Feb 9, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Pizza Burgers Our Way

This recipe has been a family favorite for as long as I can remember. That said, the original ingredients list bears little resemblance to pizza or anything Italian, and the hot open-faced sandwiches aren't (as the name may imply), a burger.

But they are delicious, fast and easy, AND they can be frozen and baked later (something my organized mother does when she's cooking for a crowd, while I tend to just whip 'em up on the fly.) I've also altered them slightly over the years, to accommodate my own children's preferences for pepperoni over hamburger. Either way, they are an easy weeknight meal (pair them with a salad and some oven fries or tater tots) or a perfect after school snack for hungry kids.

Pizza Burgers

Mom's Ingredients:
1 pound hamburger
2 cups shredded cheddar
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme blend)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 package hamburger buns

Daughter's Ingredients:
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sausage or 4 ounces coarsely chopped pepperoni
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 can condensed tomato soup
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, thyme blend)
1-2 cloves fresh minced garlic
1 small onion, diced fine
1 loaf french bread split horizontally

Directions for both versions:
Brown ground beef (or beef and sausage). If using fresh garlic and onion, saute with meat. Drain well and set aside. In large bowl, combine cheese, tomato soup, and seasonings. Add meat, stir to combine. spread on open buns or bread and bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until topping is bubbling and cheese has melted. (Lining your pan with foil makes cleanup easier.) Serve hot. If using French bread, simply slice with a pizza cutter into 2" wide strips. Serves 6-8.

Note:  the filling can be mixed up and refrigerated or frozen (thaw before using.) If your family likes Bagel Bites, pick up some mini bagels in your bakery and try topping them with either of these fillings; reduce baking time slightly. No matter how you make or use this recipe, it is a guaranteed hit with your kids (and probably any kids-at-heart, too.)

Happy cooking!