I am a firm believer in eating home cooked meals.
I love to cook for myself and my loved ones, to sit down to something that I made with love and thought, and to really take pride in how I eat.
I am also a firm believer in shortcuts.
At big parties, I just use the packet of soup mix to make the onion dip. At last-minute brunches, I buy the premade fruit platter.
And for dinner on a night when I am beat, pressed for time, or simply lazy, I use every shortcut in the book.
The result is tasty, fast, and – yes, I still count it! – homemade.
Quick Mexican Chicken Burgers
1 lb. ground white meat chicken or turkey breast
4 hamburger or brioche buns
4 slices pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup pico de gallo
1/2 cup guacamole
1 jalapeno, diced
2 tsp. each cumin, pepper, coriander, powdered garlic
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. cilantro, washed and chopped
4 leaves iceberg lettuce
hot sauce, if desired
1. Scoop the top of your bun, so there is a well in the center. This is so you can really load up the toppings. Save the breadcrumbs for some fabulous meatloaf!
4. Then, turn the heat down to medium low, put the cheese on the seared side, and cover with a well fitting lid. This lets the cheese melt and the burgers gently steam to well done without overcooking.
5. Meanwhile, combine the mayo and pico de gallo. It will be watery. With a fork, put some spread onto each of the scooped out buns. That ensures that you get mostly chopped tomatoes without too much goopy, watery residue.
This is a wonderful, fast weeknight meal. The patty has a satisfying, smoky char on one side but is tender and juicy because it was steamed at the end. The cheese is melty and just slightly spicy, pickling up on the cilantro and jalapeno in the patty. The pico de gallo mayonnaise is the perfect combination of bright and creamy, and the guacamole is the ideal way to finish the dish. This is perfect with a side of tortilla chips served with that leftover pico de gallo and guac.
And it’s all homemade, with care and love.
Don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t.