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Frugal Feasts: Bacon Swiss Burgers

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This week's Frugal Feasts recipe requires you to sign up for Harris Tetter's E-vic program. You register online HERE and you get special deals that you wouldn't get with just your Vic card. I recently bought a four-pack of Activa yogurt for 99 cents. Once you sign up, you can take advantage of this week's e-Vic special: two-pound Harris Teeter Rancher Beef 80% lean Ground Chuck for $2.97. If you aren't signed up for e-Vic, it costs $4.97.

I recently attended Sue Stock's coupon class. One rule of thumb shared by local coupon teacher Faye Prosser, the author of "The Smart Spending Guide," was to not spend more than $2 a pound on meat. This deal means ground beef costs less than $1.50 a pound. 

I found this recipe for Bacon Swiss Cheeseburgers with Tomatoes and Avocados from Sheila Lukins' book, "Ten." The cookbook's conceit is ten recipes for our favorite foods from hamburgers to ribs. Since it is January and tomatoes are not in season, I would forgo the tomatoes. Without tomatoes, this recipe costs $1.80 per serving.

Tabasco, bacon, Swiss cheese, avocados and buns are also on sale at Harris Teeter this week. As always, check out Sue Stock's Taking Stock blog for her Wednesday Deals post, where she pairs what's on sale with what coupons are out there. 

Bacon Swiss Burgers with Tomatoes and Avocados

8 slices bacon
1 pound ground chuck
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 or 2 dashes of Tabasco sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Vegetable oil, for grilling
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 hamburger buns, toasted, for serving
Thinly sliced ripe tomatoes, for serving
Thinly sliced red onion, for garnish
Sliced ripe avocado, for garnish
Boston lettuce leaves, for garnish

If you will be grilling the burgers, preheat a barbecue grill to medium-high. 

While the grill is heating up, cook the bacon on the stovetop in a large skillet over medium-low heat until it is just crisp, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and set it aside to drain. (If you prefer to panfry the burgers, reserve two tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet.) 

Place the beef, Worcestershire, Tabasco, thyme, and salt and pepper in a bowl, and toss lighly with a fork to combine. Form the mixture into 4 patties, each about 3 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. 

When you are ready to grill the burgers, oil the grill grate well. Add the burgers and grill for about 3 minutes for rare, 4 minutes for medium-rare meat. Turn them over and grill for another 3 to 4 minutes, topping the burgers with the cheese in the last minute of cooking. (Or panfry the burgers in hot bacon fat over medium heat for 3 minutes per side for rare meat, adding the cheese as described.)

Place the burgers on the toasted buns, and top them with bacon, tomato, onion, avocado and lettuce. Cover with the tops of the buns and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Cost breakdown

Bacon, $1.97 for 12 ounces, Cost for recipe: 99 cents
Ground chuck, $2.97 for 2 pounds, Cost for recipe: $1.49
Worcestershire sauce, $1.89 for 15 ounces, Cost for recipe: 4 cents
Tabasco sauce, $1 for 2 ounces, Cost for recipe: 2 cents
Dried thyme leaves, $5.79 for 1 ounce, Cost for recipe: 24 cents

Swiss cheese, $2.17 for 8 ounces, Cost for recipe: $1.09

Hamburger buns, $1.17 for HT brand buns, Cost for recipe: 59 cents

Red onion, Cost for recipe: $1.27, Cost for recipe: 32 cents

Avocado, $2 each, Cost for recipe: $2
Boston lettuce, $2.49, Cost for recipe: 42 cents

Cost for meal: $7.20

Cost per serving: $1.80




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$2/lb. meat???

Don't spend more than $2/lb. on meat? I had to read that 3 times to be sure I was reading correctly. Does't that rule eliminate nearly all fish, lamb, most pork cuts, and nearly all beef that isn't ground with lots of fat? I've never understood how the so-called coupon queens can feed their families on nearly $0/week using sales and coupons. Rarely are healthy things like fresh produce and milk couponed. This statement is just another head scratcher to me.

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About the blogger

Andrea Weigl has been the food writer at The News & Observer since the summer of 2007. She has won a handful of awards from the Association of Food Journalists and the Society for Features Journalism. Her profile of chef Ashley Christensen titled "A Force of Nature" will be published in the sixth edition of "Cornbread Nation: The Best of Southern Food Writing." She is serving a three-year term on the James Beard Foundation book awards committee. Follow her on Twitter at @andreaweigl.