A Healthy Twist to Burgers and Fries

I am no expert, but I think I cook pretty well and I try to keep it healthy and inexpensive (most times). I thought I would share some of my recipes with you by posting a recipe per week; some weeks will have a full meal and others will be just one dish. Because I am not a professional, I don’t know exact measurements so you may have to rely on your taste buds sometimes, but I will try to be as specific as possible.

Since the weather is getting warmer, I thought I would post recipes for a healthier version of burgers and fries; bunless burger, topped with sauteed mushrooms, onions and tzatziki’ish sauce; roasted Yukon gold potatoes; and sauteed spinach. This will serve at least 2 people – 3 if you don’t want seconds.

Before we get started, some grilling notes:

  • It is best if your burgers are at room temperature when you grill them because they will cook more evenly
  • You want to pre-heat your grill so light it and let it sit on medium-high for about 10 minutes before grilling

Burger with sauteed mushrooms & onions

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (try to get the highest lean to fat ratio, at least 94/6)
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 8 button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
  • 1/2 Vidalia onion, finely chopped
  • 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, a little salt and pepper, and garlic powder with your hands so that it is evenly mixed. Then form hamburger patties. I like my burgers pretty big so with a pound, I would probably make 2 burgers, but you may prefer to create 3 – it’s up to you. Grill burgers on medium-high heat for about 8 minutes on each side or until cooked through. For smaller burgers, cut down on grilling time.

Meanwhile, in a saute pan, heat the oil on medium to medium-high heat. When oil is slightly heated, add the onions for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic for 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, a little salt, pepper and the crushed red pepper flakes and saute for about 4 minutes until the mushrooms get soft and start to release their juices.

Once burgers are done, top with the mushroom/onion mix and some of the sauce (below).

Tzatziki’ish Sauce

*I use the ‘ish because I kind of created this after throwing some ingredients together, but think that it tastes like Tzatziki sauce

  • 1 cup thick Greek-style yogurt (I use fat free plain yogurt to make it healthier)
  • 1 green onion (chives/scallions), finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of dill, finely chopped – about 2 tbsp
  • 1/2 cucumber finely chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Sprinkle of garlic powder
  • Pinch of kosher salt

Mix all of the ingredients together and let it sit refrigerated for at least an hour.

*You can use this as a dipping sauce with whole wheat pita or veggies if you have leftover sauce after burger night

Roasted potatoes

  • 4 Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 2 inch chunks
  • 1 Vidalia onion, cut into wedges (i.e. cut onion in half and then slices into 1/4 inch wedges)
  • Approx 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped (could use dry if necessary) – about 2 tbsp
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • Garlic powder
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spray with Pam (or any other cooking spray). Toss the potatoes, onion wedges, olive oil, parsley, juice from the lemon wedge, a light sprinkle of garlic powder, a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and some pepper in a large bowl so that it is evenly mixed (I like to put everything in a container with a lid and shake it around). Lay the potato/onion mix onto the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 30 – 35 minutes or until potatoes are soft and browned – keep an eye on these potatoes and you may want to turn them throughout to make sure they are evenly browned. Take out and sprinkle with a little kosher salt

Sauteed Spinach

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 bag/package of fresh baby spinach (you can find this in the bagged salad section of your grocery store)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Crushed red pepper flakes (if you like a little heat)

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium to medium high heat. Add the shallots and saute for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the spinach, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes (optional) and toss as the spinach wilts down. This should only take about 5 minutes.

As I said, I don’t use measurements so you may have to add as you see fit, depending on your taste buds. I hope you enjoy this meal which represents a healthy and low-fat protein, carbohydrate and vegetable. Feel free to post comments if you have any questions for me or suggestions for improvement.

Bon Appetit!


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