Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers and Texas Cheese Fries with Jalapeno Ranch

By: Erica Strauss

Recently on a trip to Chili’s Bar and Grill I was flipping through the menu and found myself staring longingly at the Texas Cheese Fries. I had them only once or twice in my past, but they were so delicious that the memory stuck with me.  However, as the appetizer runs about twice my daily calories I skipped this choice and decided to figure out a way to make this treat at home.  Since just bacon and cheese covered potatoes didn’t sound like a balanced enough meal I threw in a burger- hey why not!  Heads up, the ranch dressing and the bacon both need to hang out for a couple hours so plan accordingly. Warning: this IS spicy, but can be controlled by how many pickled jalapenos you add. The cheese fries- well more like cheese boats- taste great even without the jalapenos on top. I’m a not a super wimp when it comes to spice, but even my face was red, mouth on fire, nose clearing, and starting to sweat- so get out your best spice quenching beverage and enjoy!

 

 Jalapeno Bacon Cheeseburgers

(Serves 4)

 – 1 lb ground beef

– salt

– pepper

– onion powder

– garlic powder

– 4 slices pepper jack cheese

– ½ lb bacon (cooked from before)

– pickled jalapenos

– mayo

– 4 buns

Combine ground beef with the salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. I’m terrible about measuring. If you must have measurements use the same as the ranch dressing, but I think I may have use a little more.  Form into 4 patties. Salt and pepper the tops of the patties.  Cook burgers, top with pepper jack cheese to melt.  Assemble your cheeseburger with the bacon, jalapenos and mayo as desired.

 

Texas Cheese Fries

    (Serves 4-6)

Notes: Cook bacon ahead of time to give it time to cool/come to room temperature.

– 6 russet potatoes

– 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

– ½ lb bacon (cook whole pack- use the other half for the burgers)

– optional: pickled jalapeno slices

Directions:  Stab potatoes several times with a fork.  Cook three potatoes at a time in the microwave for 9 minutes for each batch. This should cook the potatoes all the way through.  Allow potatoes to cool slightly to be able to handle.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Spray non-stick spray on a baking sheet. When cool, slice potato vertically (long way) and use a spoon to remove some of the center of each half of the potato- should look like a boat with thick walls. Basically you want enough of a dip in the potato to melt some cheese and drop some bacon in, but still keep as much of the potato as possible.  Once your boat is made, cut again but this time horizontally-across the middle of the boat.  Arrange potato quarters on the baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle on shredded cheese, bacon, and jalapenos if you choose. (We added jalapenos after cooking.) Return potatoes to the oven for 5 minutes to melt the cheese.

Serve with Jalapeno Ranch for dipping

Jalapeno Ranch Dressing/Dip

(Serves 4- double if you like a lot of dipping)

Notes: make 1+ hours ahead, I shot for 4 hours. I used light mayo, sour cream, and light buttermilk)

– ¼ c mayonnaise

– ¼ sour cream

– 2 tbsp juice from pickled jalapenos

– 1 tbsp buttermilk

– 1/8 tsp salt

– ¼ tsp onion powder

– 1/8 tsp garlic powder

– 1/8 tsp pepper

– 1-2 tbsp pickled jalapeno slices

Directions: Combine mayo, sour cream, and jalapeno juice in a bowl. Stir in buttermilk, add spices, and then stir in jalapenos. Cover and refrigerate 1+ hours.

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