One of my favorite places to eat, particularly during high school and the later years, is a good old-fashioned diner. Basic menu, something for everyone, reasonably priced … and comfort food to the nth degree. One of my favorite diners used to have jukeboxes at every booth and became one of our go-to spots when I was in my late teens and early twenties. We’d pile into a booth after a game. Or a school concert. Or Christmas play. Or to dissect a break-up. Or talk about our latest crush. We’d see and be seen. And our biggest cares would be our collection of rubber bracelets a la Madonna or the latest George Michael tune.
Sometimes that seems like so long ago. Sometimes I can visualize enough details that it could have been yesterday. Which is surprising because my memory sucks a lot of the times. Ask my kids.
The menu items I ordered rotated amongst a few favorites, depending on my mood. Grilled cheese with tomato and bacon. A juicy medium rare cheeseburger. Disco fries. As a young adult, my go-to dish was a gyro, with no lettuce, sauteed onions instead of raw, and extra tzatiki sauce on the side (for mixing with ketchup and dipping my fries into). My friend Allison and I would order our gyros nearly the same way, and the waiters quickly learned what we wanted as soon as we walked in the door.
I loved that.
And Patty Melts. Oh man, patty melts. Crispy bread. Perfectly caramelized onions. A juicy burger. And cheese. Oh yes.
When the folks at Pillsbury asked me to develop a recipe using their frozen biscuits, I knew exactly what I’d make. Something that reminded me of my diner days. But with a twist or two. How about a mini version Patty Melt? With double the onions? And adding mushrooms? And a different kind of cheese?
The recipe is super simple to make, with the longest part going to caramelizing the onions, but even with that, you’re done lickety-split. Nick devoured his in nothing flat, so they’re kid-friendly in both size *and* taste, and he was looking for a second one when he came up for air. And I don’t blame him. Full-bodied burger flavor, a little sweetness from the onions, woodsiness from the mushrooms, and a slightly sharp bite from the Cheddar? You can’t go wrong. For realz.
The frozen biscuits, which I didn’t even know existed before this assignment, are a great thing to stash in your freezer, particularly if you want just a couple. Take out and bake what you need, and keep the rest in the freezer. I kind of love that. When I made this batch, I made extra burgers (but didn’t cook them), and wrapped them up individually and popped them into the freezer. Now with the biscuits on hand, and some pre-mixed, pre-formed burgers all ready, I’m more than halfway to another easy grab-and-go meal on a crazy weeknight.
And we all know how valuable THAT is.
Tomorrow? We talk pink.
PS One more day left to enter the Subway gift card giveaway – hop to it!
Mini Double Onion Cheddar Patty Melts
Recipe courtesy of Cate O’Malley
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 medium onions, sliced thinly
10 oz package of Baby Bellas, rinsed, woody stems removed, and sliced
1.25 lb ground beef
1 package of dry onion soup mix
1 package Pillsbury Frozen Honey Butter Biscuits
1/4 lb thinly sliced sharp Cheddar cheese
Honey Dijon mustard
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 and bake 7 biscuits, following package instructions.
While the biscuits are baking, heat a medium-sized skillet on medium-high heat and add the butter and olive oil. Once the butter starts to melt, add the sliced onions. As the onions start to turn golden brown and soften, approximately 10 minutes, add the mushrooms. Continue cooking, lowering temperature to medium, until the onions are fully caramelized and the mushrooms are cooked.
Remove mushrooms and onions from the pan, setting aside in a bowl, and wipe pan clean.
In a separate bowl, mix the ground beef and the dry onion soup mix until just combined. Using a large ice cream scoop, portion out the ground beef. Flatten the ground beef scoops and put in pan to cook. Brown on both sides and cook until desired temperature is reached (approximately four minutes each side for medium).
Once the mini burgers are cooked, add the Cheddar cheese on top of the burgers, while still in the pan. Turn off the heat. Put a lid on the pan, allowing the steam to melt the cheese.
Once the biscuits are done, split them in half and lightly spread with Honey Dijon mustard. Top with mushrooms and onions, then the burgers, and then more mushrooms and onions. Serve open-face with utensils. Devour.
Swap out the Cheddar cheese for another favorite strong cheese – bleu cheese would be fabulous!
Go vegetarian and use giant roasted Portobello mushrooms in place of the beef burgers.