Sweet and Spicy Beef in Endive Cups with Toasted Sesame Seeds

Toasted Sesame Spicy Beef Asian Endive

Remember the meat party that I attended last year?  (Hint: Browned Butter Bourbon Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies & Mini-Meatloaf Cupcakes)   Well, this year’s celebration marked the 5th Annual B.Y.O.M(eat) cookout, which means it was time for a new MEAT recipe!  I know that I cook with a lot with ingredients that “true” carnivores might not consider meat (i.e. chicken, turkey, eggs, fish…chocolate…), so here’s to you, meat lovers!  A sweet and spicy BEEF recipe comin’ your way!  I did break the rules a little bit…there are some non-meat vegetables in here – but it turns out there were some party guests with food alergies, and this was right up their ally!  Beggers can’t be choosers here, people…but I will say, these endive cups were enjoyed by all guests, myself included.  Fun, fancy, and of course, simple and delicious – did I mention I made the dish start to finish a half hour before the party, after a 4 hour NYC bootcamp morning adventure? What ELSE could you possibly need? MAKE THEM.
Endive Appetizer Easy



-1 lb ground beef (I used an 85/15 blend)

-3 large carrots

-3 large celery sticks

-3-4 smaller heads of endive – you dont’ want them to be too leafy

-5 oz mushrooms

-2T butter, unsalted

-1t garlic powder

-about ⅓ of a container of your favorite sesame dressing

-sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste

-pepper to taste

-1T sesame seeds

Stir Fry in Endive Leaves


Clean, peel, and dice your vegetables – not the endive – and set aside.  In a frying pan, heat 2T of butter over medium heat, and add in the carrots. Sautee for about 3-5 minutes, then add the celery.  After another 3 minutes, add the mushrooms, and sautee another 5 minutes.  Turn the heat down to low, add in the garlic powder and pepper, stir, and continue to sautee until the vegetables are tender but not mush, which will be about another 3 minutes.  While the vegetables are cooking, fully cook the ground beef over medium heat (in a separate pan).  When the beef is completely cooked, add in the vegetables and the dressing, and reduced to a simmer.  Let the beef simmer for 5 minutes, add in the red pepper flakes, then simmer for another 3 minutes.  When done, turn the heat off and remove the beef from the stove – we’ll need it to cool for a few minutes before we add it to our endive leaves, so that it isn’t too messy.  While you wait, toast up about 1T of sesame seeds in a dry pan, moving the seeds around in the pan over medium heat for 5 minutes.  This would also be a good time to wash and separate your endive leaves, and get out a platter or tray to put them on.

PF Changs lettuce wrap copy cat


If you’re not going to serve this right away, no problem! Don’t assemble the leaves, and refridgerate the meat and endive until you’re ready.  Or, if you want this to be more interactive,  serve the meat in a bowl with the endive leaves on a platter, and let your guests serve themselves!  This can be served warm or room temperature, so it’s a great dish for a cocktail party (or B.Y.O.Meat party).


Endive Appetizer

 I was serving mine for a big crowd in a more casual setting, so I chose to assemble the leaves myself.  I added a heaping tablespoon (the type you use for coffee, not for measuring ingredients) of the mix to each leaf, and sprinkeled the toasted sesame seeds overtop.  Seriously, so simple, and so good. Like little asian tacos! Or PF Chang (beef) lettuce wrap copy-cats?!  What appetizers are you serving up for your BBQs this summer? Need ideas? Have something you’d like us to try? Let us know on instagram @Whattodowithlemons or email us whattodowithlemons @ – our tastebuds will be waiting :) 
Sweet and Spicy Beef Appetizer

Mini-Meatloaf Cupcakes

mini-meatloaf cupcakes with mashed potato frosting

As an invitee to a highly anticipated “B.Y.O.M” (Bring Your Own Meat) party, I anxiously sought out a recipe that would look great and appeal to many different pallets.  After brainstorming for a while and coming up with some pretty stellar ideas, I decided that I didn’t want to risk trying a fancy meat recipe for the first time and end up with a disaster, so I settled for a comfort food classic – meatloaf!  As good as this recipe would have been in loaf form, I wanted to amp up the presentation and make them more appetizer friendly – mini-meatloaf cupcakes were born!  These little appetizers are simple and delicious, and can be served at any temperature for the ultimate party-win.

mini-meatloaf cupcakes ingredients


Meatloaf “Cakes”

  • 3 lbs ground meat (I used 85% lean)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2t minced garlic, or 1-2 cloves
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • ketchup, to cover
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • cooking spray

Mashed Potato “Frosting”:

  • about 10 smaller potatoes, peeled
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2T butter, unsalted
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • chives, for garnish (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350.  Heat a large frying pan on the stove on high, and drizzle enough olive oil in the pan to almost coat the bottom (about 2T).  Finely dice the onion, toss it into the hot pan, and reduce the heat to medium low.  To really get that good caramelized flavor, be sure to be patient and cook them over lower heat – we don’t want the outside to be crisp and the inside to have that raw onion bite.  Once the onions are done, remove the pan from the heat, add the garlic, and stir.  The garlic adds a little extra flavor (and aroma) without being overpowering if it’s not sautéed in with the onions.  Let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes, so that it won’t burn when you blend it into the meat.  Place the meat in a large bowl, add the cooled onions, a few shakes of Worcestershire, 2 eggs, the breadcrumbs, enough ketchup to just coat the top, and salt and pepper to taste.  Now, I know that there’s a debate about eggs to meat ratios, and after talking with some expert chefs, I’ve learned that there is no real answer.  The egg serves purely as a binder – it doesn’t really help to make the meat moist or enhance flavor or texture – and you don’t need to add one per pound of meat you use.  I used two because three pounds of ground beef is a lot of beef, but for servings under 2 ½ pounds, I’d say stick with one.

caramelized onion meatloaf

I mixed up my meatloaf by hand, mostly because that’s how I’ve known it to be done, but also because it’s easier to tell if the mixture is consistent throughout.  Spray the mini cupcake tin with cooking spay, and fill each cup up with the meatloaf mixture.  Remember, these are not real cupcakes, and will not rise or take form of the pan unless you make them – so press the meat into the cup to prevent any misshapen mini-meatloaves.  Bake the meatloaves for about 10-15 minutes, or until the meat is cooked completely through.  You can use a larger tin for the cupcakes – just be sure to add on some cooking time, maybe 18-22 minutes.

Now for the frosting.  While the “cakes” are cooking, peel and boil potatoes until tender.  Mine took longer than expected – about 15-20 minutes – but I was also using a very small pot.  To check for doneness, you want the potato to fall off a fork but not completely break apart in the water. When they’re done, drain the potatoes, add in all ingredients (except for the chives), and using an electric mixer, whip the potatoes for a nice, creamy consistency.  You want to avoid lumps here – lumpy mashed potatoes are difficult to pipe and will be very frustrating.  Chop the chives, and set aside.

When the meatloaves are all cooked, set them aside to cool to the touch.  Prep your icing bags with a star tip, fill with potatoes, and frost your cupcakes.  I sprinkled over some chives for color.  Because these were for a party, I made the meatloaves the night before – try to make the potatoes the day of to keep the texture just right.   Just like regular meatloaf, these are great hot or cold, as two bite appetizers or mashed up on an italian roll with gravy for lunch later in the week.

sour cream mashed potatoes

I’d show you a picture of that sandwich I was talking about, but there were no leftovers…

mini-meatloaf cupcakes with sour creal mashed potato frosting