501 Life Magazine | Summer burger fun
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Summer burger fun

by Don Bingham

Burgers are almost synonymous with summer. There are as many options for burgers as one’s imagination can think of!

To encourage freshness in our diet, my wife, Nancy, has been doing some creative work with vegetables. She has a tasty side dish that combines roasted tomato, onion, mushroom and garlic that makes an incredible accompaniment to the favorite of all tastes, the hamburger.

Start with quality beef, grilled to your personal tastes; if using a meat gauge, 150-165 degrees is well done, 140-150 is medium and 130-140 is medium rare.

You’ll need to start the vegetable topping a little earlier than you do the meat, as this topping/side dish takes about 30-35 minutes to cook in the oven. The sweetest and best choice for this dish would be the cherry tomato, washed and cleaned. Slice sweet Vidalia onions in small julienne, chop one or two garlic buds, dice about a cup of fresh mushrooms and toss tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil. Lightly salt and pepper. Spread on baking sheet and cook at 375 degrees, tossing every 10 to 15 minutes until mixture is deep golden and caramelized, for about 30-35 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix two tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1/2 teaspoon of mustard for a spreading sauce on the burger.

Homemade, egg washed and sesame or poppy seeded buns are best. On open bun, spread sauce, grilled meat, roasted or grilled onion/tomato/mushroom mixture and enjoy! If your diet does not permit the bread, omit it and have the grilled hamburger steak with the roasted onion/tomatoes/mushrooms on the side. This dish makes a regular appearance for our summer dining enjoyment!


Roasted Tomato/Onion/Mushroom and Garlic Side Dish


1 small package cherry tomatoes

1 large Vidalia onion, julienned

2 cups sliced mushrooms

2 garlic buds, diced

Olive oil to coat (1-3 tablespoons)

Salt and pepper to taste


Halve cherry tomatoes, dice Vidalia onion, slice mushrooms and finely dice garlic. Toss in olive oil and place on baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place in 350-degree oven for 30-35 minutes. Serve as side dish or on your favorite burger.


Toffee Bars


This recipe is a take-off of toffee candy. The simplicity of the recipe is delightful, and the finished product is deliciously easier on the teeth. It’s quick and not much is more appealing than Hershey’s chocolate combined with the caramelized sugar taste. They also freeze well, and this recipe is great for that summer morning to entertain kids in the kitchen.


1 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1 egg yolk

1 cup flour

Hershey’s plain milk chocolate bars (about three bars)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Chopped nuts (optional)


Mix the butter, sugar and egg yolk. Gradually add the flour. Spread onto non-greased jelly roll pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, until medium brown. Remove from oven and lay chocolate bars on top while still hot. Spread chocolate when melted. Sprinkle with nuts. Cool and cut into bars.