Tag Archives: burger

Burger Bonanza

1 Aug

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I’ll admit it. I had a total “food baby” after last night’s delicious BBQ supper. But it was SO worth it. You all know how much I love burgers. Add on a buffet of delicious toppings, AMAZING local corn on the cob, tasty salads, baked beans and multiple tempting desserts? Summer perfection!

 

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These pictures don’t do it justice, but here you can see the array of toppings on the burger bar. This is the third time I’ve done build-your-own-burger as a summer party, and I have to say, it’s one of my favourite ways to entertain in the summer. After all, who doesn’t love a good burger? I used store-bought burgers and buns, but the tasty toppings take it up a notch.

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To choose from, we had:

  • sliced tomatoes
  • bacon Smile
  • sautéed onions
  • hot peppers
  • sliced avocado and leftover guacamole
  • salsa
  • the standard mustard, ketchup and relish
  • Dijon mustard
  • spicy mustard (mix of Dijon, grainy mustard and Ancho chile powder)IMG_2393
  • BBQ sauce
  • Velveeta cheese slices
  • goat cheese
  • homemade pickled red onions
  • homemade dill pickles
  • homemade red wine onion relish (those last three items are from my new Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes book – they were all pretty simple and DELICIOUS!)

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To start things off before the burgers, we had “Cowboy Caviar,” which is a tasty dip made with fresh corn (recipe says used canned, but why would I when the fresh stuff is so good?), black-eyed peas, green onions, tomatoes, avocadoes, fresh flat-leaf parsley (recipe calls for cilantro but I switched it – there’s a lot of haters out there when it comes to cilantro) and oil/vinegar/seasonings. Sooooo good! That big bowl disappeared pretty quickly! We also had a Hungry Girl cucumber dip and veggies.

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Main course was the aforementioned burgers, a salad I made, 3 other tasty salads brought by guests, baked beans Red heart brought by a guest, and LOTS of corn on the cob (I may have overestimated there just a bit – there’s quite a bit leftover – guess what you’ll be seeing in my meals this week? Winking smile). I had some of everything, and went back for more of the sides!

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Desserts. SO. GOOD. We had fruit (watermelon, muskmelon, honeydew, cherries) – gotta keep things healthy, you know? I made peach blueberry cobbler (I think what my family calls a cobbler is technically a crisp, as it has an oatmeal topping, but we’re not going to change now). Mmmm…one of my all-time favourite summer desserts. So simple, yet so delicious! To go with the cobbler, I made homemade vanilla bean ice cream – I may never buy store-bought again! And to top it all off, I made “Better than you-know-what Cake” (I think you can all guess what “you-know-what” is without me telling you, right?Winking smile). For those of you unfamiliar with this dessert, it’s basically a chocolate cake with chocolate chips, soaked in sweetened condensed milk (AKA the Nectar of the Gods) and caramel sauce, then topped with Cool Whip and Skor bits. Not for the faint of heart! But I cut back on the oil and sugar in the cake and used low fat Cool Whip, so it’s practically calorie-free, right?IMG_2421

It was a great night – tasty food, warm weather (as the shiny-ness from my sweaty face in this picture shows), and great friends. If I’m going to splurge on some 80/20 food, this is my favourite way to do it – tasty, homemade, comfort food…mmm!

I’m not going to share all the recipes with you today – but I’ll start with Bobby’s Red Wine Onion Relish. This stuff was so good, I would have no problem eating it straight up (in fact, when I got my second plate, I took a spoonful and did just thatEmbarrassed smile). And it was actually easier to make than I expected. I would have thought that you had to caramelize the onions, but the recipe only calls for sautéing for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Before I give you the recipe, let me just say, even if you don’t like wine (which I don’t), this stuff is GOOD. It definitely kicks the burger up a notch, and I think it would be good on any sandwich, or even grilled meat. You really should try it soon!

Red Wine Onion Relish from Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes

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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium red onions, halved and thinly sliced (I used one red onion, one Vidalia, because I have lots right now and I love their sweet flavour)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Heat the oil in a medium sauté pan or saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with a lid and cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes.

Increase the heat to medium-high and add the wine, vinegar, honey and thyme and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid evaporates and the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency, 5 to 7 minutes.

Transfer to a bowl, stir in the parsley, and let cool to room temperature. The relish can be made 2 days ahead and stored, covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving. Makes about 2 cups.

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Sautéing the onions. The 10 minute cook time and occasional stirring were much more low maintenance than caramelizing them!

 

 

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This is right after I removed from the heat and stirred in the parsley. I didn’t transfer to a bowl first (sorry Bobby), but by now, that shouldn’t surprise you, as you know what a rebel I am in the kitchen.

 

Ok, for the other recipes, I thought we’d try something fun. Leave a comment in the comments section or on facebook, or email me, and let me know which recipe you’d like to see on here first. Depending on the response I get, I will post whichever recipe gets the most votes in an upcoming post (don’t worry, I may share more than one). I thought I’d do a “readers’ choice” post later this week, where I share the recipe you choose and answer the questions I got last week (don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten)! So, the more you respond, the better the post will be!

Fellow Canadians, how did you celebrate the long weekend?

Let the insanity begin!

12 Jul

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Two zucchini. This may not scream insanity to you. Well, then you’ve obviously never grown zucchini before. These were the first two (of MANY to come) zucchini I harvested from my garden on Sunday. For those of you unfamiliar with the all-space-consuming phenomenon that is zucchini in your garden, allow me to enlighten you: once they start, they come on strong and they DON’T STOP. The plants are huge, and bear much fruit (or vegetables).

In summers past, I have made innumerable recipes for zucchini breads and muffins, roasted them, grilled them, stuffed them, made zucchini cookies, even a zucchini dip once! I plan to do most of those things (and more) this summer, so expect to see a lot of zucchini cropping up on HHH in the coming months…you’ve been warned! And if you live near me, or are visiting the area, please please please allow me to give you some of my bounty – you’ll be doing me a IMG_2097favour!

The zucchini was used in the tasty pasta I made for lunch on Sunday, as well as in my supper, which I like to call “summer on a square” (in case you can’t tell from the photo, the meal was served on a square plate). This meal was just completely and totally summer-y and delicious, so much so that I was tempted to scream “I love you summer” at the top of my lungs as I ate in my backyard, but I feared that that might alarm the neighbours, so I kept my seasonal exclamations to myself. Allow me to break this plate of summer goodness down element-by-element.

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The zucchini element. I made a tasty salad by grilling about 2/3 of one of the zucchini, seasoned only with salt and pepper. I tossed the zucchini with some sliced tomato, topped with more salt and pepper, a simple balsamic vinaigrette (balsamic, fat-free Italian, Dijon and a touch of Splenda) and chopped fresh basil (green and purple, just to be fancy). Simple, but delicious. The only thing that would have made it better would be if the tomato had come from my garden, but that will come in time.

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The last of the leftover “birthday beans.” Let me tell you, even after a few days in the fridge, these guys were still delicious. I wasn’t tired of them at all, despite eating them (in various incarnations) throughout the week.

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Veggies, chips, and dip – perfect at any summer BBQ, no matter how small. More specifically, PC Blue Menu Tzatziki (which keeps remarkably well in the fridge, I’m not going to disclose how long the current container has been in there), fat-free Sour Cream and Onion Pringles (American), baby carrots and kohl rabi. What is kohl rabi, you may ask? Here’s a picture of what it looks like whole: IMG_2090

 

…and then after I peeled and cut it up:

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I saw kohl rabi at the market on Thursday, and decided to give it a try. I had seen it and heard of it before, but never bought it. The vendors at the farmers’ market were very helpful and eager to answer my questions (as most farmers’ market vendors are…don’t be shy!). You need to cake off the green peel, you can eat it raw or cooked, put in salads, etc. It kind of tastes like raw cabbage (a taste that I enjoy). I cut mine in wedge-shaped pieces for optimum dipping.

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Burger. It’s no secret how much I love burgers – but this one might make you laugh a bit, mainly because I put meat on a veggie burger! Smile with tongue out I wanted to create a “cordon bleu”-style burger, so I spread one wedge of Laughing Cow light on a thin bun, topped with grainy mustard, sliced ham, arugula from my garden, a Boca burger, more ham and a thick slice of grilled Vidalia onion. YUMMY! Why the veggie burger, if I’m adding meat anyway, you may ask? The short answer is that since I was adding more calories with my meat/cheese accompaniments, I wanted to start with a base burger that was lower in calories.

Now if you can come up with a meal more summery than my “summer on a square” – chips, veggies and dip; garden-fresh salad, baked beans and a burger, I wanna see it!

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Speaking of garden insanity, Sunday marked the beginning of another “harvest season” in my backyard – raspberries! The pictures above show a little bit of my patch (which started many years ago with just 10 little stalks in the back of my vegetable garden, which we have since had to re-locate due to the raspberry expansion). You can’t really tell from the photos, but the patch is pretty expansive. What this means is that for the next couple of weeks, raspberry picking will become my life. If I fail to update this blog on a regular basis, assume I’ve IMG_2101passed out in the patch due to raspberry exhaustion.

I LOVE raspberries, but they are a royal PAIN to pick! They are nice and thorny, and the bushes give me a mild rash (as do zucchini plants, by the way), so I usually have to don a long-sleeved shirt and pants to pick, which, as you can imagine, feels wonderful outside in the July heat. And since it is “my” patch, that means I have the sole pleasure of picking them (lucky me, right?). No one in my family has any problem helping eat the berries though…funny how that works. All whining aside, I know I’m pretty lucky to have an amazing crop like this right outside my back door.

Last year wasn’t a very crop, but things are looking good this year. My berry yogurt/cereal bowls are looking up already. Smile

For today’s question, I ask, do you have any good zucchini recipes/uses/ideas you’d like to share? I think this season I’d like to try making relish…

Summer Start-Up and Shape-Up Sum-Up

30 Jun

June 29 2011

So yesterday was the start of my summer vacation (okay, okay, I’ll shut up) and I took the time to do stuff that needed doing – like weeding my garden. But then I was out there, and, as happens every time, I can’t believe how big it’s all getting (I sound kinda like a proud parent, no?) and realized it had been a while since I gave you all an update…so here you go!

Just look how big that pepper is! I just need it to turn yellow and it’ll be ready (I could eat it green, but I MUCH prefer the flavour when fully ripened). I also have a poblano almost ready to go. The tomatoes I have are small and green, but they’re comin’. And there are tiny zucchinis that I think will be ready in a matter of weeks (maybe even days)….expect a boatload of zucchini recipes/experiments to appear in the days ahead. Bean and pea plants shooting up nicely, and big bunches of kale. And a prize goes to anyone who can tell me what that funky-coloured bug in the bottom right of the collage is…I saw it laying in the dirt when I was out weeding/picking.

I used something from the garden as part of the first (of many) at-home summer lunches. Any guesses? I’ll tell you in a bit, but first it’s time for (drumroll please):

THE OFFICIAL SHAPE UP FOR SUMMER SUMMARY!

I created this challenge to last for the month of June, in a large part to help motivate me to get back on track after my Vegas vacation and look good for the months ahead. Well, June has come, and as of tomorrow, it will be gone…so, how did I do? I’m posting my original goals, and below each one I’ll comment on my progress.

– eat low-carb, mostly whole foods, one day a week (I felt so fabulous after doing it last week that I want to continue)

I achieved this for each week in June (and even this week, which was just a partial week). I definitely don’t regret this. It pushed me to choose more whole, filling foods and get a bit more creative in the kitchen. I’m also a big believe in switching things up (both diet and exercise-wise) so your body doesn’t get used to things, and this dietary change helped me accomplish this. I don’t plan to make this a weekly feature in July, as it’s summer, and I just want to enjoy and not be so strict…but I will likely have a couple low carb meals (as there are some I just really enjoy) and treats now and again.

– use self-control and make smart choices at food functions in June (showers, graduations, birthdays, Father’s day) and bring a healthier option wherever possible

I’m pretty proud of myself on this one. In June, I had my grandma’s birthday, a day out with BBQ tour and frozen yogurt, Father’s Day, my cousin’s grad party and a church potluck. I wasn’t perfect, but I was pretty smart about what I made/brought, and used self-control around all the “special occasion foods,” and, most importantly, didn’t leave feeling totally stuffed….this is huge for me!

– push myself in my workouts, especially in strength training, to increase intensity and feel the burn

So-so on this one I’d say. I did get a new workout from my trainer, which was good, but not as killer as I’d hoped (I measure based on how sore I am afterward). I got in a couple of good workouts (one AWESOME interval session on the treadmill), and of course, a couple of Military Tone classes (when they weren’t cancelled). But I think my month-long Athletic Club Membership will REALLY help with this goal, even though it will be mostly in July. If the soreness I experienced from TRX class (even 2 days later) is any indication, then good things are ahead!

And, my late addition:

– try to fit in 10 minutes of at-home hula hooping 4 days a week

I’d say this was more like 3 days, but hey, that’s still 30 minutes of exercise I wasn’t getting before, right? I’ll admit, I haven’t done any this week, but I’ve been a little more consumed with exercise due to my new membership and all the classes and stuff I’m trying out, so it’s not like I’m just sitting on my butt. I don’t think all be as faithful in July, and it’s getting a bit old to be honest, but I’ll try not to let that hoop collect dust, and still get out there at least once a week.

I do feel like I’ve taken off the vacation pounds Smileand I think I mentioned before that one of my pairs of “tight pants” weren’t so tight as I remembered…yay! Smile As you know, I’m anti-scale, so I didn’t do any weighing, and didn’t take any measurements either.

I just want to thank all of you for making me accountable. You may not think that you’re doing anything just by reading my blog, but by your simple act of checking in and following along, you push me to succeed. I’ll admit, this little challenge was in the back of my mind when I felt like blowing off a hoop session or caving to unhealthy cravings…so THANK YOU!

And if you took me up on the challenge and shared your goals with me (or even if you didn’t), I wanna know how you did! Please leave comments on this post and/or email me to let me know how it went (Donna, didn’t we say we needed some lululemon to celebrate? Winking smile).

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So, in case you didn’t guess, the garden ingredient I used was kale to make kale chips (shocker, I know). The kale chips went along side one of my absolutely delectable homemade veggie burgers. I served this burger on a toasted thin bun with some grainy mustard, a melted cheese slice, a baked (at the same time/temp as the chips) portabella, salsa, a nice juicy tomato slice and a slice of Vidalia onion.

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This guy was SO MESSY! I can’t even begin to describe how messy it was. I think next time if I didn’t toast the bun it would be a bit easier to eat. But the combo of toasted bun, kinda mushy burger, ooey-gooey cheese, juicy mushroom and tomato and crisp onion made for a burger that dripped and oozed (in the best possible way) everywhere. I needed a paper towel for this bad boy. I think I’ve heard Food Network celebs say that the best burgers are messy. If so, this one would certainly qualify!!!

I’m leaving today to go to Buffalo for an overnight shopping (and grocery) trip with my mom (yep, Canada Day spent in the US…aren’t we patriotic?). Expect to see updates on the food shenanigans over the weekend…I’m planning to splurge a little bit on some 80/20 treats after the success of the Shape Up challenge (hopefully I won’t go TOO crazy).

And, since this is a summer post, I just HAVE to share with you a song that I am absolutely LOVING, and I have decided will be me theme song for the summer. I shared it with my BFF and she is as equally enthralled as I am. I heard it on CBC radio (I know, random), and it is called You, Me & Optimus Prime, sung by someone named James Struthers, who also happens to be Canadian. Basically, it’s about not wanting to grow up, and just enjoy the simple things in life…which is kinda where I’m at right now. I urge you, DOWNLOAD IT NOW! I’ve been listening to it over and over and I’m not sick of it yet…and it’s great to support a Canadian artist, right? Let me know your thoughts if you check it out.

Thanks again for your accountability on my Shape-Up journey. What are your plans for the Canada Day long weekend?

Ring around the Burger

24 Jun

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Life is funny sometimes. On Wednesday, I knew I was going to be on my own for supper. So that morning, I was thinking about what I’d make for myself (yes, I am completely and totally consumed by food…I am always making it, eating it, or thinking about it…deal with it). I thought about the PC Blue Menu Chicken Sliders I had in my freezer, and thought they’d be good with some Hungry Girl onion rings, and it had been ages since I made them. Then, when reading my emails before leaving for work, my daily Hungry Girl email told me it was National Onion Ring Day – it was meant to be!

This recipe is an HG oldie, but definitely a goodie! For some reason, this time the ground-up cereal didn’t stick to my rings to well (I think maybe it wasn’t finely ground enough), but I made it work, cranked up the oven temperature a bit at the end of cook time, and dipped ‘em in my delicious BBQ ranch dip (sour cream, ranch dip mix, light BBQ sauce, brown sugar twin, cumin and liquid smoke) and they tasted great! As you can see from the ingredients picture and then reading the recipe below, I switched up my spices, using cumin, chili powder and garlic salt. Feel free to try any blend you like! Here’s the recipe:

Lord of the Onion Rings 2.0
PER SERVING (entire recipe): 155 calories, 1g fat, 515mg sodium, 41g carbs, 16g fiber, 7g sugars, 9g protein

Ingredients:IMG_1879
1 large onion
1/2 cup Fiber One bran cereal (original)
1/2 cup fat-free liquid egg substitute (like Egg Beaters Original)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. onion powder, or more to taste
1/8 tsp. salt, or more to taste
Black pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Slice the ends off the onion and remove its outer layer. Cut onion into 1/2-inch-wide slices, and separate into rings. Set aside.

Using a blender or food processor, grind Fiber One to a breadcrumb-like consistency. Season the crumbs with spices and transfer to a plate.
Fill a small bowl with egg substitute. Prepare a baking sheet (or two, if you have a lot of rings) by spraying with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Pop-Up Tip! For this next step, try using tongs or a fork to dip the rings into the egg substitute and cereal crumbs — it’ll keep your fingers from getting eggy & crumb-covered. (Don’t pierce the rings with the fork; just balance them on it.)
One at a time, dunk each ring in egg substitute, give it a shake to remove any excess, and then coat it in the seasoned crumbs. Evenly place rings on the baking sheet(s).

Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes, carefully flipping rings over about halfway through. Enjoy!
MAKES 1 SERVING

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I used a nice, sweet Vidalia onion. Here are the rings, all sliced and separated.

 

 

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The egg substitute-coated ring goes for a dip in the cereal “crumbs” (best photo I could get while my hands were all goopy). If you’re familiar with HG, you’ve seen the fibre one/egg substitute “faux-fry” tip before. It works great for anything you want a crispy coating on…veggies….chicken…the list goes on! Check out the HG site for more cool ideas!

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Now onto the sliders. First of all, anyone notice how HUGE sliders are lately (which is a bit of an oxy-moron, since sliders are actually mini burgers, but I think you got the drift)? Sliders, mini sausages and buns are all over the new PC Insider’s report (and I sampled the mini sausages and ciabatta buns at last weekend’s visit to the PC Summer Tour…yum!). The sliders are great, but the calorie counts on the buns are a tad higher than I’d like for a mini bun…so I problem solved and found these great whole wheat mini pitas with only 20 calories AND one gram of fibre each and halved them for my buns…perfect!

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I opted to go for a Mediterranean vibe for my chicken sliders – on the halved pitas, I put the chicken sliders, some of my fav PC Blue Menu Tzatziki, sliced Vidalia onion (leftover from the rings), a slice of grilled mini eggplant, a piece or jarred roasted red pepper, and fresh dill….um…YUM! So, summer-y, fresh and delicious!

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So many layers of delicious flavour – I think we need a close-up! And don’t the frilly toothpicks complete things nicely? FYI, sliders are great party food. Last year for my birthday, I did a build-your-own slider party – big hit!

 

 

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My other side dish was a salad of grilled asparagus and grilled portabella mushroom (sliced) with fresh basil and a quick balsamic vinaigrette, plus a few cucumber spears for extra dipping in that ranch dip.IMG_1886

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dessert was also quite delicious and summer-y: pineapple mango soft serve! IMG_1888This stuff rules. The combo of fresh and frozen fruit blends up beautifully, no added liquid necessary. And somehow, the lack of banana really lets the tropical flavours shine through. I also snacked on some of these new Rold Gold 1oo calorie caramel-glazed pretzels that I am loving these days….I Red heartsweet and salty! (can’t find them online, otherwise I’d post the link).

Speaking of burgers, quick update on the bean and the chicken ones I made a while back. I said that I wasn’t sure how they’d thaw from the freezer. I’m happy to report that both thawed beautifully!

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The waxed paper layers made both easy to remove from their containers. I let the chicken burgers (pictured above right)thaw on the counter (I know that’s a food safety no-no, but it hasn’t killed me yet) and I microwaved my veggie burger for a minute on high. And, when topped with a slice of melted Velveeta cheese, a touch of salsa, a slice of sweet onion and a slice juicy tomato on a lightly toasted English muffin, the bean burger was simply OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD! I WILL be eating it this way again!

Happy first official weekend of summer!Sun Any plans? I’m making some food for my cousin’s grade 8 grad party and on Sunday I’ve got a church picnic – lots of food and fun all around!

If you don’t know what you’re cookin’ yet, why not give one of these burger recipes a try? And/or some soft-serve. Both are light yet amazingly satisfying ways to ring in summer!

Burger Builder

14 Jun

I’ve said it before. I’m saying it now. I’ll say it again: I love burgers. Beef, veggie, chicken or turkey, I love ‘em all. IMG_1749But, for the most part, the burgers I eat at home are pre-made store-bought ones. And while that’s ok, I thought that since I like burgers so much, I should give making my own a try (and, Katie’s chicken burgers did inspire me, I must admit). So on Sunday, I made 2 batches of homemade burgers – one veggie, one chicken. I had the veggies for lunch (as you can see from the photo, I went bun-less on that one) and the chicken for dinner. Read on to see how to make both!

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Keen for Bean Southwest Veggie Burgers (makes 6)

1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed

1 cup refried beans

2 tbsp chopped garlic

1/4 cup chopped sweet onion

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1 tbsp Epicure salsa seasoning

1 tsp Epicure Nacho Cheese Dip mix

1 tsp Epicure Pueblo Bean dip mix

1 tsp cumin

salt and pepper to taste

***Note: I am a hot and spicy lover, but I found these patties just a tad over the top. If I make them again, I’ll dial back the spices again, which I suggest you do too if you can’t take the heat.

Mash the black beans with a potato masher in a bowl. Add all other ingredients, mix together.

Using your hands, divide the mixture in 6 and shape into patties. If not using all immediately, store between waxed paper in an airtight container in the freezer (note: I haven’t defrosted any yet, so I’m not 100 % sure this works).

To cook the burgers, spray a non-stick pan with PAM, preheat over medium-high heat. Cook the burger until browned on one side (about 3 minutes), then flip and brown the other. * I would NOT advise you to grill these – I think they’d stick really bad and/or fall apart. Homemade veggie burgers are best for the frying pan I think.

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This is what the burger looks like after being flipped. As you can see, I ate my first burger bun-less with a side salad (wanted to cut calories since I knew I’d be having birthday cake later that afternoon), but I think these would be great on a bun with a slice of cheese melted over and some salsa. Like I said above, there was a touch too much spice, but overall, I really liked the flavour of these burgers. A nice change from your usual veggie burger.

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Moving right along to the chicken burgers. I think chicken burgers are a great opportunity to play with herbs/spices and flavourings. That being said, since I was making a whole “batch,” I wanted to go with something fairly neutral, not too strongly flavoured, that would be more versatile, so my seasonings this round were pretty basic. I’ve got all summer to experiment though! Winking smile

Basic Chicken Burgers (makes 5)

1 450 g package lean ground chicken

1/2 cup broccoli slaw, finely chopped

1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup liquid egg whites

1 tbsp Epicure French onion dip mix

1 tsp Epicure Herb and garlic dip mix

1 tsp salt, plus a few shakes pepper.

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands (the best tool, really) to mix it up. Divide mixture in 5, then shape into patties. As with the veggie burgers, store any you’re not using layered with waxed paper in an airtight container in the fridge (haven’t defrosted any of these yet either, so no results report here either).

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I cooked my burger on the grill over high heat and put a cheese slice on right at the end to enjoy it cheeseburger-style, and topped it off with onion, pickle, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and vinegar – oh yeah! My sides were roasted cauliflower (nice and crispy this time) and veggies with some spring green hummus.

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So, chicken burger review. My favourite part of these burgers? The ingredient list – only 4 things, plus spices. And I like the little veggie boost from the broccoli slaw and onion. I didn’t think the flavour was anything special or outrageous. They were good, but nothing way above and beyond your average chicken burger. I’m definitely going to be more adventurous with the next batch. Can’t wait to see what I come up with?

Are you a burger lover like me? What kind is your favourite? Any good recipes/tips/tricks to share?

Burger craving…squashed!

21 May

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I’m sayin’ it loud and I’m sayin’ it proud – I love burgers! One of the best parts of summer, if you ask me. Smile So, a couple of nights before we left for Vegas, when the weather was warm, and the grill was calling, burgers were the obvious choice. As much as I LOVE portobello burgers, sometimes, you just can’t beat beef. My go-to burger right now is made by PC Blue Menu (surprise, surprise). I wanted to link to the specific product, but couldn’t find it on the website, so hopefully that doesn’t mean they’re discontinued. They’re only about 140 or 150 calories and I think they’re called portion wise. The burger was on a thin bun with ketchup and mustard (never relish for me), sliced onions and pickles (I only discovered how delicious pickles are on sandwiches/burgers within the last couple of years….I can’t believe I missed out for so long, so I’m making up for lost time). There would have been tomato slices too, but at that point, the produce section of the fridge was depleted due to our impending departure.IMG_1081

What were my side dishes? One was a little quirky, the other a little more normal. The quirky dish was a slaw-type salad made with butternut squash and cauliflower (project: use-up-produce-in the fridge however you can continues). I peeled and cubed about 2 cups of butternut squash, and cooked in the microwave for about 6 minutes. To the squash, I added chopped cauliflower; one Empire apple, grated on a box grater and a couple of chopped green onions. My dressing was fat-free Miracle Whip, Dijon mustard, white wine vinegar, brown sugar twin, just a touch of curry powder, some cinnamon, cumin and salt and pepper. I mixed it all together and let it sit in the fridge for a few hours so the flavours could blend.

My more “normal” side dish was roasted asparagus and broccoli. I tossed some chopped spears and florets with 2 tsp olive oil, fresh ground salt and pepper. I roasted at 450 for about 1/2 an hour, then right at the end, I drizzled with balsamic vinegar and popped the veggies back in the oven for a few minutes.

I sure hope there’s still asparagus at home when I get back….LOVE the stuff! What are your favourite ways to prepare/cook asparagus? And/or, what’s the quirkiest thing you’ve ever come up with to use up food in your fridge?

Summer…is that you?

12 Apr

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The weather here was so unbelievably nice on Sunday. I went to church and came home, and it was nice out, but I actually ended up spending most of the afternoon inside. So when I went outside to light the BBQ for supper, I couldn’t believe how nice it was outside….WOW! And I believe there is no other meal better for warm weather than burgers. Sunday’s Mediterranean chicken burger was an original creation, but one that I DEFINATELY want to make again! Just look at the bad boy…so many layers of flavour! Read on for the 411 on how to make one for yourself. I was home alone, so increase your quantities accordingly if you’re cooking for more than one person.IMG_0720

In my patty were the following ingredients: about 3 or 4 ounces lean ground chicken, garlic salt, pepper, Pampered Chef Greek seasoning (I’m sure you could substitute Italian seasoning or oregano/basil), 3 finely chopped sundried tomatoes, 1/2 ounce crumbled light feta cheese and a bit of Dijon mustard. I used my hands to mix it all together – gotta get down and dirty!

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I grilled the patty on high heat, along with 2 slices of eggplant (I would have used one, but it was a small eggplant), sprayed with PAM and then seasoned with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. I flipped the burger/eggplant slices once, reduced heat slightly, and grilled until cooked through.

 

But the party’s just getting started with that patty – check out all the goodness that I have to top it off with! I’ve got a nice big slice of tomato, somIMG_0723e sliced onion, the grilled eggplant of course, arugula (sidenote: I need to eat arugula more…I love the peppery bite! Sadly, it’s not consistently available at my grocery store, so I’m glad summer’s coming up so I can plant some in my garden) and PC Blue Menu Tzatziki dip. I’ve been meaning to blog about this stuff for a while now…I have a mild obsession. It is SO good as a dip for veggies (or chips/pitas) and it was absolutely divine on my Mediterranean buIMG_0721rger. Get some for yourself ASAP so you can try it out!

I also made beet chips on the side. Oh…beet chips, the saga continues. On the bright side, I didn’t burn them this time.However, even though I rotated the pans…half of them got brownish (a touch more than I wanted) and the other half weren’t crispy. Made beet chips and I aren’t meant to be? They still tasted yummy though, so I ate them all.

You can see in the photo that I also made a slaw on the side – it was sort of a smoky ranch slaw. It was good but not GREAT, so I’m not going to bother with all of the details – the dressing hat ranch dip mix, plain yogurt, Miracle Whip, vinegar, jalapeno pickle vinegar and cumin (I think that’s it) and it was a broccoli slaw base with some other veggies added.IMG_0725

As soon as I stepped outside to grill I came to one conclusion: I must eat dessert outside, and it must be ice cream. I was going to be bold and pull out a piece of lawn furniture or two, but then I opened the shed and saw the tall piles, and I decided the permanently-hanging front porch swing would be just fine.

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The ice cream in question? Well, it was a sundae made with half a cup of PC caramel pecan crunch fro yo, half of a banana sliced up, a crumbled low-fat biscotti-type cookie that had been in my cupboard for WAY too long, sugar-free chocolate syrup and topped off with a generous squirt of my Buffalo-bought fat-free Reddi Whip. Oh yeah! This was good….actually better than I was expecting….I was kind of indecisive when deciding what I wanted for dessert, and this was DEFINATELY the right decision. You know what made it even better (besides that fact that I was eating it outside on the front porch swing in April? I brought my ipod along and listened to some Jack Johnson. I love Jack. And his music just screams (well, as much as Jack can scream in his wonderful mellow ways) summer to me, do you agree?IMG_0729

Sadly, all good things must come to an end. And my sundae glass was empty all too soon. It was good while it lasted though, and I know there will be more sundaes, burgers and Jack Johnson as the weather keeps getting warmer. Summer, come soon!