Pat’s Pantry: Fourth of July grilling

By Pat Mills

Fire up the grills, company is coming. This Fourth of July let’s dazzle the folks with some great burgers and dogs from the grill. The sweet onion barbeque burgers are so good you can eat them without a bun. Throw in a side of potato salad and a brownie and you’re ready to enjoy the fireworks.   – Pat

Sweet onion burgers

½ cup dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons onion salt
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pound ground beef
1¼ cup barbecue sauce
½ cup mayonnaise
½ cup barbecue sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
onion topping:
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup honey
2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced
4 slices smoked cheddar cheese
4 hamburger buns split

In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, onion salt and brown sugar. Add egg. Crumble beef over mixture and mix well. Shape into four patties. Place in a shallow dish; pour barbecue sauce over patties. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. In a small bowl, combine the sauce ingredients; cover and refrigerate until serving. for topping, melt butter in a small skillet. Stir in honey until blended. Add onions, sauté for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Remove from the heat and keep warm. Drain and discard barbecue sauce. Grill patties, uncovered, over medium-hot heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Top each with a cheese slice; grill 1 minute longer or until cheese is melted. Serve on buns with sauce and onion topping. Yield: 4 servings.

Decked out burgers

1 cup (4 oz) shredded cheddar cheese
1 jar (4½ oz) sliced mushrooms, drained
1/3 cup mayonnaise
6 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
1½ pounds lean ground beef
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
6 hamburger buns split
lettuce leaves and tomato slices, optional

In a bowl, combine cheese, mushrooms, mayonnaise, and bacon; cover and refrigerate. In another bowl, combine the beef, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder and hot pepper sauce. Shape mixture into six ½-in thick patties.  Grill, covered, over medium-hot heat for 4-5 minutes on each side. Spoon cheese mixture on top of each burger. Grill 1-2 minutes longer or until the cheese begins to melt. Serve on buns with lettuce and tomato if desired. Yield; 6 servings.

Grandma’s potato salad

5 pounds salad potatoes, cooked and cubed
6 hard-cooked eggs, chopped
2 celery ribs, chopped
2 to 3 radishes, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
¼ cup chopped green pepper
salt and pepper to taste
3 cups mayonnaise
1/8 cup packed brown sugar
1½ teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon prepared mustard
¼ cup milk
Paprika and minced fresh parsley, optional

In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, celery, radishes, onion, green pepper, salt and pepper. In another large bowl, combine the mayonnaise, both sugars, vanilla and mustard. Stir in the milk. Pour over the potato mixture; gently toss to coat. Chill overnight. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley
yield: 3 quarts.

Marble brownies

5 tablespoons butter
2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
cheesecake layer:
1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
½ cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (6 oz) semisweet chocolate chips

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine butter and chocolate. Cover and microwave on high for 30-60 seconds; stir until smooth. Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to chocolate mixture until blended. Spread into a greased microwave-safe 8-in square dish; set side. For cheese cake layer, in a large microwave-safe bowl, microwave cream cheese on high for 30-45 seconds or until softened; stir until smooth. Beat in sugar, egg and vanilla. Spoon over brownie batter; cut through batter with a knife to swirl. Sprinkle with chocolate chips. Shield corners of dish with triangles of foil. (Secure small pieces of foil firmly to the dish and do not allow it to touch the inside of oven).  Place the dish on an inverted microwave-safe saucer. Cook, uncovered, at 70 percent power for 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cook on high for 1 minute longer. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 1 dozen.


• Want to avoid messy hands when mixing the meat mixture for hamburgers? Put the ingredients in a large resealable plastic bag, then mix them. Or if you do use your bare hands, first dampen them with water, and nothing will stick.
• Pour oil and vinegar into the remains on the bottom of a ketchup bottle, shake vigorously to make a great salad dressing.

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