Tuesday, August 2, 2011

30 Days of Blogging: Bikini-Friendly Burgers!

"Your barbeque guests will be in for a shock (and a treat!) when I share this post with you!

On a warm summer day, there is nothing better than firing up the grill for a backyard or seaside barbeque. The problem is that many traditional picnic dishes can wreak havoc on your waistline (including that juicy burger you crave!) So, impress your guests-and keep your body in beach-baring shape- by whipping up some of these favorite burgers.

Five beef-free varieties are leaner than your average backyard fare, and with ingredients like portobello mushrooms and Gorgonzola cheese, you'll look like a gourmet chef without spending hours in the kitchen (or at the grill)!

How to Make the Perfect Patty

Step 1: Mix the meat and other ingredients lightly by hand until just blended-then stop (Overhandling can cause meat to turn tough). When working with legumes, puree only half and then lightly mix the rest. This will help the burger hold together on the grill.

Step 2: Lean meats like chicken and beef need extra moisture from the inside, so mold the patties around cheese or salsa. Or build your burgers around an ice cube to keep them moist.

Step 3: When forming your patties, make them uniform in both size and thickness so they'll all cook in the same amount of time. Also, press your thumb into the center of a meat patty to form a quarter-inch depression. The meat will expand during cooking to fill the indentation, which will keep the burger flat and help it cook evenly.

Step 4: Lightly coat patties with vegetable oil or olive oil to lock in the juices.

Stuffed Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions
(536 calories, 7g fiber, 26g protein, 909mg sodium)

1 Tbl. butter
2 Spanish onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbl. brown sugar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
8 portobello mushrooms
1 Tbl. vegetable oil
1/ 2 eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
3 oz. roasted red peppers
4 oz. sliced low-fat mozzarella
1 loaf focaccia bread

  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Mix in brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover pan, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat grill to medium. Remove stems from portobello mushrooms, brush with vegetable oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Place eggplant slices on the grill, cook for 2 minutes per side, then set them aside. Add mushrooms to the grill, stem sides down, and cook for 6-7 minutes. Flip mushrooms, cook for another 4 minutes.
  4. Top 4 mushrooms with red peppers and mozzarella, then cover each with a remaining mushroom, stem side down. Cook for 2 minutes or until cheese melts; set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, slice focaccia bread in half lengthwise down the side, then slice each half into 4 squares. Toast squares on grill, 2 minutes per side.
  6. Place each stuffed mushroom on a focaccia square; top with onions, eggplant, and another focaccia square.

 Garden Chicken Burger with Strawberry Sauce
(387 calories, 7g fiber, 27g protein, 497mg sodium)

3 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 Tbl. brown sugar
2 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 Tbl. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 Tbl. fresh mint, chopped
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 medium zucchini, peeled
1 lb. lean ground chicken breast
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
6 flatbreads or naan
1 cup arugula or baby spinach

  1. Warm 1 tsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute until soft, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Add strawberries, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper; cook for 1 minute. Stir in mint and remove from heat.
  2. Preheat grill to medium. Shred carrot and zucchini, then chop into small pieces. In a large bowl, mix shredded vegetables, chicken, bread crumbs, egg, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, salt and pepper. Form into 6 patties and brush with oil.
  3. Place burgers on grill and cook for 4-5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Meanwhile, toast bread for 1-2 minutes per side.
  4. Line flatbreads with arugula, add burgers, and top with strawberry sauce, then fold bread over burgers.

Turkey Gorgonzola Burgers
(293 calories, 4g fiber, 26g protein, 545mg sodium)

1 lb. lean ground turkey
3 oz. Gorgonzola cheese, chopped
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp vegetable oil
6 100% whole-grain buns
6 Tbl. barbeque sauce*
Optional: shredded cabbage

  1. Preheat grill to medium. Combine first five ingredients and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Lightly mix together and form into 6 patties. Brush them with vegetable oil.
  2. Grill burgers for 4-5 minutes per side. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns; garnish with barbeque sauce and cabbage, if desired.

Asian Salmon Sliders with Citrus Yogurt Sauce
(292 calories, 3g fiber, 23g protein, 446mg sodium)

1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
Juice of half a lime
Juice of half an orange
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp honey
1 lb. skinless, boneless salmon
1 Tbl. sesame oil
2 Tbl. low-sodium soy sauce
1 piece ginger, chopped
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp vegetable oil
6 small 100% whole-grain pitas

  1. In a bowl, combine yogurt, lime juice, orange juice, and honey; set aside.
  2. Preheat grill to medium.Wash salmon and pat dry. Chop half the fish and place in food processor along with sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. Process until it becomes a pasty puree.
  3. Chop remaining salmon and add to puree along with bread crumbs and cilantro. Pulse until combined. Form into 12 small patties and brush with oil.
  4. Grill patties 4 minutes per side. Stuff pitas with burgers and yogurt sauce.

Black Bean Oat Burgers
(283 calories, 10g fiber, 13g protein, 300mg sodium)

1 can (19oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups diced mushrooms
1/2 cup plain rolled oats
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbl. cumin
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp vegetable oil
6 100% whole-grain buns
6 Tbl. spicy mustard*
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup baby spinach

  1. Preheat grill to medium. Place half the beans in a food processor or blender along with mushrooms, oats, garlic, egg, cumin, and pepper. Process until well mixed. Add remaining beans and pulse the machine until they're combined into the mixture. Form into 6 patties and coat each with vegetable oil.
  2. Grill for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns and stop with mustard, tomato slices, and baby spinach.

Lentil Quinoa Burgers with Sauteed Mushrooms
(445 calories, 13g fiber, 19g protein, 305mg sodium)

1/2 cup quinoa
1 can (19oz.) lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 gloves garlic, chopped
2 tsp cumin powder
1/3 cup cilantro
Juice of half a lemon
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 Tbl. butter
1/2 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry red wine
2 tsp vegetable oil
6 100% whole-grain buns

  1. In a saucepan, combine quinoa and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer about 10 minutes. Let quinoa cool.
  2. In a bowl, combine half the lentils, bread crumbs, egg, garlic, cumin, cilantro, lemon juice, cooked quinoa, and salt and pepper. Mix in a food processor or blender until well combined. Add remaining lentils and walnuts; pulse until they're incorporated. Make 6 patties.
  3. Preheat grill to medium. Melt butter in skillet over medium heat; add sliced mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Stir in wine; cook for another 5 minutes.
  4. Brush burgers with oil and cook for 4 minutes per side. Toast buns for 2 minutes. Serve burgers on buns and top with sauteed mushrooms.

*Beyond the Bottle*

Barbeque Sauce
(11 calories, 75mg sodium per tablespoon)

2 tsp vegetable oil
1/2 medium red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbl. tomato paste
1 tsp cumin
1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 Tbl. molasses
2 Tbl. brown sugar
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp spicy mustard
1 Tbl. chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper

  1. In a skillet, warm oil over medium heat and cook onion about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Mix in remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Sauce will keep in the fridge for up to a month! (Makes 2 cups)

Spicy Mustard
(32 calories, 62mg sodium per tablespoon)

1/2 cup dark beer
1/2 cup whole mustard seeds (brown mustard seeds will make your mix hotter)
1/3 cup balsamic or red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp each cinnamon, ground cloves, allspice, and nutmeg
1 tsp brown sugar

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and secure the lid. Let mixture sit at room temperature overnight so that the seeds soften and the flavors blend.
  2. Transfer to a food processor or blender and process until seeds are coarsely ground and mixture is thickened. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides. Mustard will keep in the fridge for a month (Makes 1 cup).

Quick Tip: Still lust for red meat? Try ground bison! This sweet tasting meat gives you all the satisfaction of a traditional burger, but with only 7.3g fat and 152 calories per serving!"

Again, thanks to Women's Health for these inspiring recipes!

Get grilling everyone! "Wow" your guests with your cooking skills and make the best burgers possible! Or just enjoy them for yourself...on your own two feet...

Until the next step bloggers...

1 comment:

  1. ohhh this is so great!!! those are some yummy recipes. ive always wanted to try out portobellos as a 'burger' i havent yet though..i think ill try this one! thanks for the recipes!