooking portion, prepare the burger to your liking. I added ketchup, mustard, onion slices, a sliver of tomatoes, and cheese to my burger. My son had ketchup, mustard, cheese, and avocado on his. Both were decadent and filling. I ended up making the two extra patties for tomorrows lunch (I only bought 2 ears of corn, so the leftovers will be corn-less) and my son is already excited. He said "it's really good!" with a huge smile. Made this momma happy to make a good Friday night meal for my love bug. 

Even though this alone was filling and amazing, I chose to make a special dessert as well. The Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Brownies. These were incredibly easy to make. Not to mention some of thee best brownies EVER!

1 brown egg (Trader Joe's) - $2.99 for a dozen
1 box of Trader Joe's Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Brownie Mix - $3.99
1 Trader Joe's Swiss Milk Chocolate with 30% Whole Hazelnuts - $ 4.49
1/4 cup of water
1/4 cup of oil
Butter of your choice to grease the pan
Baking Pan (it recommends and 8x8x2, but I used a bigger pan for thinner brownies)

Total: $11.47 ; makes roughly 28 thin brownies - that's less than $0.50 a brownie!

The most important part of this recipe is making sure the chocolate bar is completely melted. Today was a particularly hot day, so I literally just broke up the chocolate and sat it on the table in the sun for about 10 minutes, while I was cooking the patties. It was melted to perfection. You could simply break the chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10 second intervals, stirring in-between to get a nice creamy consistency. The only chunky thing should be the hazelnuts. Be sure to do this right before you add it with the other ingredients. You don't want it to re-harden. 

Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees and once you have melted chocolate, pour the brownie mix into a bowl with the egg, water, oil, and melted chocolate. Stir until well mixed and no powder remains. It should have a tad bit thicker consistency than normal brownie mix, as the chocolate is thick. It shouldn't be too thick though, as it won't cook properly. 

After mixing, simply cover your pan with butter (or oil) LIGHTLY, and pour in your brownie mixture. 

If you choose to use an 8x8x2 pan, follow the baking directions. 35 to 40 minutes. If you choose to use a bigger pan like I did, check your brownies at 25 minutes with a toothpick. If they need more time, simply add 5 minutes and re-check. Continue as necessary. Mine were perfect at 30 minutes. 

Take the brownies out of the oven, cut them up, and let them cool. Or don't. I waited for about 7 minutes and couldn't take it anymore. We ended up devouring ours. They are absolutely creamy and smooth. Some of thee best brownies I've ever had. 

As for the drinks, I have a quick and simple review. 

The Lemonade from Trader Joe's ($3.39) was perfect. It was tart and sour (just the way I like it), but if you prefer a sweeter lemonade, this is NOT for you. It definitely taste as fresh as if you'd squeezed the lemons yourself. Well done Trader Joe's. My son also approves, although he makes a sour face after every sip. Yes they do have another bottle of lemonade (in the non-refrigerator section), but I haven't tried it. I have tried the Strawberry Lemonade and it was amazing, so I don't expect anything less.

The Califia Farm's Horchata - soy free, dairy, free, gluten free - made with Almond Milk ($3.99) was a bit of a let down. For the price I was expecting a really close resemblance (I know I was stretching this hope a bit), but it tasted more like watery cinnamon with a hint of nutmeg. I couldn't even taste the Almond Milk nor did I feel like it would've been an accurate comparrison to real Horchata. I will not be adding this to my list the next time I go shopping unfortunately. 

And there you have it. Another deliciously cheap dinner and this time I added dessert. I can't even begin to explain how relieved that I finally get to eat! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to grab a plate of brownies and binge watch Orange Is The New Black Season 4!!! Who's with me!!!!!!!!!

Have a wonderful weekend guys and keep on rockin'!

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