Showing posts with label ground beef. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ground beef. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

How to Make an 8-Napkin Patty Melt (with advice from Mandy Patinkin) via Cleo Coyle

Whenever I make a patty melt, I think of Mandy Patinkin (one of my favorite actors) and a scene from his television show Dead Like Me, in which he lays down the culinary law for putting one together. 

If you're curious (or would simply like 2 minutes and 21 seconds of entertainment), watch the YouTube clip below. In the scene, Mandy plays a short order cook at one of the show's standard settings: Der Waffle House

(Der clip includes adult language.) 

Whether you melt der cheese on der patty or on der bread, patty melts are absolutely delicious, and even better than burgers (in my opinion, anyway). 

The traditional version is made with juicy ground beef, but you can certainly mix it up with ground turkey or chicken. The only drawback to making these instead of burgers is an extra step or two in the process, which is why I make them extra-large—eight big ounces per patty melt. No, I do not eat the whole eight-ounce sandwich myself, and that's the point.

Cut this mondo patty melt in half, and you’ve got dinner for two—a four-ounce serving each. Cook two of these big boys, and you’ve got dinner for four. 

Less sandwiches = less work. 

And less work always helps me eat with joy...

~ Cleo

Cleo Coyle, patty melt
maven, is author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries
Cleo Coyle’s 
Patty Melt 

The 5-Napkin Burger is a real-life eatery here in New York City, which is what inspired my 8-Napkin Patty Melt. Why eight napkins? One napkin for every ounce of meat, of course. :)

My readers might remember this sandwich from a scene in my latest Coffeehouse Mystery, Holiday Buzz

Coffee hunter Matteo Allegro, weary of the healthy but tasteless appetizers served at a string of Manhattan holiday parties, ventures into the December night to bring back a more satisfying snackthis 8-napkin patty melt. 

Of course, a patty melt this large is made for sharing, and Matt entices his partner in the coffee business, Clare Cosi, to share it with him while she shares the facts (and a cogent theory) behind the murder of a part-time employee. 

To see more recipes from the book, click here.

To contact me or "sign up" for my free
E-newsletter (with recipes) write to:


A few tips for the
perfect patty melt…

* Be patient with grilling the onions. Cook them long enough to caramelize and you’ll have a much tastier sandwich.

* Use large slices of bread and shape the patty long in order to fit the bread.

* Don’t make the patty or bread slices too thick, about an inch. 

* Once your ingredients are ready (the onions caramelized; the burger cooked), build the entire sandwich on a spatula. This will allow you as much time as you need to fix the ingredients just right. Then you can move the spatula to the hot pan, and slip the entire sandwich into the bubbling butter in one quick move.

* To prevent your grilled onions from falling out of the sandwich, follow the "building" instructions in the recipe (you'll see it below). The trick is with the placement of the cheese.

* Use the spatula to push down on the sandwich during cooking; a simple way to make a delicious “pressed sandwich” without a sandwich press. 

Cleo Coyle's 8-Napkin
Patty Melt Recipe

Makes two 8-ounce Patty Melts (for four servings) 


1 large yellow onion 

vegetable oil and butter

4 large slices of bread (see my note below*)

16 ounces (1 pound) ground beef

8 slices of Swiss or cheddar cheese 

Kosher or sea salt

*A note on the bread: A patty melt this big requires large (but not overly thick) slices of bread. Fresh crusty Italian or rye bread from a rustic loaf will make a truly amazing patty melt. If using pre-packaged bread, go for the super-sized sandwich-style and not the standard slices. 


Step 1: Cook the onion – Peel and chop the large yellow onion. Place a pan over low heat, melt a bit of butter, add a splash of oil, and stir in the onions. Slowly cook the onions, stirring often, until they are caramelized (soft, sweet, and dark golden brown), about fifteen minutes. Set the cooked onions aside.

Step 2: Form and cook the patty
The shape of the ground meat patties should fit the bread that you're using, so shape the meat accordingly. Each patty should be 8-ounces in weight and about 1-inch in thickness (or a little less). Cook the patties over medium-high heat, three to four minutes per side. For best results, try to flip the patties only once. When the patties are cooked through, set aside. 

Step 3: Build your sandwich – Start by b
uttering two slices of the bread...

- Place one slice on a spatula, buttered side down
- Lay two thin slices of cheese on the bread. 
- Place the cooked ground meat patty onto the cheese. 
- Place a third slice of cheese over the patty.
- Add half the caramelized onions. 
- A final slice of cheese should cover the onions (when it melts this last slice will help to hold the savory sweet onions inside the sandwich). 
- Finally, top the patty melt with a slice of buttered bread, but this time you want the buttered side up. 

Step 4: Grill and press – Heat a skillet and add a bit of butter. When the butter begins to bubble, use your spatula to transfer the fully-built sandwich to the hot pan. From this point on, treat the patty melt as if it were a grilled cheese sandwich...

Toast one side for three to four minutes and then flip. After flipping, press down hard on the sandwich with your spatula. Pressing the patty melt as it cooks will help the parts of the sandwich fuse together. Grill for three or four more minutes, until the cheese is completely melted. (Make the 2nd sandwich exactly the same way.)

Serve hot! A dill pickle is a thing of beauty with a patty melt. The bright tartness of the pickle (not to mention the happy, green color) nicely complements the rich unctuousness of the sandwich. Cole slaw, French fries, or potato chips are tasty sides, too. However you serve it, I certainly hope you will...

Eat with joy!
~ Cleo Coyle 

New York Times bestselling author of
The Coffeehouse Mysteries

Friend me on facebook here
Follow me on twitter here.
Visit my online coffeehouse here.

To view the
Coffeehouse Mystery
book trailer, click here.

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling
works of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark
Greenwich Village 
coffeehouse, and each of the
12 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.  


The Ghost and
Mrs. McClure

Book #1 of 

The Haunted Bookshop
, which Cleo writes
under the name
Alice Kimberly

To learn more, click here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Guest Blogger Maryann Miller’s Gringo Chili

blk&white headshotFirst I want to thank Riley, er, Elizabeth for inviting me to be a guest today. I have visited the Mystery Lover's Kitchen on a number of occasions and, well, quite frankly, I feel like an imposter.

I don't love to cook.

There, I said it.

I read all these great recipes and think I will try them some day, but some day never comes around. Although that pineapple casserole recipe Riley posted last week sure is tempting.

Cover-2010-optimizedNone of the protagonists in my books like to cook, either. Well, not the women anyway. Sarah, one of the homicide detectives in my new mystery, doesn't even make real instant coffee. She runs the tap until the water is hot and uses that. No messing with a tea kettle or even a microwave for that woman.

I didn't pattern Sarah after me. Honest. I do know how to boil water, but I did think that little quirk said something about her as a character. She has a tendency to focus on the end result, often skipping steps along the way, which does get her into trouble with her boss, and her new partner.

When trying to decide what to share today, I thought about my chili, which folks here in Texas do not consider the real deal. Okay, the recipe came from Michigan. What can I say.

When I was a child, this chili was made every Sunday and left simmering on the stove. That was the one day of the week that the “cook” took the rest of the day off, and we were free to eat a bowl whenever we were hungry. Some of us liked to eat it spread generously over an open-faced hamburger bun. We called it a chili burger.

I thought of those great, lazy Sunday afternoons when the heroine in One Small Victory needed some “comfort food” for her children. What better than a bowl of Gringo Chili.



1 lb. ground beef
1 lb. pork sausage (mild)
1 onion (chopped)
1 green pepper (chopped)
3 toes of garlic (more if you are a garlic lover)
3 lg. cans crushed tomatoes
1 lg. can tomato paste
2 cans pinto beans drained and rinsed
1 can green chilies
3 tsp chili powder
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tblsp. sugar

Brown meat with crushed garlic, onions and peppers. Cook until vegetables are soft. Drain. Add tomatoes, beans, and tomato paste, then add seasonings. Simmer, stirring often, for at least an hour.

Of course, the recipe can be modified; adding more spices to make it sizzle, but then it wouldn't be Gringo Chile any more, would it?


Kindle CoverMaryann Miller's latest mystery, Open Season, is the first in a new series. It is a police procedural in the vein of The 87th Precinct series, and the second book, Stalking Season will be out November 2012. Her suspense novel, One Small Victory, is available as an e-book and in paperback. Visit her Web site at Find her on Twitter at @maryannwrites and on Facebook.

Thanks for coming by today, Maryann! I think some Gringo Chili sounds like the perfect all-American option for the 4th of July weekend! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tasty Taco Bake


If you’re a mom, you know that sometimes making a meal a hit is all in the presentation.

Presentation, if you’re cooking for adults, means making a meal pretty on a plate.

Good presentation, for a kid, means presenting a recipe in a way that either camouflages what it is, or presents it in a way that’s acceptable to the child in question.

My daughter swears she doesn’t like tacos. (I know. It’s odd. I don’t understand it—she eats spinach and broccoli happily. No tacos?) But she does like the taco bake casserole.

“Is there sour cream in it?” she asks suspiciously.

“Why no! No, there isn’t.”

“What’s that white stuff?”

“Melted cheese, sweetie. It’s melted cheese. White cheddar. Yes.”

I know, of course, that it’s horrible to intentionally mislead your child. Especially a sweet-faced nine year old. But I have forgiven my mother for perpetrating the same indiscretion in the 1970s…involving, in my case, mushrooms. I’m a proud fan of mushrooms now and I owe it all to Mama.

I like the black beans and corn in this recipe. There’s a good deal of shredded cheese on the top, but you could use less and use a low-fat sour cream and feel pretty good about yourself, I think. I used ready-made taco seasoning, but you could make your own if you have a little more time.


Tasty Taco Bake

Printer-Friendly Version

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
1 clove minced garlic
1 1/2 cups salsa
1 can black beans , drained
1 can corn
small bag of tortilla chips
2 T taco seasoning
2 medium sized flour tortillas
1 cup sour cream (I used light)
2 cups shredded cheese (I like a Monterrey Jack blend)

IMG_20110301_152354Brown beef and onions, cooking with the garlic. Drain and add black beans, corn, salsa, and taco seasoning to the meat. Cook over medium heat until heated through.

Press flour tortilla shells into the bottom of a greased, large Pyrex dish. Spoon the meat and salsa mixture over the tortillas. Top with sour cream, then a layer of cheese. Crumble tortilla chips over the top of the casserole and cook at 350 for 20 minutes, covered. Remove foil and cook an additional 5-10 minutes.


Sometimes when I cook it, the consistency is a little soupy when I take it from the oven, but it firms more as it cools a little. It’s a hit at our house, even with taco-haters. :)

Delicious and Suspicious (July 6 2010) Riley Adams
Pretty is as Pretty Dies –Elizabeth Spann Craig

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Pasty: This post is totally Riley's fault!

Okay, ever since Riley posted her
beer blog last week, I've had a
hankering for a pasty. There is
nothing (in my opinion) that
goes better with a hearty beer
than a pasty. So, here's my recipe
for a delicious dish to go with Riley's
recommended beer!
(Check out her post: A Side Order of Beer)

Jenn's Favorite Pasty


1 lb ground beef
2 tbspns butter
1/2 cup diced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
1 clove garlic minced
1 tbpsn flour
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup frozen peas and carrots (chopped)
2 tbspns Worcestershire sauce
1 package prepared pie crust
1 egg, slightly beaten

Directions: Preheat the oven to 425.
Brown the ground beef, drain and set
aside. Melt the butter and add the
mushrooms, onion and garlic, cook
on medium heat about five minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and add the water.
Add the peas and carrots and Worcestershire sauce. Mix the ground beef
back into the pan and cook until the vegetables are heated through.
Unroll the pie crusts and cut them in half. Spoon the filling onto one side
of the pie crust and then fold the other half over. Use the beaten egg to
seal the crust together and crimp with a fork. Brush the top of the pie crust
with the beaten egg. Bake for ten minutes until golden brown.

Enjoy! And if you have a Newcastle
to go with it -- all the better.


Jenn McKinlay

MARCH 2, 2010

(Available for pre-order now)

aka Lucy Lawrence
APRIL 2010

(Available for pre-order now)

SEPT 2009
(Available Now)

For more information on how to enter my Name the Cupcake Contest,
check out my website and maybe you and your cupcake will be written
into the sequel to SPRINKLE WITH MURDER. The competition is
getting thick with entries such as the Blueberry Bomb Cupcake and the
Chi Chi Cupcake! So keep 'em coming!

We've been awarded another blog award!
This one from Ingrid of The Conscious Cat

The Over the Top Blog Award

The rules state that we must complete the questions with one word answers!

Your Hair? – Chestnut
Your Favorite Food? – Chocolate
Your Hobby? – Knitting
Your Fear? – Water
Something You Aren’t? – Short
Where Did You Grow Up? – Connecticut
Your Life? – Fun
Your Mood? – Cheerful
Your Favorite Color? – Black

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Hot Dish: Shepherd's Pie

Ta Da! The winner of our

drawing for an autographed

copy of Sally Goldenbaum’s

book is Janel from Michigan.

Congratulations, Janel!

The happiest day of my year, every year, is when

the temperature outside finally drops below 90.

Yes, I said 90. I live in the Southwest and believe

me when you suffer through stretches of 115 degree

days, 90 is almost chilly. Seriously, I consider 70

cold and pull on my hat and mittens if it drops into

the 60’s. So, last week when it dropped to 88 (brr)

degrees, I fired up my oven to bake one of my favorite

cold weather hot dishes – Shepherd’s Pie!

Easy Shepherd's Pie

(Cottage Pie in the UK)

1 pound lean

ground beef
1 teaspoon

Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper

to taste

1 cup frozen

mixed veggies

(corn, carrots and peas)
6 medium potatoes,

peeled, boiled, and


1 cup cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef. Drain grease if necessary. Simmer
beef and season with
Worcestershire sauce, salt, and
pepper. While simmering add frozen vegetables.
vegetables are warmed through, pour mixture into a 2 qt
casserole dish. Spread mashed potatoes on top (should be
about an inch thick). Sprinkle with cheddar cheese and
bake at 350° until cheese is browned on top, about 25 to
35 minutes.
I like to serve it with homemade biscuits.

Jenn McKinlay


March 2010

aka Lucy Lawrence


Sept 2009