Another Keeper

I can remember being in elementary school and very very rarely buying school lunch. Usually, I brought my nut butter (sometimes peanut, sometimes almond, sometimes cashew) with preserves (sometimes apricot, sometimes strawberry, NEVER grape) on whole wheat bread, fruit, and graham crackers most days. There were, however, the occasional school lunch days when I just HAD to buy the hot lunch.

One was pizza day. The straight up rectangles of mediocre pizza paired with chocolate milk were a must-have. Another was French bread pizza day. A bit better than the squares of pizza, quite a bit crunchier, and always had more cheese than regular pizza day. The third was pizza burger day (are you sensing a pattern here?) I don't know what it was about the pizza burger, but I just freaking loved the thing. It was a processed beef patty with pizza sauce and cheese on a bun. Not my finest culinary moment while devouring it above my brown plastic lunch tray, but there was just something about something "weird" on top of a burger that appealed to me.

For dinner tonight, I went a similar route. No, not pizza burgers. Something a bit healthier, and a bit more "South of the Border." Chili burgers. And then I went one step farther: I made homemade whole wheat millet rolls. Hey, I'm on my one week of Summer vacation and I love baking bread. It seemed like an obvious choice.

Two recipes lay ahead for you: one for the vegetarian chili that topped my simple burgers (1 lb. ground beef, 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder), and one for the rolls.


Whole Wheat Millet Rolls


* 3 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

* 2/3 c. millet

* 1 Tbsp. dry active yeast

* 1 c. warm water

* 2 1/2 c. room temperature water

* 2 tsp. salt

* 1 Tbsp. sugar

* 2 Tbsp. olive oil


Add the warm water and sugar to a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to proof 10 minutes. Add in half the flour and stir well. Then, add the remaining water and flour, salt, oil, and millet and knead until smooth and still a bit sticky, about 15 minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl and lightly oil the dough on all sides. Allow to rise until doubled, about an hour. Divide into 8 equal sections and form into round rolls. Place on a baking dish and allow to rise again, about 30 minutes. Brush with an egg and water wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds (if desired.) Bake at 400* until browned and hollow-sounding, about 25 minutes.


Vegetarian Bean Chili


* 1 medium onion, diced

* 3 cloves garlic, peeled

* 1 large red pepper, diced

* 1 small can green chiles

* 2 cans (15 oz) dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

* 2 cans (15 oz) light red kidney beans, drained and rinsed well

* 2 large cans (32 oz) crushed tomatoes

* 1 Tbsp. olive oil

* 3 dried arbol chiles, stems removed

* 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

* 3 Tbsp. chili powder

* S&P to taste


Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions, crush the garlic cloves into the oil, and add both the red peppers and the green chiles. Cook over medium-low heat until all are softened and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add the beans, tomatoes, cayenne and chili powder and stir well. Then, add the arbol chiles whole and stir well. Simmer over low heat, uncovered, about 40 minutes.



I loved having the veggie chili atop a beef burger...something about the irony always makes a meal taste better to me somehow. The rolls though... oh the rolls were good! Millet is a favorite grain of mine, and I'd only ever had it in breads until recently. I'm so glad there are more rolls to enjoy with other toppings... or heck, maybe just some nut butter and preserves, like the old days.


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12 Responses to Another Keeper

  1. Christina says:

    Oh yum this looks delicious! We’ve talked about this before but I basically have the SAME bringing school lunch/buying school lunch story as you! hehe I also remember having to get the rectangle pizza, the french bread pizza (OMG!), and also there was this chinese casserole thing. Kind of like a lo mein? But I remember we all went nuts for it, even the teachers!
    Christina´s last blog post ..Friday Firsts – Baby Bananas

  2. Wei-Wei says:

    This sounds SO GOOD. Once I had pasta sauce with an egg and some cottage cheese in a sandwich. I don’t quite know how that relates to chili burgers, but maybe it’s the sauce factor 😀 (Pizza burgers sound good, though.)

    Wei-Wei´s last blog post hell with productivity.

  3. That’s totally something I would do. I’d also put the veggie chili on a beefy hot dog. hehe 😀 Looks delicious!


  4. I don’t like grape either. 😉
    That sounds fabulous!
    Jessica @ How Sweet It Is´s last blog post ..Coconut Rum Cupcakes.

  5. Lauren says:

    I love this recipe!!! The chili sounds amazing but homemade millet rolls?? Holy cow, that’s incredible! 🙂
    Lauren´s last blog post ..Cleveland Weekend Part 1

  6. zestycook says:

    OH Wow…. I am super excited to try this. I am loving everything about it! Great job Mara.
    zestycook´s last blog post ..Simple Barbecue Salad Pizza

  7. Marianne says:

    It always amazes me that people had cafeterias in elementary school, and could buy lunches! We did not have that – so we all brought our lunches every day, other than the once a month hot lunch days that they brought into the school (usually just hot dogs).

    I want to bake bread more often than like, once a year (if that). The millet rolls sound great 🙂
    Marianne´s last blog post ..Chocolate & Cheese

  8. kate says:

    I must be the only blogger who has never had Millet! Its on my to-do list 🙂
    kate´s last blog post ..Guest Post: Money Jars

  9. Biz says:

    That burger looks great Mara!! OMG, pizza lunch days – not only would I get the pizza, but fries on the side, a chocolate milk and a soft chocolate chip cookie – if I remember all that only cost $2!

  10. Jenna says:

    mara: these millet buns look fabulous!! they sound super easy to make as well!
    Jenna´s last blog post ..Greek Chickpea Salad

  11. this is a great meal and a great recipe! thanks for sharing!

  12. Those burgers look so good. My husband and I have been talking about adding millet into our diet and this is surely the best way to start!!
    Kelly @ Healthy Living With Kelly´s last blog post ..Monday Miles

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