Dinner: Spaghetti Burgers, Pasta Salad and Veggies
So… the other morning I apparently turned my alarm off without waking up. I was in the middle of this really weird dream; I was being attacked by three tiny old women in big “going to church” hats. Only, I didn’t know they were old women, I thought they were bugs so I swung my arms out to swat them away. Only, I actually swung my arms out and hit the water glass off my night stand and the water in the cup splashed all over the dog, who was apparently still fast asleep, and caused him to wake up and yelp like he was being beaten. I just thought you should know.
Dinner tonight is somewhat of a meat-fest. There is meat in all parts of the dinner, so I’m fairly sure the guys will be pleased. I made Italian pasta salad (pasta, home-made Italian dressing, feta, olives and pepperoni), green beans with bacon and spaghetti burgers. Spaghetti burgers are something I thought up one night when I saw some bulk Italian sausage at the grocery store. They really came about because of Tyler’s peculiar dislikes. He doesn’t like bread unless it’s toasted; he really loves it if it’s garlic toast. He also dislikes most anything you would put on a normal hamburger (ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce…). I really love hamburgers and I really wanted a burger. Tyler really loves spaghetti. Voila! I made patties with the sausage, threw on some provolone (or mozzarella when we have that) and topped it with some extra thick marinara sauce and put it all on garlic toast. It was fantastic. Over time, it’s evolved into regular hamburger patties with Italian seasonings (sausage patties are way too greasy). My next plan is to try it with ground chicken mixed with a parmesan cheese and a little egg (ground chicken doesn’t hold together as well as hamburger when you put it in a patty, so the addition of a little egg is usually helpful). I will call it a chicken parmesan burger. Perhaps I will submit it to the hamburger cook-off. I think that’s got to be worth a prize, especially if you top it a little crispy pancetta on some toasted ciabatta. Mmmm… Can you tell I’m hungry?
Aside from making delicious and creative burgers ( J ) I also love to tease the guys. There is a large white board on the wall just outside the kitchen. It is used to indicate which of the guys need a “save plate” that night. They guys will also write stupid drunk messages on it when they’re stupid and drunk. I use it to communicate things to the guys. For example, sometimes I serve milk with Friday brunch and it can’t sit out like soda, so I write on the board so the guys know it’s there. Or perhaps, like this evening, there’s a cold side-dish for dinner or there’s cheese or sour cream or something that needs to accompany dinner. I’ve also used it to convey dinner instructions. Last semester I’d made a Moroccan chicken stew. The stew is meant to be served on top of cous cous. Knowing that the guys would not know this instinctively, I wrote some instructions for how to serve themselves. The guys apparently decided that it was an affront; they didn’t require instructions on how to eat. (Of course, clearly some of them didn’t get it because they said the cous cous was tasteless plain. Yeah, it’s meant to have stew on top of it….). They weren’t really insulted, but being the little buttheads that they are they wrote a bunch of snarky comments back on the board. I have since then had fun writing tongue-in-cheek comments on the board to them anytime I’ve needed to convey some sort of special dinner prep instructions. For dinner tonight I thought I should let them know how to build a spaghetti burger, so I put up the anatomy of a spaghetti burger complete with labeled diagram. I can’t wait till tomorrow to see what they had to say about that (or write about it).
Serves 25 College Boys
10 + lbs Lean Ground Beef
Italian Herb Mix (Basil, Oregano, Thyme, and Crushed Rosemary)
25 Hamburger Buns
40 Hamburger Buns
40 slices Provolone Cheese
Extra Thick Marinara
There are 2 ways of make the hamburgers, you can either season the meat and then make them into patties or you can make them into patties and then sprinkle them with seasoning. I personally mix a couple handfuls of the Italian herbs into the meat and then season the outside with Lawry’s (ok… so that’s three ways). Make approx. 40 burgers. Then grill, broil, or pan fry your burgers to your desired level of doneness. A few minutes before they’re done, top each patty with a slice of cheese so the cheese will melt a little on the burger.
Meanwhile, butter the insides of the buns and put them on a baking sheet, butter side up. Sprinkle the buns with garlic powder and Italian herbs. Toast them in a hot oven or under the broiler.
Extra Thick Marinara
4 15oz cans Tomato Sauce
4 15oz cans Tomato Purée
6 small cans Tomato Paste
Salt and Pepper
Italian Herbs Mix
Mix all ingredients together (season to taste) in a large covered sauce pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
Note: Do not use jar spaghetti sauce like Prego or Ragu as a substitute for the extra thick marinara. It is too watery and runny and it will just make your bread soggy. You will regret it! If you want a quick substitute, use jar/ canned pizza sauce. Hunt’s pizza sauce works really well, if you can find it. It has a good taste and it’s watery, runny or greasy.