Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Thyme for Kids - a family, food, and franchising blog
Into food, family, or franchising? You're in the right place. The recipe for blogging here at YCA is to keep it simple, entertaining, educational, and to the point. We take one simple concept and give you our unique perspective.
From our franchisees, our students, or our corporate staff - if you hear it here, you know it's all us, all original and all fresh. We might tell you the story of a bright young chef who taught his instructor a few things, then next maybe the latest culinary trend (beef tongue sliders?). There is nothing ordinary about any of our franchises, and we delight in sharing the extraordinary "scoop"! Enjoy, comment, and please share.
2:09 PM

It's a "Burger-Bash!"

Grilling YCA

It's grilling season and we're ready to be the Pit Master at our next BBQ party! Nothing beats the aroma of freshly grilled meats and veggies in the great outdoors. 

With hamburgers being among the top grilling favs this Memorial Day, why not take your burger to the next level and blow your guests mind with this cheesy, tangy patty melt version! 


Come on!!  It's time to throw on that "Kiss The Cook" apron and fire up the grill!

Grilled Patty Melt




For the secret sauce:

¼ cup Dijon mustard

¼ cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon barbecue sauce

½ teaspoon hot sauce


For the caramelized onions:

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3 medium yellow onions, thinly sliced


For the patty melt:

1½ lb. ground chuck (80/20)

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce


1 tsp kosher salt

½ tsp ground black pepper


12 slices sourdough or thick bread

½ cup Secret Sauce

1 cup caramelized onions

12 slices cheddar cheese

6 tablespoons unsalted butter




  1. In a small mixing bowl, add all of the secret sauce ingredients; whisk together well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  2. In a medium cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from the heat and keep warm.  (*See tips below for a grilled caramelized onion alternative)
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground beef and Worcestershire. Shape into 6 oval patties, about ½-inch thick, making an indention with your thumb in the center of each one.
  4. Mix the salt and pepper together in a small bowl. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over each side of the burger gently pressing into the meat to help it stick.
  5. Grill the hamburgers directly over medium-high heat, turning once, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Check for doneness by checking the internal temperature, which should register at least 160°F on an instant-read thermometer.  Transfer to a cooler side of the grill until ready.
  6. Place bread slices along center of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until lightly toasted on first side, about 2 minutes. Flip bread slices so toasted side is up.  Spread a tablespoon of secret sauce on each.  Place 1 slice of cheese each on six of them. Place burger patty on top of cheese. Top with onion, another slice of cheese and top with the remaining slices of bread, toasted side facing in.
  7. Cover and cook, opening cover every minute or so to turn sandwiches until well-toasted on both sides and cheese is melted. Remove from grill, allow to rest for five minutes, then serve.

Yield: makes 6 Patty Melts

*For a grilled version of the caramelized onions:

  1. Slice onion into wedges and place onto one side of a large square of heavy-duty foil.
  2. Add the butter and sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
  3. Fold the foil over the onions creating a tent over the onions and seal tightly.
  4. Poke a small hold into the top of the packet and place onto grill.
  5. Cook for approx. 45 minutes, or until the onions are golden brown, stirring halfway through.


  • For the most flavorful, juicy burger, choose ground beef that has a relatively high percentage of fat. Fat adds significant flavor. Burgers usually cook at high heat, the fat helps to keep the inside of the burger moist as the outside of the burger browns. The hand-down winner for flavor and tenderness is ground chuck which is 15–20% fat – enough fat for full flavor but with minimal shrinkage during cooking. A higher fat count will give great flavor but excessive shrinkage.
  • Salt is an important ingredient most dishes, but when it comes to seasoning a burger, timing is crucial. Salt is prized not only for its ability to heighten the flavor of foods, but also for its effect as a tenderizer.
  • Since hamburger has been manually tenderized by grinding, it needs no further tenderizing. Adding salt too early in the hamburger-making process will break down the meat to the point where the cooked burger will be dense and gummy, with the consistency of sausage. ADD SALT TO THE BURGERS NO MORE THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE COOKING.
  • A perfect burger begins with meat that is handled very little. Lightly shape the patty, making it slightly larger than the bread to allow for shrinkage.
  • Break off chunks of ground beef and press them into rough patties against the palm of your hand. Gently pat the edges into a round shape. The patty shape doesn’t need to be perfect. Try to handle the meat as little as possible.
  • If you are cooking the burgers on a grill or oven broiling (radiant heat), add a dimple (about the size of a tablespoon) to the center of one side of the patty to keep the meat from puffing up during cooking. When cooking in a pan on the stovetop (conduction heat), there is no need to do this because the meat does not contract as significantly or quickly as it does when cooked by radiant heat.

Additional Tips:

  • Although it’s exciting to hear the sizzle when you smash the spatula onto a cooking burger, DON’T DO IT. You’re pushing all the juices out of the burger.
  • Give the burger time to rest after cooking – just a few minutes – for the juices to redistribute and settle in the meat.
  • Do not cut the burger open to determine how well it is cooked, this allows all the delicious juices to escape into the pan.


Wishing you all a delicious Memorial Day!!

2:57 PM

It's Time For A Fiesta!!!



It's almost time to put on those sombreros, break out the mariachi band and get ready for the fiesta! But first, what will be the culinary star of the show?  That's a tough one...we have so many favorites to choose from....which will it be?

We've got it!! 

This Cinco de Mayo, we're going to share one of our most beloved, south of the border recipes...Pork Empanadas with Poblano Cream Sauce.  Is your mouth watering yet? 

These are so fun to make...but even more delicious to eat! 


The empanada is very versatile as your filling can be either savory, spicy or sweet.  When fried, empanadas aren’t much of a departure from the fried pies you can get at fast food restaurants. When you bake them, they’re similar to a self-contained pot pie or a turnover.   With that in mind, we're going with the baked-version for this special day. 

Empanadas are fun, festive and will feed a crowd...let's get this party started!!


Empanada collage

(Young chefs in action showing off their crazy crimping skills!)


Pork Empanadas with Poblano Cream Sauce


Pork Empanadas:


The dough:

16 oz. All-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp melted butter
Pinch salt
1 Tbsp sugar
¾ cup lukewarm water
Egg wash
Coarse sea salt

The Filling:

8 oz. pork loin—diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion—1/4-inch dice
1 red bell pepper—1/4-inch dice
1 clove garlic—minced
2 tsp tomato paste
4 oz. smoked ham—diced
1 tsp ancho powder
2 Tbsp Crema Poblana (Mexican sour cream)
¼ cup slivered almonds—toasted
¼ cup raisins—plumped
Salt and pepper as needed




  1. Make the dough. Measure the flour into a large mixing bowl. Form a well in the center of the flour. Add the cider vinegar, salt, sugar, olive oil, melted butter, and water to the well. With a fork or fingers, gradually work the flour into the liquid in the well. Move the fork or fingers around and around the inside wall of the well in a circular motion until all the flour has been moistened and a dough starts to form.
  2. Form the dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it becomes flexible—about 5-minutes. Divide the dough in half. Form each half into a disc. Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate for 30-minutes to one hour.
  3. Roll the dough to 1/8-inch thickness—a little thinner if possible. Use a 3-inch round cookie cutter to cut circles of dough.
  4. Make the filling. In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the diced pork until browned. Season with salt and pepper. With a slotted spoon, remove the pork from the pan and into a mixing bowl. Drain off as much oil as possible back into the pan.
  5. In the same pan, sauté the onions and peppers for 2-minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add the ham, ancho powder, almonds, raisins, and stir to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Place the contents of the pan in the mixing bowl with the pork. Toss to combine. Allow filling to cool. Place the bowl in the refrigerator to speed up cooling.
  6. To assemble: Preheat oven to 325°. Line sheet pan with parchment paper. Place 1 Tbsp filling in the center of each round. Brush the edges of the rounds with egg wash. Fold each round to form a half-moon shape. Crimp the edges with a fork to seal.
  7. Place the empanadas on the sheet pan in neat rows. Brush the top of each empanada with egg wash. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over each empanada. Bake at 325° until golden—about 25 to 30-minutes.
  8. Serve with Poblano Cream.



Poblano Cream Sauce:



1 ½ cups Crema Poblana (Mexican sour cream)
2 Poblano Peppers—fire-roasted, peeled, seeded, chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Salt as needed
¼ cup chopped cilantro




  1. Roast the poblano peppers on a grill, over a gas flame, or under the broiler, turning as needed until the skin has charred. Seal peppers in a plastic bag until cool enough to handle. Peel away the skin. Slit the peppers open, scrape out and discard the seeds. Dice the peppers.
  2. Place Crema poblana, diced peppers, lime juice, a pinch of salt and cilantro in a blender jar. Blend on high speed until the mixture turns pale green and all ingredients are pureed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  3. Serve cool or at room temperature. Pool 2 Tbsp on each plate and top with pork empanadas. The Poblano cream will hold in the refrigerator for three days.




Tips & Tricks:

  •  In a bit of a time-crunch?  Purchase pre-made, pre-chilled dough and go from there! 
  • Why do we add vinegar to the crust?  Vinegar in a crust works like a secret ingredient to make sure the dough doesn't become tough.
  • Nervous about sealing your empanadas?  No problem!  Using a fork to seal your empanadas is easy and fun!  After you fold the dough over, use the times of the fork to press down, gently around the outer opening.  Then, simply use a pastry bench or butter knife to trim the uneven edges.  You now have a beautiful empanada to serve!





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