Tag Archives: recipes

Going Big: The Avocado Bacon Burger

By Guest Contributor: Mike Majlak

Life on a Couch

Congratulations, its a monster.

GET THESE THINGS
One pound 85/15 ground beef
One package thick cut hickory smoked bacon
One whole avocado
One head of romaine lettuce
One vine ripened tomato
One package Cheddar Jack cheese
Two potato rolls or hamburger buns
Montreal Steak seasoning
Mayonnaise (optional)

Moderation wasn’t something that ever came very easily to me. My mom always tried to warn me against having “too much of a good thing” but it generally fell upon deaf ears. I didn’t want one solid piece of art- I wanted Notorious BIG posters on every, single part of my bedroom wall. And even as an adult, this is still the way I am. I don’t have a halfway setting. I’m either going big- or I’m going to sleep.

The way I think about and prepare food follows this same pattern. So when it came time to write a post for Shawny and Life on a Couch, I wanted to do an over-the-top creation based on my favorite plate in life- the all-American beef cheeseburger.

Life on a Couch

Press your own fattie!

I started with some really fresh, not-so-lean 85/15 beef from the local market. The modern health craze we see before us everyday is great- just not for burgers. Every time I eat a “lean” burger I liken it to eating cardboard. Besides, my grandfather Pop-Pop ate 80/20 burgers all day and he made it to a ripe old 91. Eat what you want, just run a little more is my theory.

Anyways- I shaped the meat into some half-pound snowball patties. I like to leave ‘em a little fatter as opposed to squishing into true patties to keep that homestyle feel. I then gave the burgers a GENEROUS (read: anti-moderate) rub of my go-to Montreal Steak seasoning and stuck them under the broiler. I live in Connecticut and there’s no way I was going out to the grill. If you live somewhere where it’s super-warm right now: 1) use your grill and 2) I’m jealous and I don’t like you until May/June.

Life on a Couch

Don’t wimp out.

As the burgers broiled, I started thinking “How do we bring this thing to the next level?” And the answer was obvious- thick cut hickory bacon. Moderation would say two slices per burger, so I figured we would go with four. Broil up the bacon and put it to the side (you can even do this before the burger to get it over with).

Life on a Couch

No caption needed here.

Now how do we really step this up? I figured about 2-3 slices of really thick Pepper Jack Cheese (I used some from Cabot that was amazing) would be logical. And then right when you started to get overwhelmed- BOOM! Open up an avocado and cut it into not-so-modest slices. If you want this burger to be super-burly, chop up some lettuce, tomatoes and prep some mayo also.

When the burgers start to approach your desired temp (I hope you like medium-rare), toss the cheese on top and let the broiler start to do its work. Now grab a couple potato buns and toast them just a bit. This is the one place moderation IS a good thing. Nobody likes a burnt bun.

Life on a Couch

Prep now, smile later.

Check out the picture. Follow my stacking order OR choose a different way. The danger level on eating this thing is probably a 9/10 so maybe eat over a plate (don’t be a slob). Luckily for me, I ate the burger over my Sactionals which have machine-washable covers 🙂

Life on a  Couch

Like reverse Jenga, with food.

Hopefully this avocado bacon burger brings you some happy summer thoughts to brighten your mood. If you really wanna follow my no moderation lifestyle, pair this bad boy with some waffle fries and a chocolate shake. After all, it is the middle of winter. If you start to feel chubby, just put on some sweats and call it a day.

Life on a Couch

Mike Majlak in the Rockies.

Mike Majlak is a published food fanatic/adventurer/photo-junkie. Follow his antics on Instagram @heybigmike.

Did you give this thing a shot?! Let me know in the comments!

– Shawny

Explain it Like I’m Five: Thanksgiving Apple Pie

By Mike Majlak

Let me start off by saying- I don’t cook. I’m the classic man. If you gave me a few frozen burgers, I could grill ‘em up and they might just be edible. But if you put me in charge of say, a lasagna- things might not turn out too well.

That being said, the culinary craft is not lost in my family. My mom Robin (the same mom who brought you the ultimate Macaroni n Cheese walkthrough) is constantly trying to teach me a thing or two about her passion. She invited me back into her kitchen to showcase the perfect apple pie to gobble on right before you slump down into your favorite couch for your annual L-tryptophan sponsored sleep session.

Slice it up and enjoy!

First she sent me to the grocery store to pick up some ingredients. Between scrolling Instagram and text messaging, I was somehow able to grab them correctly on the first try:

Ingredients
4 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon to sprinkle on top
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
Pie Crust (follow recipe below)
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Granny Smith!

apple pie recipe

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut each apple quarter in thirds crosswise and combine in a bowl with the zests, juices, 1/2 cup sugar, flour, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

apple pie recipe

apple pie recipe

apple pie recipe

Roll out half the pie dough and drape it over a 9- or 10-inch pie pan to extend about 1/2-inch over the rim. Don’t stretch the dough; if it’s too small, just put it back on the board and re-roll it.

apple pie recipe

Fill the pie with the apple mixture. Brush the edge of the bottom pie crust with the egg wash so the top crust will adhere. Top with the second crust and trim the edges to about 1-inch over the rim. Tuck the edge of the top crust under the edge of the bottom crust and crimp the 2 together with your fingers or a fork. Brush the entire top crust with the egg wash, sprinkle with 1 teaspoon sugar, and cut 4 or 5 slits.

apple pie recipe

apple pie recipe

Place the pie on a sheet pan and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until the crust is browned and the juices begin to bubble out. Be sure to leave slits in crust exposed to allow moisture to vent out! Serve warm.

Pie Crust:

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) very cold unsalted butter

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup very cold vegetable shortening

6 to 8 tablespoons (about 1/2 cup) ice water

Pulse!

Dice the butter and return it to the refrigerator while you prepare the flour mixture. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and shortening. Pulse 8 to 12 times, until the butter is the size of peas. With the machine running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse the machine until the dough begins to form a ball. Dump out on a floured board and roll into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

apple pie recipe

Cut the dough in half. Roll each piece on a well-floured board into a circle, rolling from the center to the edge, turning and flouring the dough to make sure it doesn’t stick to the board. Fold the dough in half, place in a pie pan, and unfold to fit the pan. Repeat with the top crust.

Yield: 2 (10-inch) crusts (top and bottom)

I wish I could take some credit for the baking that was involved in this pie, but I really can’t. Instead I’ll take this time to personally thank all the beautiful mothers out there who make Thanksgiving dinner so easy on all us guys. Love ya mom!

Thanks to guest contributor Mike Majlak for sharing with us. Do you usually bake your own Thanksgiving Day dessert?! Let us know in the comments!

–Shawny, Founder of Lovesac & Life on a Couch

Couch Food: 7 Steps to Mac & Cheese Perfection

We’re all just looking for a little bit of comfort. [Guest contributor: Michael Majlak]

As someone who truly believes that a good meal can transform the human soul, I’ve been spoiled with a mother who can really kick it up a notch in the kitchen. I probably never really gave her the appreciation she deserves for creating some insanely impressive homemade dishes.

Dig in!

Comfort on a plate

It’s one of those cliché arguments you have with your friends as a kid, and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Every child should go through their adolescence thinking that their mom is the best cook in the entire universe. I can remember almost getting into physical fights with other kids that thought their mom made better meatloaf than mine!

One dish my mom has had perfected since my birth was this gooey, ridiculously delicious Mac & Cheese. Since we’re quickly slipping into the season for food that will keep us warm, I thought now would be the right time to bring you the recipe for a plate that anyone can make- and EVERYONE will enjoy. My mom, Robin, walked me through the whole process in 7 simple steps and I’ve laid them out below with some pictures to get your mouth watering just a bit. Throw on some sweatpants, follow the recipe, and bring a big bowl of this cheesy masterpiece back to your couch for an ultimate comfort session!

Just don’t try to say yours came out better than my mom’s…

SO MUCH CHEESE!

Gather your ingredients

Robin’s Mac & Cheese aka: the ultimate comfort food!

  • 1 lb. Cavatappi Pasta
  • 6 oz. Gruyere Cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 12 oz. New York Extra Sharp Cheese
  • 3/4 stick butter
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  •  2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbs. flour
  • 1/2 cup Panko Crumbs
The beginning of something great!

Boil some pasta

  1. Preheat oven to 375º
  2. Bring water to boil in large pot; add a splash of olive oil, cook pasta until almost cooked.
  3. Grate cheeses, nutmeg and chop onion.
  4. Melt butter in saucepan add finely chopped onion, cook slowly until onion is translucent. Add flour to butter/onion mixture and heat over low for 2 minutes stirring constantly.
  5. Heat milk in separate pan or microwave until hot.
  6. Add milk to pot with butter & onion and whisk until hot [do not boil]. Add cheeses, nutmeg, salt & pepper to mixture. Blend well and when smooth pour cheese sauce over pasta in casserole dish. Top with Panko, salt and pepper.
  7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbling.
Gooey, cheesy goodness.

The money shot

Bout to get crusty!

Sprinkle, sprinkle, sprinkle that Panko

Just eat it all, who cares.

Bake it to crusty perfection

Enjoy!

— Michael Majlak