Could we change our attitude, we should not only see life differently, but life itself would come to be different. ~ Katherine Mansfield

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beef. It's what's for dinner.

It's always a challenge finding a meal that will feed the whole family (read "Jude") and not resort to the old macaroni and cheese with peas stand-by. (One box Annie's organic mac'n'cheese made according to box directions, with a cup of frozen peas added to the pasta in the final 2 minutes of boiling.)

This fits the bill, and only takes half an hour to pull off. I really enjoy that half hour - I put on whatever album I am currently obsessed with (right now it's Bruce Springsteen's "Wrecking Ball" - so great), Gabe and the boys retreat to the basement if they are home, and I reenact my favorite scene from "Bandits." Good times.

Today I had a tiny partner in the kitchen. He also got his groove on.

(adapted from a Real Simple recipe and Mark Bittman's quick homemade hummus) 

Mini burgers:
1 lb organic, grass-fed hamburger (pink slime free, if you care)
1 1/2 TB dried oregano
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
olive oil

14 oz can organic garbanzo beans (drain off about half of the water, saving it to thin the hummus if needed)
1 rounded tsp ground cumin
3/4 TB lemon juice 
salt and pepper to taste
2+ TB olive oil
chopped garlic (4 cloves, or a fat teaspoon) 

box of couscous (time saver)

optional extras:
green onions

Form the hamburger into 12 small patties. Sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Combine the oregano and cumin and coat the burgers. 

NOTE: You can do this step the night before, cover and store these in the fridge, and then make dinner after work the next night in 15 minutes.

Heat 2-4 TB olive oil in a large skillet. I use my enameled dutch oven as it reduces the amount of hot oil that spits in my face. Heat oil over med-high heat. When hot, add burgers and cook 5 minutes on the first side.

While the burgers cook, you can make the hummus and start the water for your couscous. It's an efficient use of time, and will ensure that you leave the burgers alone and allow them to get a nice crust without bothering them. A food processor or blender will work just fine for the hummus, but I do love my (as seen on TV!) Magic Bullet. 

Everything just goes right in. The joy of this hummus is that you can wing it without messing it up. It's also easily adapted - you can add tahini, roasted red pepper, whatever. 

Blend blend blend until it is smooth and oh-so-tasty. Adjust your seasonings if you need to. I top it with a drizzle of olive oil and some parsley or oregano. 

Flip those burgers! An additional 5 minutes should give you a juicy burger with a slight hint of pink. Adjust the timing to your preferred doneness. 

The couscous can cook up while the burgers finish. I like Near East - not too gummy, a variety of good flavors. Even better if you add chopped green onions, a dash of lemon juice, and additional garlic - have fun.

Toddler tip: Meals that can be easily deconstructed are easy to tone down for fickle palates, and anything with dips are a hit. Also, ketchup still has lycopenes, so in my book counts as a serving of fruits/vegetables. 

 Proof that it works:

For the grown-up, this meal is best with fresh tomatoes, and in the summer we add diced cucumbers from the garden. Feta makes this WONDERFUL and as soon as Aidan can handle dairy without spitting up this will return to our table.

Sorry to talk about spit-up in a recipe post.

Enjoy your dinner.

1 comment:

Dora said...

Yum! I just pinned this!

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