Bourbon BBQ Sliders with Garlic Aioli

Oh my, these little sammies were sooooo very good. I must tell you now that 1 pound of ground beef will only yield 10 (2 oz. each) burger patties, and 10 sliders is just not enough for the four of us. So if you decide to make these awesome sliders, make 2 lbs! The recipe for the bbq sauce and the aioli is plenty for twice the patties. All you have to do is saute a little extra onion, garlic, and peppers.

This recipe is in 3 parts, so I am going to start with the aioli since it will need some time to chill. I recommend any recipe that has lots of mayo in it to refrigerate as long as possible so all the flavors can infuse and there won’t be an overwhelming mayo taste.

bourbon sliders1

Garlic Aioli

1/2 cup mayo

1 T fresh lemon juice

1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all the ingredients and refrigerate. *If you have an immersion blender I recommend giving this mixture a quick blending to really get those pieces of jalapeno and garlic minced as much as possible. Also this helps blend all the flavors real well.

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

1 onion, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup BBQ sauce

1/4 cup bourbon

1/4 cup brown sugar

Chop up the veggies as fine as possible. If you don’t like much pepper you can use just the leftover half from the aioli. Saute in EVOO and allow a few minutes to cool. Only use about 3/4 of this onion mixture and reserve the rest for the meat.

Combine the onion mixture with the bbq sauce, the bourbon, and the sugar. Taste and add more sugar or bourbon as needed.

Set aside.

bourbon sliders2

Bourbon BBQ Sliders

1 lb. lean ground beef

1/4 of the onion mixture you made for the bbq sauce

1 pkg fried onion crisps

1 pkg Hawaiian sweet rolls

Add the remaining onion mixture with the meat and combine well. You can even add a few tablespoons of the Bourbon BBQ sauce to the meat but not too much or your burgers will not stay together.

Grill burgers and toast the rolls.

Assemble your slider by putting a small dab of aioli on the bottom portion of the roll, then a patty, topped with a dab or two of bourbon bbq sauce and some fried onions. Place top half of roll on top and enjoy!

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Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole

I’m always surprised at how unavoidably fattening recipes are referred to as “skinny” when in reality it’s just not likely. I mean, yeah you can make a skinny version of a brownie by using apple sauce and avocado instead of butter, oil and eggs, but it’s still gonna have a calorie bang because it is after all a brownie. But I get it, we’re all just trying to indulge in our favorites without all the carbs and calories and fat. Hence the “skinnyfied” version of the cheeseburger casserole.

What I like about this recipe is that it doesn’t use any cream soups, though I always use my own dry cream soup mix, which is a lot healthier and safer than the canned stuff. Instead the cheese is what makes this dish casserole-y (Like how I just make up words?) Believe it or not this (slightly adapted) recipe came via Paula Deen “the stick of butter in every dish” queen.

skinny casserole

Skinny Cheeseburger Casserole

1 lb. lean ground beef

8 oz. wide egg noodles

1/2 cup onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 1/2  T worcestershire sauce

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp basil

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

28 oz. canned diced tomatoes, undrained

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar

Sour cream for topping, if desired

1. Preheat oven to 350*. Spray large casserole dish with cooking spray.

2. In a large skillet cook onions, garlic & ground beef until browned.

3. Add worcestershire, salt, pepper, basil, oregano, garlic powder, and tomatoes with juice. Combine well and simmer about 15 minutes.

4. Cook pasta al dente. It will continue to cook some in the oven and you don’t want it mushy.

5. Drain pasta and combine with the meat mixture; mix in 1/2 the cheese. Pour into casserole dish and top with remaining cheese.

6. Bake about 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.




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Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

This was sooooo good! Who would have thought you could get so much flavor from regular old ground beef, and feel like you’ve just ordered from a top-notch Chinese restaurant? Make this soon. You will love it. Seriously. Soon.


Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

2 lb. lean ground beef (nothing less than 85%)

3 T sesame oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/4 cup soy sauce, or more to taste

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 cup green onions, sliced, greens too

1/2 cup white wine

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, or more to taste

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

4 cups cooked rice

1. In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the beef in the sesame oil with the garlic. Cook and stir often until the meat is browned. Allow to simmer so most of the juices and oil are absorbed.

2. Add the ginger, soy, brown sugar, cayenne, wine, vinegar, peanut butter, pepper, and salt. Combine well. Simmer for several minutes for the flavors to fuse together. Toss in a small handful of the onion whites and simmer.

3. Serve over warm rice and top with chives (green part of onion stalk).




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The Rating System

If you prepare a meal that no one liked you probably wouldn’t make it again, right? There are standby meals that we’ve made for years that are good, and at one time were favorites, but that gets stagnant fast when relying on the same things over and over again. One of the great things about blogging food is that I get to see what other bloggers are making for dinner, and then try them as well. My boys have really enjoyed eating all these new meals instead of the same old things. We decided we’d have a rating system to determine which of these were “keepers” and which were not. I’ve included any desserts and side dishes as well. Based on a 5 star rating, this is what we’ve come up with.

  Apple Butterscotch Cake

Baked Chimichangas

Butternut Squash Bake

Chicken Alfredo Sandwich

Chicken Rio

Chicken Spaetzle Soup

Chicken Tarragon

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Cinnamon Apple Tart

Chocolate Mousse Napoleons 

Crispy Cheddar Chicken

Luscious Tropical Dream Cake

Meatball Minestrone

Meatball Sub Cups

Potato Skins


Rice & Beans

Romano-Crusted Chicken

Turkey Salisbury

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Ribbon Dessert

Cilantro Lime Rice

Corn & Wild Rice Muffins

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese

Homemade Manicotti

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie

Saucy Joes

Tuscan Herb Salmon

Beef and Cheese Foldovers (These really were good but not fantabulous.)

Lemon Chicken Piccata (Too much lemon but lots of potential.)

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Beef and Cheese Foldovers

This was an easy, hearty meal that felt a bit like deep-dish pizza with a cheeseburger taste. I served it with salad and my boys ate several slices each, so it was a good thing I doubled the recipe 🙂 *This would also be an excellent way to use up leftover meat and/or veggies. I could really see this being a very versatile dish with many different options. It is also a very cost-effective meal. Always a winner in my book.

I found this recipe in the Fall 2010 issue of Kraft Food & Family magazine. I love this food mag. It comes out on a quarterly basis and the price reflects it, which is a very good deal for the number of meals and dessert ideas I can find in there. These past two years I’ve even been able to send a subscription to a friend at no extra cost, a perk of membership, and she loves it. If you have not looked into this little food magazine, I recommend it. I do have a disclaimer, however, that I tweak many of the recipes to make them a bit healthier.

Beef & Cheese Foldovers

What You Need:

1 lb. ground beef (I used ground turkey)

1 onion, chopped

1 cup frozen corn

1/4 cup ketchup

2 T. A1 Steak Sauce

1/2 cup hot water

2 cups all-purpose baking mix (I used Bisquick)

1 cup Mexican style shredded cheese

HEAT oven to 375*F.

BROWN meat with onions in large skillet; drain. Stir in corn, ketchup and steak sauce; set aside.

ADD water to baking mix; stir until mixture forms dough. SHape into ball. Place on lightly floured surface; knead 5 times or until smooth and no longer sticky. Roll into 12-inch circle; transfer to baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.

SPOON meat mixture onto center of dough; spread to within 2 inches of edge. Fold edge of dough over meat, leaving center uncovered.

BAKE 20 mins. Tip filling with cheese; bake 5 mins. or until melted.

PREP 20 mins. TOTAL 45 mins. MAKES 6 servings



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