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Easy dinner recipes: Get grilling and other quick ideas

May 24, 2013|By Noelle Carter
  • Nancy Sullivan offers three cheeses when she serves burgers -- Gruyere, cheddar and blue.
Nancy Sullivan offers three cheeses when she serves burgers -- Gruyere,… (Los Angeles Times )

Looking to take advantage of the warm summer weather for dinner tonight? Or this weekend? Then get grilling! From burgers to mahi-mahi to summer vegetables, we've got a bunch of recipe ideas to help you out. And speaking of burgers, have you thought about entering our Battle of the Burgers? You can submit your recipes starting at noon Friday.

Click here to find out more!Looking to do a little outdoor cooking tonight, or sometime this weekend? Have we got a burger for you, courtesy of Nancy Silverton herself. Best of all, you can make the toppings ahead of time, then just grill up the burgers to order.

Love a good grilled fish fillet or steak? Mahi-mahi is great on the grill, the lean fillets grilling up to mild, tender flakes. It's even better with a drizzle of brightly spiced jalapeno-cilantro cream sauce. Perfect if you're looking to enjoy a little evening outdoor cooking, the whole dish comes together in under an hour.

RECIPES: 15 easy dinners - pasta, enchiladas, shrimp skewers, more

There are few things as simple to make as grilled vegetables, and with the abundance of summer vegetables right now, they're a perfect dinner dish. Toss the vegetables with a rich, tangy brown-butter vinaigrette finished with capers, and you're good to go. Serve them on their own for a light dinner, or add some protein -- grilled steak or chicken, perhaps fish -- to round out the meal.

For more ideas, click through our easy dinner recipes gallery and check out our Dinner Tonight page, devoted to recipes that can be made in an hour or less. Looking for a particular type of recipe? Comment below, or email me at noelle.carter@latimes.com.

NANCY'S BURGERS Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 6

Note: From Nancy Silverton. Silverton says burgers are the perfect party food because the toppings can be done in advance, then guests use them to personalize their burgers. Though she offers three cheeses, she says that from experience, most takers are for Gruyere, 25% might take cheddar and one of a group will want blue. Crumble out enough blue to look pretty in a bowl, 2 to 3 ounces, and know it may go into salad dressing for the next meal. Ditto cheddar, but this may fill an omelet. The cheeses should be good-quality, such as Point Reyes Blue, aged Gruyere and Grafton cheddar from Vermont or Fiscalini or Straus cheddar from California. The buns should be good-quality soft sesame or poppy seed hamburger buns. For the beef, ask the butcher to grind 2 3/4 pounds of prime chuck (10% to 15% fat) with 4 to 6 ounces of prime sirloin fat (the combination should have 20% to 28% fat total).

Toppings

12 strips applewood-smoked bacon

2 ripe avocados

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2 tablespoons snipped chives

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1 large, ripe heirloom tomato

1/2 red onion

3 ounces blue cheese

3 ounces cheddar

3 ounces Gruyere

6 iceberg lettuce leaves, each about 5 inches wide

Heinz ketchup

Best Foods mayonnaise (or Hellman's east of the Rockies)

Dijon mustard, smooth and coarse-grained

Pepperoncini

Dill pickles, sliced vertically in quarters or eighths

1. Fry the bacon in a hot skillet until done but not too crisp, about 8 minutes. Drain on paper towels and set aside.

2. Cut the avocados into quarters or sixths. Sprinkle lightly with lemon juice, add the chives and toss. Season with sea salt and pepper. Set aside in a serving dish.

3. Cut the tomato into slices about one-fourth-inch thick and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Set aside. Cut the red onion into very thin (about one-eighth-inch) slices and season lightly with sea salt and pepper. Set aside.

4. Crumble the blue cheese and cheddar into separate serving bowls. Slice the Gruyere with a cheese plane onto a serving plate and set aside.

Burgers and assembly

6 large sesame or poppy seed hamburger buns

Extra virgin olive oil

About 3 pounds ground beef (see note)

3 teaspoons kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1. Brush the cut side of each bun with olive oil and set aside. Light an outdoor grill or place a seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat.

2. Being careful not to overwork the meat, shape it into 6 patties, about 2 inches thick and 4 inches in diameter. Sprinkle each side of each patty with about one-fourth teaspoon of kosher salt and 4 to 6 grindings of freshly ground black pepper.

3. Place the burgers on the hot grill or in the hot cast-iron skillet. Sear them until they can be turned without sticking, then turn them. For rare, cook about 4 minutes, then flip and cook another 4 minutes (for medium-rare, 5 minutes on each side; for medium, 6 minutes).

4. As the burgers are cooking, toast the buns, cut side on grill or pan, for a minute or two. Just before the burgers are done cooking, garnish with a little good-quality sea salt, then top with cheese and let it melt. Have guests place lettuce, onion, tomato, bacon and avocado on the bottom half of their toasted bun. Place the burger on top, then the top of the bun. Serve ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, pepperoncini and dill pickles with burgers.

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