On a Budget: Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Burgers


I’ve been feeling poor lately.

Six months ago I made a wish: I wished that my friends would start getting married so I’d finally get invited to weddings.

Silly, I know. But…I’d get to drink lovely wines, eat delicious cuisine, taste fancy cakes and dance the night away under the stars. Well…I got my wish…sorta…but my dwindling bank account wasn’t part of the wish.

It seems like all our friends decided that “Summer 2012” was the perfect time to get married, so Novin and I have attended four weddings in three months, with more still to come…That doesn’t include the engagement parties, bridal showers and bachelorette parties! I’m sure many of you could beat that number, but at age 25, this is just the start of friends getting married. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining…I’m EXTREMELY happy for all of them (and love weddings), but I can’t help but notice the toll wedding-gift giving is taking on my bank account. Not to mention…costs associated with being in the bridal party and travel and hotel expenses for destination weddings.

I decided that some serious budget cuts were in order. No more $4 pints of coconut milk ice cream stocked up in the freezer. Fewer caramel soy lattes, more french press coffee at home. Less Friday night happy hours, more cooking at home. Poop. Where did all my fun go?

To the kitchen, that’s where. I’ve always loved to cook, but sometimes life gets so busy that it’s hard to find motivation to cook after a long day.  I often find myself in a cooking rut, bored making the same old things, and a lack of inspiration to try new dishes. Last week I cooked five nights at home and rediscovered my enjoyment for cooking (and saved some $$$!). I remembered that cooking doesn’t always have to be complicated or fancy. It just has to taste good! Wow. What a concept.

Monday night I quickly cooked up some stuffed buffalo chicken burgers and baked kale chips, and dinner was done in 30 minutes. Easy, quick, healthy, budget friendly and really yummy!

I didn’t include exact measurements in my recipe because you really can’t screw these up. It’s just a matter of forming patties and stuffing as much as you can between the patties without creating an oozing mess. You can get creative with it. And if you do end up with an oozing mess, it will be a delicious oozing mess. Don’t see a problem there.

Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients

1 pound lean ground chicken

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (probably 2-4 tsp.)

Shredded mozzarella or blue cheese crumbles (approx. 1/4 cup)

Garlic powder (a few dashes)

Hamburger buns

Your favorite chicken or steak seasoning (I actually used a few dashes of Montreal Steak Seasoning)

salt and pepper to taste

1 T butter or canola oil (I used Smart Balance)

In a bowl, mix together ground chicken, 1 to 2 tsp. hot sauce, 1 tsp. of your favorite meat seasoning, 1 tsp. garlic powder, and a few dashes of salt and pepper. (The patties will be pretty sticky to handle. If it becomes a problem you can coat the patties with bread crumbs)

Form into 1/2- inch thick patties (4 patties if serving 2, 6 patties if serving 3). Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of cheese to the middle of half of the patties, and top with desired amount of hot sauce.

Place remaining patties without the cheese on top of the patties with cheese. Gently seal outsides of patties together with fingers to make one patty…(not sure how else to describe it! lol).  They will likely be very soft and fragile, be careful not to handle them too much or you’ll have hot sauce and cheese everywhere (might not be a bad thing)!

Heat 1 T of butter/oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken burgers for about 3-4 minutes on each side to brown. Cover and cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes to make sure burgers cook all the way through.

Oopsy, got a little carried away with the cheese!

Serve on a bun with guacamole and your favorite burger toppings (and maybe some extra cheese and hot sauce).

Enjoy! 🙂

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