Who needs tortillas?
I mean, I do. Gosh, any world without tortillas is one I do NOT want to live in.
But you don’t need tortillas. At least, not for this “burger,” anyway. And it’s actually how this burger came about. Fajita Night with tortillas that ended up being moldy easily turns into Fancy Burger Night.
Cheesy, messy, fork-and-knife Fancy Burger Night.
And while we’re confessing super, insanely deep things: Can you believe I almost didn’t serve these on a bun? The defeat of finding that those fresh-made tortillas weren’t so fresh after all, I nearly made the fajitas into a salad.
Guys. A salad.
Cooler heads prevailed (thank you, Jason!) and we ended up with Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita “Burgers” instead. And it was a good thing, too. Because 1) Those tortillas had inflected a pain that only a messy burger could fix. And 2) EAT ALL THE CARBS AND CHEESE AND MORE CARBS.
Because guess who has 2 half-marathons on the calendar, a dried queso drip down the front of her shirt, and a belief that, after 2 cherry margaritas, mustache selfies will never get old?
Queso-Smothered Chicken Fajita Burgers
Juicy chicken fajitas smothered in queso and served burger-style.
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 large white or yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 2 green bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch slices
- Lime wedges
- 4 burger buns
- Chile con Queso
- Preheat your grill to medium-high.
- Brush the chicken with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the vegetables with oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken 6-7 minutes each side, until juices run clear.
- Grill the vegetables on a vegetable pan next to the chicken (or a double-folded sheet of foil with a few holes poked in it), stirring occasionally, until nicely charred.
- Let the chicken set at least 5 minutes before slicing.
- Top each burger bun with sliced chicken, a generous mount of vegetables, a squeeze of fresh lime juice, and a scoop of melty queso.
- Serve with a fork, knife, and my favorite skinny margarita.
Yields: 4 servings
Estimated time: 45 minutes
Hello, summer. With your abundance of tangy green tomatoes, your abundance of soul-melting heat, and your abundance of why-waste-my-time-flat-ironing-my-hair-when-it’s-just-going-to-look-like-crap-in-11-seconds-anyway humidity.
I can only help you with one of those things. The other two can typically be fixed by drinking any one of these.
This summery mac & cheese is spiked with minced chipotles in adobo and layered in a baking dish – and then topped – with thinly-sliced green tomatoes. The tangy tomatoes help cut the richness of the cheesy dish while the chipotles give you just enough heat to justify cooling off with that Fudge Bomb for dessert.
You know, if you’re still looking for an excuse.
Green Tomato and Chipotle Mac & Cheese
A summery mac & cheese topped with tangy green tomatoes and spiked with spicy, smokey chipotle peppers.
- 1 lb macaroni pasta
- 16 oz grated cheese (I used half sharp cheddar, half colby jack)
- 6 Tbsp butter, divided
- 3 Tbsp flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tbsp deli-style mustard (I use Creole)
- 1-2 Tbsp minced chipotles in adobo (2 Tbsp for a spicier mac)
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (2 slices of bread sent through a mini processor works perfectly)
- 3 large green tomatoes, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Bring salted water to boil and cook pasta for half the time suggested on the package.
- Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from cooking.
- Leave the pasta draining in the sink and return the empty pasta pot to the cooktop over medium heat.
- Melt 4 Tbsp butter and whisk in 3 Tbsp flour.
- Let cook ~3 minutes, whisking occasionally.
- Add the garlic and whisk, cooking 1 minute more.
- Add the mustard, chipotles, and then slowly stream in the milk while whisking.
- Add a generous pinch of salt, fresh ground pepper, and let the sauce cook, whisking occasionally, until the mixture beings to bubble.
- Add the cheese and stir until it is completely melted.
- Turn off the heat and add the pasta back to the pot, stirring until evenly coated.
- Transfer half of the pasta to the baking dish and then layer half of the green tomatoes on top.
- Top with the remaining pasta and the remaining green tomato slices.
- Melt 2 Tbsp of butter and stir into the bread crumbs.
- Sprinkle the crumbs over the top of the dish.
- Bake for ~30 minutes, until the breadcrumbs have crisped to a golden brown and the pasta is bubbling.
Yields: 8-12 servings
Estimated time: 1 hour
Meet The Firecracker Burger. It is the latest addition to our endlessly delicious Fancy Burger roster.
What makes the Firecracker so great?
It’s based on the Crispy Jalapeno Burger from BJs Restaurant & Brewhouse. The “crispy jalapeno” part of our burger comes from the beer-battered jalapenos slices I shared with y’all last week.
Those delicious bites of deep-fried napalm are then doused with some cool chipotle ranch dressing. Add some crispy red onions, juicy tomato slices, and a slice of melty Monterrey Jack?
It’ll be the best burger you have all week. Guaranteed.
The Firecracker Burger
A juicy burger topped with spicy, beer-battered jalapeno slices and chipotle ranch dressing.
- Heat your grill to medium-high.
- Season both sides of each burger patty with salt, pepper and a dash of Worcestershire.
- Grill 4-5 minutes on each side, topping with a slice of cheese for the last minute of cooking.
- Build the burgers, topping with sliced tomatoes, red onions, ~5 fried jalapeno slices, and a generous spoonful of chipotle ranch dressing.
- Serve immediately.
Yields: 3 servings
Estimated time: 30 minutes
I have been on a major grilled pineapple kick lately. Like, mayjah.
Guacamole, burgers, margaritas, and of course – those nachos.
The other two people in this house are not so… passionate about grilled pineapple. There have been eyerolls and little remarks and sighs.
Nor are they passionate about taking the contents of 5 leftover bowls from the fridge and making… that.
But those other two people in this house didn’t complain one bit about dinner last night.
The Internet’s favorite queso serves as the cheesy nacho base, which I then topped with leftover chicken tossed with barbecue sauce, grilled pineapple, thinly sliced red onion, weapons-grade-hot chopped jalapeno (but only on half – Thank, God!) and cilantro.
OF COURSE THEY DIDN’T COMPLAIN.
BBQ Chicken & Grilled Pineapple Nachos
Cheesy nachos topped with barbecue chicken, grilled pineapple, and red onion.
- 14 oz bag of tortilla chips
- 1 recipe Chile con Queso
- ~2 cups of shredded chicken (from about 2 small chicken breasts)
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
- 3 grilled pineapple rings, diced*
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Chopped fresh jalapeno
- Large handful of cilantro, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425.
- Spread the tortilla chips on a large baking pan.
- Toss the shredded chicken with barbecue sauce in a small bowl.
- Top the chips with queso, barbecue chicken, sliced red onion, and diced pineapple.
- Bake for 7-10 minutes and remove from oven.
- Top with jalapeno and cilantro, serve hot.
Yields: 8 servings
Estimated time: 30 minutes