Most people who know us are aware that for long periods of time we go without any TV. This doesn’t mean we don’t have a television in our house, we do. But for months and months on end we don’t have it hooked up to anything (cable or satellite) except a DVD player. And a Wii.
But it’s football season. So, the television is alive again.
There’s a game on right now. We are in two different fantasy leagues. When a game starts, my four-year-old asks, “Which guy are we cheering for? And which guy do we hope gets no points?” Of course, he’s partial to whichever team has the most red in their uniforms because, as everyone knows, that’s the fastest color.
One great thing about football/party/finger foods is that they usually double pretty well as kid food. We love the idea of the mini burger, “sliders” some call them. However, I do not like how time consuming it can be to make those little patties and then stand at the grill and flip all those little patties. So I make them all at one time. In the oven.
This is super lean, all-natural, grass-fed beef with chopped onions, garlic and salt and pepper. You can also add in herbs like parsley or your other favorite flavorings. I kept it simple because of the kiddos…and, actually, I should have cut back on the onions (or just made them much, much smaller) because my four-year-old was not so enthusiastic about them.
Once the ground meat and seasonings are well mixed, you press it into a cookie sheet. This is about 2 pounds of ground beef pressed into a baking sheet that is roughly 9x13x1. It bakes at 450° for about 10 minutes.
The beef will shrink up a little as it cooks (the leaner, the less it will shrink) and, after pouring off any liquid, you will have one giant patty to cut into little squares…or circles…or whatever shape your bread is.
One advantage to this method is not having to worry about individual patty shrinkage…the patty can always match the bun perfectly since it is cut to fit after the shrinking happens.
There are endless possibilities for the little buns. Individual rolls, those bake-n-serve kind or little specialty rolls from the bakery. These are whole wheat hot dog buns.
The ends are trimmed off and then the buns are cut into thirds. That way they are already split for you! This will make burgers that are pretty tiny – which is good for kids – but, if you are doing these for a more grown-up party you could certainly go with a larger roll of some kind and simply cut the large patty to the appropriate size.
We keep a bag of bread scraps in the freezer “For The Ducks.” My four-year-old doesn’t like the crust on his sandwiches, like a lot of kids, but it irks me to throw them away. So we stash them in the freezer with plans to take them to the park with us and make friends with the ducks. Ask me how many times we’ve arrived at the park just moments after I say, “Oh man. We forgot the bread, again!” Someday, I’ll remember to take the duck food.
Another fun way to have these mini burgers at a party would be to have a toppings bar alongside of a big platter of plain burgers. Guests could dress them up with pickles, different kinds of cheeses, sautéed mushrooms and onions, jalapeños, green chili, guacamole, pesto, roasted tomatoes, bacon, chili…you get the idea.
1.5 – 2 pounds lean ground beef (or turkey or lamb)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 medium onion, finely minced (more finely than in that photo!)
other herbs/seasonings of your choice
hot dog buns, trimmed and cut in thirds (total of 24 mini buns)
mayo, mustard, ketchup…you know what goes on a burger! 🙂
Mix the ground meat and minced garlic and onions and seasonings, salt and pepper. Firmly press the meat into a baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes (until pink is gone…careful not to over cook – these can get dry easily.) Drain any liquid off the pan. Cut into 24 squares. Top with cheese, if desired. Build little burgers to your heart’s content.