Half and Half Patty Melts with Sweet Potato Fries

Some days, you just crave a good burger. Blame it on iron deficiency if you must, but I am a carnivore at heart, and I’ll take a little red meat where I can get it.

Unfortunately, for a really good burger, you need the 80/20 mix of ground beef, which means that the meat is 20 percent fat. The fat really adds to the flavor, and if you’re grilling, it’s essential for keeping the burgers nice and juicy. Plus it has the added bonus of keeping the burgers from sticking to the grill grate.

But we’re trying not to be total piggies, so we decided to mix our beef with some ground turkey, just to keep things on the lean side. And honestly, this was one of the best burgers I’ve made in a long time — good thing we have plenty of extras!

The diet was going well, until we decided to turn our kitchen into a diner.

The diet was going well, until we decided to turn our kitchen into a diner.

I would highly recommend buying the beef and the ground turkey when they’re on sale and throwing them in the freezer until you’re ready to use. Ground turkey prices vary wildly from week to week and store to store, so make sure to do your homework. When you have a pound of each on hand, however, you’re ready to rock.

To make the patties, just put a pound of ground beef and a pound of ground turkey into a large mixing bowl. Add an egg, some salt, garlic powder and a little pepper. Toss in a dash of Worcestershire sauce, just to add to the beefy flavor. Now, roll up your sleeves, and get to mixing. That’s right – with your hands. Hey, you’re gonna have to get all up in there eventually.

Your fingers will get a little cold doing this.

Your fingers will get a little cold doing this.

Once all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined, it’s time to start forming your meat wad into eight separate patties. Try to keep them all about the same size. Really, you’re just rolling them into balls and tossing them from hand to hand until they thin out a bit. If you don’t need that many patties (and if you do, where is my dinner invite?) just store what you’re not using in a large Tupperware container with the individual patties separated by wax paper. Boom! Insta-dinner! Seriously – you can cook the leftovers from frozen, just like you would do with the store-bought kind.

Anyway, that’s how to make the patties. Do it ahead of time. It’s minimal effort and will provide you with an easy weeknight dinner option for months to come.

To really get this meal rolling, we have to turn our attention to the sweet potatoes. Yes, that delicious tuberous root. Pick up an orange potato or two. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Let’s get cracking.

First order of business is to peel the potatoes and then cut them into shapes that resemble fries. If you have one of those handy kitchen devices that makes that happen, more power to you. I do not. I use actual elbow grease. A lot of elbow grease. But it’s worth it!

Cut them thin, but even.

Keep the cut nice and even.

Toss your newly formed fries onto a baking sheet and drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Now, once again, using your hands (you do wash them, right?), toss all these ingredients around and spread out the potatoes so they are in a single layer. All that’s left  is to cook ’em for 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, until they’re really well done. They should be brown or even black along the edges. It’s hard to get them super crispy (using less oil helps with this), but these come close to the real, deep-fried thing.

Hold the ketchup on these babies, they are good on their own.

Great with ketchup or on their own.

When the fries are pretty much finished, transfer them to the bottom of the oven and preheat your broiler pan, making sure the fries aren’t taking any direct heat. Once the broiler pan is warmed up, after about two or three minutes, place your patties on the pan to cook — 4 to 6 minutes per side. You don’t want them rare, because there’s turkey in there! When they’re done, remove the pan and make sure to turn off the broiler – don’t burn your fries!

We’re almost done. It’s time for the final steps.

In a frying pan, place a bit of butter (a real little bit) and let it melt over medium heat. Next, place four slices of bread  in the pan (four slices for two sandwiches) and top with a piece of cheese on each side. (Yeah, it’s kind of a lot of cheese, but you need it) Add the burger to one side and tomato slices and onions to the other. When the bread is browned, flip onto the other slice to complete the sandwich. Cut in half and enjoy with as many fries as you can handle.

Cook it just like a grilled cheese.

Cook it just like a grilled cheese.

Construction is essential to keeping the patty melts together. We recommend: bread, cheese, tomato, beef, onion and cheese. The cheese slices help to keep the slippery stuff in check. If you pile the ingredients up any other way, they will fall apart on you when you go to flip them. We learned the hard way.

And don’t forget this stuff. You’ll need it. And hey, if you happen to have a Coke on hand, you might as well get in on some of that, too.

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