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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Run wild in the kitchen with ground beef

With the cost of everything rising these days, I thought I would dig through my recipes for ingredients that are budget friendly. The first protein that comes to mind is ground beef. Since there are so many things you can do with ground beef, it’s a great ingredient to cook with these days.

Traditionally, I would turn to my Italian roots. Meatballs, Lasagna and Spaghetti with Meat Sauce are often being cooked in my kitchen. Today, I wanted to stay away from tomato products. Today, I’m sharing with you an American favorite, Hamburger Steak with Cheese and a twist on an American Classic, Bacon Cheeseburger Eggroll. I have also included a dipping sauce for the eggrolls, Casian Dipping Sauce. Let’s head to the kitchen.

This recipe is a memory from my childhood. On a family vacation, we had stopped at Don’s Seafood in Shreveport. Not being as adventurous of an eater as I am now, I ordered the hamburger steak. I thought it was the best thing that could be cooked. The addition of the cheese inside made all the difference. To this day, I have not tasted a hamburger steak as good as the one I remember.

Hamburger Steak with Cheese

2 pounds choice ground beef

2 day-old buns or sliced bread

2 eggs, beaten

1/4 pound grated Cheddar cheese

1 cup onions, chopped (optional)

2 cloves garlic, minced (optional)

Creole seasoning

Salt and Pepper to taste

Soak buns in water, strain off water and crumble buns into meat. Add 2 beaten eggs, chopped onions, garlic and seasoning. Form 4 steaks, flattened 1-inch thick. Divide cheese into four equal parts and stuff equal parts into each steak. Grill 6 to 8 minutes on each side at 320℉.

The Saturday tradition in the Centola household revolved around my dad cooking. For breakfast, it was always pancakes. For dinner, he would light up the BBQ pit and grill hamburgers. One cold winter’s Saturday, I decided to do a twist on that old family classic. Here is the results of my efforts. I always wondered, what would my dad think of my creation? While he was not an adventurous eater, I think he would have been proud of my resourcefulness.

Bacon Cheeseburger Eggrolls

1 pound ground beef

1/4 cup onions, minced

1 tablespoon garlic, minced

Creole seasoning to taste

8 ounces smoked Cheddar cheese, grated

6 ounces bacon jam or 1/2 cup real bacon bits

Egg roll wrappers

Over medium heat, brown ground meat, onions and garlic. Drain well. Season with Creole seasoning. While still warm, mix in cheese and bacon. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature.. Preheat deep fryer to 375℉. Place 2-3 tablespoons in eggroll wrapper and roll up. Do not prepare eggroll more than 30 minutes before you fry them. Fry them until they are golden brown, remembering to turn them to ensure both sides of the eggroll cook. Drain on paper towels and serve.

This is my go to dipping sauce for eggrolls. It’s one of the few recipes that I’ve created that has been unchanged since I first made it. I always like to tinker around with a recipe to get it just right.

Casian Dipping Sauce

1/2 cup hoisin sauce

1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sesame oil

2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Steen’s cane syrup

1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce ( Optional)

Mix together all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to combine. Remove from refrigerate 20 minutes before serving.

Don’t let the reputation of cheap meat keep you away from cooking with ground beef. It’s versatility makes it a good choice anytime. Let your imagination run wild in the kitchen with ground beef.

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