National Cheese Day

Hi everyone, Niki here.  Sooo it’s been a while since the last time I blogged and I’ve let you down on my promise to blog about fast, easy and healthy meals once a month. #FAIL.. Well I’m back, but today will have to be an exception since I’m pretty positive this will break the scale. But I promise it’s worth it!

Yesterday was National Cheese Day and as many of my friends, family, co-workers, and random people on the street I told know, it is my favorite day! Well, almost. Someone pointed out to me that National Cheese Day comes in third for my all-time favorite holidays after my birthday and Christmas.

My boyfriend’s family nicknamed me Cheese because of my love of this particular dairy product, so it’s safe to say that I’m the perfect recipe source for this holiday. My love started at a young age when I would make homemade (none of this Kraft stuff) macaroni and cheese for any meal my mom would let me get away with. I will even admit that I sometimes made it for breakfast. See, I come from a family of cheese lovers and it’s hard not to enjoy it when it’s a staple in your household. My mom loves good baked brie, while my dad loves a strong cheese with salami. Either way, I love it all!

My parents fostered my love at an early age and taught me that everything tastes better with cheese. Case in point, if you ever came to my apartment I can pretty much guarantee that I have at least three or four different types of cheeses in my refrigerator.

What better way to celebrate National Cheese Day than to make something incredible? I’ve come up with the best — A Mac & Cheese Cheeseburger! I had all the ingredients on hand so it was super simple. The best thing about this burger is that you can really put whatever brand of ingredients you want or have on hand, and it doesn’t have to be exact. Make it the way you like it.

A special thanks to my lovely boyfriend Tim for grilling the burgers, buns and corn on the cob.

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Amazing Mac & Cheese Cheeseburger
Ingredients:
2 Hamburger patties (or ground beef about ½ lb)
2 buns ( I used Pepperidge Farm but use whatever you like)
1 handful of baby Arugula
1 Vidalia Onion
2 slices of deli cheese (I used Horseradish Cheddar)
1 Package of Stouffer’s frozen Mac &Cheese (or any other boxed Mac & Cheese)- you could make it homemade but I didn’t have time.
1 tablespoon of my chipotle mayo

– Cook the Mac& Cheese according to the package. Then, prepare the burgers by either making the patties, or in my case, taking the patties out of the fridge and letting your boyfriend do the work!

– Then cut the onion into thick slices and throw into a skillet with a little olive oil and salt and pepper. Sauté the onion until tender (5 minutes) and remove from the heat.
– Then take out and have ready 2 slices of deli cheese, handful of baby arugula (washed) 2 buns.

– Grill the hamburgers until medium and then add slices of deli cheese to the top. As the cheese is melting on the burgers take the buns and place them with the inside face down on the grill to toast.

– Once the burgers are done bring them in and begin to build your burger

– Place the buns on the plate open face, then put the burger with the cheese side face down on the bottom bun.

– Then add sautéed onion slices on top of the burger followed by a spoonful of the Mac & Cheese.

– Top with a handful of baby arugula

– Spread homemade chipotle mayo on the top bun and then put the top on the burger.

Homemade Chipotle Mayo (This is NOT an exact science)
About 1/3 to ½ cup of Hellmans mayonnaise
1 teaspoon of pepper
2 teaspoons of garlic powder
½ teaspoon of chili powder
1 ½ teaspoons of paprika
3 to 4 tablespoons of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
– Combine the Frank’s Red Hot with the mayonnaise. This should make a light orangey pink color. Add more or less to taste.
– Then combine the rest of the ingredients and mix until combined.
(Like I said before, definitely add or subtract amounts of ingredients depending on how spicy you like it).

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Side:
2 Corns on the cob
Preparation:
1. husk the corn
2. Season the corn with salt and pepper
3. Add a little bit of butter
4. Wrap in tin foil
5. Grill for about 8-10 minutes (or as Tim says until it is hot and looks good)
Glad you could all celebrate National Cheese Day with me. I hope you enjoy!!

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Grilled Corn on the Cob

It’s corn season!  And there’s no better way to cook it than on the grill in the husk.

Just peel back the husk, remove the silks, then tie the husks back up at the top.  I spritz the outside with a little water then grill for about 15 minutes.  Of course tons of butter with a little salt is the only way to go.

“I’ll take a look at it…”

Well, last week was a rough one.  I had a hard time keeping my head up due to a little ear infection thing going on, then getting organized for Easter (had an awesome grazing brunch at Cafe Fleuri at the Langham Hotel in Boston), and then Lola developed a major limp on Saturday – still waiting for Lyme test results to come back in.

But geez guys, everyone’s food blogs are all about grilling and you’re killing me!  I may have commented on a few of your blogs how much I’d love to try some of these ideas but alas, my grill has a major gas problem so I’m not going near it with a flame.

Screen bean character standing next to an explosion

A little background:  my father used to be able to build or fix anything.  Car doing something weird?  Bingo, he’d just put in a new alternator (or whatever) and you were on your way in an hour.  Need a bookcase for that wall over there?  Couple of days later you had a bookcase.  The only fail that I remember (and it turned out to not be a complete fail) was our old furnace.  That was back in the day when we had the old cranky coal burning monster down in the basement.  One morning we had no heat, not such a rare occurrence, so Dad went down to swear at it, bang on it with some tools, put the general whammy on it,  and then we heard BOOM!  Heat came up along with Dad with no eyebrows, completely black face except for 2 white circles around his eyes, and a sheepish grin, “all fixed”.  So although we got heat I’m not sure we can count that as a complete success.  Anyway, that’s what I grew up with and I just assumed all guys know how to fix things.  And then I married John…

Now John has many many wonderful qualities & is a very hard worker.  But, when it comes to fixing things he doesn’t have that guy gene thing going.  Being my father’s daughter I’m a little handy myself and have learned to replace screens, broken closet pole holders… mostly things that involve hammer and screwdriver.  But there are some things I know I don’t know.  These I turn over to my husband and ever helpful, John automatically says “I’ll take a look at it”.  Depending on what’s not working, it could be that day, could be a week, or in the case of the grill we’re now looking at about 3 weeks.  This is why half my house is duct taped together.  And he really does “take a look at it” but invariably comes back with “looks broken, I’ll call someone”.  So I reminded him that he was going to “take a look at” the grill.  He did and came back with “needs parts”.  Okay, I could probably go over to Lowe’s and get the parts if that would move things along so I asked “what parts?”  Since the answer to that was “grill parts” I’m guessing this project will soon move into the “I’ll call someone” category, probably go buy a new grill category. So in the meantime, stop tormenting me with great grill recipes.

And because of my experiences with a non-handyman I’ve already informed my daughter that any potential husband of hers will have to pass the Tool Test.  The first part will involve an on-site Lowe’s walk-thru where various tools will need to be identified by name & purpose. This will be followed by a  written exam with questions covering plumbing, basic electrical, basic carpentry, and a little car maintenance stuff.  The final will include a finished project of my choosing, but might include a simple deck replacement.  But no pressure of course….