Thursday, March 1, 2012

Italian Sliders

I love to try out new recipes!  In our weekly menu plan, I usually try out some new recipe on Saturday because that is the one day of the week where we are usually not heading out the door or in the door right around the dinner hour.  I can have time to figure out how to adapt a recipe to fit our tastes/needs without worrying so much about a time table.  This week, we had a busy Saturday morning, but the girls each enjoyed a playdate at our house in the afternoon leaving me some time to tinker with a new recipe.

I first read about these Italian hamburgers on She Cooks this summer.  As I read the description, I was intrigued and I have been waiting to try these out.  I found some slider buns on sale at Kroger last week and also had a pound of ground round in the freezer, so I thought I would try to make a slider version of her big burgers.  It seems that sliders (mini burgers) are all the rage at restaurants these days.  My girls love to order them at Texas Roadhouse.  They are the perfect size for little hands, and the bigger eaters can eat two (or three if they are really yummy!)

Let's just say that these Italian sliders were devoured by my hungry crew amidst licking lips and fingers.  The patties were moist and juicy, and the marinara sauce topping was the perfect accompaniment.  I did not have fresh basil, so I used some flat leaf spinach, but these will be divine in the summer when my basil plant is in full bloom!  They tasted a bit like a flattened meatball, but the garlic toasted slider buns made these burgers worthy of being served at a restaurant.  They would go great with the garlic parmesan fries, but we ended up just having salad and chips and a peach cobbler for dessert.  All the eaters agreed, "This is a keeper, Mommy!  When can we have them again?!"

Here's the recipe:

Italian Sliders
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp dried parsley
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 beaten egg
1 pound of ground round (I had 1.17 lb package)

Additional ingredients, not pictured

slider buns (just mini hamburger buns; Kroger sells them as a store brand item)
olive oil
garlic salt
1/4 lb mozzarella/provolone cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
basil or spinach leaves

1.  In a large bowl, combine the onion powder, garlic, parsley, basil, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper.
2.  Add the egg and milk and mix well.
3.  Crumble the ground meat over the egg/milk/spice mixture and mix with your hands until it's all combined.
4.  Form meat into 10-12 patties and place on a foil lined baking sheet.
5.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 until patties are cooked through.

6.  On a separate baking sheet, open the slider buns and brush the insides with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic salt.

7.  Warm about 1 cup of marinara sauce in the microwave.

8.  When the burgers are cooked, pull them out of the oven and top with some cheese.  (I used shredded because that is what I had; I think sliced might work a bit better but I was able to get a combination of the mozzarella and provolone using shredded which was great!)

9.  Return the burgers to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

10.  Lightly toast the buns in the oven.  (You can put them on the top rack while you melt the cheese on the burgers.)

11.  Place the cheese topped burgers on the toasted bun and add a spoonful of marinara sauce and a few pieces of spinach or basil.

Serve with your favorite mixed greens and a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar (or Italian salad dressing) and chips or fries.  This meal could easily be served at any bar/grill type restaurant for a fraction of the cost. (minus the greasy fingerprint on top of the bun; I was trying to get the dinner on the table for a hungry crew after their afternoon playdatesOnce again, just reminding you that this blog is about real people eating real food in real time!)

Italian Sliders
Served up with a side salad and some chips, this could be served at your local bar/grill

What's your favorite restaurant style recipe that you've learned to fix at home for a fraction of the cost?

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