Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Saucy Orange Habanero Burgers

What a ride this Saucy Mama trip has been! Just a little over 2 weeks ago, a package of sauces, marinades, and one very tasty mustard arrived at my door. It was up to me to come up with a recipe worthy of competing in the 2015 Saucy Mama Contest. This contest will be someone's ticket, a Golden Ticket, to the 2015 World Food Championships taking place in Kissimmee, Florida. Can you imagine what a fun and scary ride that will be?!

Those of you who know me know that I have a thing for a touch of orange in my food. From breads, to pies, to sweet rolls, there isn't much I haven't sprinkled with some orange zest. It's no wonder that the bottle of sauce that stood out from rest for me was Saucy Mama's Orange Habanero Wing Sauce. It just sounded like it was going to be awesome. Boy howdy, with its slightly sweet, slightly hot, and slightly orange deliciousness -- it is awesome! I just couldn't resist building an entire meal with this stuff....

As you can see, I made some good, saucy choices....

The criteria for creating the perfect Saucy Mama recipe are that the recipe must be easy to replicate, family friendly, great for parties, and, above all, delicious. It came to me that the one food that encompasses all of these things might just be the hamburger. Think about it.....hamburgers come in all shapes and sizes, some fancy, some sloppy, and all delicious. Yup. I was going to make a hamburger.

My first creation: Orange Habanero Candied Bacon

My final recipe turned out to be a compilation of three easy, and very flavorful parts...a sweet, candied bacon, a spicy, orange-y ketchup, and fresh, crispy onion strings, all piled on top of a basic, juicy burger. May I present Saucy Orange Habanero Burgers!

The Orange Habanero Ketchup is the bomb! I've even used it as pizza sauce!

Saucy Orange Habanero Burgers

Orange Habanero Candied Bacon

1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
1/3 cup Saucy Mama Orange Habanero Wing Sauce
12 slices thick-cut bacon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Spray a cooling rack with cooking spray and place in sheet pan.

Mix the brown sugar with the orange peel and place in a shallow bowl. Brush the both sides of each side of bacon with the wing sauce. Place the bacon in the bowl with the brown sugar and toss to coat. Make sure the bacon is evenly coated. Place the bacon in a single layer on top of the rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the bacon is slightly dark. Watch carefully after 20 minutes to make sure it doesn't burn. Carefully remove the bacon from the rack and allow it to cool on a sheet of parchment. The bacon will crisp as it cools.

Orange Habanero Ketchup

1 (15 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/3 cup Saucy Mama Orange Habanero Wing Sauce
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel

Combine all of the ingredients in a small, heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until the mixture just comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the cover and simmer for an additional 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Orange Habanero Onion Strings

1 large, sweet onion
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup Saucy Mama Orange Habanero Wing Sauce
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons freshly grated orange peel
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 cups canola oil for frying

Use a mandolin or very sharp knife to slice the onion into very thin rings. Place the onion rings in a medium bowl. Stir together the buttermilk and the wing sauce. Pour over the onions, covering completely. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. In the meantime, whisk together the flour, orange peel, salt, and cayenne pepper. Place the oil in a heavy saucepan. Heat to 375 degrees F. Using tongs, scoop up a portion of the onion rings. Dredge them in the flour mixture, shaking off the extra flour. Place the onions in the hot oil. Use the tongs to push the onions around, breaking up any clumps. Fry for a minute or two, or until golden. Remove to a paper lined plate to drain and repeat, in batches, with the remaining onions. Cover to keep warm.


1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20 blend
Freshly ground pepper and Kosher salt
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
4 slices provolone cheese
4 good quality hamburger buns, split (click here if you want to make your own)
2 tablespoons butter, softened
assorted lettuce leaves

Carefully form the ground chuck into 4 patties, making an indentation on the top of each burger. Season each patty with pepper and salt. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet or grill pan until it begins to shimmer. Add the burger patties and cook for about 4 minutes. Flip the burger and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Top each burger patty with a slice of the cheese, cover and continue to fry until the cheese is melted. Spread the butter over the cut side of each bun. Grill the buns until they are golden brown.

To assemble the burgers, place lettuce leaves on the cut side of each bottom bun. Top with a burger patty. Spread a tablespoon or two of the ketchup on top of each burger. Add bacon slices and a handful of onion strings, then top with the remaining bun halves, toasted side down.

Wish me competitors are a talented bunch!

Want to win your very own 3-pack of Saucy Mama condiments? Simply visit my last post, Orange Habanero Candied Bacon, and enter via the RaffleCopter widget. Have fun and keep it Saucy!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Orange Habanero Candied Bacon

I am so excited to share that I am one of 25 bloggers chosen to compete in Saucy Mama's 2015 Recipe Contest! This means that not only do I have a chance to win a Golden Ticket to the 2015 World Food Championships, but I get to play with 6 different Saucy Mama condiments and I get to give away a 3 pack of sauces to one of my readers!

For those not in the know, Saucy Mama is a division of Barhyte Specialty Foods located in Pendleton, Oregon. They are the makers of fabulous mustards, marinades, and wing sauces. I've participated in a couple of Saucy Mama's contests in the past and I've enjoyed their products immensely. The stakes are especially high this year, as this contest is a qualifying event for The World Food Championships being held in Kissimmee, Florida!

My husband and I immediately tore into the Poblano Ranch Dressing and the Hatch Chili Mustard ... we couldn't wait for the official picture to be taken....

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Homemade Buns

Okay--so I was in a bind the other day. I desperately needed a nice looking bun. Stop with the snickers. I needed a hamburger bun.  At any rate, I did what any normal person does and I stopped at the grocery store. Since it was so late, however, there weren't any good buns left. What to do?  Well, I made my own of course!

I feel serious eye rolling from the audience. I get it. Why would you make your own buns when you can buy perfectly good ones from the store and/or bakery? For starters,  they are damn good. And, while you may not believe it, they are easy to make with a few simple ingredients.

Homemade Buns

They may not be easier than the ones from the bakery...but they are so good!


  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 envelope yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 - 4 cups flour
  • 1 egg, room temperature, slightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
  • poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or caraway seeds for sprinkling


  1. Whisk together the water, yeast, sugar, and 1/2 cup of the flour in the bowl of a stand mixer. Allow to sit for 15 minutes. Add the egg, butter, salt, and an additional 3 cups of the flour. Use the kneading attachment to knead the dough for 5 minutes, or until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl but is still a bit tacky to the touch. Add additional flour, tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky.
  2. Place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover loosely with a damp towel and allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft free spot until doubled, about 90 minutes to 2 hours.
  3. Gently deflate the dough. Cut into 12 pieces (18 for slider size) and form into hamburger and/or hot dog shapes. Place on baking sheets lined with a silpat or parchment paper, cover loosely, and allow to rise until puffy, about an hour. In the mean time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  4. Beat the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of water. Lightly brush each bun with the yolk and sprinkle with desired toppings. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until golden brown. Move to a wire rack to cool completely.

The dough should just start to pull away, and feel just a bit tacky to the touch.

Once risen, the dough will be satiny and soft.

Sprinkle liberally with seeds of your choice....

I especially like a little caraway seed and sea salt.

Fill with whatever you desire....Pulled Pork with Poblano Ranch Dressing? Yes!

Even a simple hot dog will seem special with a homemade bun.

What do you put on your buns?

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Dark Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

I'm taking a break from healthy posting in favor of something fun! Actually, I'm digging into my past for a recipe that I originally shared on my friend Kristin's blog, Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. I am so craving dark chocolate right about now....

Everything in moderation, right? I went a little overboard yesterday on my diet change of lifestyle. A trip through the aisles of Costco will do that. They really need little calorie UPC codes at all of the sample stations to scan into the MyFitnessPal app. On second thought, maybe it's best not to know....

The best part of this Tres Leches Cake is how easy it is....just one bowl.

I first made a Tres Leches Cake a few years ago for a holiday post. It is a Cafe Latte copycat recipe that I use's that good! This chocolate version is take on the original and I really like how it turned out. 

Dark Chocolate Tres Leches Cake

Making a Tres Leches Cake even better is no easy task....unless you make a Dark Chocolate version!


  • Cake:
  • ¼ cup oil
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup flour
  • ¼ cup dark cocoa
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • Soaking Liquid:
  • ½ of a (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup half/half
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ tablespoons dark cocoa
  • Frosting:
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons dark cocoa
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • Chocolate and/or White Chocolate Curls, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.; grease and flour an 8 inch cake pan (using an 8" rather than a 9" pan will make it easier to split in half).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. Fold the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
  5. Slowly add the buttermilk, mixing until well blended.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly touched.
  7. Remove from oven and cool for at least ten minutes before removing from pan.
  8. Carefully, cut the cake in half, horizontally.
  9. Place each half sliced side up on a rack to cool completely.
  10. While the cake is cooling, whisk together the sweetened condensed milk, the half/half, the vanilla, and the cocoa.
  11. Slowly pour the liquid over each half of the cake.
  12. Cover and chill for several hours.
  13. When ready to assemble the cake, whip the cream until stiff, adding the powdered sugar and cocoa.
  14. Place one of the cake halves on a serving plate, cut side up.
  15. Spread whipped cream over the top of the cake layer, and then top with the second cake half.
  16. Frost the top and the sides of the cake with the remaining whipped cream.
  17. Garnish with raspberries or chocolate curls, if desired.

I topped mine with chocolate curls, but raspberries would make a tasty addition, yes?

Don't let the number of steps fool's really quite easy. Now, I just need to figure out the Salted Caramel version........