Happy Tuesday, everyone! How was your Labor Day weekend? Hopefully free from a lot of laboring unless it was of the baby variety, and in that case – woot! (Sorry, got them babies on the brain!)
We took Lincoln to his very first concert on Friday evening – the Yonder Mountain String Band was playing at Nightfall on the River. We’ve been meaning to catch a show at this venue for years and years, and I’m so glad we finally went before the series wraps up for the season. It was a gorgeous, warm summer evening – perfect for an outdoor concert!
We knew going in that Lincoln loves music but we didn’t know how much he loves LIVE music until this weekend. He went absolutely bananas, jumping, clapping, dancing, and being a complete goofball the entire show. I think Ben found his new concert buddy!
On Saturday we cheered the Hawkeyes and UNI (my alma mater) onto their first wins of the season (?), had friends over on Sunday for a grill out, then spent Monday at my parent’s house enjoying the hot day (made even hotter by the addition of a bonfire – s’more lovers gotta s’more!) but taking notice of the bright red and orange leaves that are already falling from the tops of their trees.
Ready or not, fall is coming, and with it brings more easy, family and weeknight-friendly recipes here on IGE like my Crock Pot Cheeseburger Fries with Special Sauce. Oh yes, say goodbye to boring burgers and fries (and the drive-thru!) and hello to this ridiculously tasty mash up!
These loaded fries highlight my homemade Crock Pot Maid Rites recipe, which is a famous Iowa dish of browned ground meat served on a bun topped with cold ketchup and dill pickles, flanked by a mound of the best french fries ever. Right.
Instead of trying to convince you to serve your family browned ground beef on a bun (I swear it’s delicious!) I thought I’d use it to top crispy french fries then bury them with melted cheese and cheeseburger-friendly toppings including fresh tomatoes, minced onion, and homemade special sauce! YES!!!!! If you like the golden arches’ special sauce, just wait until you try my version. It is undeniably that sauce yet made with kitchen staples and ZERO funky ingredients. You’re going to flip…then start digging around the cupboards to find more things to dunk into it. May I suggest kettle-fried potato chips?
Anyway, if your family likes cheeseburgers, they’re going to love this fun take on the classic. Just bake store-bought french fries then top with the crock pot-cooked ground beef and freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and then broil for a couple minutes. So simple, and you can serve the meal right on the sheet pan the fries are cooked on so clean up is minimal.
You’ll have leftover cooked ground beef which is a wonderful thing because the meat is so, so versatile. Make the aforementioned Maid Rites, add to marinara sauce, roll into enchiladas or tacos, freeze for another day, or add to soups. I made Lincoln a simplified version of my Vegetable, Beef and Rice Soup, adding the cooked beef when I added the rice, and he inhaled it!
Alrighty! Start by cooking the beef topping. In a 6 quart crock pot combine 2lbs 85/15 ground beef, 1 chopped onion, 1/2 cup gluten-free beef broth, 1-1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar, 1 Tablespoon each gluten-free worcestershire sauce (I like Lea & Perrins) and gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce), plus lots of salt and pepper. Place a lid on top then cook on high for 4 hours, breaking the meat up 3 times with a spatula as it cooks. Feel free to cook the meat on a weekend then use all week – it keeps really well in its cooking juices in the fridge.
By the way, I wouldn’t go any lower in fat than 85/15 as the extra fat in the beef renders the meat super, super tender and luscious. 80/20 would work great too!
Once the beef is cooked bake 1lb french fries in any cut (I used spiral cut – whee!) according to package directions then generously sprinkle with homemade gluten-free seasoned salt while they’re hot from the oven. This makes such a difference taste-wise – so yummy! You could also make your own french fries using regular potatoes and the method shown in this post.
Drain some of the meat (I used about a cup) then sprinkle over the top of the french fries, followed by 6oz freshly shredded sharp cheddar cheese, and then broil until the cheese has melted, 1-2 minutes. I transferred the fries over to a cast iron skillet for presentation purposes, but you could definitely just leave them on the sheet pan.
Meanwhile, whip up the Special Sauce that gets drizzled on top and served on the side for dunking. I’m telling you, this sauce is a DEAD RINGER for the fast food joint’s – it’s crazy! It gets better as it sits too, so feel free to make 2-3 days ahead of time. In a small bowl combine 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellmann’s EVOO Mayo), 2 Tablespoons each ketchup and finely minced dill pickles, 1 Tablespoon finely minced white onion, 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar, and 1 teaspoon white sugar. That’s it!
Top the cheeseburger fries with special sauce, fresh chopped tomatoes, and finely minced white onion then go. To. TOWN! If you love pickles on your cheeseburgers, feel free to chop a few up to toss on top – a drizzle of ketchup or mustard wouldn’t be out of place either. However you serve them, enjoy!
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Crock Pot Cheeseburger French Fries with Special Sauce
Give your burger and fries a makeover with Crock Pot Cheeseburger French Fries with Special Sauce! Your family will devour this simple, gluten-free dinner recipe and you can use the leftover meat in a variety of ways.
- 2lbs 85/15 or 80/20 ground beef
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup gluten-free beef broth
- 1-1/2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaping Tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon gluten-free worcestershire sauce (I like Lea & Perrins)
- 1 Tablespoon gluten-free Tamari or soy sauce (dish will not be GF if using soy sauce)
- salt and pepper
- 1-1/2lbs gluten-free french fries, any cut
- homemade gluten-free seasoned salt (optional)
- 6oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
- finely minced white onion
- For the Special Sauce:
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's EVOO Mayo)
- 2 Tablespoons ketchup
- 2 Tablespoons finely minced dill pickles
- 1 Tablespoon finely minced white onion
- 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- Add the first eight ingredients (ground beef through salt and pepper) to a 6 quart crock pot then cook on high for 4 hours, breaking the meat up/stirring three times.
- Bake french fries on a large baking sheet according to package directions then season with homemade gluten-free seasoned salt while still warm. Drain enough meat to cover french fries then spoon on top, and then sprinkle on shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until cheese has melted. Top french fries with chopped tomato, finely minced white onion, and special sauce, then serve with extra special sauce for dipping.
- Freeze leftover meat for another use OR make Iowa's famous "Maid Rites" sandwiches by spooning the drained meat onto buns then topping with ketchup and dill pickle slices.
This recipe is courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats, http://iowagirleats.com.