Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cheater Turkey Burgers with a Mexican Twist!

My sister called yesterday and in her best baby sister voice asked, "will you make burgers tomorrow?".  That's Spanish for, "I'm busy and don't have time to cook, so can my fiance and I come over for dinner tomorrow? PS, we're craving burgers!".  Of course, I said yes since I love having them that's what we did.  Since we all tend to live a pretty healthy lifestyle, we decided to make turkey burgers.  Now, I've committed to training a seeing eye dog for the time being, so this recipe has a few shortcuts that are easily adapted to fresh alternatives...we simply didn't have the time after our 1.5 hr walk to the grocery store training this pup (the store is normally a 10 minute walk but with training, it takes a wee bit longer).

Turkey Burger Recipe (with a cheater Mexican twist because of the pre-made toppings!):

Ingredients (makes 4 burgers):
1lb lean ground turkey (we used 99% fat free)
1/4 cup chopped vidalia onion
3 cloves minced garlic
2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Freshly cracked sea salt and pepper to taste
Desired toppings: we used heirloom tomatoes, guacamole and salsa

*We also had two random bison patties sitting around in the freezer, so we decided to make those, too...separately from the turkey burgers.  Did you know that bison is incredibly lean?  We added freshly cracked salt, pepper and 1tbsp of reduced-fat mayonnaise to that mixture.  I know it sounds weird, but the mayonnaise adds serious moisture without a lot of fat and without actually tasting like mayonnaise...the only picture we snapped of a cooked burger (below) is the bison one but it looks yummy!

Sliced heirloom tomatoes

Prepackaged all-natural guacamole (normally, I make my own, but there were no ripe avocados, we made a sacrifice in homemade-ness for the greater good of the recipe working out)

Fresh salsa (we also bought this but it is SO easy to make with some minced tomato, onion, jalapeno, vinegar, garlic and cilantro)

- Mix ground turkey, onion, garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl

Form the mixture into 4 patties

Grill until cooked through
Top with desired toppings and ENJOY!  Boy, were they big and juicy and all charred up from the grill!  The burger below is actually one of the bison burgers but we topped them the same way.

SOMEBODY even cheated and added a little cheese...kind of ruins the healthy idea but it is sooooo good on a hot burger!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Roasted Carrots

This is one of the easiest side dishes possible.  Roasted carrots are full of vitamins and are a very popular alternative to potatoes!  Makes one hearty serving.

3 whole carrots peeled and cut on a bias (this sounds like a lot but these really cook down!)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and red pepper flakes to taste

Preheat oven to 425F
Toss carrots with olive oil, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes

Lay in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes
Flip carrots over and turn off heat but allow them to sit in the oven for another 5 minutes

Serve alongside just about anything.  I served them with the Chicken with Mushroom Sauce recipe and they were the perfect light accompaniment!

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

So, I usually plan what I'm making for dinner by walking around in the supermarket, looking for inspiration.  And by inspiration, I mean good deals on ripe produce (when is the farmer's market coming back again so I can get real produce??).  I know that's a little backwards from how most people plan their weekly meals, but that's just how I've always done it.  This week, mushrooms were on special and I had plenty of chicken breasts taking up space in my crowded freezer...thus, this recipe was born.

Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

For the Chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp poultry seasoning
Freshly cracked pepper, garlic salt and poultry seasoning

For the Sauce:
1 tsp oil (only add this if the pan looks too dry)
1/3 cup chopped vidalia onion (you could also use shallot)
1 package mushrooms, washed and sliced
1 cup white wine (use what you like and always pour a glass for the chef for ‘quality control’ purposes! - I used pinot grigio)
1 cup chicken broth (homemade is the best but if you don't have time, low-sodium, fat free stock in a carton will do just fine)
1 tsp all-purpose flour (I used 2 and the sauced thickened too quickly, so next time, I will only use half the amount)
1 tbsp parsley, chopped very fine (I only had dried lying around, so I used that and it worked well)
Freshly cracked sea salt and pepper to taste
*Garlic would have been a great idea in this recipe but I didn't have any in the house...note for next time!

Cooking the Chicken:
- Season pounded chicken with poultry seasoning, garlic salt and pepper on both sides

- Add canola oil to a large nonstick pan and heat over high heat
- Sautee chicken for about 1.5-2 minutes on each side or until brown on the outside and cooked through (it happens fast; do not overcook!)

- Wrap cooked chicken with foil so that the juices can redistribute and it stays warm

Now for the Sauce:
*In a measuring cup, stir together chicken broth and flour until flour is dissolved; set aside
- Use the same pan that you used to cook the chicken and do not rinse! Leave heat on medium-high
- Add onion and mushrooms to pan, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until brown

- Add wine and parsley; boil until almost completely dissolved
- Add chicken broth slurry and cook until the mixture thickens

- Pour sauce over chicken and serve! It got two thumbs up and the seal of deliciousness to go up on the blog!

I served this recipe with roasted carrots to add move vegetable goodness without resorting to a starch.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Banana Bread Oatmeal

This weekend was the best kind of healthy entertaining because it also happened to be my baby sister's bachelorette party.  After spending Friday night watching chick flicks and Saturday brunching and getting pampered at the spa, we thought we would continue the fun into Sunday morning with a healthy breakfast.  Now, we are both serious oatmeal much so that we even eat it for dinner in a savory fashion (recipe for that to come!).

This morning, I surveyed my surroundings for oatmealcious inspiration and came up with...

Banana Bread Oatmeal (I swear it tastes just like banana bread but you don't have to feel guilty about eating it!)

- 1/3 cup quick cooking rolled oats
- 1/3 cup quick cooking Irish steel cut oats
- 1 1/3 cups skim milk
- 1 mashed banana- leave some little chunks for texture
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar (I used granulated because it was all that was in the pantry this morning but you could substitute with fake sugar, brown sugar, agave, honey, etc.)
* Would also be delicious with slivered or sliced almonds!

I tried to add cocoa powder and a few dark chocolate chips, but my suggestion got vetoed.  If anyone tries that, please let me know!

Mix all ingredients together
We let the mixture soak for 30 minutes but you can skip that step if you're in a hurry
Preheat oven to 360F
Spray two ramekins with nonstick cooking spray
Bake for 30 minutes
Turn heat up to 450F and bake for another 5 minutes to get a nice crust on the top and sides

This smelled and tasted EXACTLY like banana bread.  Not too sweet and had a perfect balance of flavors!

Note: This recipe was supposed to be for two people...but each of us only ate half.  Leftovers tomorrow morning!