A Foodie Love Story (Cheeseburger Stuffed Baked Potatoes)

Cheeseburger Stuffed Baked Potato

I’ve been in love with cheeseburgers since I was sixteen years old. (That’s nigh on four decades if you care to do the math.)

Not just eating them — making them.

During my formative years I apprenticed in the fine art of burger flipping at a café not much larger than my dining room is now. (Insert nostalgic sigh here.) Weekdays we catered to retired folks and truck drivers, but on the weekends — particularly after Friday night ball games — we were swamped with teenagers in search of sustenance.

Most of them ordered cheeseburgers.

The café was also known for its daily “blue plate specials” and massive breakfasts on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but there’s only so much room for tender recollections in one post. Suffice it to say that cheeseburgers made a huge impression on me… followed closely by truck drivers. ;)

During my over-the-road adventures years later, I discovered that I’d retained a cheeseburger “frame of reference” from the diner days of yore. Skinny lil’ burgers didn’t cut it for me; I craved classic burgers.

By classic, I’m talkin’ thick, hand-formed 100% beef patties seasoned and grilled to perfection with cheese dripping down the sides, plated with “the works” on a buttered, toasted bun, served with an order of fries (preferably larger than the circumference of a pencil) made out of real spuds.

I can’t begin to count the number of truck stops I bypassed that had succumbed to “fast food frenzy.” At the end of an 11-hour day I wanted (needed) to be served rather than stand in line at a counter waiting to pick up a plastic tray.

And/or plastic food…

To this day, cheeseburgers still set the bar. Whenever I visit a new restaurant (not very often), I’ll look over the menu, debate the selections, and nine-times-out-of-ten end up ordering a cheeseburger.  If they can do that right, things bode well for a return trip to sample the rest of the menu. (Not all in one sitting, of course.)

Fast forward to dinner prep recently.

The Man Of Few Words was due home for dinner in 30 minutes and I had two options: 1) Turn a half-pound of ground beef and a couple of Idaho russets into cheeseburgers and fries, or 2) try something different.

Surprisingly, I opted for the latter.

The ensuing activity included washing, piercing, and tossing the spuds into the microwave (I would’ve preferred to bake them in the oven, but the clock was ticking…), slicing & dicing “the works” (lettuce, pickles, onions, and tomatoes), and sautéing the ground beef in a skillet.

Since time was of the essence, I made a couple of other executive decisions. Part of “the works” (tomatoes and onions) joined the skillet party, while the lettuce went for a carefree toss in a salad bowl. Pickles were reserved for garnish and Cheddar cheese was set aside for future consideration. Sliced or crumbled? Both!

Following a few grinds of the pepper mill and a sprinkle of classic burger seasoning (which, as far as I could I recall, consisted of celery salt, onion powder, and garlic powder) and voila! — dinner was ready. It took fifteen minutes to make with fifteen minutes to spare.

Hmmm… what to do with those extra minutes?

Yup.

Play with the ketchup and mustard…

Cheeseburger Stuffed Baked Potatoes

It’s said that we all remember things differently. Whenever The Man Of Few Words reminisces about our trucking days, he remembers routes. I remember cheeseburgers.

Long live love affairs of the foodie kind.

Enjoying cheeseburgers in paradise,

~ Kimby

Which food do you fondly recall?

Note: Due to apparent popular demand, this post and photos were updated 11/17/13.

24 thoughts on “A Foodie Love Story (Cheeseburger Stuffed Baked Potatoes)

  1. Love your story AND your ketchup and mustard art. My husband and I have some funny foodie love stories as well. He’s always teasing me that HE should start a blog: Life with a Culinary Nutritionist, the Meals We Didn’t Eat. Thank you for bringing a smile to my face this morning.

    • Sue Ann, the thought of your hubby blogging about the meals you didn’t eat brought a smile to my face — The Man Of Few Words & I are culinary opposites, too! But, he loves that I love doing what I do and is wonderfully supportive. I suspect things operate much the same in your home. :)

    • Isabelle, your comment made me think about creating cheeseburger pasta…? Nah, I think Hamburger Helper already has that one covered, lol! Thanks for loving my love stories. xo :)

  2. Oh, Kim, we could have so much fun on the warpath for the best burgers! Like you, this is a delicacy to me…I could eat them, of course, w/crispy fries, several times/week! Now I just know the MOFW was smilin’ from ear to ear w/this meal…he probably even got into the condiment art!! xo Ally PS…tweeted and google+’d!! good stuff to share! xo

    • Ally, you are so sweet to Tweet! (and G+!) Also, you’ve got a mighty fine burger goin’ on at your blog… sassy, Southern, and so you! Food memories, delicacies, and delights — best o’ the best, yes?

  3. I forget you live close to me…is it Oklahoma? We had the thunder snow too! It was wild. I really enjoyed reading about your cheeseburger past and how you reinvented it in the present! I love your take on the classic burger and fries! Did TMOFW love it too? I have lots of fond food memories but one is how once in a blue moon, mom would get a hankering for chips and dip (mostly we were a no junk food house so this was a treat). She didn’t buy tortilla chips and salsa, she bought potato chips and sour cream and chive dip. We’d all gather around the sack and quietly devour it, arms reaching in one after another, dipping, and crunching. Pure bliss.

    • Veronica, thanks for sharing your chip & dip memories! My mother-in-law told me she still remembers the first time they were able to buy “store-bought” potato chips for their kids (all 8 of them!) and the reverent silence (besides “crunching”) as they enjoyed every bite! I got a strong “visual” from the way you wrote that — “arms reaching in one after another, dipping, and crunching.” Yup, pure bliss!

  4. Apprentice of the fine art of burger-flipping? Hahaha! U never fail to impress me, my dear! Reminds me of the American sitcom “Happy Days” when I used to watch during my childhood. Love how u play with your ketchup & mustard too. I’m sure my son would enjoy playing with u too.

    • Shirley, I hadn’t thought about the “Happy Days” connection, but you’re right — the place I worked was a mini version of that iconic diner. Hope I didn’t encourage your son to play with his food too much. :) But then, you have a playful spirit in the kitchen and creative garnishes, too!

  5. Beautiful story Kim. I think I tried my first cheeseburger when I was 12 on a trip to Hungary, and it was so stuffed with raw onions that I still shudder to date remembering it. My fondest food memory on the other hand is not fancy at all: my grandma’s grown coeur de boeuf tomatoes with salt, pepper and sour cream (coming from neighbors cows). Simple and perfect :) Have a good weekend!

    • Gourmantine, the description you wrote about your Grandma’s tomatoes made me long for those simple (yet spectacular) flavors! (Remind me to start some tomato plant seedlings NOW!) Yes, onions on burgers need to “balance” — sounds like you experienced an “onion enthusiast’s” version of a burger in Hungary, yikes! Thanks for sharing your memories, though. xo!

  6. What a lovely creation! I love cheeseburger, although we (burger and I) didn’t have such a lovely story like yours. :) I love your twist on a classic cheese burger. Can’t wait to give this a try the next time I want something new. ;)

  7. Dear Kimby,

    A favourite food from childhood is always so nostalgic as it brings back so many memories. I love some retro food from the 70s like chicken ala king, beef stroganoff. Yours in a stuffed baked potato is nothing like what I have seen. You might just start a trend here!

    • ChopinandMysaucepan, I’ve soooo enjoyed your “retro” posts — thanks for seeing the promise in my Stuffed Baked Potato. “Back in the day” the baked potatoes were HUGE and the toppings generally involved sour cream, butter, and chives — FUN to try something new — or “old!” :)

  8. Making melting moment cookies from a recipe on the box of cornstarch at my grandmother’s house would be one of my fondest :)
    That looks like a very decadent and creative meal.

    • Joyti, I’m tickled you paid a visit here! Thanks for sharing your “melting moments” story, too — those lil’ cookies are fantastic. Plus, I have a thing for Grandma memories. :)

  9. You are so creative and this sounds fun and I know my kids will love a fun surprise…like this cheeseburger stuffed baked potatoes! :D It was fun reading your story about your nostalgic cheeseburger story. :)

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