A Delicious Memorial Day Weekend!

2 Jun

Well, things got a bit crazy around here and I just noticed how long it's been since I posted anything. We have been trying to finish our new screen room forever and we put a major push on the project this past weekend. It's so close to done, I can almost taste it.

I also (finally) started getting my landscaping in shape for the summer. With Brady's 9th birthday party this weekend, it was time!

But, despite all the hard work, we managed to enjoy a few wonderful new meals that I want to share. 
Friday night is usually reserved for Mexican food — tacos, taco pasta and enchiladas are our favorites. But, I was saving the last package of beef from our farmer for Sunday's dinner with my in-laws, so I got online to search for a bean burrito recipe. I came across one that received high reviews – Addictive Sweet Potato Burritos!
I know what you're thinking — sweet potatoes in a burrito?! I wasn't too confident either, but nearly 1,000 people reviewed it and gave it rave reviews so I went with it. I'm so glad I did. Everyone loved them and told me to make sure to make them again soon.
I only made two small changes — I left out the cayenne pepper and I added one teaspoon of cumin to the mashed sweet potatoes. Also, I left the cheese off of mine, but used it in Jason's and for the kids. I topped mine with homemade vegan sour cream, tomatoes and onions. It was fantastic. Jason topped his with everything in sight — lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheese and Ortega taco sauce (he's addicted to it for some reason). 
Here are pics of the assembly. For each burrito, use about 1/3 cup of the sweet potatoes on the bottom, then 1/2 cup of the bean mixture and top with cheese (if using). Fold in the left and right sides and then roll up. Place seam down on your baking sheet. I brushed mine with a little oil so they would crisp up a bit in the oven.
Saturday night's dinner was pretty simple. Vegan brats from the freezer, oven fries, steamed green beans, and a big fruit salad.
On Sunday, Jason's mom and dad came over to help with the screen room. (Well, actually, my mother-in-law and I ditched them and went shopping for flowers for the yard!) For dinner, I made everyone beef burgers on the grill, Wild Rice & Orzo Salad (recipe on March 5th post) and grilled corn on the cob. My mother-in-law brought a big bowl of sweet, fresh berries. For myself, I made another new veggie burger recipe. I'm still trying to find the ultimate burger to replace beef. This one is the closest I've gotten. Thought not as firm as a beef burger, the flavors were phenomenal and I will definitely be making them again. These beat the pants off any store-bought veggie burger. 
I started with a recipe I found online. I put it all together and then took about a tablespoon of it and sauteed it in a pan so I could taste it before making all of it into patties. It needed serious help, so I began doctoring. Then I sauteed another small chunk. Still needed work. Doctored some more and then made it into patties. Though it was delicious topped with your usual burger toppings, I think next time I'll put avocado slices on it. It just seems like the perfect addition.
I cooked it on an oiled piece of foil on the grill when I grilled all the beef burgers. It worked very well. You don't want to make the burgers too thick. A thinner burger will come out sturdier. Oh, and these are not vegan — they contain egg whites. You can try using an egg substitute to make them vegan, but I haven't had much luck with any veggie burger that didn't contain an egg to bind it all together. I used fresh eggs from our farmer.
makes 4 burgers
1/2 of a green pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 to 2 egg whites
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon grill seasoning
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan, if available)
1 cup bread crumbs
1 (16 oz) can black beans, drained, rinsed and drained well again
In a food processor, finely chop the green pepper, onions and garlic. Place on a clean, smooth dishtowel and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. Place mixture back into the food processor. Add 1 egg white, chili powder, cumin, hot sauce, grill seasoning, paprika and Worcestershire sauce to food processor. Pulse to mix a little. Add bread crumbs and blend well. Add black beans and pulse several times to blend the ingredients, but don't completely puree the black beans. The mixture should be sticky and hold together. Add another egg if too dry. Add more bread crumbs if too moist to hold together.
Divide mixture into 4 patties. Grill until firm and browned, about 8 minutes per side. Top with all your favorites and enjoy!
Last night, we were exhausted from our weekend of hard work, plus we hadn't done anything fun with the kids, so we took them to Ruby Tuesday for dinner. Let's just say, we were about the only ones dining in a restaurant on Memorial Day! We let them order fun, flavored lemonades and fancy drinks and they ordered their favorites for dinner. It was nice to relax and a great way to end the weekend.
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