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Basil Feta Burgers

Hi you guuuys,

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Yeah yeah okay, another post for today, I know. I cook and bake a lot pretty regularly but I always get lazy about posting. It’s the photo uploading that gets to me. Anyways, these actually happened for dinner today, so this is an uncharacteristically timely “make and post” situation. And guys. It’s REAL FOOD that I COOKED for once, not dessert-y baked things! (Gasp!) It’s been a while since I’ve done anything like this, huh? Exciting stuff. Well aaaanyways, these are mega-yummy. And *MAN APPROVED* from my dad and brother. It’s really hard to get the approval of my very picky, very athletic, very jaded 16 year old brother. That’s how I know these were good.

Mkay. Now, I’m going to take this moment to rant about the importance of organic-ness for a moment. (Don’t you dare roll your eyes at me!) For all of you organic non-believers (I’m talking to you, eye-rollers), just hear me out, kay? The label of “organic” gets such a bad reputation for being unnecessary, trendy, and expensive, and while that’s semi-true (minus the unnecessary part), there are plenty of reasons you should actually consider it. Buying organic meat is especially important because: it’s healthier (the animals aren’t fed pesticides!), leaner (healthier cows = better quality meat), sustainable (factory farming…noooo thank you), not to mention just generally better tasting. For all of you who are put off by the price, think about it as an investment for your health. Honestly now, you’re putting this stuff in your body. Wouldn’t you want the highest quality possible? The only reason it looks so expensive is because we compare it to the extremely low prices of factory farmed, soybean-fed, mass-produced beef (ew ew ew ew ewww). You don’t want to eat that, do you? So do yourself a favor, and if you can afford it, buy organic grass-fed beef. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

16 oz. ground beef
1/3 c. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. almond meal
1 large egg
1/2 medium sweet onion, chopped
6-7 large basil leaves, chopped (or to taste, really)
1/4 tsp. cumin
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients well in a medium bowl. Definitely use your hands if you don’t mind getting ’em dirty; it helps a lot with the mixing process for sure. Form into four burger patties and grill on medium for about 5 minutes on each side (or as desired depending on how rare/well done you like your burgers). Enjoy!

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‘Tis the season (for grilling)! Teeheeheeeeee

Love, Emily

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Pumpkin Ground Beef Casserole

Hello friends!

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Okay bear with me. I tried to make the title of this post the least repulsive I possibly could, but this clearly proved difficult. I hate the word “casserole”. It grosses me out. I always associate it with heavy, creamy, chunky, lumpy, processed, Campbell’s-soup-based dish–not the most appealing. Unless you’re into that. Which I am not.

Okay let me take this opportunity to go on a rant for a minute: I absolutely HATE it when I come across a recipe somewhere that claims to be “only 3 ingredients!” or “so simple!” and it involves a mix or a premade ingredient. That cake is not made of 3 ingredients. It is made of the 8297 creepy ingredients that no one can pronounce in the cake mix you bought, plus the other 2 you add yourself. If you’re baking/cooking something from scratch, COMMIT, people! Come on! It’s one thing to use a stock something, but to make a casserole with a whole can of cream and mushroom soup and claim that it’s “homemade” just makes me sad.

Anyways! This is the perfect, cozy winter dinner. If I were to live in any given casserole, I would choose this one. It was nice to have an dinner all in one pan. Veggies, protein and bread–all together!

Filling:

1 lb. lean ground beef

1 yellow onion, diced

3 large carrots, chopped

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

1-2 cups mixed vegetables (I used corn, peas and green beans…frozen…shh)

2 c. beef stock

1/4 c. pumpkin puree

Pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and cayenne pepper

1/4 c. cornstarch, dissolved in water

Topping:

1 1/2 c. flour

1 c. beer of your choice

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tablespoon honey

2 tablespoons melted butter

Heat the olive oil in a pan on medium and cook your onions until they turn clear. Drop in your ground beef and cook until it’s nice and browned. Set aside. In a saucepan, bring your beef stock and veggies (carrots and whatever mixed ones you choose) to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Let this cook for about 10 minutes until the carrots are tender. Once the veggies are done, separate them from the broth–you can put the veggies in with the meat and leave the broth in the saucepan. Add your water-cornstarch mixture and your pumpkin puree to your beef stock, bring to a boil, then back down to simmer again. Stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes or so. Season with a generous pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, and cayenne pepper. At this point, you should probably preheat the oven to 350 in preparation for the baking of the bread-top. For your beer bread topping, fold all ingredients (except for the melted butter) together in a bowl until combined. Easy as that. Once all your separate parts are done, put the meat and veggies into an 8×8 square pan. Pour the gravy on top, making sure it’s evenly dispersed throughout the whole pan. Spread the beer bread batter over the whole thing with a spatula, pour the melted butter on top, and stick it in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned. I would suggest putting a foil-lined cookie sheet under your pan just in case–my casserole was very close to overflowing. Remove from the oven and prepare for the ultimate comfort foodie meal.

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Okay so yeah, this took a while. It’s just a lot of steps. But it was definitely worth it! I’d make it again. Also, it makes surprisingly good leftovers. So yeah.

OH also: MERRY CHRISTMAS, foodies! Hope you consumed plenty of deliciousness these past few days (I know I did). In fact, I probably consumed enough cookies for several people my size. Yeah, actually, I definitely did. Without a doubt. That’s what the holidays are about though, right (…)? Recipe for my holiday dessert to come!

Love, Emily