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Burg-a-lation Celebration
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The very first winter that Ryan and I were married, we were loving having our own place and were anxious to do some entertaining, so we decided to throw a couples party. Of course, the only cooking we really knew how to do was grilling... and in the dead of winter in Minnesota that may sound a little crazy. But we are young, so crazy is what we do. With that idea - and basically no cooking skills - the annual "Burg-a-lation Celebration"  was born. It began with seven couples from college celebrating friendship with fries and hamburgers. And every year since, our group, party-planning skills and laughter have increased (as you can see by the crowded photo below!).

Burgalation Crew

The casual nature of a winter-picnic party makes the prep and time together relaxed and comfortable. Now that "Burg-a-lation" has celebrated its third year, it is clear that we will never celebrate with anything other than grilling. That doesn't mean, though, that we can't spice it up. That was my inspiration for trying this Chili Burger with Sweet Potato Fries recipe. It's an amped-up version of the old standby, which is perfect since we're ready to kick things up a notch.

Start with the fries. Now here's a little tidbit for those of you who aren't familar with sweet potatoes (like me). There are two varieties: the standard orange/yellow kind you see baked at Thanksgiving and a paler version that looks more like a large potato. You can use either - just know that the darker ones are the sweetest. So, decide on your sweet potatoes, then pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees F while you prepare them. They need to be peeled and then sliced into fry wedges.

sweet potato prep

Now,  melt some butter in a large bowl. Toss the sweet potato wedges in the butter to coat them.

Toss the fries in butter

Add the remaining fry ingredients - chili powder, parmesan cheese, salt and ground red pepper - then toss (I used the aid of a spatula) to thoroughly cover the sweet potatoes.

coated fries

Spread the coated fries on a sprayed baking sheet or one lined with aluminum foil. Make sure to scrape out any extra cheese mixture stuck in the bowl - that's the good part! Then insert the pan into the oven and bake for 20 - 25 minutes.

Fries are ready for baking

While the fries are baking, get the grill ready! We have a gas grill, so firing it up to medium heat is easy. But if you use charcoal, wait until the coals are ash white. Now prepare the burgers. Place the hamburger meat in a large bowl, then add the chopped onion (you can see that I probably should have chopped my onions smaller - but my eyes were watering so much that I couldn't take any more chopping!), salt, pepper and chili sauce. Mix the burger ingredients thoroughly.

hamburger meat prep

Now, simply make medium sized patties (I doubled the burger batch, but mine were still on the small size - I forget how much they shrink up when cooking!).

Burger patties

Bring them out to the grill (or in my case, pass them to the hubby) and cook until browned and the temperature reaches at least 160 degrees F. Make sure you have your deli cheese ready for giving the finishing touches! I was delighted to find a variety pack at my local grocer, so we tried several different types of cheese - American, Co-Jack and Provolone.

burgers with cheese

Now place your gooey chili cheeseburger on a bun and dress with the toppings of your choice. Serve up some crispy, spicy-and-sweet fries and you're ready for a "Burg-a-lation Celebration" of your own!

Chili burger complete

Enjoy a winter picnic party with your friends, then rate and review Chili Burger with Sweet Potato Fries.

There's a new baby in the neighborhood!  See what delicious dish Becky brings the proud parents on Thursday.

Amanda is paid to write for the Land O'Lakes Recipe Buzz® Blog.

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