Sunday, May 31, 2009

Burgers - Two Ways

Our electric bill typically goes down by $20/month in the summer because we are out back grilling instead of baking. Here are two different delicious burger recipes to help you save some money this summer (or really, year round). First up, a twist on the turkey burger. Second, a twist on a cheeseburger.

First up is a Southwest inspired turkey burger served with guacamole and a coucous, quinoa, and orzo blend. As I've mentioned before, we're trying to add more variety into our diet and this is a great addition. One thing to note about the healthiest choice when you are choosing ground turkey: when you go to the store, the healthier choice is ground turkey breast, not just ground turkey. Ground turkey contains both white and dark meat and is not as low cal/low fat as the ground turkey breast.

A few recipe tips: The onions in the burgers help to keep them moist. I tried out a new trick I saw Bobby Flay do - after you form the burger patty, press down in the middle to give it a little indent. When the burgers cook, they usually puff up in the middle. By starting with the indent they will end up flat - not like a baseball. I'm happy to report that this worked. Check out the photo! Now on to the recipe:

Southwest Inspired Turkey Burger
1 lb. ground turkey breast
1/4 of a vidalia onion (helps keep burgers moist)
Handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
A few shakes of green (jalapeno) Tabasco sauce
Salt and Pepper

Fire up the grill to medium-high heat
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together by hand
Split the mixture into four equal portions
Form four burger patties, pressing down in the middle to give them a little dent
Grill for a few minutes on each side

I toasted our whole wheat hamburger buns on the grill before serving
Top with guacamole and burgers and enjoy!

Prep time: 5-10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Cutting board and knife, bowl, plates, grill spatula, grill, and serving dishes

Makes 4 quarter-pound patties

Next up, a Non-Traditional Cheeseburger and Fries

Using another idea from one of the endless food shows I watch on TV, I decided to make a cheeseburger with the cheese inside the burger. We had some leftover mozzarella from the caprese sandwiches that I had for lunch during the week. Using my regular burger recipe, I added the cheese and voila! - a gourmet dinner at home. On the side, I made a delicious batch of no-fry fries. The recipe comes from an issue of a Better Homes and Gardens, "Simply Perfect Dinners" that I've had for a while (I just checked the magazine and the date is Spring 2000). There are 4-5 recipes in there that I always go back to - a great investment for $5.99! Here's the recipe.

Start the fries first, since they take longer than the burgers.

No-Fry Fries (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
Non-stick cooking spray
2 large baking potatoes (1 lb. total)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray
Cut potatoes lengthwise into thin wedges (I cut these in half again to make shorter fries)
Place the wedges into a ziplock bag and spray them with the non-stick cooking spray
In a small bowl, mix the cheese, paprika, and pepper
Pour the mixture into the ziplock bag, close bag, and toss until potatoes are well-coated
Pour out potatoes onto the baking sheet and arrange them in a single layer
Bake for 15 minutes and then turn the fries over
Bake for another 15 minutes until crisp and fork-tender

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Cutting board and knife, ziplock bag, baking sheet, spatula

Nutrition info per serving: 155 calories, 3g total fat, 4mg cholesterol, 103mg sodium, 29g carbohydrates, 3g dietary fiber, 5g protein

Inside-out Sirloin Cheeseburgers
1/2 lb. ground sirloin
About 1 tablespoon diced vidalia onions
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Montreal grill seasoning
2 1-inch squares of mozzarella cheese

Fire up the grill to medium-high
In a bowl, mix the sirloin, onions, Worcestershire, and grill seasoning by hand
Split into two even portions
Take one portion and split into to even pieces
Form each of the two pieces into a patty
Take one patty in your hand, place the mozzarella square in the middle, and top with the second patty
Crimp the edges to seal around the cheese
Repeat with the second portion of meat
You will have 2 quarter-pound burgers to grill
Grill for a few minutes on each side until desired doneness

We served ours with ketchup and mustard, lettuce, and tomato.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Cutting board and knife, bowl, grill, and grilling utensils

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