Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas tree time!

You see, with two kids, my parents had to figure out a systematic way of deciding who gets to top the tree every year.  Since there are four letters in my name, I got the evenly-numbered years, while J-e-n-n-y (5) got the oddly-numbered years.  Did your family have any sort of rotating order for topping trees or lighting menorahs?

Oh, and someone got into the box of ornaments while we were busy faking a tree-topping photo shoot.  I think Stella is partial to the Snoopy decorations...

After the Christmas explosion at my parents' house, I brought my haul of decorations back to Pittsburgh and put up the tree and lights last night.  I had to stop myself because it was already past my bedtime, but tonight's when the real tree-trimming party will occur.  Here's my to-do list for a cozy evening inside when it's raining and dismal outside:
  • Hang ornaments
  • Place other holiday decorations around apartment
  • Make chicken noodle soup
  • Bake cookies
  • Watch something holly and jolly on TV... there are many choices: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer on CBS at 8:00; How the Grinch Stole Christmas on ABC at 8:00; followed by Shrek the Halls, also on ABC at 8:30... but, what about Glee?!  Decisions, decisions.
Two new recipes to look forward to this week!  Have a good one! :)

When do you put up your holiday decorations?  Before Thanksgiving or after?  Later in December?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Homemade green bean casserole

Happy Monday after Thanksgiving!  Did everyone survive without suffering any charred turkeys, family quarrels, and shopping crowd-induced trampling?  Ha ha, I sure hope so! :)  This super extended weekend was just the way I like it to kick off the holiday season -- bustling!

It all started when relatives arrived on Wednesday afternoon from Illinois and Maryland for the Kemp tradition of baking homemade pizzas (8 of them!) the night before Thanksgiving.  Don't ask me how why we fill our stomachs with fluffy carby goodness on the eve of the biggest eating holiday of the year, but we do.  And it's delicious.  And tradition!  My ultimate favorite this year was topped with mushrooms and bacon... mmmm, I'm drooling just thinking about it now.  You must try it!

The turkey day feast was picturesque, including the best bird my mom has ever cooked (not that they aren't all good, this year's was just in a league of its own).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday

Headed out shopping today?  Take your armor...

And check out deals at Black Friday online.  May the force be with you!  Personally, I love to check out the Neiman Marcus fantasy gifts every year.  Not that I'll be enjoying any of them in the near future, but it's fun to look.  Window shopping at its finest!  Check out the stunning Chihuly glass pool installation.  I was lucky enough to see the Chihuly exhibit when it was in Pittsburgh at Phipps Conservatory last year... just breathtaking.

What are my plans for today?  I'll be driving my parents crazy with my Christmas elf decorating routine :)  Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!  Catch ya Monday!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

"Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day." -Robert Caspar Lintner

What a true statement -- be thankful every day!  I know I'm a little early on this, but there will be no blogging tomorrow in honor of spending as much quality time as I can with family :) So, please accept my early wishes to you for a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!  And know that I am so thankful for YOU and your many clicks and comments and general support!


What's the one Thanksgiving food that you can't live without?  As delicious as turkey is, it's never the boss of my dinner plate.  For me, it's totally green bean casserole.  Can't get enough of that stuff.  And I'm in charge of it this year, so if all goes well, I'll be sharing the recipe with you next week!  Fingers crossed!

Monday, November 22, 2010

20 Recipes for every part of your Thanksgiving weekend

Another beautiful weekend and here we are, Monday of Thanksgiving week!  I can hardly wait to head home and see my family.  I'm not yet responsible for a full day's worth of special food, but I have managed to persuade my mom to help with a few things.  Whether you're the mastermind of the entire turkey-centric operation or just helping a bit here and there, I've got a few things you should definitely add to your Thursday menu.  Many can be prepared ahead of time, not one will break the bank, and all will keep your guests happy, satisfied, and thankful for such an amazing host.

Appetizers -- No need for over the top items here that require utensils.  Just something little, perfect for grazing and chatting because, at least in our family, we have people traveling from all over the place and nothing says welcome quite like some healthy snacks when dinner is still a few hours away.

  • Sweet & sour dipping sauce -- serve with fruit, crackers, pretzels
  • Cheese, crackers, veggies and dip.  Why reinvent the wheel when it works?

Sides -- While I love the classics (green bean casserole, mashed potatoes), sometimes it's nice to spice things up a bit.  These are especially appealing because they can either be made ahead or require little to no prep.  And, I think it's nice to have a substantial dish like mac and cheese for any picky eaters (little ones... or grown ones who just love cheese).

Crowd-pleasing pies and almost pies -- Because what would a Thanksgiving meal be without some pie?  Every year, the Kemp family manages to have at least three kinds, sometimes four: apple, cherry, pumpkin, and pecan.  Not only are pies show-stopping (who even needs a centerpiece with a gorgeous golden treat like that?), they can be made the day or two before and stored at room temperature, saving you precious refrigerator space.  Slice and serve with freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for a sweet ending.  Don't fancy crust or are just short on time?  A crisp is a perfect alternative -- the same flavors but a shorter process.

Other desserts -- While it pains me to admit this, not everyone is as crazy about pies as I am.  In fact, two of my very best friends wrinkle their faces in disgust when the p-word is mentioned.  It's a good thing, then, that I love all sorts of desserts.  Please allow me to share some of my favorites with you that will dazzle your guests, regardless of their after dinner preferences:

Breakfasts -- As much as I consider eating both a talent and a hobby, the day after Thanksgiving I tend to feel like a wayward Macy's parade float.  I want something to nibble with a cup of tea that requires no extensive prep or thinking, and I'm sure you do, too, after a busy day in the kitchen yesterday.  Whether you're saying farewell to guests or braving the shopping crowds, a quick already-made treat will keep your energy up and maximize leisure time.  Wrap some of these in parchment paper or plastic wrap and make a to-go box for loved ones on a schedule.  They'll thank you when they can skip the convenience store junk in favor of homemade deliciousness.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wizards and a self-made zombie

It seems like I was just walking out of a theater... oh wait, I was... about 5 hours ago.  Yep, I'm proud to admit that I joined friends at a midnight showing of some big movie last night this morning.  No spoilers, but the movie was awesome! and true to the books, win win.  (Totally worth the exhaustion and teensy bit of nausea I'm experiencing right now due to 3 hours of sleep.)

I love seeing movies in theaters and say that I don't do it often enough.  Even though the movie was a late one, that didn't stop me from satisfying my sweet tooth.  (Then again, what really could stop me from doing that?)  I was curious about snacking history and movies, so I did a little research...

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cranberry & white chocolate biscotti

There's something terribly unfortunate about the stigma that surrounds certain foods.  That they are only for holidays or fancy occasions.  Or meant to be carved in a very specific way.  Or only to be served with coffee.  Who are the people saying such things?  Are they in my kitchen preparing and spoon-feeding me said food?  [looks around]  I don't see anyone.  Well, except for that fork gnome.  Because that can be the only logical explanation after 5 salad forks have gone missing.  You can ignore him as I have for the last two and a half years.

Anyway, one such food that I've always felt carried an air of grandeur with it is biscotti.  Biscotti, translated from Italian, means twice baked.  So, it's not in the name.  And it's a rather easy cookie to make and bake, so no laborious process worthy of praise.  Then riddle me this -- why do people seem to treat it like something only to be enjoyed by royalty or others with an outstretched pinky finger?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Classic meatballs

Nothing puts a smile on my face quite like the sight of a fully stocked freezer.  (Okay, Penguins victories, anything pumpkin, a certain someone, time with family and friends... so, a few other things.)  But, with one quick glance, I know that I have a few round meals at my fingertips, ready with the addition of heat.  Yep, you guessed it, it's that time of year -- the big freeze!  No snow outside (yet), but the time of year when I start cooking and baking in slightly larger than normal quantities.

I can't tell you how nice it is to not have to scale down a recipe and work from original instructions.  I usually reserve enough for that night's dinner and the next day's lunch.  Since I don't want to eat [large quantity item] for three meals daily for the next week, I pop extras into the freezer.  You'd be amazed how many things you can freeze for later reheating: lasagna, enchiladas, sauces, soup, baked casseroles (mac and cheese, meatloaf), even cookies, baked or unbaked.  Perfect for weeknight meals when, surprise surprise, I'm ravenous after my daily workout.

Let's get to the highlight of this little entry -- the meatballs!

Monday, November 15, 2010

"Beer me" that pumpkin butter, please!

Finally... a rejuvenating weekend!  Not that the last two weren't exciting and full of adventures, but this one featured the perfect balance of work and play without any travel at all.  Some shopping, dining, walking, chatting over a beloved salted caramel hot chocolate, and a healthy dose of lounging with two real sleep in mornings.  As much as I live for Thursday night TV, I missed it in favor of a movie, so it was nice to have something good to watch this weekend at my leisure.  How good were the shows this week?  Outsourced is growing on me, and 30 Rock and Community were hilarious as usual.  The Office has totally rebounded from last season's slightly lackluster year, in my opinion.   Not to give anything away if you're still behind, but some hilarious stills.  "Beer me, Jim."

As for the rest of the weekend?

Well, even better when you factor in back to back Penguins games... that they won!  A two game winning streak and the resurgence of both Fleury and Malkin?  I'll take it!  Add in some quiet time on Sunday night with heavenly smelling candles and comfy sweatpants, and this girl is very happy.  (Though, admittedly, now a little nostalgic for that setup.)

And last, but certainly not least, I'm super ecstatic about the quaint but mind-blowingly delicious breakfast I had yesterday, courtesy of the newest addition to my pantry -- pecan pumpkin butter!  The Williams and Sonoma store in Ross Park Mall was giving out samples of recipes made with the pumpkin butter, and you know I wasn't going to be denied.  After all, pumpkin seems to be my Kryptonite these days.

What exactly is pumpkin butter?  Simply put, it's pumpkin pie in a jar.  Cooked and pureed pumpkin mixed with sugar and spices.  The result is a slightly sweet spiced pumpkin spread with the consistency of, duh, butter.  Room temperature butter, to clarify :)  I had some on toast before church yesterday.  Uh, where has this been all my life?  Probably exactly where I got it but was too distracted to notice before Saturday.  Shame, shame on me.

You've just gotta try this stuff (it would make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer, too).  I have great plans for my new pumpkin butter.  It could be served with morning yogurt, mixed with oatmeal or vanilla ice cream, or even tossed with some pasta or gnocchi.  To make a memorable snack, try mixing one jar of the butter with a block of softened cream cheese and some crumbled bacon and chopped green onions.  To die for!  Or there's always the stand-by of a spoonful right out of the jar after a hardcore gym session :)

One Year Ago: A baker's best friend

Friday, November 12, 2010

Cheese ravioli with apples & walnuts

Remember the little trip to a country farm when I bought a bag of apples the size of my torso?  I finished them off last week,  but I'm just now getting around to writing about it.  It's been a busy few weeks, and I've been trying to devote equal attention to all that pumpkin.  You'd never know it, but fall fruits and vegetables can be quite jealous of each other.  So much delicious produce, so little stomach space! 

Another item needing my attention is the awful excuse for hockey courtesy of my beloved Penguins.  Like I was saying yesterday, if there were a hockey equivalent of a cat lady, I'm quickly approaching it.  Nothing like sitting in your apartment alone, no lights on, curled up on the couch in sweats with a blanket and only a cowbell sitting in your lap.  And the grumbling that eventually evolved into yelling.  Yikes.  I'm starting to frighten myself just a bit.

Back to the source of this post's excitement, because it's sure as heck not hockey...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Pumpkin bread

If 10-year-old me could've traveled into the future and met the 26-year-old version of herself, the younger one would've been in for quite a few surprises.

First, she didn't grow up to be roughly five feet and seven inches tall, like her pediatrician promised based on her parents' heights.  Luckily, only two or so years were wasted developing useless basketball talents :)  Second, "Katharine Kemp" cannot be found among past winners engraved on the women's Wimbledon trophy.  Drat.  Third, my once board-straight light blond hair morphed, sometime during puberty, into a super curly light brown mop.

Together, those are some pretty big differences for a little (and big) kid to grasp, mostly because two were appearance-changing.  But none of them would've startled 10-year-old me quite like this last one -- 2010 Katy loves pumpkinPumpkin soup.  Pumpkin pie.  Pumpkin seedsPumpkin pie oatmeal (oh yes, the obsession only grows stronger).  Pumpkin brownies.  You get the idea.  All things pumpkin.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Breakfast apple granola crisp

 [enjoyed with a slice of pumpkin bread... coming later this week]

Hey, weekend!  It's me, Katy, calling -- please come back!  Somehow, even with an extra hour due to daylight savings time, the past two days seemed to fly by so quickly that I could barely get a glimpse of them.  But oh, it was a good one, very busy.  I went home and had a nice little day trip to Ohio (and some snow flurries!) with my mom and sister on Saturday.  Walking, talking, shopping, eating... you know the drill.

Scored some homemade spinach basil garlic pasta and tomato jam (as delicious as it sounds), and an adorable wooden penguin Christmas decoration.  The highlight?  Lunch at Popeye's where we all ordered signature one-bite sundaes for dessert.  You know how I love all things mini, ahem

So, Saturday was a blast, and Sunday was hectic but productive.  I was so amped about getting an extra hour of sleep and somehow sleep was the last thing on my list this weekend.  What did you do with the extra hour this weekend?  It was one of those weekends that my mood and well-being desperately depended on energizing meals.  Because, as I'm sure you know, there is nothing worse than being on a trip to a new place and hitting a wall... that 3 o'clock in the afternoon "I can't possibly walk to another store or try on another sweater" feeling.  That "I just want to sit down" plea.  When the only time you find yourself actually sitting is to eat.

Anyway, because we left so early on Saturday, I didn't get a chance for a big breakfast.  Basically, I was kicking myself for making such an awesome breakfast crisp on Thursday night and then abandoning it for the weekend.  Luckily, I did enjoy some for a late dessert on Thursday night and a big bowl for Friday's breakfast.  (Worry not, for this didn't go to waste.  Matt took the liberty of enjoying it this weekend while I was away.  What a sweet guy, huh?)

This dish is straight up apple crisp adapted for breakfast time.  And, as a bonus, it used up the last of the apples from the originally 10 pound stash.  It's easy and hearty and makes for a perfect wake-up treat if you're having overnight guests.

The apples are spiced just like they would be in any sweet apple dessert and softened in the oven for devouring later.  The granola topping, well, is just brilliant.  Packed with flavors -- shredded coconut, chopped almonds and walnuts, oats, all tossed with maple syrup -- it bakes into a crunchy and chewy topping.  Talk about energy, folks.

So much better than cereal and those wimpy pre-packaged sad excuses for breakfast bars.  Make this on a weekend and enjoy breakfast for the week.  Your weekday morning routine won't know what hit it!

But, hey, don't let me dissuade you from enjoying this if there isn't a jam-packed day in your future.  It's so cozy and delicious that it'd be a perfect preface to curling up on the couch for a weekend vacant of any plans at all.

As of right now, it's looking like this upcoming weekend is wide open without any plans at all.  And, I think (fingers crossed) I will be able to wake up whenever my body is good and ready... without the aid of an alarm clock.  I can't even tell you the last time I did that.  But, you know, if you aren't so lucky and do indeed have plans, this dish is packed full of energy for all of the busy bees in the world.  Just don't expect me to join you this time :)

Breakfast Apple Granola Crisp
(with a few changes, from Smitten Kitchen)

A few notes: This reheats later marvelously.  Just scoop out a serving and microwave for a minute or two until toasty.  Also, the original recipe called for honey where I used maple syrup -- if you don't have real maple syrup (the fake stuff won't cut it), use honey.  I just wanted a deeper flavor that the maple could provide.  Finally, use whatever nuts you have, whether one kind or a mix.  Chopped pecans would work nicely, too.

3 pounds of apples (I used a pie mix of slightly sweet and firm, but use whatever you like), peeled, cored, and cut into medium chunks
2 Tablespoons of lemon juice
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick (8 Tablespoons = 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened will do)

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl, toss apple chunks with lemon juice, sugar, 1/4 cup flour, cinnamon and a pinch of salt until apples are well-coated.  Pour into a 9x13-inch baking dish.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter with the maple syrup.  Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, oats, almonds and walnuts, coconut and another pinch of salt, until clumps form.  Sprinkle oat mixture evenly over the apple mixture.  Cover dish with aluminum foil.

Bake in the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the apples are bubbly.  If the granola begins to brown too soon, cover the baking dish carefully with foil and return to oven for remaining time.

Serve warm immediately or allow to cool completely.  Store, covered with plastic wrap, in fridge for up to 5 days.  Eat straight out of the fridge, perhaps topped with some morning yogurt, or warm it up for a cozier breakfast.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Orange & balsamic chicken

Friday... already!?  This week flew right by me.  Make no mistake -- I'm not complainin', just sayin'.  I'm usually looking forward to and planning every last detail of my days, so when the weekend sneaks up like this, well, it's a pleasant surprise.  Katy - 0, Father Time - 1.  Dare I say it was almost a surprise Friday phenomenon :)  How was your week?

I had grand plans for the truckload of apples I brought home from Trax.  Really!  The first being the so simple and amazingly delicious frittata, which would make a fantastic brunch or lunch dish for the weekend.  The second was going to be this stuffed pork loin.  And then I read the directions and comments more closely.  Other cooks warning that the stuffing wasn't quite right and the meat was dry.  Lots of prep and a minimum of 90 minutes in the oven.  That meant that I'd be sitting down to eat dinner around 8:00, at the earliest, and that wasn't kosher with just-got-home-from-the-gym-ravenous me.  In that 2 hours, I can safely bet that I'd have ingested at least 2 granola bars, some Halloween Oreos with milk, and maybe a bowl of cereal.  The result?  No longer hungry.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spicy chipotle & sweet roasted pumpkin seeds

Halt!  Don't take one more step toward that trash can/compost pile.  Put down those pumpkin seeds, for they are like diamonds in the rough.  (Aladdin reference, anyone?)

Sure, just scooped from the pumpkin cavity the seeds are slimy and mixed with orange fibrous strands.  But, after a quick washing and drying, they are prime for dressing to eventually enjoy as a tasty treat.  I was thinking that I should do a post of various uses for pumpkin seeds, once separated from their original home, but someone beat me to it.  Who am I to go to the effort step on someone's toes who has done a magnificent job of putting together a slideshow? :)

My favorite use for pumpkin seeds, as mentioned in the slideshow, is to roast and toast 'em for a snack.  This is the second year that I've roasted pumpkin seeds, and if you've never done it, you've got to jump on this wagon!  Last year's adventure was in the early days of the blog, so it was skipped.  I made two flavors -- sweet and spicy (brown sugar and cayenne pepper) and chipotle.  I sampled a few, but Matt and his roommates devoured the rest of them.

With only one pumpkin this year, Matt requested the chipotle variety.  Roasting pumpkin seeds is easy and makes a great snack that lasts.  If you want another use for them, try including them in this hearty granola recipe, sans seasoning.  But, I really urge you to try roasting them.  The crunch of these babies is loud and proud!!  Experiment with the seasonings a bit and even sample them before adding to the bag.  Both recipes are found below... enjoy!

One year ago: The Little Blender That Could

Spicy Chipotle Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
-makes 1 cup

A few notes: Only one -- make sure that the pumpkin seeds are super dry.  After rinsing, I spread them out in one layer on a paper towel to dry overnight and the next day.  

1 cup pumpkin seeds, rinsed and dried (at least overnight)
Olive oil
A few dashes of hot sauce (optional, to your liking)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a baking sheet with foil (for easy clean-up later) and set aside.

Pour a 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil and hot sauce to a resealable plastic bag.  Add pumpkin seeds, seal, and shake to coat seeds evenly.  In a small bowl, combine spices.  Add spices to bag, reseal, and shake to coat.

Place seasoned seeds on lined pan and bake for 20 minutes.  Toss on pan, and bake a few more minutes until seeds just begin to turn golden.  Cool and store in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks.

Sweet Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

-makes 1 cup

Olive oil
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

Directions are the same as those for the chipotle recipe.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Apple & white cheddar frittata

Happy Tuesday and election day, friends!  I can't believe it's November already.  In fact, I was in denial yesterday, the first day of November, writing "10/10" on papers at work.  Woops.  Brain fart.

But, you'd never know it was November, anyway, because Christmas decorations are out in full force!  I know I sound like an old lady saying this, but doesn't it seem like stores put out holiday items earlier and earlier?  I spotted some in Target the week BEFORE Halloween!  What the what?!  Why does fall get skipped and ignored?  Though I'll admit that winter is my favorite season, I do love fall for mainly two reasons: 1) photographic opportunities, and 2) edible possibilities due to the harvest.  Obviously!

Remember the field trip that prompted me to purchase 10 pounds of apples?  We had such a great day, and I was so excited to have that bag of fruit.  But now, folks, it's time to see what this little cook can do with a half peck of fall's greatest in her kitchen.  I'm really glad I forced myself to do a little homework and jot down a few recipes that showcased apples before the drive out into the country.  If I hadn't, I'd either be a) eating apples with every meal, or b) making seventy-plus trips to the grocery store this week to pick up supplemental ingredients to use up the apples.  At least that mile walk to and from the grocery store is good exercise, right?

Monday, November 1, 2010

How to: Make stuffed burgers

How was your Halloween?  Hopefully you've made it to today, all saints day.  I had a busy weekend playing woodswoman... gotta love Dad's giant mechanical toys!  Though all of that hard work outside and inside was rewarded with heaping piles of candy, cinnamon rolls, and home-cooked meals.  My parents and I experimented with pulled pork for the first time; not only was it super easy, but incredibly delicious... I will definitely be making this in the coming weeks, as it seems like a perfect belly-filling warm winter meal :)

I wanted to share with you a meal that I made last week.  It hardly constitutes a recipe, but more a technique than anything else.  Stuffed burgers!  I've seen exotic versions made on Food Network challenges and enjoyed the thought of it.  I even had a plan to finish the mozzarella cheese and chopped sun-dried tomatoes left from the lasagna roll-ups and stew... no waste here.

But, actually making stuffed burgers myself?  This type-A girl would go crazy if the burgers weren't uniform.  That's where a completely ordinary household item came to the rescue: the lid of the peanut butter jar!

I first spotted the technique over at IowaGirlEats this summer and thought, welp, that's just brilliant.  Let me break it down for you.

How to Make Stuffed Burgers

1. Select ingredients.  As Dwight has learned from Michael, K.I.S.S. -- Keep It Simple, Stupid.  Not that you're stupid, that's just the saying :)  Don't try to stuff the burgers with too much, or they'll burst while cooking.  I went with two simple ingredients:

2. I bought 1.25 pounds of beef for this particular adventure.  Split into 5 quarter-pound portions.

3. Line a lid of your choice (the lids for the peanut butter and Miracle Whip are ideal size) with a large piece of plastic wrap, for easy clean-up.

4. Divide one quarter pound portion of beef in half, and press one half into the plastic-lined lid, making a tiny well in the middle for the stuffing.

5. Fill meat well (now there is a phrase I've never used before) with 1 heaping tablespoon of filling (i.e. cheese, pepperoni, chopped mushrooms).

6. Pat out remaining half of ground beef to a rough circle and cover filling, pushing together edges to seal burger.

7. Repeat with remaining meat and filling ingredients.  Discard plastic wrap when finished.

8. Grill (or cook, stovetop) until meat is browned to your liking.  Salt and pepper meat while cooking, generously.

9. Serve with toasted buns and, my choice for that evening, baked sweet potato fries.  Look at that gooey filling!

With what would you fill your burgers?   I'm sensing this simplified method for making stuffed burgers has created a monster...