Score a Touchdown with the SUNDAY BEST BURGER!

Score a Touchdown with the SUNDAY BEST BURGER!

It’s GAME DAY! Time to plan a meal around the big game…. And the last-minute Christmas shopping. Bring your weekend warriors to the peace table with a grilled burger that scores a TD every time. The secret is a simple, yet flavorful patty that comes from grinding beef brisket. The special sauce elevates the favor of da burger along with lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions and perhaps a sesame seed bun!

Check out my recipe for my Sunday Best Burger to see just what happiness is made from! If you don’t want to grind the beef yourself, ask your butcher to do the grinding for you. Most grocery store meat departments will be happy to do this for no extra charge.

Merry Christmas, everyone. We don’t have long to go now!

Sunday Best Burger




1 (3-pound) beef brisket

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

6 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 2 tablespoons

1 teaspoon kosher salt

½ teaspoon coarse black pepper

Place the shaft, blade and knife of a food grinder (or food grinder attachment) into the freezer to chill. Cut the brisket into 1-inch pieces. Lay the pieces onto a baking tray with lip and place into the freezer until the meat is firm, but not frozen, about 15 minutes. Remove the meat from the freezer and toss with olive oil. Assemble the meat grinder attachment. Push through 2 to 3 pieces of meat at a time into a bowl. After all of the meat has been through the machine, grind it all a second time.

Season the meat with Worcestershire and garlic. Form into 8 (or more) patties. Refrigerate until you are ready to grill. Just before grilling, season the burgers with salt and pepper.


Burger Sauce

½ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sweet pick relish

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon grated onion

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1 teaspoon granulated sugar

½ teaspoon Kosher salt

¼ teaspoon coarse black pepper

            Whisk together all of the ingredients in a small bowl.


Buns and Toppers

8 large burger buns, sliced

2 tablespoons butter, melted

8 (1-ounce) American cheese slices

2 large tomatoes, sliced

1 large onion, thinly sliced

1 large ripe avocado, peeled and thinly sliced

Dill pickle chips

Heat a grill over medium high heat. Brush the inside of the buns with butter. Grill the burgers on one side for 4 to 5 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side, until desired degree of doneness, about 4 to 5 minutes more for medium rare. Place a slice of cheese onto each burger.

Brush the buns with melted butter and lay onto the grill.  Toast for 30 to 45 seconds. Place the buns onto a platter. Lay the burgers into the buns. Slather with special sauce and offer your favorite toppers, like those suggested above.



A “Cocktail Hour” Appetizer Just for You!

A “Cocktail Hour” Appetizer Just for You!

When you’re thinking about Holiday Party cocktail appetizers, my recipe for Marinated Shrimp with Ginger-Peanut Dipping Sauce is a keeper!! This simple appy can be prepped hours before the game and finished just in time for kick-off. It yields six servings, so I don’t think anyone will go home disappointed. You may also have left over sauce to use as an aioli on the Sunday Best burgers I have in mind later this weekend, wink, wink…

Feel free to mess with the ingredients in both the marinade and the sauce until you find your perfect combination of flavors. By this point, Santa knows if you’re naughty or nice, so what’s the big deal about lots of extra peanut butter, right? And to add insult to injury, I gotta say that dirty martinis are amazing with this appy!

For more foodie naughtiness, order Sunday Best Dishes TODAY for the food’ophile on your Christmas list! For subscribers get your FREE autographed bookplate to insert into the book! Send an email TODAY to that includes your mailing address and the name you want me to personalize!!

Marinated Shrimp
with Ginger Peanut Dipping Sauce

4 to 5 green onions, thinly sliced, about ½ cup
4 medium garlic cloves, peeled and minced, about 1 tablespoon
2 stalks fresh lemongrass, tender white parts only (substitute with 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated, about 1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground curry
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon all natural sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
½ lb. fresh extra large shrimp, about 10 to 14

Place the green onions, garlic, lemongrass pieces and ginger into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to create a thick, yellow paste. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the vegetable paste and cook until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the spices, sugar and salt and stir until fragrant, about 2 minutes more. Cool this spice mixture to room temperature. Coat the shrimp with the spice mixture. Place into a re-sealable plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 3 hours.
Heat a grill pan, coated with vegetable oil spray, over medium high heat. Grill the shrimp for about 2 minutes, turn and cook until just opaque about 2 minutes more. The shrimp will be golden and moist on the inside.
1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
½ cup all natural peanut butter
Juice of 1 large lime, about 2 tablespoons
½-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated, about 2 teaspoons
Whisk together coconut milk, peanut butter, lime juice, and ginger in a small pan over medium-low heat until smooth. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and serve warm or at room temperature.
Serve the shrimp on a platter with a bowlful of ginger peanut sauce alongside.



Game Day Chili

What’s better than a bowl of chili on game day? Well, a bowl of chili topped with cinnamon roasted butternut squash, that’s what. I really like to make food that’s ready when you are… especially if the game is close and the shouting is loud. Chili is the perfect one pot meal. You can make it early on, and keep it simmering ‘til half time. You can load it up with toppings and serve it in a mug. It’s simple to make, you can’t blow it. If it’s too spicy, add something cool and sweet. If it’s too lame, pass the bottle (of hot sauce!).

I have a recipe for chili in my cookbook, Sunday Best Dishes for chili with pork chunks, butternut squash and black beans. This version replaces the pork with turkey, puts the butternut squash on top, and exchanges black beans with a combo of red and black. It’s proof that using a recipe as a guideline to create your own dish is not only doable, but required for a simplified, use-what-you-have-on-hand, game day dish! Serve your favorite chili, and you are definitely a game day winner!

Turkey Chili Topped with Butternut Squash

Serves a Crowd

40 Minute Cuisine Plus Simmering

For Butternut Squash:

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and seeded, cut into ½ -inch dice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon ground chili powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons kosher salt

2 teaspoons coarse black pepper

For Butternut Squash:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 large onions, peeled and diced into ¼-inch dice, about 2 cups

1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced into ¼-inch dice, about 1 cup

2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely diced, about 1 cup

1 whole head garlic, cloves peeled and minced, about 4 tablespoons

3 pounds ground turkey (a mixture of white and dark meat)

3 tablespoons (or more) ground chili powder

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

4 to 6 drops (or more) hot pepper sauce

2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes

1 (12-ounce) jar chili sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 (15-ounce) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed

Diced avocado

Sour cream

Diced red onion

Pickled jalapeno pepper slices

Corn chips

Preheat the oven to 450°. Place the butternut squash pieces onto a baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon ground chili powder and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Season with some of the salt and pepper. Use your (very clean) hands to gently toss all the squash with the seasonings. Roast until the squash is soft and beginning to turn golden, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion, peppers and garlic and cook until the veggies are soft and beginning to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Don’t forget to stir things around a bit.

Add another tablespoon olive oil to the pot. Add the ground turkey and cook, breaking up the clumps until the turkey is beginning to brown, about another 8 to 10 minutes. At this point, generously season the turkey with salt, pepper and 3 tablespoons chili powder. You can add more later on! Stir in Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. Pour in crushed tomatoes and chili sauce. Stir in tomato paste with the beans. Reduce the temperature to low and simmer your chili for 20 minutes or so to let the flavors blend. Stir, taste and adjust the seasonings to your taste. Add additional salt and pepper, chili powder and/or hot pepper sauce. Continue to simmer the chili until you are ready to serve.

Ladle the chili into bowls. Offer toppings of chopped avocado, sour cream, diced onion, pickled peppers and corn chips. Spoon roasted butternut squash on the top and dig in!