Dining at the White House

Oct 3, 2013

10/03/13 - Syndicated food columnist Linda Gassenheimer, Special wine correspondent Fred Tasker and WLRN hosts Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman interview Chef John Moeller, retired White House chef and  author of Dining at the White House.  It’s a behind the scenes look at preparing dinners at the White House and an insight into the personalities of the first families he served.  He was chef to Presidents H.W. Bush, Clinton and George Bush. We look at memorable White House moments – including visits from heads of state, sudden cancelation of a Congressional Picnic on 9/11 and family dinners.

~~Dinner in Minutes~~

Autumn Burger Sliders with Red Pepper and Sweet Potatoes

Using a microwave shortens the timing for this dinner and saves washing extra pots. Look for extra lean ground sirloin in the market. Ground turkey or chicken can be used instead of beef. 

Helpful Hints:

  • Use 2 regular burger rolls if sliders aren’t available.


  • While hamburgers sauté, make potatoes and red pepper.
  • Prepare ingredients.
  • Start hamburgers.



1/2 cup coarsely chopped onion,1/2 cup coarsely chopped button mushrooms Salt and freshly ground black pepper2 tablespoons Dijon mustard2 tablespoons maple syrup3/4 pound lean ground sirloin (95 percent lean)4 whole wheat slider (mini hamburger rolls) rollsPlace onion and mushrooms in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. For stove-top, heat a small non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add onions and mushrooms and sauté 3 to 4 minutes. Mix the mustard and maple syrup together and set aside. Add half the mushrooms and onions and half the mustard mixture to the meat in a bowl. Blend well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Form into 4 small hamburgers (about 3 inches in diameter. ) Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the hamburgers. Saute 2 minutes, turn and sauté 3 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 145 degrees for medium rare. Place the burgers on the bottom of the 4 slider rolls. Spoon the remaining mushrooms and onions over the burgers and pour the remaining mustard mixture on top. Close the burgers with the tops of the slider rolls and serve 2 sliders per person. Makes 2 servings. 

Here are the ingredients you'll need for tonight's Dinner in Minutes:

To buy:

  • 1/2 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1 package whole wheat slider (mini hamburger rolls
  • 3/4 pound lean ground sirloin (95 percent lean)
  • 1 bottle maple syrup
  • 1 jar Dijon mustard
  • 1 package button mushrooms
  • 1 medium red bell pepper.



  • black peppercorns
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • onion