DURING the depression in El Reno, a small Oklahoma town along the Mother Road aka Route 66 at Hwy 81 when hamburger meat was really expensive Ross Davis, an inventive diner owner found a way to ration the meat with the inclusion of flavorful and cheap onions that stretched the meat and built the flavor too, hence why it was called the depression burger.

The recipe has been passed down through the generations and are still made the same way today. Several other diners followed suit and a burger star was born. The burger became a national treasure and is the ugly kissing cousin to the prettier version of how burgers are served today with the grilled onions on top.

I’ve added cheese and changed the onions to shallots which give it a bit of an extra bite. By adding the cheese we have onions between the meat and cheese as well as on top of the cheese.  The key to the flavor in my opinion is ALMOST burning the onions 😀

Adapted from Cook’s Country

3 shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
salt and pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon avocado oil
4-8 slices cheddar cheese
Ketchup and Mustard
4 hamburger buns, toasted

  • Combine the onion slices and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl, tossing to combine.
  • Transfer the onions to a colander and let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
  • Transfer the onions to a clean dish towel, gather the edges together and squeeze out as much liquid as you can from the onions. Be sure to do this over the sink since the onions will have quite a bit of liquid in them.
  • Divide the onions into 4 separate mounds on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Form the beef into 4 lightly packed balls.
  • Place the beef balls on top of the onion mounds and flatten the beef firmly using your palm so the onion adheres to the beef. The patties should measure 4 inches in diameter.
  • Season the beef generously with salt and pepper.
  • Melt the butter with the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat.
  • Using a large spatula, transfer the patties to the skillet, onion side down. Cook for 6-8 minutes, until the onions turn a deep golden brown and begin to crisp around the edges.
  • Flip the burgers, then increase the heat to high and cook until well browned on the second side, about 2 minutes.
  • Add 1 or 2 slices of cheese to each burger and allow to melt.
  • Add mayo, mustard and pickles to the top buns, then place each burger on a bottom buns.
  • Serve immediately.


4-6 inch pieces of puff pastry
1 lemon, juiced
2 cups small wild blueberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 425°.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a small bowl whisk egg.
  • In a medium bowl stir together the blueberries, cornstarch, 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of
  • the powdered sugar.
  • Arrange the puff pastry squares on the parchment paper several inches apart.
  • Drain blueberries for a couple minutes.
  • Lightly brush the edges of the puff pastry.
  • With a slotted spoon divide the blueberry mixture among the puff pastry pieces.
  • Gently fold a corner over to form a triangle and secure edges by firmly pressing the edges together with your fingers.
  • Brush the outside of the turnovers with the beaten egg.
  • Make a 1 inch slice on the top of each turnover.
  • Bake the turnovers 14-18 minutes until golden, turning the pan half way through.
  • While the turnovers are baking, make the glaze.
  • In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. If too thick add a bit more lemon juice.
  • When turnovers are done, let cool at least 10 minutes before drizzling glaze over top.

NOTE: I like to use the juice that drain off the blueberries.


Seems like lately I have needed to make a bunch of appetizers for one event after another. Meatballs are one of my favorite dishes to make and can be prepared bite size AND in large batches without sauce and frozen for the future.

TROPICAL BBQ MEATBALLS makes 3 dozen 1 inch meatballs

1 cup quick cooking oats
3/4 cup finely minced Vidalia onion
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons half and half
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3/4 pound lean ground beef
3/4 pound ground pork
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Grease a wire rack and set inside a jelly roll pan.
  • Combine the oats, half the onion, half and half, garlic, egg, salt, pepper, chili powder and paprika in a large bowl.
  • Crumble the beef over the oats mixture and using your hands, mix well, but with minimal mixing.
  • Roll into 1 inch balls and place on wire rack.
  • Bake 20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.
  • Remove rack from pan.
  • Wipe pan dry of any grease.
  • Add meatballs back to pan.

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup apricot pineapple preserves
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 tablespoons honey

  • Combine the ketchup, preserves, brown sugar, liquid smoke and remaining onion in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a SLOW boil.
  • Reduce heat, add honey and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened.


  • Drizzle sauce over meatballs and turn to coat.
  • Return pan to oven and bake another 15 minutes.
  • Arrange on a platter and serve.



4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper
1 can black beans
1 romaine heart, washed and shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped fine
1 large orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
1 small red onion
1 avocado, sliced thin and seasoned
1 clove garlic, minced
2 + 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon oregano
corn tortillas, fried crisp

  • Drain and rinse black beans well.
  • Halve the onion and slice one half of it into thin rings. Dice the other half. Keep separate.
  • Mix together the cumin, paprika and oregano. Divide in half.


  • In a small bowl add the onion ring slices.
  • Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the vinegar, sprinkle with salt, toss together and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • In another small bowl mix half the seasoning mixture with the other 2 tablespoons of vinegar, the orange juice and half the lime juice.


  • Generously season chicken pieces with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet heat avocado oil until shimmering over medium high heat.
  • Add chicken breasts and sear on both sides until cooked through.
  • Remove chicken to plate and rest.


  • Add diced onion pieces and half the garlic to the skillet, sautéing until fragrant.
  • Add black beans, remaining garlic and one half of the spice mixture. Cook 3-5 minutes until soft and heated through.
  • Add half of lime juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat and set aside.


  • Shred chicken and place in a mixing bowl with half the orange juice mixture.
  • Pour the other half of the juice mixture over the shredded lettuce and top with the cilantro. Toss to coat.


  • Place a tortilla on a plate.
  • Top with a bit of the pickled onions followed by a handful of the lettuce mixture.
  • Add a spoonful of the beans followed by a spoonful of the shredded chicken and top with avocado slices.


These are the perfect game or race day tailgating “GUY” food. No bones, no mess, but ALL the flavor of the PERFECT wings.

1 1/2 pounds frozen meatballs, thawed (chicken if you can find them, but turkey works too)
1/4 cup PACKED brown sugar
1/4 cup FRANK’S original hot sauce (or MORE, to taste)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup pineapple pepper jelly (as mild or strong as you like) 😀
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
12 King’s Hawaiian rolls
torn lettuce leaves
Crumbled Bleu Cheese
Ranch dressing

  • In a 3-4 quart slow cooker whisk together the brown sugar, hot sauce, hone, preserves, corn starch and liquid aminos until well blended.
  • Stir in meatballs, coating well.
  • Cover and cook on low 2-3 hours.
  • Slather ranch dressing on both sides of bun.
  • Add desired lettuce leaves.
  • Add 2 meatballs.
  • Top with crumbled bleu cheese.
  • Replace top and enjoy!!!


I’m really missing my favorite grocery store from Texas, but have found my new local grocer is having some beautiful produce. (BTW My favorite grocery store and my neighbor are ALL that I’m missing from Texas 😀 ) The pineapple in particular has been PERFECT and perpetually on sale.

1/2 pound pork tenderloin and center cut boneless pork chops, cut into bite sized pieces
1+ cup snap peas, cleaned and halved
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon FRESH grated ginger
1/3 cup diced red pepper
1 small bunch green onions, thinly sliced keeping whites and greens separate
1 FRESH pineapple, halved and prepared for boats
1/2 cup rice, prepared to package directions
6 ounce can of pineapple juice (I often use pineapple orange)
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons PACKED brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry sherry
2 tablespoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons sweet and spicy chili sauce (I use MAGGI’s)
FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon butter

  • Halve pineapples and cut meat out leaving 1/2 inch all the way around. Cut pineapple into bite sized pieces.
  • Whisk together the pineapple juice, vinegar and cornstarch until smooth.
  • Add the brown sugar, sherry, chili sauce and FRESH ground salt.
  • In a large skillet heat avocado oil over medium-high heat.
  • Sear pork until browned and nearly cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove pork and allow to rest.
  • Wipe out pan and return to heat.
  • Add water and peas, cover and steam 2-3 minutes. DRAIN.
  • Return pan to heat and add butter.
  • Add ginger, garlic, onion whites and bell pepper, stirring until fragrant.
  • Add pineapple pieces and sauce, simmering a few minutes until thickened.
  • Fold in pork pieces.
  • Put a thin layer of rice into each pineapple boat.
  • Portion pork mixture into boats and top with scallion greens.
  • ENJOY!


3 pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks (or any combo you like)
2 limes, juiced (about 1/4 cup)
3/4 cup pineapple pepper preserves
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste

  • In a small saucepan combine preserves and lime juice and heat until melted and well blended.
  • Sprinkle chicken pieces with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Heat grill to medium.
  • GENEROUSLY spray grill grates with non-stick spray.
  • Grill chicken 15-20 minutes or about 175° internal temperatures. Turn Occasionally and baste generously during the last 5 minutes with the sauce.
  • Serve with remaining sauce.


Looking for the perfect summer meal without turning on the oven or grill? Well, here it is, the PERFECT summer salad full of flavor and satisfying to everyone. I make the dressing in a double batch so there is always extra and preparing the bacon the night before after the sun sets keeps you cool too.

12 ounce package center cut bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced
FRESH ground sea salt, to taste
FRESH ground black pepper, to taste
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup finely minced FRESH chives
2 tablespoons avocado oil
1-2 tablespoons buttermilk (yep, that reads milk :D)
1 head green leaf or Bibb lettuce, torn into pieces
1 package grape tomatoes, halved
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced OR 1/3 cup finely chopped red onion
8 ounces of sourdough bread, WELL toasted, lightly buttered and cut into cubes

  • Whisk together the vinegar, garlic and salt. Let stand 10 minutes. This will help mellow the flavor a bit.
  • Whisk in sour cream and avocado oil until well blended.
  • Fold in chives.
  • Thin with milk to desired consistency.


  • In a large salad bowl toss together the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and bacon pieces.
  • Fold in toasted bread pieces.
  • Season to taste with FRESH ground salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle with dressing.
  • Garnish with additional chives and ENJOY!


4 hot dogs
1/2 cup Bisquick or other pancake mix (DO NOT USE GLUTEN FREE)
2 tablespoons water
Oil for frying (enough to MOSTLY cover hot dogs)

  • Poke a 1/2 skewer through half a hot dog. Spiral cut by diagonally placing your knife against the hot dog while rotating. CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH WHILE CONSTANTLY TURNING SKEWER TO GET A SPIRAL CUT.
Spread open to create a space between the slits.
Combine Bisquick with water.
  • Divide mix into 8 portions.
  • Roll the dough out into a 4 inch strip.
Roll the dough around the hot dog between the meat edges.
  • In a large pan (preferably cast iron) heat oil to 325°.
Fry for 2-3 minutes, turning as necessary.
  • Serve with your favorite condiments or some tornado sauce.

1/4 cup jalapeño ketchup
2 tablespoons cup mustard

  • Whisk together and enjoy!



3 pounds chicken wings and drumettes
1 1/2 cups Heinz Jalapeño ketchup
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup champagne or rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons mild honey
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons liquid smoke
FRESH ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste
1 jalapeno seeded and sliced thin
1/3 cup minced red onion
sesame seeds, to garnish

  • In a LARGE bowl whisk together the ketchup, brown sugar, liquid smoke, honey, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and garlic.
  • Fold in the red onion.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Add chicken pieces and toss to coat.
  • Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray.
  • Add chicken pieces to slow cooker.
  • Cook on low 3 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • Garnish with jalapeño slices and sesame seeds.

NOTE: For a spicier wing add the jalapeno slices with the red onion so they cook the entire time together.



2 boneless pork chops
3 green onions, thinly sliced, whites and greens separated
1/4 + 1/4 cup Bragg’s liquid aminos
1/8 + 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 pound bok choy, halved, washed and cut into 1 inch pieces, keeping bulbs and greens separate
6 pieces spaghetti
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
Sriracha, to taste
1/4 cup chopped peanuts
2 tablespoons avocado oil
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste

  • In a large Ziploc bag or baking dish combine 1/4 cup liquid aminos, 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons honey.
  • Pat dry pork chops and add to marinade, turning to coat.


  • Cook noodles per package directions, about 8 minutes to al dente’.
  • Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.


  • Whisk together the peanut butter, 1/4 cup liquid aminos, 1/8 cup rice wine vinegar and 1 tablespoon water until smooth. Set aside.


  • In a large pan over medium high heat add sesame oil until shimmering.
  • Add bok choy bulb pieces and green onion whites, sautéing 3-4 minutes until soft.
  • Add cabbage and bok choy leaves, cooking a couple minutes more until leaves wilt.
  • Season to taste and transfer to bowl with noodles.


  • Remove pork from marinade. and reserve 2 tablespoons.
  • Return pan to heat and add 2 tablespoons of avocado oil.
  • When shimmering add pork chops and sear on both sides until cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Transfer to plate and let rest 5 minutes.
  • Add reserved marinade to peanut sauce and whisk well.


  • Add peanuts and peanut sauce to noodle bowl, tossing to coat.
  • Thinly slice pork chops.
  • Plate noodles and vegetables.
  • Top with pork slices.
  • Garnish with green onion tops.



2 bone-in pork chops
1-2 sprigs rosemary, stems removed and chopped fine
2 large green onions, sliced thin
1/2 pound fingerling potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 GALA apple, peeled, cored and diced small
FRESH ground salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons PURE maple syrup
1 tablespoon chicken bouillon
1 tablespoon butter

  • Pat pork chops dry.
  • Generously season chops to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Melt butter in skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add potatoes, sauteing several minutes until starting to soften and turn golden.
  • Add scallion, sautéing slightly.
  • Add chops and cook until browned and cooked through, 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Remove from pan and keep warm.
  • Reduce heat to medium.
  • Stir in rosemary, 1 tablespoon of the vinegar, maple syrup and bouillon, stirring to blend well. Let simmer until thickened, 1-2 minutes.
  • Add butter, blending well.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Add apple pieces and cook a minute or two until beginning to soften.
  • Return chops to pan, turning to coat well.
  • Remove from heat and plate.
  • Garnish with scallion greens.
  • Serve.