Friday, March 11, 2011

Pockets: Endless Possibilities

Last week was both my husband's, March 2, and my father's, March 3, birthdays. Since their birthdays are so close, we usually celebrate them at the same time. Since I love to cook, I usually contribute a great deal to the event, if not completely. I always give my father the option to request something for the menu, but he usually differs to my husband. That being said, the first year my husband and I knew each other, he told me his two favorite things to eat were chicken cordon bleu and pasta with alfredo sauce. So, since we've been together, I've tried MANY different varieties of cordon bleu. This year was a chicken cordon bleu pocket. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of this so it didn't post it. Why am I telling you all this you want to know? Because it was the inspiration for tonight's meal.

Normally, I'm very thorough at planning the weekly meals. This week, however, we were on vacation and my mother-in-law was visiting so it was alot more meals and less leftovers. So, I stopped at the store for a few things and picked up some proteins, since that's what I was lacking. One of the proteins I picked up was ground beef since I was craving a thick, juicy burger. My husband said I could make those pockets again. I didn't have any cooked chicken and cooking some would have taken too long, so I tried to figure out what else I could stuff in the pocket. At that moment, it came to me, bacon cheeseburger pockets. My husband saw what I was doing and requested that I make some with swiss cheese instead of cheddar and add mushrooms. So thus, dinner was made.

This is just an example of letting your imagination go wild when cooking. Take techniques you've used, like making pockets for the Chicken Cordon Bleu pockets, and use whatever you have available. I think these were, by far, a step up from last weeks meal and I never would have known if I hadn't tried! So start cooking, build your repertoire of techniques, and have fun!

Mushroom Bacon Cheeseburger Pockets
Yields: 8 pockets

1.25 lb. ground beef
Salt & Pepper
1.5-2 tsp. Steak Seasoning
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 lb. bacon
2 c. cheddar or swiss cheese
2 cans crescent rolls

Note: I made this recipe half cheddar for me and half swiss for my husband. Out of that, I used roughly half of each mixture. You could definitely cut this in about half and still fill 8 pockets. I, however, enjoyed having extra for other uses (see note at bottom).

Cook bacon using desired method. (I laid the slices out flat in a single layer on two cookie sheets and baked at 400F for about 15 min. checking often so as not to burn and rotating pans halfway.)

While the bacon cooks, brown burger in a small amount of olive oil, seasoning with salt, pepper and steak seasoning. Drain. Brown mushrooms and then season with more salt and pepper. Add to burger.

When bacon is cooked, cool until able to handle and then crumble into burger and mushroom mixture. Mix in cheese of choice or separate into two bowls if doing both cheeses.

Unroll crescent rolls, leaving 2 triangles together to make 4 rectangles. You may need to pinch seems together to help them stay as one. If you can get the 'recipe creations' crescent dough, it would work GREAT for this and just cut the sheet in quarters. My store no longer carries this product, bummer! Pile about a 1/4 c. (good handful) of beef mixture on one half of each rectangle. Fold the empty half over the mixture and pinch along the edges to seal. If your seam where the triangles met begins to come open, you can pinch it closed a little bit.

Place on lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 350F for about 13 to 15 min or until golden.


Second note: The original recipe talked about freezing these pockets after baking and microwaving to thaw. I'm going to make extra and put them in the freezer for this purpose. I think the beef and cheese mixture would also be delicious mixed with pasta or rice.