This is not only a freaking delicious cheeseburger, but it’s also a fun night in. Here’s how we do it.
Start with light snacks, a little wine, and watch the movie, The Menu. If you consider yourself a foodie, you’ll probably like this movie. I thought it was going to be a horror movie, which isn’t for me, but this is more of a satire showing the exaggerated ridiculousness of “foodies”… and a little murder. So close your eyes for the gory parts, and you’ll be fine.
After the movie, you’re going to want a cheeseburger. And I don’t mean just any cheeseburger. Your dad’s overcooked Bubba burger isn’t going to do the trick here. So roll up your sleeves, open a bottle of really good red wine, and let’s make a perfect, mouthwatering, ooey gooey, drip down your arm double cheeseburger.
My wines of choice for this meal are big, bold, flavorful red wines like Ghost Block and Stone Crystal Cabernet. Ghost Block is available at Total Wine, or any specialty wine store. Stone Crystal is available at Coastal Wine Market & Tasting Room in Nocatee.
Now, we make the magic.
For the burger sauce, it’s it’s just equal parts mayo, ketchup & mustard with a little pickle relish thrown in. You can get fancy and sprinkle in a little garlic powder or a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce, or just keep it simple. The one thing that makes a difference for me, though, is using Kewpie mayonnaise. If you know, you know. It’s just better.
You don’t have to use a cast iron skillet, but if you want to do it right…. Use. Cast iron.
The cheese on this burger should be American. It's completely processed and probably made of plastic, but it melts beautifully, and it's pretty darn good on this burger. I'm extra so I put 2 slices of cheese on each patty, for a total of 4 slices of cheese per burger. Now, if that's too many calories for you, you can reduce the amount of cheese, or just skip the whole burger and go eat a salad. If you want to live on the wild side, let's make this burger.
I love making this pasta! It's a fan favorite for weekly meal preps, or taking to family and friends. And with the simple preparation, it's a fun dish to make with your kids. It's packed with protein, veggies, and tons of flavor.
Why the silly name? The first time I made it for friends, I realized as I was packing it up that my friend's little boys might not be too excited about eating green pasta with a bunch of vegetables in it. Yikes. That would be a disaster. So I acted fast and decided to call it Incredible Hulk Pasta! (Insert dramatic hulk flex and roar here. I may or may not have actually done that in my kitchen.) It was a hit! Hulk pasta for the win!
TIMESAVER: You can substitute my basil pesto recipe for a store-bought pesto as a time saver, BUT fresh is always best.
Click here for my basil pesto recipe.
If you want to send this recipe over the top and make it more indulgent, break open a burrata ball on top. Yeah baby! Or you can add mini mozzarella balls into the pasta.
This cheeseburger wrap recipe makes a delicious week night meal, and is a fun spin on your regular cheeseburger night! Make more than you need and the leftovers become easy grab-n-go meal preps for the rest of your busy week.
Want to lighten up the recipe? Use ground turkey or chicken instead of ground beef. You can also leave out the cheese and mayo.
Here's how I make cheeseburger wraps for my family.
Butter makes everything better. Compound butter can make any dish a decadent dish. It's a total flavor bomb, adding that extra little somethin' somethin' that'll make your dinner guests oooooo and ahhhhh over your food.
Here are 2 simple recipes you can use on poultry or beef. If you're roasting your meat or cooking it in a slow cooker, slather the compound butter on before cooking. If you're grilling or pan searing your meat, slather it on immediate after cooking while the meat rests.
You can create sooooo many different amazing compound butters. Get creative with your family's favorite ingredients. Here are a few more ideas:
Blue Cheese Butter
1 stick unsalted butter, 2 tbsp crumbled blue cheese, 3-4 dashes Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste. This is perfect for steak!
1 stick unsalted butter, 1/2 cup bbq sauce, salt & pepper to taste. Slather this on grilled chicken or shrimp!
1 stick unsalted butter, 2 tbsp cajun seasoning, salt & pepper to taste. This one is great on fish!
This slow cooker French onion soup is so easy & simple. Toss everything into the slow cooker, throw the topping together 5 minutes before serving and you're done. OK, maybe 10 minutes if you add in the time it takes to wrangle your family to the table, but you can do this.
I added a little coconut sugar to my soup to add a little depth of flavor, but you can use plain sugar, brown sugar or just omit it all together.
Do not, I repeat, do not use cooking wine for this recipe. In fact, just don't buy that stuff. Ever. K? K. If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it. I love a dry red wine for this recipe. A little in the pot, a little for the cook. You can substitute more beef stock for the wine if you prefer not to cook with alcohol.
My recipe calls for 4 cloves of garlic, but you measure that with your heart.
If you don't have the patience to pluck off 2 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves, toss in an entire sprig and walk away. You can fish out the stems at the end of the cooking time.
You can find Japanese A5 wagyu beef online or in very nice local butcher shops, but fair warning... it's expensive y'all. This is the meal you make for those really special people in your life.
My friend, Jen, a fabulous Realtor here in Northeast Florida, was the first to try preparing it at home. We were instantly hooked and knew we'd be doing this again and again for special occasions. Wagyu Steak Night has evolved for us over the years, and I'm really enjoying the progression of what it's turning into.
This is not a steak that you can sit down and eat the entire thing by yourself. I mean, you can, but it would be like eating an entire slab of bacon by yourself. It's incredibly rich, and just melts in your mouth. It's so indulgent.
Preparing the Steak
Take the steak out of the refrigerator about 15 minutes before cooking it. Next, season it with salt and a little fresh cracked pepper. Heat a cast iron pan to high heat. (I've tried stainless steel versus cast iron, and cast iron wins every time.) Cut off a strip or two of the steak, about an inch wide and put it directly in the hot skillet. No oil. By the time you're finished cooking this steak, you pan will be coated in oil. Cook the strips of wagyu for about 60 seconds on each side. That's it. You want it seared on the outside, and a nice medium rare on the inside. Once the first wagyu strip is finished cooking, place it on a board to rest, then slice it into bite sized pieces. Continue cooking the steak in batches like this throughout your meal.
I like to serve it with a little soy sauce for dipping.
For me, this meal is definitely an experience. I recommend starting with a grazing board. Here are some of the boards that I've served before this particular meal. Or you can click here to see other grazing board ideas.
For the meal, you can make yourself a nice crisp simple salad, like my Simple Arugula Salad, and enjoy that along with each bite of steak throughout the meal. The lemon juice in the salad, and the peppery arugula pair really nicely with the richness of the steak. When we enjoy the meal like this, we usually stand or sit around the kitchen island sipping on wine and enjoying every single bit.
These days, our wagyu steak night has evolved into a coursed meal with 2 or 3 other friends.
Course 1: Grazing Board
Course 2: A5 Japanese Wagyu Steak & a Simple Arugula Salad
Course 3: A5 Japanese Wagyu Steak & a Ribbon Salad
Course 4: A5 Japanese Wagyu Steak & a Blue Cheese Apple Walnut Salad
Course 5: Champagne Granita
I recently made a special dinner for my father-in-law. Slow cooked brisket, challah with honey & a delicious compound butter, rosemary roasted potatoes, and this amazing spinach apple salad. This salad was truly the star of the show!
I love this basil pesto! It's super easy & it’s delicious on everything… steak, chicken, fish, pasta… everything. Here's how I make it.
No drive through needed for this one! Here's my take on the fast food double cheeseburger. Ultra thin ground beef & melty American cheese piled high on a steamed bun. It’s burger perfection sure to satisfy your fast food cravings!
For the ground beef, I like to use a grass fed, hormone free, antibiotic free beef. Butcher Box, is the winner for me. It's delivered to my home each month, stored in the freezer and ready when I need it.
I feel like, for this, it just has to be melty American cheese. I know it's "fake cheese," but this is a sinful cheeseburger, not a salad, Karen. Just go with it.
Since I'm trying to mimic that uber satisfying fast food burger, I want a soft steamed bun. The baked fresh hamburger buns at the Publix deli work best for me.
This basil vinaigrette is delicious on everything… steak, chicken, salads, & even my favorite burrata.
Here's how I make it.
Here’s your shopping list & helpful tips to create the perfect picnic grazing boxes.
Here's a little patriotic inspired fruit salad. Super simple, and fun to eat. The kids will love it!
You can easily find star shaped cookie cutters in all sizes on Amazon or at a local craft store.
For the cheese, any firm white cheese will do: provolone, mozzarella, swiss, manchego, gouda, etc.
My favorite grapes to use with this salad are the cotton candy grapes. If you can find them, get them. They're so incredibly sweet!
Looking for nonalcoholic ways to celebrate, that are still festive & fun? I love adding fruit to my sparkling water. In our home, we call this "spa water," but it's just fruit in water. It isn't complicated, but it is beautiful, delicious, and a healthy alternative to sodas or cocktails.
As for the sparkling water, my favorites are Topo Chico and Perrier, but any will work.
Here are some fun combos that will leave you refreshed with no extra calories or fighting a hangover the next day…
Not only is homemade pasta delicious, but it just might be a solution to your "gluten intolerance."
Big Strong Handsome has a gluten intolerance, and typically gets sick after eating foods with gluten. We've found, though, that the "cleaner" the food, the less he gets sick. I recommend finding a "clean" 00 flour and semolina flour that hasn't been processed to death or created with toxic chemicals. After eating my homemade pasta, the only side effect Big Strong Handsome had was a big smile on his face! That's right. No sickness. Turns out, it's not the gluten that causes the intolerance. It's the way we process and grow our food.
The first time we made it, we were all so excited. To make it extra fun, I decided to serve it as a tasting dinner with 3 different sauces: traditional tomato basil sauce, pesto, and a parmesan cream sauce. The favorite overall was hands down the parmesan cream sauce. And the ingredients are, are you ready for this...
Now, sometimes I take the time to make homemade tomato basil sauce, which is a pretty long process and usually involves a couple glasses of wine, and lots of Italian music. Other times, I reach for my favorite jarred sauces by Michaels of Brooklyn. They're so good y'all, and look at that ingredient list on the label! Yes! To make it even better, I can easily pick them up at Publix or order online.
If you're feeding a large group, like I sometimes do, you might want to serve your pasta with my delicious baked meatballs. It's the perfect pairing... other than a nice glass of cabernet sauvignon, of course.
Food Network recently showed us a grilled edible cheeseboard. Whaaaat? That's right. The entire board is edible. Beautiful AND delicious? Sign me up.
I had to try this out for myself, but I decided to put my own unique spin on it. The Food Network chefs created theirs with pizza dough, and I opted for a buttery, flaky puff pastry. After creating a board of my own, I think the Food Network chefs had it right. Pizza dough is the way to go here. The puff pastry I used was delicious, but not sturdy enough to support the cheese when eating. I also decided to bake it instead of grilling, and that worked fine for me.
Who's going to try this edible cheeseboard trend with me?
This is a family dinner that I just completely made up this past fall. My family loved it so much, it makes it into our regular dinner rotation.
These pork chops are beautiful served over a bed of greens on a large platter. Or, call it a day and have them fix their plates at the stove! Dinner is served y'all!
I like to sear the pork chops so they're nice and golden brown on one side, then after I flip them I cover the pan with a lid so they cook more evenly inside.
Food makes me happy! But sometimes life gets busy and you need easy grab-n-go snacks that are healthy options and taste delicious. Here are my top 5 snacks from Costco.
When I'm grocery shopping I ALWAYS read the labels. Always. Just because something is marketed as "healthy" and "organic" doesn't mean it's good for you. In fact, I feel like most processed foods are big fat lies. I said what I said. Lies. Read the labels people. If there's a ton of ingredients that you can't pronounce, it's probably not that good for your body.
Now, if you're not worried about eating clean, unprocessed foods, no worries! These snacks are quick and easy for on the go snacking and taste delicious.
Have you ever made sushi at home? It's a lot of fun, the entire family can get involved, and it's easier than you think! Here's what you need:
Rice Wine Vinegar
Nori Seaweed Sheets
Bamboo Sushi Mat
Bowl of Water
Carrots, jullienne (or pre-cut matchsticks)
Avocado, thinly sliced
*Make the shrimp sauce. You'll love my recipe and it's way better than anything you can buy in the store.
For my son's 17th birthday, I decided to make him a confetti cake. Honestly, it's a lot easier than it looks y'all.
Try this one with your kiddos! Prepared pizza dough makes this quick, easy, and so much fun to create. This was a fun idea from my sister-in-law to keep my mind occupied away from the heaviness of Mother’s Day. It was a delicious snack with a glass of vino too! 😉
To create my easy focaccia garden I used: