The RV Chronicles — Stealing some BH&G thunder at the ‘Jimmy Rockford’ (Recipe: Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions)

I have this friend. I’ve never met her, but I used to spend every Sunday morning sipping coffee with her.  I’ve never met her husband either, nor their daughter. But I’ve broken bread with them countless times.

Virtually, of course.

Christiane (aka The Mom Chef) has this nifty website called Taking On Magazines, on which she features her home-concocted versions of those beautiful magazine cover recipes we see in the supermarket checkout lines. Often, she gives them a thumb’s up. But other times, she provides readers her opinion on what should be changed.

So, why am I telling all 19 of you about Christiane’s project? Because, you should get to know her. Perhaps she’ll inspire you just as she did me recently.

I’m not sure how or why, but the fine folks at Better Homes & Gardens magazine decided to start sending issues to the Jimmy Rockford. The featured recipes are actually pretty good, but also worthy of being taken on.

My recipe overhaul for Mondo Short Rib Sandwiches comes from a page I’d ripped from a 2016 BH&G issue. In addition to the odd name (Mondo? What does that mean? And how does it apply here?), the original recipe calls for dried tomatoes and smoked black pepper. It also requires bone-in beef short ribs, which are fatty. No wonder it’s not popular on the web — and the only reviewer had nothing polite to say about the dish.

In all likelihood, she didn’t have the proper ingredients. I live in the shadows of the nation’s fourth largest city and smoked black pepper was not easily found. As for the dried tomatoes, I happen to have some in my freezer from the 2016 crop, but it’s not always easy finding them in supermarkets.

I’ve made some major adjustments to this recipe – not only to expand the flavor contrasts, but to make it doable by the majority of us. I’ve also changed the confusing name of this dish to something more reasonable. Call them what you want, but make these just once and there’s a pretty good chance you’ll keep the recipe on file.

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Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions

Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions — A delicious nosh

Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions — A delicious nosh

5.0 from 3 reviews
Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Beefy Balsamic Sliders w/ Caramelized Onions — A delicious nosh
Recipe type: Sandwich
Serves: 6
  • 2½ lbs – Chuck tender roast, trimmed of fat then cubed into 3-inch pieces
  • 5 TB – Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 TB – Finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 1 TB – Freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 TB – Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp – Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp – Dried oregano
  • ½ tsp – Dried dill weed
  • ½ tsp – Dried rosemary
  • 1½ cup – Beef stock
  • ¼ cup – Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – Large yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 2 – Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh Basil leaves (about 6-8)
  • Goat cheese crumbles (about ¾ cup)
  • 6 – Medium round rolls
  1. Combine tomatoes, pepper, salt, garlic powder, oregano, dill weed and rosemary; rub all over the cubed beef.
  2. Heat 2 TB of the olive oil over a high setting in a skillet; brown beef on all sides (in batches – using more oil if necessary); set aside.
  3. In a slow cooker, place beef stock and Balsamic vinegar; add browned beef and any pan drippings.
  4. Cook on low setting for 8 hours.
  5. When meat has cooked, remove pieces and shred with a fork; cover and set aside.
  6. Skim the liquid of fat, if necessary, and reserve as a dip for sandwiches.
Roast the Garlic
  1. While beef is cooking, slice off top of garlic bulbs so that all cloves are exposed.
  2. Place on a piece of foil, then drizzle with remaining 2 TB of olive oil.
  3. Seal foil and cook in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool slightly for safe handling, then squeeze roasted garlic into a small bowl. (It should resemble a caramel-colored paste at this point.)
Brown the onions
  1. In 1 TB olive oil over medium-high heat, cook onions until they are browned around the edges and limp – stirring regularly – about 10 minutes.
Assemble the sliders
  1. Spread a generous teaspoonful of roasted garlic on the bottom bun.
  2. Top with meat, a few onions, a basil leaf or two, and a pinch of crumbled goat cheese.
  3. Dip in cooking liquid, if desired.




  1. Kathryn @ anotherfoodieblogger says:

    Mmmm, I just love the smell of roasted garlic in the house! I appreciate you taking the time to make something like this accessible to the masses. Those look like mighty damn-fine sliders!

  2. Mmmmmmm.
    Signed up for her website. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with.

  3. Dude! You’re awesome. You’ve also given me an awful lot to live up to. ☺️ I hate it when recipes call for obscure ingredients that cost an arm and a leg (Food & Wine’s getting bad with that). I’ve never heard of smoked black pepper but figure it’s as easy, though time consuming, as smoked salt. The sliders look really awesome and I think you saved a mediocre recipe.

    • adamjholland says:

      You’ve already lived up to it, Christiane. (I do miss my Sunday Sip, though.) ~ So, what’s up with smoked black pepper? It sounds good, but really? One of the things that irritates me about the original version of this is they call for uber-gourmet ingredients like smoked black pepper — and then call for garlic powder. It’s as if someone was punking on BH&G. Just saying…

  4. And you couldn’t have smoked your own homemade black pepper at the Jimmy Rockford? c’mon. 🙂 I love Christine’s blog. RE: short ribs. I’m pretty sure every time I purchase them, they’re bone in. I’ll have to Google and see what else is available in the short rib dept. Your sliders sound really good Adam. Pinning to my group Slider’s board.

  5. I love finding ways to serve roast – and this will be a great new one! Thanks for the new recipe!

    • adamjholland says:

      My pleasure, Kelli. I wish it were BH&G’s pain, but I doubt my 19 loyal followers… Well, you know.

  6. I’m pretty sure this will be a hit in our house, Adam! Love the use of all the herbs (especially the fresh basil… I’m on a major basil kick right now), and the balsamic. Can’t wait to taste it! And Thank you for sharing Taking On Magazines… So many fun recipes over there, too! “See” ya soon!

  7. I love Christiane, too!!! What a great way to redo this Mondo recipe! (??????) Wow, I don’t know that I’ve picked up a Better Homes and Garden since my mom subscribed to it back in the day. Maybe I should pick one up.

    • adamjholland says:

      They’ve come a ways, Debra. Not sure whether it’s a major overhaul at Meredith Corp., or my perception. But they seem more mainstream these days. Hope you’re well. 🙂

  8. Mondo? Let’s check the search engines for that! I have seen smoked black pepper at the spice store I go too, but it was a splurge item-so not this time! I think there are plenty of ways to get smoke in a dish. I haven’t looked at BHG in a long time but I’m quite surprised that that recipe would appeal to the masses. Anyway the next time we get down there, i know Manservant would love this! Just sayin’!

    • adamjholland says:

      I’ve Googled mondo, and I’ve’d it. It is almost a surfer type term for “cool” or “wow.” I need to go back to school, I suppose. — In all fairness, I’m not sure my version is fit for the masses, since most people are looking for 20-minute dinner ideas these days. But it also works in a pressure cooker (tried it), and you could combine the onions in there to eliminate an extra pan. Hell, if you had one of those one-pots (and I do, along with 8 million other people), this is a one-dish meal.

  9. Even though some of the chosen ingredients sucked on the ripped out page of your magazine – those recipes typically are the best ever. However, you took it and made it badass.

    Undoubtedly, that’s definitely a strength of yours. This sandwich looks like something I would love to be served in bed – for brunch – with a very cold Mimosa. Ok, maybe two Mimosas.

    • adamjholland says:

      Shea, I’m thinking you woke up on the wrong side of the bed … because that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me. You know what, though? This would go very nicely with a Bloody Mary. Just sayin’..

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