Happy Friday everyone! Today is the final day of Bun Week, and instead of using a hamburger bun to make a sandwich or a burger, I've got something else in mind -- garlic bread.  Serve them alongside a comforting pasta, and you've got yourself a fabulous dinner for two.   

What you'll need
2 hamburger buns 
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper 
shredded parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Melt butter in a microwave safe bowl. 
3. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well. 
4. Place hamburger buns on a baking sheet covered in foil.  Apply a thin layer of the butter mixture over the hamburger buns.
4. If desired, sprinkle with parmesan cheese. 
6. Bake for about 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and bread is browned around the edges. 
Just saying the name Sloppy Joe reminds me of being a kid.  And while I haven't had a Sloppy Joe Sandwich since I was a kid, when I took my first bite, it was like we had never parted ways.  It seems that whether you enjoy a Sloppy Joe as  a child surrounded by friends or as an adult with your plus one, you'll never be disappointed by this family classic. 

Sloppy Joes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
7 ounces ketchup 
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 cup water
2 hamburger buns

1. Brown meat, green pepper and onion in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. 
2. Add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and water.  Mix well.  Let simmer for at least 30 minutes. 
3. Scoop sloppy joe mixture onto a hamburger bun.  I like to serve them with baked ruffles, as the ruffles make a great dipper for any leftover sloppy joe mixture.  Enjoy!
Is it a salad, is it a sandwich or is it a burger?  Well, it's kind of all three.  Today's recipe for two has the flavor of a Caprese salad, the bread of a burger and the orientation of a sandwich.  And all together these elements create one delicious Open Faced Chicken Caprese Sandwich. 

*Note -- if you don't mind the extra calories or carbohydrates feel free to close this sandwich up and put a bun on top too.  Whether it's open or closed, you'll love this sandwich!  

Open Faced Chicken Caprese Sandwich
Total Time: 50 minutes 
Prep: 35 minutes (30 minutes to marinate)
Cook: 15-20 minutes

What you'll need
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tomato slices
2 slices fresh mozzarella 
1 hamburger bun 
2 fresh basil leaves 
salt and pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, pressed with a garlic press
salt and pepper

1. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade.  Coat the chicken cutlets in the marinade.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. 
2. Cook chicken in a skillet or on the grill. 
3. Cut open the hamburger bun and place each half on a baking sheet covered in foil.  Layer the chicken, tomato and mozzarella over each bun half.  Season with salt and pepper. 

4. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes (I'd recommend keeping a careful eye on the sandwich as it broils, as it will cook quickly).  As soon as the cheese is melted and the bun is lightly toasted, carefully remove the sandwiches from the oven. 
5. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf.  Serve and enjoy!
Instead of serving a traditional sandwich style cheeseburger, I'm mixing things up with today's featured recipe for two -- Cheeseburger Casserole Bowls.  The creamy burger casserole is topped with diced, seasoned and toasted hamburger buns.  Alternatively, you can finely dice the hamburger buns to create bread crumbs that can be browned and sprinkled on top.

No matter how you slice it, you'll end up with a dinner that looks and eats like a casserole, but tastes like a cheeseburger.  Yum!

Cheeseburger Casserole Bowls
Total Time: 40 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes

What you'll need
1/2 pound lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
2 cups cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup skim milk 
2 hamburger buns 
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 teaspoon garlic salt
shredded cheddar cheese
favorite burger toppings (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Dice hamburger buns into 1-inch cubes.

3. Season the buns with seasoned salt, garlic salt and pepper. 
4. Spread the seasoned bun cubes across a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes. 
5. While the buns are baking, cook the lean ground beef and onion in a medium skillet over medium-high heat, about 5 minutes. 
6. Stir in cream of mushroom soup and milk.  Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes. 
7. Divide the meat mixture in half, and scoop each half into an oven safe bowl.  Top with baked buns and shredded cheese. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
8. If you are really in the cheeseburger spirit, garnish with your favorite burger toppings.  
9. Serve and enjoy!
Bun Week 
As I mentioned last week, I hate having leftover hamburger buns.  Unfortunately, having leftovers is inevitable when you have to buy a pack of six to eight buns.  So this week I'm going to show you five recipe ideas -- some traditional and some unique -- using hamburger buns, so you can get the most out of your leftovers. 

I'm going to kick things off with a delicious Chicken Fajita Burger.  While we all love chicken fajitas in a taco shell, don't underestimate the power they can bring to the dinner table as a burger.

Chicken Fajita Burger
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
What you'll need
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
2 tablespoons taco seasoning 
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tomato, diced or sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 green pepper, sliced
1 cup shredded lettuce
2 tablespoons salsa 
2 slices monterey Jack cheese 
2 hamburger buns 
1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Season chicken with taco seasoning and pepper.
2. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. 
3. Once chicken is evenly coated in seasoning, cook chicken for about 5 minutes per side, or until chicken is cooked through.
4. Remove chicken from the skillet.  Set aside.  Add onion and green pepper. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add chicken back to the skillet and let it heat for 2 to 3 minutes. 
5. Add 1 slice of cheese to each hamburger bun and broil them in the oven until cheese is melted and buns are browned on the edges, about 1 to 2 minutes.  

6. Assemble the sandwich by placing the chicken, lettuce, tomato, onion and green pepper on one side of the bun.  Apply a  layer of salsa to the top side of the bun.  
6. Place the top of the bun over the meat and vegetables.  Serve and enjoy!
Additional topping ideas
You might also want to consider adding the following ingredients to your burger:
  • Avocado 
  • Guacamole
  • Sour Cream 
  • Ranch Dressing 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Jalapeños
  • Black or Pinto Beans