Garlic and Rosemary Sliders


This month’s Improv Cooking Challenge ingredients were garlic and rosemary – and I immediately thought, burgers! I couldn’t find a recipe that I really liked, so I decided to create my own – and these were a fabulous success.

There’s double garlic and rosemary here – fresh in the aioli that tops the burgers and dried spices in the burgers themselves. The result is flavorful without being over-powering. And, I made them slider-sized because that makes them perfectly toddler sized – a big win in our house right now!

You can check out what the other participating bloggers made with garlic and rosemary here:



Garlic and Rosemary Sliders
(a Kate’s Recipe Box original)
Makes 8 sliders

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 1/4 lbs. ground beef
1 tsp. herbs de Provence
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
8 slider rolls
Arugula, for serving

In a heavy pan over low heat, toss together the olive oil and the sliced sweet onion. Cook until caramelized, stirring occasionally, then transfer the onions to a bowl.

In a medium bowl, mix together the ground beef, herbs de Provence, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Divide into eight equal patties and cook in the pan from the onions until they reach the desired doneness.

Meanwhile, whisk together the mayonnaise, garlic and rosemary. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set aside.

Spread 2-3 tsp. of mayonnaise mixture on the bottom of each slider bun. Top with a burger patty, onions and arugula. Serve immediately.

Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies

Current craving: all the veggies. I’ve eaten more salad and grilled vegetable sandwiches recently than I ever have in my life. I’m not sure if it’s a pregnancy thing or just the mid-summer bounty, but it’s been delicious.

While aimlessly flipping through Pinterest, this recipe caught my eye because of all of the veggies. I adapted it slightly to fit what we had in the garden/what looked best at the store, but you could really do this dish at any time of the year with whatever produce is in season.

I served it along with a loaf of warm, crusty bread – it was an awesome summer dinner.


Chicken Sausage and Marinated Summer Veggies
(slightly adapted from Beachbody)
Serves 4

2 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, taste
2 zucchini, coin sliced
2 yellow squash, coin sliced
1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red onion, sliced
4 cooked chicken sausages, coin sliced
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, chopped

Whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss all the veggies with the balsamic mixture and let sit for 30 minutes, stirring halfway.

Preheat your broiler to high.

Stir the chicken sausage into the veggies and transfer to a sheet pan. Broil for 10-15 minutes, until vegetables are soft, turning halfway.

Cheeseburger Burritos

I swear that every time I plan to grill out, it rains. Or at least it feels that way lately. I can’t remember the last time we’ve had so much rain!

It’s meant a few hiccups our meal plans. I was dreaming of burgers on the grill one night, but grilling in the pouring rain had zero appeal – so they became burger burritos instead. It wasn’t the juicy, grilled burger I was daydreaming about, but it was a good enough approximation for a rainy night – and Jake LOVED them.


Cheeseburger Burritos
(from Meals, Heels and Cocktails)
Serves 6

1 1/2 lbs. ground beef
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chopped dill pickle
1 cup chopped tomato
1 cup shredded cheddar
2 cups shredded lettuce
6 large tortillas

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef and drain the grease. Stir in the mustard, ketchup relish and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in tomato and cheese.

Divide mixture between tortillas. Divide lettuce between tortillas. Roll up and serve.

Shake Shack-Style Sliders

A Shake Shack opened in our town last year and it’s been… dangerous. It’s probably the easiest and tastiest to-go burger around. And then add a milkshake? Yeah, bad news to have that in your backyard.

I was craving some last week when I remembered Sarah had blogged a copy-cat version a few years back. When I looked at the recipe, I was skeptical they’d be really that simple – but they are. These hit the nail on the head and totally cured my craving.

Now I’m trying to decide if it’s more dangerous to have a Shake Shack so close or to know I can make them at home so easily.


Shake Shack-Style Sliders
(slightly adapted from A Taste of Home Cooking)
Makes 8 Sliders

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp. ketchup
1 1/2 tsp. yellow mustard
2 slices kosher dill pickle, finely chopped
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. paprika
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs. ground sirloin
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
8 slider rolls, preferably potato
8  leaves lettuce, tops of leaves only
8 slices ripe Roma tomatoes
8 slices yellow American cheese

In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, ketchup, yellow mustard, chopped pickle, garlic powder, paprika and cayenne. Set aside.

Split rolls and butter cut-side lightly. Broil until lightly toasted. After toasting, top with 1/2 – 1 tsp. of sauce, a slice of lettuce and a slice of tomato. Set the prepped buns on parchment paper.

Divide the ground sirloin into eight equal parts and form into patties. Season with salt and pepper and place seasoned-side down in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Press down and season again. Cook for about three minutes, until the bottoms have a nice crust and then flip, top with cheese and cover until cheese melts.

Transfer the cooked burgers to the prepped buns and wrap in parchment for a minute to let the juices absorb. (This is what really makes the burgers – don’t skip it!) Unwrap and serve immediately.

Cheeseburger Pizza

When I was pregnant with Jake, all I wanted to eat was pizza. I tried to shake it up by making as many different pizza-flavored dishes as I could find, but I’m pretty sure Mark was sick of pizza after first trimester.

This pregnancy, burgers have been the big hit. I joked with Mark early in the pregnancy that maybe it was a girl this time since I was craving something different – but I didn’t really expect to be right!

This pizza was one of my I’m-trying-to-pass-this-off-as-not-burgers-again meals. It was a huge hit here – and one we’ll make again even after the burger cravings are gone!


Cheeseburger Pizza
(adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything)
Serves 4-6

1/2 lb. ground beef
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. pizza dough
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. dill relish
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
Dill pickle slices for topping

Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
In a medium skillet, brown the ground beef and onion. Drain the grease and stir in the Worcestershire.
Roll out the pizza dough and bake for 8 minutes. While baking, whisk together the ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish.
Once pre-baked, remove the crust from the oven, spread the sauce over evenly, top with the ground beef, cheese and pickle slices. Return to the oven for an additional 6-10 minutes, until cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown.

Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini

I wanted to sneak in one last Thanksgiving leftover post before the big festivities tomorrow. This is pretty much the perfect day-after sandwich – super quick to throw together in the midst of shopping trips but it doesn’t feel like leftovers.

The crunchy onions and cranberries are staples in lots of Thanksgiving dishes so I’m guessing you’ll have them (and turkey!) on hand. A few extra ingredients and you’re good to go.

I made a few of these during the last week and I’m genuinely looking forward to refreshing my turkey stash tomorrow so I can have another.


Chipotle Ranch Turkey Panini
(a Kate’s Recipe Box Original)
Makes 1 sandwich

3/4 cup chopped turkey
1 Tbsp. dried cranberries
1 Tbsp. crunchy onions
1 Tbsp. real bacon bits
2 Tbsp. chipotle ranch dressing
2 slices provolone cheese
1 Ciabatta roll

In a small bowl, toss together the  turkey, cranberries, onions, bacon bits and dressing until evenly combined.

Slice the roll in half, top with turkey mixture and cheese. Press in a Panini press until warmed through and crunchy on the outside.

Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Bacon

I’ve got these filed under “easy enough to throw together with a super fussy baby in tow”. Because that’s totally a file in our house right now. Teething, man.

As simple as these are, they took all day to make. I caramelized the onions during the first (30 minute) nap. Fried up the bacon during the second (20 minute) nap. Assembled and wrapped them in foil while I wore him on my back and then threw them in the fridge until ready to bake. It was just one of those days.

On another note, every time I make caramelized onions I have an oh-goodness-I love-these-so-much moment. I’m thinking I need to start just keeping caramelized onions in the fridge so I can put them on, like, everything.


Baked Ham and Cheese Sandwiches with Caramelized Onions and Bacon
(slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum)
Serves 3

1 large yellow onion, sliced into thin rings
4 Tbsp. butter, divided
6 slices of bacon
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 package of King’s Hawaiian sub rolls (6 rolls)
1 lb. deli-sliced ham
6 slices Swiss cheese

In a frying pan over medium-low heat, melt 1 Tbsp. of butter and then add onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. When done, transfer to a bowl and wipe out the pan. Cook the bacon in the same pan, removing to a paper-towel lined plate when done.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the remaining butter. Whisk in the mustard and Worcestershire.

To assemble the sandwiches, brush some of the mustard mixture on the cut side of each roll. Divide ham between rolls and top with caramelized onions, a slice of bacon and a slice of cheese.

Wrap assembled sandwiches in foil. Bake at 350F degrees for 10 minutes or until warm and melty.

Buffalo Chickpea Burgers

Since the meatless Friday series is over, how about a meatless Monday post?

I had full intentions of making these as one of our Lenten Friday meals. I must have had the ingredients hanging around for a full two weeks and something else kept coming up. I finally got around to making these last week and they’re sort of amazing.

Meatless burgers are a little hit-or-miss for me. I make a lot more than a share here. For me, it has to feel like a burger to be worth sharing – and boy, this one totally fits the bill. I think it may be the most “meaty” meatless burger I’ve made. And it’s smothered in buffalo sauce so it has that going for it, too.

It’s meals like this that make me think I could actually be a vegetarian.


Buffalo Chickpea Burgers
(slightly adapted from Once Upon a Cutting Board)
Makes 4

1/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup minced shallot
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup buffalo sauce, plus additional for serving
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
4 hamburger buns
Blue cheese, for serving

In a medium saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat and let simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until they resemble crumbs. Transfer to a large bowl. Add oats to the food processor and pulse a few times until they are a finer crumb. Add to the large bowl with the chickpeas. To the bowl, add in the quinoa, shallot, garlic, buffalo sauce, egg, salt, pepper and breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything is well incorporated and divide into four equal sections. For each section into a patty.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with oil and cook patties for 8-10 minutes, turning halfway through. Serve patties on buns, topped with blue cheese an additional buffalo sauce.

Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet

You know what I currently have a lot of? Cell phone videos of my kid gagging on green vegetables. Peas and green beans were both an epic fail, so when we got around to trying asparagus with him, I only made a few spears – I knew there would be lots of disgusted faces and spitting it out. To be fair, I don’t know if I’d be a huge fan of plain, steamed asparagus either.

The asparagus in this dish, though, was awesome. My husband said it was his new favorite way to eat it. And a one pot dish = less to clean up, so this was a win all around.

Another win this past week? Getting Jake to eat broccoli without gagging. I mixed it with sweet potatoes and he happily gobbled it up. Why didn’t I think of that before?!


Balsamic Pork Chop Skillet
(adapted from Cooking Light)
Serves 2

2 boneless pork chops
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 cup  olive oil, divided
12 oz. red potatoes, cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. herbs de Provence
1 small red onion, chopped
8 oz. asparagus spears
2 Tbsp. Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

Preheat your oven to 425F degrees.

On the stovetop over high heat, heat a heavy, oven-safe skillet. Add 2 Tbsp. of the oil and heat until shimmering. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. .Add pork to pan and cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a plate and cover with foil. Reduce heat to medium-high and add the potatoes to pan and cook for 2 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove pan from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil, vinegar, tomato paste and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Take 2 tbsp. of this mixture and toss with herbs de Provence, onion, and asparagus in a bowl. Add this mixture to the potatoes and stir to combine.

Bake for 25 minutes, stirring about halfway. Place the pork chops over vegetables and bake until the pork is cooked through, about 15 minutes. Top pork chops with additional balsamic mixture and Gorgonzola cheese before serving.

General Tso’s Cauliflower

Another Lenten dinner, another vegetarian take on Chinese takeout. I actually liked this a little better than the Kung Pao Chickpeas I shared few weeks ago for one reason – it’s a from scratch sauce. There is nothing that annoys me more than finding a bottled sauce you like only to have the company discontinue or change the recipe a few months later. Falling in love with a from-scratch sauce is easier. It will never desert you.

I’ve tried a few General Tso’s sauces before, but this one comes closest to the Chinese takeout we’re used to. I’ll definitely be trying this again with chicken at some point.


General Tso’s Cauliflower
(from Bakeaholic Mama)
Serves 3

1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp. sesame oil
1 egg
1/3 cup corn starch
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
Oil for frying

2 1/2 tsp. minced ginger root
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. garlic chili sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 Tbsp. sesame oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
White rice, for serving
Green onions, for garnish

In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tsp. sesame oil, egg, 1/3 cup cornstarch and 3 Tbsp. soy sauce until well combined. Add the cauliflower florets and toss until thoroughly coated. Set aside to marinate for about 20 minutes.

After marinating, heat 2 Tbsp. oil in a large skillet and add cauliflower. Fry cauliflower until evenly browned on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a separate pan, add the 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and olive oil. Over medium-high heat, sauté the garlic and ginger until fragrant, about a minute. Add in the vegetable stock, 1/3 cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. cornstarch, chili garlic sauce and brown sugar. Cook until it comes to a low boil and has thickened.

Add the sauce to the cauliflower and toss to coat evenly. Serve over rice, topped with green onions.