Browse Category by Elaine Walker
Beef, Elaine Walker

Best Burgers

1 pound ground chuck (20% fat) Do not substitute other types of ground beef.
1/4 teaspoon salt

Prepare right before grilling – not ahead of time. Get your grill or burner hot before beginning.

Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with the salt. (Note: use only 1/4 teaspoon. This much helps prevent loss of the burger juices and keeps the burgers from following apart. However, too much salt causes the beef to congeal.)

After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into 4, and with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop! Over handling will cause the beef to become rubbery when cooked.

Make a shallow indentation in the center of each patty. This keeps the burger flat and prevents the formation of a “bubble burger” when cooking.

Gas Grill Prep: Turn the grill on. Scrape off any debris with a grill brush. Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate. The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate; it will become “nonstick.” When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Put the burgers on the grill.

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.
Medium Rare: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side
Medium: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side
Medium Well: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side
Well Done: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Elaine Walker, Soup

Cheeseburger Soup

1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 – 10 ounce cans beef broth
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup chopped or shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
4 cups peeled, cubed, red skin potatoes
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon Kitchen Bouquet browning sauce

2 cups cubed Velveeta cheese (or Cheddar, but soup will not be as creamy)
1-1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup sour cream

1/4 cup dried potato flakes (optional)

Brown the hamburger in a large skillet. Remove the hamburger from the skillet and set aside. Discard fat in skillet.

To the skillet, add the butter and flour. Add the vegetables (carrots, celery and potatoes) and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Put the hamburger and vegetables in a slow cooker. Add the basil, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, Kitchen Bouquet and the rest of the beef broth. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

About 1/2 hour before you are ready to eat, add the cheese, milk and sour cream to the slow cooker. If a thicker soup is desired, stir in the dried potato flakes. Continue to cook on low for 20 minutes (Do not let it boil.)

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large head cauliflower, separated/cut into small, same-size florets

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a large casserole dish or baking sheet.
Place the olive oil and garlic in a large bowl, stir. Add cauliflower and mix well.

Pour into the prepared casserole dish or baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley, and broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Elaine Walker, Salads

Grape Salad

4 pounds seedless grapes (red, green or some of each)
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
1/2 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Day before
Wash grapes. Dry well. (While you can slice them in half for easier eating, it will make the salad watery. It’s better to leave them whole.)

In a large bowl, mix together the cream cheese, sour cream, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add grapes and mix until evenly incorporated.

Refrigerate overnight. This allows the flavors to blend. (It will not taste as good if you skip this step.)

If you sliced the grapes in half, then drain off any excess liquid before serving.

Elaine Walker, Poultry

Crispy Panko Chicken Thighs

2/3 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup ranch salad dressing
1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/4 cup Panko Japanese-style unseasoned bread crumbs
4 chicken thighs (with bone or boneless)
cooking spray

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil; coat with cooking spray.

Combine mayonnaise, ranch dressing and paprika in a bowl; mix well.

Mix panko into another bowl.

Spread mayonnaise-paprika mixture on each chicken thigh; press into panko mixture to coat.

Place in the prepared baking pan; spritz thighs with cooking spray.

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink at the bone and the juices run clear, about 1 hour for thighs with bone or 30 minutes for boneless thighs.

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Cinnamon Creamed Corn for Grandma

1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 (15 ounce) cans whole kernel corn, drained (do not use frozen corn)

Topping:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 1-1/2 quart casserole dish.

In a large saucepan, heat butter and 1/2 cup sugar until butter is melted. Mix in flour, then remove from heat. Whisk in evaporated milk, then mix in corn. Pour into prepared casserole dish.

Bake in preheated oven for an hour and 20 minutes minutes, until a knife inserted in center comes out almost clean.

Mix together topping (2 T sugar and 1/2 t. cinnamon) and sprinkle some (or all) over top.

Beef, Elaine Walker

Slow Cooker Stuffed Cabbage

1 large head of cabbage
1/3 c. rice, uncooked
2 (8-ounce) cans of tomato sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook the rice (Bring 2/3 cup water to a boil. Add rice, reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Do not overcook.)

In a large, wide saucepan, bring lightly salted water to a boil. Add the cabbage and cook for about 4 minutes or until softened; drain. Run cold water over cabbage to cool slightly, drain again. Pull off 8 to 12 large leaves for rolls. Cut out the thick vein from the bottom of each reserved leaf, making a V-shaped cut; set aside. Chop some of the remaining leaves and line the bottom of a slow cooker. Refrigerate the rest of the cabbage for another meal.

In a medium bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.

In separate bowl, add 1/3 cup of the tomato sauce mixture. Stir in the cooked rice, egg, onion, garlic, uncooked beef, salt and pepper and mix well.

Roll 2 to 3 tablespoons of the beef mixture in a cabbage leaf; secure with toothpicks. Repeat until all the beef mixture has been wrapped.

Add the stuffed cabbage to the slow cooker. Cover with the tomato sauce mixture.

Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

(Optional – serve with plain boiled white potatoes.)

Dad, Elaine Walker, Mom, Salads

Waldorf Salad

3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons vanilla yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 sweet apples, cored and chopped
1 cup seedless grapes, sliced in half
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup chopped walnuts
lettuce (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, yogurt and lemon juice. Stir in the apple, celery, grapes, and walnuts.

If desired, serve on a bed of fresh lettuce.

Elaine Walker, Soup

Rocket Soup (Shorbat Jarjir)


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 medium russet potato, chopped
4 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
7 ounces arugula
5 1/4 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs (optional)
Greek yogurt (optional)

Heat light olive oil in a large saucepan over medium. Add garlic and cook, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in turmeric, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and allspice; cook, stirring often, 2 minutes. Add potato and stock, and bring to a simmer. Cook until potato is tender, about 10 minutes.

Add spinach, cilantro, and arugula to pan. Bring to a simmer over medium, and cook 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender, process until smooth.

Spoon a tablespoonful of Greek yogurt onto the top of each serving of soup.

Appetizers, Elaine Walker

Avocado Goat Cheese Truffles

1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup fresh goat cheese
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon grated lime zest
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 medium ripe avocados, peeled
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 cups salted pepitas, finely chopped
pretzel sticks

In a small bowl, beat cheeses, garlic, lime zest, oil, chili powder and pepper flakes until blended. Refrigerate 1 hour or until firm.

With a small melon baller, scoop out avocado balls onto a baking sheet; sprinkle with lime juice. Shape 1-1/2 teaspoons cheese mixture around each ball, then roll in pepitas. Place on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until serving.

If desired, put a pretzel stick into the top of each truffle.