Wow, what a week. We went out to Mexican food on Friday, Spanish Tortillas on Saturday and Sunday mornings, baby back ribs for dinner on Saturday and slow cooked (6 hours) brisket on Sunday. Monday, left over Brisket. Tuesday I came home from the restaurant and Nancy was baking two pizzas, one with fresh mozzarella and basil from our small garden and one with some pepperoni, mozzarella and cheddar.
I told myself I would eat two small pieces, 5 trips back to the cutting board and 7 pieces later, they were small, I was laying on the carpet with the dog standing over me (I think she was laughing), feeling full, content and well a bit sick! The pizza was good and my willpower was bad!
Holy cow… how am I supposed to not gain poundage like this? For those of you who don’t know me, I’ve lost 45 pounds in the past year. How? Simply less food, watching portions and exercising for 45 minutes each day. Oh and not eating like I did the past four days more than once every three or four weeks. Yes you can have a ton of fun eating and experimenting while still losing weight. I also eat very small meals throughout the day, 300 or 400 calories and then I try and limit my dinner to 600 calories max. Feel free to contact me if you are interested in hearing more. I’ve done quite a bit of research and testing. Maybe too much!
So how do I fix this? I still want a filling meal, in fact I still wanted meat. I need to get out Mark Bittman’s vegetarian book soon. What I came up with is a relatively low fat, turkey burger. I have cooked them multiple times on the stove on on my All Clad grill pan to great reviews and they always come through. They taste good, fill me up and best of all I don’t feel any guilt when I’m done. Both of the kids even like them, though they like my chuck cheeseburgers better.
I decided on Wednesday night that I would try to barbecue them for a change. I’ve been really juiced on the BBQ lately so I thought why not. I was a bit worried about the burgers sticking to the grill so I decided to rub a bit of olive oil on each side which did the trick. Also make sure your grill is oiled! One other important note, don’t let these burgers sit on the counter for long like I suggest for other types of meat. They don’t hold together as well as they get warmer and tend to break on the flip. Lastly, you do not have to put breadcrumbs in your turkey burgers to keep them together. Breadcrumbs are for a meatloaf, not burgers.
Now you will notice one thing in the one particular photo, ahhh, well, yeah there is a version that doesn’t look too low fat, which is the one with the Brioche Bun, yummmm! Yes the bun has more calories than the hamburger and the cheese combined, hahah. Oh well, I guess after the past week I still don’t completely have my willpower back. Whole Foods just opened not far from my house this week, yes I’m so freaking happy, and I couldn’t resist them when Nancy pointed them out to me!
As for the recipe I found it in “Best Light Recipe” last year and have adapted if for the BBQ. They suggest cooking it on the stove, so will include their version and mine. Honestly the Cooks Illustrated books are some of the best cook books you can buy if you want to understand and learn what is going on with the food. Oh and it tastes as good on the stove as the grill!
So next time you have eaten your quota for the week, but still want a good burger, try these out. I promise you, it will be time well spent.
Turkey Burgers on the Grill: Serves 5 (my adapted version)
- 1 1/4 pounds Ground Turkey 7% fat
- 5 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 4 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup of low-fat ricotta cheese
- Kosher Salt
- Fresh Ground Pepper
- Olive Oil
Prepare grill for medium high heat. Make sure to oil grill before starting to keep burgers from sticking.
Combine the turkey, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon, ricotta and 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper in a large bowl until mixed well. Divide the mixture between 5 burgers, 3/4 inch thick.
Lightly salt both sides of the burgers and then coat with a small amount of olive oil.
Grill for a total of 9 to 11 minutes depending on desired doneness, turning only once. Instant read thermometer should read 160 degrees to be safe. One minute before taking burgers off be sure to grill your hamburger buns or sourdough English muffins, add cheese to the burgers, close lid and let melt. If using Brioche they will grill fast and can burn pretty quickly so wait until you pull the burgers off, then grill them.
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
4 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
Place asparagus on a plate or in a bowl. Drizzle oil over the asparagus and turn spears until they are coated. Sprinkle with salt and turn again.
Grill asparagus for 7 – 10 minutes. I put them on when I first start my burgers, flip them halfway and if they cook before the burgers I move them to the top rack of my grill!
Turkey Burgers Serves 4 (Cooks Illustrated)
- 1 1/4 pounds Ground Turkey 7% fat
- 3 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 3 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup of fat-free ricotta cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Vegetable oil
Combine th turkey, ricotta, Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper together in a large bowl with your hands until uniformly combined. Do not overwork. Divide the mixture into 4 portions. Light toss one portion from hand to hand to form a ball, then lightly flatten the ball with your fingertips. Make four 1-inch thick patties.
Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until smoking. Lay the burgers in the skillet and cook until light brown and crusted, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the burgers and continue to cook until the second side is light brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer.
Reduce the heat to low, partially cover and continue to cook until the burgers are no longer pink in the center and the thickest part registers 160 degrees on an instant read thermometer. This will take about 8 to 10 minutes longer.