It’s My Cheeseburger in Paradise
~ A hearty main-dish salad with all the flavors of a big, juicy cheeseburger – and a side of fries! Healthy, fast and oh-so-good! Plus, it can be mostly made ahead … perfect for busy evenings! ~
I like mine with lettuce and tomato … Heinz 57 and french fried potatoes …
Cheeseburger salad is one of my family’s favorites (like, all-time, cheers from everyone, super duper favorites).
I’m pretty sure even your pickiest eaters will love it (and yes, I have a couple of those at my house!).
Maybe it’s the crunchy pickles, or the way the cheese gets all melty with the meat, or the way the flavors come together … I’m not entirely sure. But what I do know is this – it is sooooo yummy!
Many moons ago, I was a Pampered Chef consultant – and this was one of the recipes that I had my guinea pigs family taste-test. It was a hit from day one. You can see the Pampered Chef version here.
Over the years, I’ve tailored the recipe to suit my family’s taste buds … and we are so happy with it! One of the things I love most about this salad is how quickly it comes together. It’s really simple to make – and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand. I assemble most everything while the meat is cooking, and it’s pretty much ready to go as soon as the meat is done. Voilà! Dinner is served!
And, because this is an all-in-one dinner that includes everything from salad to meat to veggies, I never have to spend time making extra side dishes (trust me – it’s so filling, you won’t even need them!).
Now, maybe it’s because I’m originally from Pittsburgh, but I don’t think it’s weird to put french fries on a salad. When I went away to college, though, I ordered a salad and asked for a baked potato instead of the fries. The waitress looked at me like I had three heads – “Um, we don’t serve fries on a salad!”
You’ve never tried it? Hey, now’s your chance! The cheese from the salad kinda melts and sticks to the fries, and then they sort of absorb any sauce or dressing you add. Yeah – it’s pretty darn good!
And, well, if it’s going to be a Cheeseburger in Paradise, it really needs fries. That’s in the lyrics, and we follow rules. So jump on board – we’re puttin’ ‘em on the salad! Weeellllllllllll …. kinda. (We’re going to use oven-roasted potatoes.)
Every time I make this salad, I’m taken back in time. To a time when I didn’t have quite as many responsibilities. To a time when my universe was a little (okay, a lot) more self-centered. Yes, folks … I was in college.
It was my senior year, and my sorority participated in a charity fundraiser called Songfest. We were assigned Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” So we learned all the words and made up a fun little dance routine. And along the way, we also raised thousands of dollars for The Angels on Track Foundation. (Oh – and by the way – there is no video evidence of this song and dance performance, so don’t bother looking for it!) Ahhhhh … those days seem like yesterday and a lifetime ago at the same time! So many wonderful memories …
I hope you enjoy this light but filling salad. Dig out your old Jimmy Buffett CD and dance around while you cook up a brand new cheeseburger experience! Everyone has a little bit of Parrot Head inside – let yours shine! Bonus points if you actually own a fake parrot to perch on your shoulder while you cook!
First, get your potatoes started. Give them a good scrub and cut them into thick wedges. Toss them in a large zipper bag, add a couple minced cloves of garlic, a little canola oil, a pinch of your favorite spices (like garlic powder, onion powder … whatever you love …) and salt – give it a good shake, and they’re ready to go! Spread them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast ‘em up.
Meanwhile, brown a pound of extra lean ground beef, then add some ketchup and mustard (that’s the lick-your-plate-clean, cheeseburger-flavored sauce!).
While your beef mixture is cooking, take a quick moment to chop your onions, tomatoes and sweet pickles. (I know, I know, you’re probably thinking “dill” when it comes to cheeseburgers, but trust me on this one. The sweet pickles are a really awesome flavor twist!)
Time-Saving Tip #1: The browned hamburger mixed with ketchup and mustard freezes great! While you’re at it, make a double batch and freeze half for the next time you’re making this salad. Or, for a super-fast solution on a busy night, just pull your frozen cheeseburger yumminess out of the freezer, mix in the pickles and serve it like sloppy joes.
Time-Saving Tip #2: You can cook the hamburger mixture and oven-roast the potatoes in advance – maybe the night before or earlier in the day. Then, all you have to do is re-warm the beef and potatoes and assemble the salad! Amazing meal in no time flat!
Once the meat and potatoes are done, everything just comes together! Stir the chopped pickles into the beef after it’s off the stove.
Divide the lettuce among four plates, and then divide up the scrumptious cheeseburger meat, onions, tomatoes, fries and cheese.
For the final flourish, cut a hamburger bun into wedges and put them under the broiler for just a minute or two. Watch them closely because they toast FAST! Toss a few of them onto each salad and enjoy!
Now that’s my version of a Cheeseburger in Paradise!
- 1½ – 2 pounds Idaho russet potatoes (about 4 medium-sized potatoes)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon of your favorite spice blend (garlic powder, onion powder – whatever you like)
- 1 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1 pound extra lean ground beef
- ¾ cup ketchup (we use natural or organic)
- 3 tablespoons yellow mustard
- ¾ cup chopped sweet gherkin pickles (about 8-10)
- 1 hamburger bun
- 9 oz. bag of romaine salad blend
- ½ cup shredded, reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup chopped sweet onion
- 2 cups chopped grape or cherry tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 450° F.
- Scrub potatoes and cut them into long, thick wedges (like steak fries). Put them into a gallon zipper bag along with the minced garlic. Drizzle with canola oil and sprinkle with spices and ½ teaspoon salt. Then give a good shake until potatoes are evenly coated with oil and spices. Dump potato mixture onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 45 minutes, stirring once or twice. Potatoes are done when they are golden and crispy outside, but soft and fluffy inside. Remove from oven and sprinkle with remaining ½ teaspoon salt.
- Reset oven to preheat your broiler.
- While potatoes are roasting, preheat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned, stirring to crumble. Add ketchup and mustard and continue cooking for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add sweet pickles.
- Cut hamburger bun into thick strips, similar to the potatoes, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place under preheated broiler for about 2 minutes, or until the top side of the wedges begins to look toasted and brown.
- To serve: Divide romaine evenly among four large dinner plates. Top each with ¼ of the hamburger mixture, then sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese and 2 tablespoons onions. Arrange ¼ of the roasted fries, ¼ of the toasted bun wedges, and ½ cup of the tomatoes around the edges of each plate.
We’d Love to Hear From You!
Did you know that May is both National Hamburger Month and also National Salad Month? Huh … go figure! So, which do you prefer – a big, fresh salad or a juicy burger hot off the grill?