Saturday, September 26, 2009

Grilled Turkey-Herb Burgers

I love to cook, and that really helps me on my journey to becoming and staying a healthy writer. I find it a creative outlet and love to experiment when I have the time and energy. I’ve also learned that I need to plan ways to help me stay on a healthy diet for the days cooking seems more like a chore. When I’m dragging my tired self home from a long, tough day at work, I’ve got to have a healthy meal already prepared or a good idea of how I can easily throw together one in minutes or I will give in to the lure of take out.

These grilled turkey-herb burgers have become a staple of mine since I finally got over my preference for beef long enough to give this recipe a try. The mayonnaise and mustard you mix into the burgers give them enough moisture to overcome how dry and boring ground turkey breast can be on its own. Knowing I have a stash of these burgers in the freezer help me resist the temptation of Five Guys, Wendy’s or another local burger joint.

Grilled Turkey-Herb Burgers

Makes 4 Servings

1 pound ground skinless turkey breast

1 onion, finely chopped

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons seasoned dried bread crumbs (or oatmeal as a healthier alternative)

3 tablespoons minced parsley

3 tablespoons reduced-calorie mayonnaise

1 tablespoon minced fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried

2 teaspoons dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

1. Preheat the broiler.

2. In a large bowl, lightly combine the turkey, onion, bread crumbs, parsley, mayonnaise, basil, mustard and pepper. Shape into 4 equal burgers.

3. Spray the broiler rack with nonstick cooking spray; broil the burgers 5" from the heat, until well done, 4-5 minutes on each side.

Per serving: 210 Calories, 4 g Total Fat, 1 g Saturated Fat, 74 mg Cholesterol, 476 mg Sodium, 11 g Total Carbohydrate, 1 g Dietary Fiber, 30 g Protein, 34 mg Calcium.

Serving provides: 1 Bread, 3 Protein/Milks, 1 Fat

Points Per Serving: 4

I’ve slightly modified a version of this recipe that appears on page 141 in the Weight Watchers Simply the Best 250 Prizewinning Family Recipes cookbook published in 1997. I like to play with the herbs I include, and I bet you could experiment with the vegetables you mix in. I've even heard of folks including chopped apples in their turkey burgers. You can also use oatmeal instead of bread crumbs.

These burgers freeze very well. I put each burger into a sandwich bag and then place all the baggies in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. I’ve made up to 16 at a time to freeze, and I don’t really notice any difference in taste or quality between the frozen burgers and never frozen burgers.

I often come home from work, pop a baggy in the microwave to defrost the burger, broil it and serve it on an Arnold’s thin roll (100 calories/1 point) with veggies and condiments. The side will be equally easy – a piece of fruit, some veggies, etc, and I find it a very satisfying meal. Enjoy!

What are some of your go-to, staple recipes when you don't have much time or energy to cook?


Anonymous said...

Michelle, these sound insanely yummy. I have to admit, I was never a fan of ground turkey, but these sound a LOT more interesting. Will have to try this out!

I'm also a big fan of cooking in bulk and freezing the extras for those nights when you just don't feel like cooking or when you're really rushed (if you have kids with after-school activities, you know what I mean!). I almost never buy frozen prepared meals because they're loaded with sodium and other preservatives, plus they get *really* expensive if you're feeding your whole family that way.

My go-to freezer selections are either soup (usually beef vegetable or chicken noodle-- made with whole wheat noodles and chopped spinach-- which I prepare in my biggest stockpot and freeze in meal-sized containers) or homemade marinara sauce over spaghetti squash. I looooove spaghetti squash. They're usually pretty cheap (especially if you have a local farmers market), you can bake extra, scrape out the spaghetti-like fibers and freeze it in zip-loc bags. Quick, easy, and satisfies my pasta cravings without the same carbs as box spaghetti!

Michelle Butler on September 26, 2009 at 11:24 AM said...

The burgers really are awesome and can satisfy my craving for hamburgers.

Do you go meatless with your marinara sauce over spaghetti squash? I did try the substitutue spaghetti squash for spaghetti once more than 10 years ago and was not impressed. I need to try again.

When you freeze your soup, do you cook the noodles all the way or put them in half cooked? Mary had given me that tip once, and it seems to work well. The noodles are just a little bit firmer if you don't cook them all the way before you freeze them. Also, I've found that the whole wheat noodles are heartier than regular noodles.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on September 26, 2009 at 12:48 PM said...

These sound good. I'm going to have to give them a try. I've never had a turkey burger before. But I do love those thin rolls. I've been using those instead of sliced bread. Fewer calories.

Michelle Butler on September 26, 2009 at 12:57 PM said...

These were my first turkey burgers too. Let me know if you do try them what you think!

Theresa Ragan on September 26, 2009 at 1:49 PM said...

Michelle, thanks for the great recipe. I LOVE hamburgers...and this turkey burger sounds like it will satisfy my craving for a burger! I'll let you know when I've tried it. I'm going to print off the recipe now. Thanks!

Joie de vivre on September 30, 2010 at 9:10 PM said...

Found this post from Twitter! They sound delicious and healthy and satisfying.

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