Pace Picante Sauce Super Bowl Challenge: Picante Mini Burger


As a Featured Publisher with, I get to receive quite a few products to try. 

One of the recent challenge was to create a recipe for Super Bowl Party, using Pace Picante Sauce.  I don’t even understand the rule of American Football, yet I like parties, and of course food. I also don’t mind seeing different kind of dishes on Super Bowl party tables besides nachos and Mexican layered thingy.  (Ever since “The Biggest Loser“,  I’m scared of going near them, feeling like I won’t be able to stop and end up with 10,000 calories!)

Right before Christmas, I received two bottles of Picante Sauce from FoodBuzz.  One Mild, and one Medium.

According to the Pace Foods website, Picante Sauce is:

Ideal for cooking, since it’s smoother than salsa with the perfect balance of zesty sauce and crisp vegetables.

Created by David Pace over 60 years ago as a unique cooking sauce to add delicious flavor to all kinds of dishes.

With more rich sauce to go around, it helps dishes stay savory and keeps them from drying out.

A fast, easy way to spice up everyday meals and add flavor to meat, vegetables, pasta, rice, or any dish.

I like the last part.  When I make meatballs and burgers, I put a lot of sautéed vegetables for flavor and healthier eating.  Yet using Picante Sauce definitely make things easier especially when people don’t have them on hand.

Even though I used Medium, I found the sauce to be on the mild side. I personally like salsas which has lots of vegetables, and not very saucy, but this could be used for salsa for dipping in a pinch. 

As I started my experiment, I found its sauciness helps turkey stay moist, yet because it’s not that spicy, I had to add quite a bit, that makes the mixture soggy.  So I had to add extra panko to firm it up so that they firm up a bit.  This may not be an issue when you are using red meat, yet my husband doesn’t eat four-legged animal flesh, so it’s a dilemma I have to deal with every time.  My original plan was to make meat balls.  First attempt, I cooked them in the oven and the cheese inside ran out like there’s no tomorrow.  When I bit into it, there were lots of holes inside — where the cheese use to be!  I thought about calling them “MexSwiss Meatballs”, but I decide to ditch that idea.  

So, on my second attempt, I chose to fry them in the skillet with some flour to protect the cheese.  While I was rolling them in the skillet to color all over, they started to lose shape, so I flattened them into mini-burgers.  Thanks to the FLOUR POWER, the cheese stayed inside.

That accident actually worked out to my favor.  They came out as light and fluffy, flavorful mini-burgers which look like cookies, especially when they were adorned with Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter on top!  Pretty enough to fool the picky eaters, perhaps?

Picante Mini Burger

Ingredients: (makes about 36 patties)

  • 1 lbs ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 1/2 cup or more Pace Picante Sauce, Medium (If using “Mild”, add hot sauce to taste)
  • 1/3 cup cottage cheese
  • 2 TBS sherry
  • 1 clove garlic (grated)
  • 1/2 ts anchovy paste or fish sauce
  • 1-2 TBS Extra Virgin Olive Oil if using  Ground Turkey
  • 1/2 cup Panko moisten with Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • flour for dusting
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil for pan-frying


  1. Add panko mixture, picante sauce, cottage cheese, sherry, salt and pepper to the ground meat.  Mix well.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into 2-inch patties (about 1/2 inch thickness).  Dust with flour on both sides, especially if using ground turkey — if you don’t, cheese may run out. (Easy and saves a lot of flour if you use mesh tea infuser.)
  3. Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium-high, and pan fry until cooked through and brown on both sides.
  4. Serve hot.  Optionally top with more picante sauce (best if it’s reduced by half) or cranberry apple butter (looks like cookies!), or mixture of the two.

Variation:  I used cottage cheese because that’s what I had in the fridge, yet also like Feta cheese especially with ground lamb.


Invitation to my Free Class! “The Fastest Path to Healthy & Exciting Home-Made Meals!”

Happy New Year!

Is “healthy eating” one of your new year’s resolutions?

Would you like to learn how to cook healthy, tasty meals at home with half the effort and time, and with twice as much variety?

As a New Year gift to my loyal readers, I’d love to invite you to my class “The Fastest Path to Healthy & Exciting Home-cooked Meals!” next Saturday, January 16 at Oakland Public Library for free!  I will teach you my unique system of how to make a variety of healthy meals at home easier and faster while having fun!  

In this class, you’ll learn the first, most critical step — how to keep an efficient, flexible pantry.  After completing this step, you will be able to whip up lots of dishes and end your dinner dilemmas forever!

  1. What to keep on hand & what to shop for
  2. How to mix and match ingredients for maximum flexibility and efficiency
  3. Demo of several easy dishes – with samples for tasting!
  • When?:  January 16 (Saturday), 2010   From 11:30am to12:30pm                  
    • Optional free trip to Trader Joes (12:30 – 1:30pm) to help you get a head start
  • Where?: Oakland Public Library Lakeview Branch: 550 El Embarcadero, Oakland, CA 94610    510-238-7344     
  • Questions?:  Leave me a comment!

This event is popular and expected to sell out!  Come early – seats are first come, first served (or bring a portable chair just in case).  The class starts promptly at 11:30am.

*Space is limited to first 40! Save your spot NOW and get FREE printable shopping list by signing up from Class Tab on top.

* Parking: If possible, carpool or take public transportation.  Parking could be challenging. There are a parking under 580 (right next to the farmer’s market), metered parking along main streets such as Grand, Lake Shore etc., and free street parking on side streets.

 Look forward to seeing you in person next Saturday!