Tag Archives: Burger

Stuffed Portobella Mushrooms

What is the difference between a portobella mushroom, a cremini mushroom, and a white button mushroom (all of which are readily available at your local produce market)?  Nothing…except maturity, and perhaps as much as $3 or $4 per pound.  They are the same species – just harvested at different stages of their growth cycle.  But unless you are planning a dinner party and want hors d’ oeuvres, the extra price to buy about six mature portobella mushrooms for this recipe is well worth the reduced prep time compared to hollowing and stuffing about twenty or more of the smaller variety.

We’re going to stuff these with a mixture of spinach, ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and more mushroom (actually just the stems and gills from the mushroom caps).  You could mix this recipe up a bit by using different sausages in place of the beef, and adding other ingredients with flavors that are unique enough to stand on their own and add interest to the stuffing – perhaps minced olives, or some fresh basil.  Use your imagination!

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Margarita Chili

Tequila.  The stuff of legends…and nightmares.  This slightly spicy and peppery distilled spirit derived from the blue agave plant is both hated and loved (curiously, often by the same person depending on what point in the evening you ask their opinion).  Songs have been written about it, and on more than a few occasions people under its influence have been known to do things they would never consider under any other circumstances (or wake up places they would rather not divulge).  Be it shooters, margaritas, sunrises, or “NorCals” (thanks Robb Wolf), there’s something about a little bite from tequila.

Some of you may recall my previous chili recipe, in which I had included a small amount of tequila (with undetectable results).  Since then, I’ve been looking for something that might better showcase the flavor of the distilled blue agave, but without the subsequent erratic behavior or waking up in a back alley in Tijuana.  And of course, we need to keep it safe for the kids to eat too!  This time, I did it – combining a few of the basic ingredients of the “NorCal Margarita” with a more simplistic chili recipe that yielded just the right amount of aroma and subtle flavor without being overpowering to the senses.

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Burger-Stuffed Squash

Buying a side of grass-fed beef is the most economical way for the Primal cook to get their hands on a large quantity of meat – often for less than the cost of comparable quantities of “regular” beef purchased through your local grocery store.  And you’ll have flavorful, healthy, ethically and sustainably raised meat.  The only thing I could argue is better is successfully hunting wild game (something for another post).  There is, however, a bit of a trade-off.  Anyone who has bought a side of beef can tell you that you’ll end up with a lot of burger.  Yes, you get a nice assortment of steaks, roasts, ribs, and other tidbits.  But out of the total hanging weight of the animal, burger will make up the largest single “cut” you end up with in the freezer (as much as 40% of the take-home weight).

So, with all of that burger, you need to have an arsenal of recipes that will hold the interest of your fiercest critics (the family) and keep variety in your meal planning while using up every package of this “budget” cut.  You also need to always be on the lookout for new recipes…or working to develop new ones.  And every once in a while, when working out a new recipe, you might stumble onto something that receives, on the very first try, the response of, “Wow!  This is awesome!”  Just such a thing happened here.  A big thanks to Karen for making this while I was running around with the kids – she did great working off of the quarter-sheet of paper full of ingredients and disconnected half-instructions scribbled all over it that I left her with!

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Meatloaf, or varieties at least, has been around since medieval times.  Here in the United States, especially in the Midwest and parts of the South, it is considered to be one of the stereotypical comfort foods.  During periods of our history, it provided a way to extend meager budgets, relying on  the inexpensive ground meat and all sorts of fillers (usually cereal grains) to provide a satisfying meal for a family.  Of course, our Primal kitchen doesn’t contain any of the more typical binders and fillers found in most meatloaf recipes, so we’ve taken a little liberty with the traditional American meatloaf to provide you with a Primal comfort food you can enjoy.

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Chili is another one of those foods that is perfect for a rainy fall afternoon or a snowy winter evening.  Put in the crock pot to slowly simmer all day, it fills the house with the smell of comfort and warmth to ward off the chill of the outdoors after a day spent hunting, sledding, ice fishing, or just doing chores.  With a little planning ahead, it’s easy to get it started and then leave it unattended until the wet clothes are hanging, the fire is stoked and the dry clothes are on.

This recipe, like many I have, started with something I remember from my childhood.  Leaving for college, I took with me a collection of recipes on note cards that I had enjoyed growing up.  As I have tinkered in the kitchen, they each received their own revisions and tweaks based on what I had for ingredients, what sounded good that particular day, or whatever other challenge brought me to deviate from the written instructions.  And now, as I’ve adopted this primal lifestyle, I’ve continued to let those “old standbys” evolve so that I can pay tribute to the very things that got me interested in cooking to start with.  This one has spent time known as “Spud’s Atomic Chili” (with a healthy dose of hot chilies and sauces), and has recently settled back down to a much more mild variety gentler on the digestive system.

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Savory Burger Stew

Within a few hours of this being posted, Karen and I will be heading out into the woods near North Plains, OR, for the Northwest Warrior Dash – a little over three miles of mayhem and mischief from the looks of previews and pictures of other events from around the country.  And given the recent couple of days of rainy fall weather, I don’t think they’ll have much trouble with providing plenty of mud for the event.

Another thing that rainy fall weather provides is an reason for us to settle in with some good “comfort food.”  Soups, stews, chili – the sort of meals that fill the house with wonderful smells as they slow-cook to perfection.  Meals that you can sit down with when your bones themselves are damp, and feel the warmth slowly dry you out with each bite.  The best thing about most of these sort of meals is that they take very little prep work.  You toss a few ingredients in the slow cooker, turn it to low, and  leave it go for the rest of the day (or until you can’t resist the temptation to pull off the lid and devour the whole thing).  This convenience, however, can have a negative:  there is the time it takes for everything to cook and commingle together to create the wonderful result we’re needing so badly to warm us up.

Not so with this recipe.  Ready in under 30 minutes from pulling all the ingredients out to sitting down with a spoon in hand ready to eat, this one is a great solution for the rainy day when you haven’t planned ahead and gotten something started early.

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Onion Pepper Burgers

Nothing embodies “Primal” more than cooking meat over open flames or coals.  And nothing embodies “Labor Day” more than doing that with burgers.  So on this past Labor Day, I followed tradition and chose to have burgers for dinner (never mind the fact it’s something my kids never complain about being on the menu).  Not being one to settle on grabbing a package of frozen 1/4 lb hockey pucks made of mystery meat, here’s a quick and easy way to serve real burgers that are both delicious AND hide a few extra goodies in there for the kids that won’t eat their veggies!

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