Healthy Bun-less Burgers

Who doesn’t love a big juicy burger on a fresh sesame bun loaded with all the toppings?  While it might be tasty it isn’t the most healthy dinner in the world.  I’ve found a way to really enjoy a weeknight burger without all the carbs and fat.  I promise it is still delicious. Try this recipe using whatever vegetables you have on hand.  If you put them in a food processor and blend them very fine you will have even greater success.  Adding a ton of vegetables to my burgers allows me to use a lot less meat than I normally would and it’s still a large and fulfilling delicious meal!  I honestly didn’t miss the bun with this burger.

           

Ingredients:

  • Ground lean beef
  • 1/2 Onion
  • 1/2 package of baby portabella mushrooms
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Hot cherry peppers (you decide)
  • Fresh parsley
  • 1 egg – the white
  • Salt & pepper
  • Gruyère cheese (or whatever you prefer)
  • Spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes

Directions: 

  1. Take the meat out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.  Chop your onions, mushrooms, garlic and fresh parsley very small.  I used about 2 spoonfuls from a jar of chopped hot cherry peppers- you can decide how spicy you want it.  You can use a food processor to make life easier.  Put all the ingredients in a bowl.    
  2. Add the meat to the bowl and season with kosher salt & fresh cracked black pepper. Add the white from one egg. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands. Put a flat pan on the stove on medium to high heat.  Form two burgers out of your mixture.
  3. Cut your cheese into a few small pieces and stick into your burger in different sections.  They make for a nice surprise when you cut into it later!  Make sure you seal the meat back up around the cheese.
  4. Spray your pan with the misto olive oil and place your burgers on the pan. I used the top of another pan to help cook the burgers faster but didn’t put it down air tight.  Just enough to speed up the process and let steam come out. After about 5 minutes, flip the burgers and let them cook through.
  5. When your  burgers are almost done add a tablespoon of olive oil to a separate pan on medium heat with red pepper flakes.  Add a bag of spinach, a healthy sprinkle of kosher salt and let cook for about a minute.
  6. Plate the spinach with the burger on top.  Serve with a whole grain rice on the side.
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Stuff Your Own…Stuffed Pepper!

I had an urgent craving for stuffed peppers this past weekend and thought they would be nice for Sunday family dinner. I have never made them before but they seemed simple enough and I thought they have such potential to be delicious. Keeping things on the healthy side, I used a short brown rice instead of white rice. I debated what kind of stuffed peppers to make…I thought about the endless options, depending on the flavors you use. The peppers can be adapted to a Spanish version (ancho chili powder, manchego cheese stuffed in a poblano pepper) or Greek (with feta, olives and ground lamb or chicken) etc. Think about your favorite ingredients. Stuff your own!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Bell Peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups Short brown rice
  • Fresh Basil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/2lb Ground Beef, 1/2lb Ground Veal, 1/2lb Ground Pork
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Cheese (a mixture of fresh grated parmesan, shredded mozzarella and provolone any Italian cheeses will do)

Directions:

  • Cook the brown rice according to directions. I recommend adding chicken broth for an extra boost of flavor.
  • Saute onions and garlic and add salt, pepper and fresh chopped basil. After they get translucent, add the beef. Make sure you mash-up the meat (you can use a potato masher) to ground it up well.
  • Add some chopped tomatoes, a splash of tomato sauce, salt & pepper to the saute pan. Mix all together well and let sit off the heat to let the flavors meld while the rice cooks. You can add some more fresh chopped basil (or even parsley) at this point.
  • Pour the contents into a big bowl with the rice and add some parmesan cheese. Mix together and stuff your peppers.
  • Top each pepper with a spoonful of sauce and cheese. Put extra sauce in the bottom of the pan with a few more basil leaves. Bake in the oven at 350 until the sauce bubbles and the cheese is melted. Take the tinfoil off for the last ten minutes or so to let the cheese brown.
Eat and pair with a nice class of Italian red wine. Enjoy!

FYI- These are even better the next day! My dad took a leftover pepper, cut it in half and topped it with a poached egg. Mmm mmm delicious!!