See what other great drink recipes for summer other food bloggers are making when participating this week for Food Network’s Summer Soirée!
Feed Me Phoebe: Healthy Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie with Cacao Nibs
Poet in the Pantry: Strawberry Lemonade (Sweetened with Pure Maple Syrup)
Dishin & Dishes: Summertime Basil Lemonade
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: Frozen Mango Lemonade Mocktail
Dishing With Divya: Thandai
Virtually Homemade: Strawberry Soda with Lime
The Lemon Bowl: Banana Licuado (Mexican Smoothie)
Weelicious: Mermaid Deep Sea Punch
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Mango Lassi
Cooking With Elise: Black Cherry Sweet Tea
Devour: 5 Booze-Free Picnic Sips
Taste With The Eyes: Roasted Barley-Corn Tea
Domesticate Me: Vegan “Orange Julius” Smoothie
Daily*Dishin: Sweet Balsamic Spritzers
FN Dish: Refreshing Summer Drinks for the Whole Family

Grill Basket Stuffed Slider Burgers

Grill basket slider burgers
Memorial Day has come and gone, and to me, thus begins one of my favorite seasons – that of summer grilling!

I wanted to feature an All-American grilled burger to start the season off with a bang this week so I am featuring this (slider) burger on my morning food segment on my local TV station this week.

Imagine a giant perfect rectangle of two layers of juicy burger meat with a layer of bacon and cheese sandwiched in between them.

Also imagine that you can slice these into nice uniformly sized squares to use as sliders.

I’ve been reading Wicked Good Burgers: Fearless Recipes and Uncompromising Techniques for the Ultimate Patty by Andy Husbands/Chris Hart and Andrea Pysenson this week. This group (The Yankees) won the Jack Daniel’s World Championship invitational and went on to make an all  things burger cookbook that inspires.

While I changed up the recipe somewhat, the premise is the same and I love the genius that this works. You can change it to a healthy burger by using turkey and turkey bacon and low fat cheese, or make it the way we did for an extreme indulgence. I can dream of several different stuffing options. Either way, check out how fun and simple this is!

Start out by grating 8-12 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese.


Like I said, this is so interchangeable. You could totally use pepper jack or swiss or anything that makes your heart sing when you think of cheese on burgers.

Also, fry up 8 strips of bacon, again, your preference but I used a nice thick sliced smokey one. I always use this method to make the best possible bacon in the world, and then let it lay on paper towels to absorb excess grease.

oven baked bacon

Now, do you have one of these?

Grill basket

You could try and make it without one but this would really REALLY make it simple. One flip and without a mess all over your grill (if your flip goes way wrong) if you fail. I think I purchased mine at TJ Maxx for about $7. It’s normally used for placing four hamburgers, hotdogs or pieces of fish or shrimp inside and makes for some really neat and easy flipping of meat on the grill.

In this case it’s going to save us flipping 12 sliders.

One flip or 12 flips. Which would you prefer?

Open the basket and spray the grill basket bottom and top and sides well with cooking spray.  Trust me, you want to make sure and do this.

Now take three pounds of hamburger meat of your choice and make it into a disk and cut it in half.

hamburger meat
Measure your grill basket to see what size it is and then press out both disks of the meat into even sized rectangles that match the size of your grill basket.

Photo May 25, 5 34 00 AM

You can use a flat-bladed knife or the sides of your hands to make them fairly straight.
Sprinkle salt and pepper evenly over both rectangles of meat and any other spice you normally love on your burgers. I used Chipotle and garlic powder.
Over top of the first rectangle, lay your bacon evenly over the meat and sprinkle it with the cheese.

grill basket burgers
Layer your other rectangle of meat right over top of this in the basket to make a sandwich. I know, I know! It’s RIDICULOUS isn’t it?

grill basket burger

Use your fingers to close up all of the sides.

Photo May 25, 5 45 19 AM

On my first attempt at this, I didn’t take care to do this carefully.  Take a few minutes and really close it up, otherwise you’ll lose the precious ooey gooey cheese to the grill goblins and that my dears is a tragedy!

Now sprinkle some more seasoning over the top.  And close the basket carefully.

Photo May 25, 5 50 23 AM

The grates of the grill basket will squish over the hamburger but if you do it carefully, it will be fine. Once it cooks and browns, the burger comes right out.

Now carry this out and pop it onto a medium hot grill.

grill basket burger

Cook it for about 6-7 minutes on the first side.

Grill basket burger

Please note the ooey gooey cheese previously mentioned oozing out the sides. (bad food blogger!)

Cook an additional 7 minutes on the second side and plop that baby on a sheet pan and carry it in to the kitchen to de-basket it!

Photo May 25, 6 20 29 AM

Look at that! It’s a giant rectangle of pure goodness, stuffed with bacon and cheese!

How we did this process – Mr. Wonderful placed a cutting board over the open basket. He then flipped the entire thing over so the cutting board was now on the bottom. It slid right out onto the cutting board.

Photo May 25, 6 21 17 AM

One little itty bitty spot stuck and we just stuck a knife in the slots and pushed it through.

Grill basket stuffed burgers

Now we used these buns, as they are our favorite for sliders.

Hawaiian rolls

It may have something to do with the fact that Mr. Wonderful is part Hawaiian…potato rolls are also fabulous!

Place your rolls at the edge of the rectangle and add just a hair in width.

Photo May 25, 6 47 07 AM


You’ll want them to be a bit larger and hang over the bun just a tad and make a slice the entire length of the rectangle.

Photo May 25, 6 47 21 AM

Slice along the rectangle making even strips until you get to the end.  Do you see the cheese oozing out? And also, remember there are strips of bacon inside!

Photo May 25, 6 48 04 AM

Now turn your knife 90º and cut across the strips the other way to make perfect squares.
Photo May 25, 6 49 05 AM

Place them on each bun.

Photo May 25, 6 55 14 AM

And that is how you make 12 sliders in one grill basket.  I think it’s pretty genius.

Grill basket sliders
No little sliders falling through the grates of the grill.  No individual pattying of 24 individual pieces and smashing them together around the cheese and bacon.

Grill basket slider burgers

As my grand baby would say….


Scroll down for the printable easy recipe!

Grill Basket Stuffed Slider Burgers
  • 3 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 T. kosher salt
  • 1 t. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 t. garlic powder
  • 2. t. chipotle powder
  • 8 slices bacon, cooked
  • 1½ c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese (12 oz.)
  • 12 Hawaiian rolls, split
  • condiments as desired
  1. Preheat grill and clean to medium heat
  2. Open grill basket and spray top, bottom and sides with baking spray to coat
  3. Shape hamburger meat into round flat disk and use large knife to cut in half.
  4. Measure grill basket and shape each half of hamburger meat into same size of rectangle
  5. Place one rectangle of meat inside of grill basket using large spatula to help you ease it in
  6. Sprinkle meat with half of seasoning
  7. Lay cooked bacon over top of rectangle evenly
  8. Sprinkle grated cheese over top of meat and bacon
  9. Lay other rectangle meat over top of meat, bacon and cheese
  10. Pinch all four edges close to seal in bacon and cheese
  11. Close basket gently
  12. Grill for 7 minutes per side, flipping after first 7 minutes.
  13. Remove to sheet pan
  14. Carefully open basket and if anything sticks push it through with a knife
  15. Invert grill basket with cutting board and flip so that burger is upside down and cutting board is on bottom
  16. Lay rolls at one (short) edge of rectangle to see where to cut slice
  17. Cut uniform slices to make four rows making them slightly larger than the width of the bun
  18. Turn knife 90º and cut 3 rows the other direction making squares for sliders
  19. Lay on buns and add condiments as desired.
  20. Makes 12 sliders

See what other wonderful bloggers mad for F old Network’s Summer Soirée featuring Burgers!

Weelicious: Mexican Chicken Sliders
Devour: 5 Sizzling Burgers
Virtually Homemade: Grilled Greek Turkey Burger
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Green Chile and Bacon Burgers
Red or Green: Grilled Marinated Eggplant Burgers (Spicy)
The Heritage Cook: Juicy Turkey Burgers for Every Cookout
Taste With The Eyes: Chicken Burger Caesar Club Sandwich
Cooking With Elise: Super Smashed Burgers
Domesticate Me: Bacon and Smoked Cheddar Cheeseburger Sliders with Jalapeno Relish
Swing Eats: Shrimp Burgers with Sriracha Aioli on Bibb Lettuce
Daily*Dishin: Jalapeno Feta Bison Burgers
FN Dish: 5 Ways to Bring on the Burgers

Triple Berry Pretzel Salad Dessert in a Jar

Triple Berry Pretzel Salad Dessert

One of Mr. Wonderful and My favorite things to do is to venture off to the lake with our boat.

Sometimes we go alone for an inexpensive and relaxing date-night. Sometimes we drag a long some friends.


We love to order from the East Wharf restaurants if we’re taking it easy. One of them even delivers down to the courtesy docks.

Redrock grill

But what we love even more is to take a picnic basket and a cooler of drinks and park off the banks by the restaurants on a weekend night and listen to their live music.

When Food Network’s Let Pull Up a Chair theme turned into “Summer Soirée” this month, I was excited to write my usual weekly post for the event when I heard it was themed “Packable Desserts”.

I’d been wanting to try one packed in mason jars to take on the boat. I came up with a variation of the old classic Strawberry Pretzel Salad Dessert.

I didn’t want to go the old route and make it with frozen whipped topping, because honestly, I have no idea what that stuff is even MADE of.

So instead, I added fresh whipped cream and jazzed it up with a variety of berries which I believe make it the absolutely perfect dessert for the Fourth of July!

Strawberry pretzel salad in jar

Imagine setting out a tray of these along with your red, white and blue decorations! Wouldn’t that just be perfect?


First off, boil two cups of water and mix it with either 2 (6 oz) packages of strawberry gelatin or 1 (12 oz.) package. Stir it until the jello dissolves, then transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to cool.


Next, let’s make the crust.

The crust is what makes this dessert salty, and the cream middle layer is sweet and the berries are a bit sour but cloaked in the strawberry gelatin, so you can see why this dessert is so delicious can’t you?

Start off by throwing roughly about 4 cups of salted pretzels in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, you can put them in a gallon size baggie and smash them with a rolling pin. I used the stick pretzels but you could probably use the twists as well.

Pretzel crust

You don’t want to grind them to a powder but leave small chunks like in the photo for some texture.

I did this by just pulsing the food processor until I got them to the right size.

Now microwave one stick of butter just until it’s all melted and pour it and 3 tablespoons of sugar into the pretzels (transfer them to a mixing bowl). Mix it all up well.

Crust collage

Take roughly about 2 heaping tablespoons of the crust mixture and put it in each of 10 (8 oz) mason jars. Then take either the back of your spoon, or another utensil that fits well and tamp down the crust a little but don’t smash it too much. You just want it to be slightly compacted.

image image

At this point, you can pop these in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process, as they need to be completely cooled before you put on the next layer of creamy filling.

Now let’s make the creamy filling.

Measure 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream into your mixer bowl. Usually you can count on one cup of liquid to become 2 cups of whipped cream, so because we only need 8 ounces, or one cup, we are going to use ½ cup.

Beat it until soft peaks form and then to stabilize it, add one tablespoon of instant vanilla pudding. This is a trick I use to keep whipped cream from getting too runny over time. I learned it from a restaurant here in Oklahoma City who does this and it works brilliantly!

Whip it up for another 20 seconds or so to incorporate the pudding throughout all of the whipped cream. Remove the whipped cream to a separate bowl.

Back in your original mixing bowl, add two (8 oz.) packages of room temperature cream cheese with one cup of sugar. If your cream cheese isn’t room temperature it will be lumpy when you mix it.

Cream cheese layer

Mix this up until it’s smooth and creamy. Then fold the whipped cream gently into this mixture. Put the whole thing in a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. If you don’t have a pastry bag, just pile it into a quart baggie and snip off the corner.

Pipe this evenly between the 10 mason jars right on top of the crust, being careful not to dribble it on the sides at the top.

Pipe cream cheese filling

Important!!! I learned through trial and error that if you don’t take a spoon and smooth out this layer, your gelatinwill seep through to the crust and it won’t be as pretty, so do it!


See that jar in the back? It ended up with red crust. Incidentally, this was pretty good to eat!

Now for the topping you are going to need two cups of fresh fruit. I used whole blueberries and raspberries and sliced up my strawberries. Decide what ratio you want of each and just make them equal two cups when you’re finished.

Pull out your (now cooled) strawberry gelatin and stir the fruit right into it.

Jello with berries

Now using a ladle (I found that worked best), evenly ration out this mixture right over the cream cheese layer.

Ladle berries

Pop them back into the refrigerator for at least an hour and voila! You’re done!

I think these will be perfect to take out on our boat or to make again for the Fourth of July!

Triple Berry strawberry pretzel salad

These didn’t last long at our house this week.

Mr wonderful Dishin and Dishes

I think this speaks volume about whether they were a winner or not!

Strawberry Berry pretzel salad

See what other wonderful food bloggers made for Food Network’s Summer Soirée “Packable Desserts” this week!

The Lemon Bowl: 5 Ingredient No-Bake Fig Newton Bites
Dishing: Caramelized Pineapple with Mint
Weelicious: Raspberry Cheesecake Jars
Virtually Homemade: Gluten-Free Double Chocolate Salted Brownies
The Heritage Cook: Anzac Biscotti
Taste With The Eyes: Cherimoya Brulee
Devour: The 5 Best Picnic Sweets
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Flourless Chocolate Cupcakes with Chambord Raspberries
Red or Green: Healthy Ginger-Molasses Cookies
Cooking With Elise: Salted Caramel Brownies
Swing Eats: S’Mores Bars (Gluten-Free)
Domesticate Me: Summer Berry Parfaits with Vanilla Bean Ricotta and Toasted Almonds
Dishin & Dishes: Triple Berry Pretzel Salad Dessert in a Jar
Food For 7 Stages of Life: Oats and Peanut Laddoo (No Bake Energy Bites)
Bacon and Souffle: Mason Jar Overnight Oats
In Jennie’s Kitchen: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies
FN Dish: Make-and-Take Picnic Desserts


Triple Berry Pretzel Salad Dessert in a Jar
  • 1½ c. Pretzels, crushed (about 3½ to 4 c. Whole pretzel sticks)
  • ¼ c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Butter, melted
  • 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese
  • 1 c. Sugar
  • ½ c. Heavy whipping cream
  • 1 T. Instant Vanilla pudding
  • 1 (6 oz.) package strawberry gelatin
  • 2 c. Boiling water
  • 2 c. Fresh strawberries (sliced), blueberries and raspberries
  • 10 (8oz.) mason jars
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Boil water and mix with gelatin until dissolved. Place in refrigerator to cool
  3. Pulse pretzels in food processor until small pieces remain (do not grind to powder)
  4. Melt butter in microwave safe dish
  5. Add pretzels, butter, and ¼ c. Sugar to a mixing bowl and mix well. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons into each mason jar and then evenly divide any remaining crust mixture between jars.
  6. Shake each jar to level the crust and bake for 10 minutes then cool.
  7. Whip cream and remove to separate missing bowl.
  8. Add cream cheese to a mixing bowl and cream together with 1 cup sugar.
  9. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture and evenly,pipe into jars on top of crusts.
  10. Gently smooth the cream cheese filling down in each jar so the to played won't leak down the sides of it.
  11. Slice strawberries and add to mixing bowl (about ¾ cup) fill with blueberries and raspberries until you get 2 cups of mixed berries
  12. Pour fruit into gelatin
  13. Ladle some of Berry/gelatin into each jar.
  14. Chill in refrigerator at least one to two hours.
  15. Chill completely before putting jar lids on.

© Katie Johnstonbaugh and Dishin & Dishes, [2009-2013]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Katie Johnstonbaugh and Dishin & DIshes with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.