I love it when restaurants low carb regular menu items for me without making an act of congress out of it. I always get a smile when we eat out at Whataburger. I have my order memorized. "Monterey Melt, not the meal, no bread. Please put all the other fixings on and put the Jalapeno Ranch in a cup. I would like a side of shredded lettuce to replace the bun. I know, it doesn't usually come with lettuce, so could you please add that for me?" I always get what I want. Sometimes the dressing is in a styrofoam cup, sometimes a ready made container. It is always delicious, and no order taker has ever been annoyed. Granted, it takes some longer than others to get that side of lettuce added. If you don't have Whataburger in your area of the world, then I am truly sorry. But then, you can make this copycat version of mine. Win!
I had a hankering for one of these burgers the other day. Yes, I can say "hankering" because I am from Oklahoma. Translated, it means craving or desire. But it was my only day during the week that I didn't need to leave the house. Woohoo, a no make up day for me. I had the choice of letting the world see my dark circles and age spots, or try to make it myself. You can tell which won. A couple of my students still talk about the day I didn't come to school with my makeup on. No, I don't wear a lot of make up, but my eyes definitely benefit from a good dose of mascara and eyeliner. That's another subject. Lunch is more important now.
So...lately I have been experimenting with sheet pan recipes. Now that we are just two, once sheetpan can easily cook our entire meal. I could never have done that with three teenage boys at home. The thing about the peppers on the Monterey Melt burger at Whataburger, is the texture. The are soft and lightly browned. Done like they were not in a hurry with a hot griddle. (Guess who usually hurries that step) They definitely benefit from a good dose of fat. So I thought the idea of peppers and onions baking on a sheet pan with the burger patties would work. Wow. It was awesome. And so easy. I even started with frozen patties.
Copycat Monterey Melt Burgers
4 - 1/4lb 80/20 ground beef patties
1 green bell pepper
smoked sea salt to taste (or regular salt)
1/4 cup prepared Ranch dressing
1/4 tsp Chili Dawgs Jalapeno Seasoning
2 slices Monterey Jack Cheese
2 slices American Cheese
Prehat oven to 350 degrees. Place beef patties on a rimmed cookie sheet. Slice pepper and onions into thin strips. Place vegetables around burgers. Bake for about 30 minutes. Toss veggies in the rendered beef fat and turn burgers at the 15 minute mark.
While the beef is baking, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl, combine Ranch Dressing and Jalapeno spice. Flavor will intensify as it sits.
When burgers are cooked through, plate the patties. Top with cheese slices and surround with peppers. Drizzle dressing over all.
Serves 1 or 2: each patty with fixings: 332 calories 4 net g carb
You might want to pick up the green chile version too for a recipe in the April Diner News. Hint. Hint.
Now one little thing about the cheese. The burgers have one slice of each, but they use a thinner patty than I did here at home. You could go half and half on each burger. My hubster eats two, so it is easy to give him both. I think they would be cute half and half--I would break on the diagonal. Of course, you can use any cheese you like. Mine was actually Cheddar in the photo.
Now I get it. Some of you are going to balk at the idea of baking a burger in the oven. I promise, this works. As long as you have a good quality beef and don't overcook, it is going to be moist. No tough sear necessary. The peppers and onions are soft and flavored superbly with the beef fat. Just adjust your salt and pepper and use as much or little of the dressing as you like. Afterall, I have mine on the side.
So there, no super fancy meal here. No winning the Pinterest superstar meal. Just a yummy way to satisfy a specialty burger craving. I am trying to enjoy spring break without too much work. Progress reports are due. The weather has been chilly after weeks of sun and warm weather. Grr. That is not going to help the kids settle in after break. This is the time of year we teachers burn out and kids get extra squirrely. Still, I will be so proud at graduation. I hope you are doing things that make you proud too.
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