Whether from the drive-through, the grill or simply the skillet, cheeseburgers are a favorite with many kids. Making cheeseburgers gourmet can be done by a switch to the meat, cheese, bun or toppings.
Traditionally created with ground beef, cheeseburgers can also be done with other varieties of meat. For a slight change, try adding in pureed carrots, minced mushrooms or softened onions to the meat patty before cooking. For more flavor with an Italian flair, try mixing a mild Italian seasoning with tomato paste, or pizza seasoning into your choice of meat [source: Krieger, Berkoff].
Make a burger from ground turkey, chicken or pork instead of just beef. Kobe beef might not always be appreciated by kids, but if you're looking for leaner meat, you can even try buffalo [source: Krieger, Berkoff].
Meatless cheeseburgers can also easily be created. You could try going vegetarian with a black-bean burger or soy burger [source: Thayer]. "Consider a homemade veggie burger with seven types of beans, quinoa and carrots to add sweetness," says Berkoff.
For your cheese, instead of a cheddar or American cheese, try white cheddar a great compromise with kids, or even Swiss with a few mushrooms.
The outside of the burger can be just as important as the interior. For the bun, switch out that white bun for something a little more gourmet. Artisanal breads such as sourdough, seven-grain or a Kaiser roll make a gourmet platform for your burger.
Toppings can also make a plain cheeseburger stand out. Instead of ketchup or mustard, try fresh spinach, salsa or pizza sauce. Add carmelized onions or another roasted vegetable to the burger for a different twist [source: Berkoff, Krieger].
On the next page, learn how to turn grilled cheese into something a bit more extravagant than bread and a slice of cheese.