I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias and their client. All ideas and photos are my own.
I love NFL football. I am consumed by it all season long and frantically count down it’s return during the off-season. Now, I know a lot of you could care less, but I happen to think pro football is the greatest game on earth. Man against man, team against team. The drama. The tension. Nothing can beat it. I’m a New Orleans Saints fan, through and through. I’ve lived in Chicago a long, long time and do enjoy watching the Bears, but I was raised on Saints football (when it was bad, real bad) and my heart will always be with the team. I’m such a die hard fan that I bleed black and gold. It’s true.
Nothing makes me happier than a Sunday devoted to 8 hours of football. I like to call it ‘living room tailgating’. Food is a big part of football Sundays…you need to eat something to keep up your energy- all that screaming at the television burns a lot of calories. My Sunday game day prep starts on Saturday, I clean (you simply cannot watch football in a messy house) and then I head to the grocery store to pick up all of the yummy goodies my friends and I will snack on during our pigskin marathon. For this week’s game, I headed to Mariano’s. I knew that I could get quality food items there, plus pick up some other items I needed. I originally thought I’d prepare a classic New Orleans dish…maybe red beans and rice. Crawfish etouffee, even. But, I woke up thinking of burgers and couldn’t get that idea out of my mind. So, I scrapped my original plans (hey…there’s always next Sunday) and followed my gut (pun intended).
I knew that I didn’t want plain ground beef for my burgers. Then I saw this and knew that I’d found love, er…meat.
I immediately had a brilliant idea, followed by another…why not mix the ground beef with a hot Italian sausage? And, instead of regular burgers, why not make sliders? Pleased with myself, I got my meats and headed off to find the perfect slider bun. While staring at beautiful cakes in the bakery section, my eyes fell on a bag of mini kaiser rolls. We had a winner!
I’m not a Packers fan, but I knew that I needed some cheese (get it?!) to pop against the sirloin. I found a delicious aged cheddar that I knew would work perfectly.
Satisfied with my plan, I grabbed the other items I needed for my sliders, and went to check out. My mouth was watering, thinking about the delicious red meat I’d devour while watching my Saints, hopefully, devour the Bucs. I left Mariano’s happy, and feeling a little buzzed and a little full – the store’s food and liquor samplings are unbelievable. I was so pleased with my shopping experience that I had to tell the world. Or, in this case, Twitter.
I know, I know…you want the recipe. But, before we get to that, make sure you connect with #MyMariano’s. Visit the Mariano’s online community – it’s updated weekly with fresh content. And you should follow the company on Twitter and Facebook. You won’t be sorry. Aaaaand…if you’re interested, you can check out the Google+ album from my shopping trip.
Now…the sirloin sliders, topped with caramelized onions, aged cheddar and a spicy basil spread.
What You’ll Need
For the sliders
- 1 lb. ground sirloin
- 1/2 lb. ground hot Italian sausage
- 3 gloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbspn. of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper
- mini kaiser rolls
- 1/2 of a large yellow onion
- aged cheddar cheese
For the spicy basil spread
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tbspn. sriracha
- a bunch of fresh basil leaves
- dash of salt and pepper
What You’ll Need to Do
- Mix the sirloin, hot Italian sausage, garlic, flour (for hold), salt and pepper in a large bowl. Blend – hands, clean hands, are best – well. Cover and let refrigerate for at least one hour.
- While the meat mixture is in the fridge, you can prepare your spread: shred basil leaves into small bits. Dump them into a food processor, along with the garlic, sriracha and yogurt. Add a dash of salt and pepper and blend until smooth. The color is going to be a yucky green but you’ll have to ignore that – the flavor is dynamite. Place the spread into a small bowl and refrigerate (you’ll have leftover sauce…you can use this on sandwiches. It should keep for 3-5 days).
- You can also use this time to caramelize your onions. Don’t know how? AllRecipes.com has great instructions.
- When you’re ready to make your sliders, preheat the oven to 325 degrees (you’ll finish your burgers off in the oven)
- Take your meat mixture from the fridge and measure out small portions that you’ll form into patties. It helps if you have one of those slider patty former thingies…I didn’t, so I got
ghettocreative with it and used a small condiment bowl.
- Place a grill pan (I prefer using a grill pan for the rare occasion I make a burger) on the stove and turn the heat to medium. When the pan is hot, place your burgers on the griddle and cook for 4-5 minutes, turn and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
- Remove patties from heat and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Top each patty with a small pat of butter (a restaurant trick) and place pan in the oven. Finish cooking in the oven until burgers have reached your desired level of done-ness.
- Top each patty with a slice of cheese during the last 3 minutes of baking.
- Place kaiser rolls (you’ll have to slice them in half, length wise) face down on a separate baking sheet and pop in the oven for 2-3 minutes. You want to warm them up, not toast them…so keep an eye on these.
- Remove patties and buns from the oven and begin to assemble your sliders. Slather each bun with a generous amount of spread, then top with a burger and caramelized onions.
Now tell me: how do YOU celebrate football Sundays? Do you cook at home? Hit a sports bar? Mooch off other people? I want to know!
I want to leave you with two things. First, this cool vid: on August 17, 2013, Mariano’s surprised shoppers in their West Loop store with an operatic flash mob performance by Chicago’s da Corneto Opera.
And second: My Saints are 2-0! Sunday’s win over Tampa Bay gave me so much life. The Saints were down with just over a minute left in the game. But luck and then skills gave us the win. It might not seem like a big deal, but this 2-0 start is major. Last season, the Saints didn’t get their second win until October! Coach Payton is back, the defense isn’t perfect but is much improved, and the offense is as great as ever…I’ve got big hopes for this season! WHO DAT!