Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cheeseburger and Fries Hot Pockets

We eat a lot of leftovers in my house.  When I was growing up there wasn't a lot that went to waste.  Growing up in the country you learn that every part has its purpose and almost everything can be used for something if you can just figure out what it is.  The thought of throwing away food just because we ate it the night before was just not a concept that was even considered.  Farmyards and barns are usually full of odds and ends just waiting for a job and I look at my fridge the same way.  The trick is to use the leftovers in a way that they are not recognized as the same meal.  If you keep an open mind when considering your ingredients and you always keep a few favorite basics on hand the possibilities become virtually endless.

This little cheeseburger and fries pocket was born out of - leftover cooked ground beef, a package of shredded hashbrowns in the freezer, ketchup, mustard, relish, shredded colby jack, and a recipe for pizza dough.  
Start by making your pizza dough and place on a cookie sheet covered with a towel in a warm place to rise while you make your filling.  Heat oven to 425 degrees.  I doubled the one in my Betty Crocker cookbook - 2 packets yeast, 3/4 tsp salt, 7 cups flour, and 1 cup warm water.  I mix it with my hands until well combined - it will still be very wet and sticky at this point.  Then I add 1/2 cup of flour at a time as I knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic.  Roll it in about 2 tbsp canola oil and put it on a cookie sheet covered with a towel (make sure its a smooth cotton kitchen towel so you don't end up with fuzzies in your dough) to rise about 10 minutes.  This makes enough for about 10 pockets or a large pizza and breadsticks.

Over medium-high heat in a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil.  Add package of shredded hashbrown potatoes and season with seasoning salt.  Let cook for several minutes until the bottom is golden and crispy.  Flip hashbrowns and repeat cooking until the potatoes on the bottom are golden and crispy.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Take about 2 cups of cooked ground beef (ground turkey or leftover burger patties crumbled up works fine too) and in a small mixing bowl, combine with 1/2 cup ketchup, 3 tablespoons mustard and 4 tablespoons relish.  Mix well and set aside.

Take dough in small handfuls and pat out into a rectangle about 5 inches by 8 inches.  Place some of the shredded cheese in the middle, top with burger mixture, then top with hashbrowns.  Fold one long side to the middle, then bring the second long side to middle and overlap slightly.  Press to seal.  Fold the two short ends in to form pocket and press to seal.  Place pocket on baking sheet seam side down.  Repeat process until you run out of the meat mixture.  This will make about 10 pockets.  Take a knife or fork and stab a few holes in the top of your pockets - this will let the steam out so you don't end up with a big empty air bubble to your pockets.  Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes until the crust is hardened and golden on the bottom - if you want your crust golden on top it won't hurt to let it go a little longer - just watch the bottom to make sure it doesn't start to burn.  You could also season your crust with melted butter brushed on top and a sprinkle of garlic salt, pepper or Italian herbs.

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