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  • Kara Kimbrough

Kara's Sights & Bites: Favorite recipes of ’23

By Kara Kimbrough

Kara's Sights & Bites: Favorite recipes of ’23
Reminiscent of those served in 1950’s burger joints, smash burgers became a viral sensation in 2023.

In case you were waiting for it.…my annual “Favorite foods, supermarket products, restaurants and destinations of 2023” is coming next week. I’m still trying to pare the list down to a manageable level. In the meantime, I’m sharing a couple of my favorite recipes from the past year that you’ll definitely want to try in 2024.

   You probably already figured a soup recipe is included, but believe me when I say, this is no ordinary soup. Filled with all of my favorite ingredients – sun dried tomatoes, pasta, garlic and shrimp (although the original recipe calls for chicken, I often substitute shrimp to simulate my favorite Sun-Dried Pasta and Shrimp dish) it’s a feast for the eyes and palate.

    The viral (wildly popular for those not familiar with online terminology) Italian chopped sandwich was a favorite of millions in 2023. I’ve already shared the recipe, so I won’t reprint it. A close second is the also-popular smash burger. It may appear to be a regular ol’ burger, but there’s a special technique that makes it extra good. I wasn’t around in the 1950’s, but many liken it to burgers prepared at neighborhood burger joints of that era.

    So, there you have it- my favorite recipes of 2023. Here’s to discovering many more food finds and sharing them with you in 2024!

 Favorite Things Soup

1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil with Italian herbs (found near the jarred pasta sauces in the supermarket)

1  tablespoon of the seasoned olive oil from the sun-dried tomatoes jar

1  tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped yellow onion

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 garlic cloves - minced

6 cups chicken broth

2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

2   cups cooked chicken, shredded

2   cups chopped spinach

8 ounces small bite-size pasta (shells, macaroni, etc.)

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

   Add 1/2 cup of the sun-dried tomatoes to a small bowl; set aside. Pour 1 tablespoon of the seasoned olive oil from the sun-dried tomato jar. Add the seasoned oil to a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Add regular olive oil and onion to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, tomato paste, and minced garlic. Cook, stirring often, for two minutes.

    Add broth, milk, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stir well. Bring the liquid to a simmer. Add chicken, spinach, and pasta. Simmer until the pasta is tender (around 10 minutes). Add the parmesan cheese. Stir until incorporated and serve.

2023’s Famous Smash Burger

Prepare Patties – Divide 1 1/2 pounds of ground chuck and roll into 8 equal-size balls (3 ounces each), cover, and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Make Sauce – Stir together 1/3 cup mayo, 1 teaspoon mustard and 1 teaspoon ketchup and set aside.

Prep Toppings – fully prep toppings ahead to assemble the burgers right away while the patties are hot off the grill.

  • Lettuce – thinly slice iceberg lettuce for a restaurant-style smash burger

  • Pickles – sliced dill pickle chips are the best

  • Tomatoes – meaty and large-sized tomatoes are recommended if available; peel and cut into thin slices

  • Red onion – thinly slice into rings

Toast buns – lightly butter the cut side of buns and toast on a griddle or skillet over medium heat until golden brown. Transfer to a rack.

Cook patties – increase heat of a griddle or cast-iron skillet to medium-high. Depending on surface area, place 2 to 4 cold balls of meat onto the hot surface. Working quickly, cover each piece with a sheet of parchment paper and smash each into a thin patty using a burger press or spatula. Remove parchment paper, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, add a small amount of sauce, and flip. Sear for 2 minutes on the first side and two minutes on the second side; continue until burgers are no longer pink in the center.

 Add cheese – place a slice of cheese onto half of the patties and top with a second patty. Press down on top burger for a minute until cheese is melted; remove from heat.  

Enjoy: Serve warm on toasted buns, with toppings arranged on the bottom bun.  Make more sauce to serve with burgers if desired.

Kara Kimbrough is a food and travel writer and travel agent from Mississippi. Email her at 



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