Tag Archives: oats

Turkey Versions of Traditional Beef Dishes: Turkey Burgers

11 Nov

This morning while getting ready for work, Tre and I were discussing the foods I’d prepared the night before, most of which were made almost entirely of ground turkey. Tre made the astute observation that while red meat may adhere to his diet restrictions, we should not necessarily be eating it every night of the week. The shift to turkey, which I’d purchased on a whim, was very welcome and my meals had no less esteem than the red meat entrees I’d made for him before.

I’m glad Tre drew this conclusion on his own — a sign that he’s growing. Our diet is not entirely about finding substitutes for old favorites or cooking without wheat, corn, rice, and soy. It’s about maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and enjoying foods that are not only delicious, but also good for us. In the first week or two of the new diet, we were enjoying everything from ground beef burgers to filet, mashed potatoes to fried latke, parmesan to brie: comfort foods I’ll admit, to help take Tre’s mind off pizza, but not something I ever intended to become regular. Although delicious, and at times luxurious, a diet like that is both expensive and certainly not as healthy as it could be.

With an excess of 2lbs of ground turkey, I was able to wring out three separate meals, the first of which was actually a substitute for one of my own recipes. Although I love beef burgers, it’s difficult to find budget-friendly ground beef that also boasts a low fat content. 95/5 lean to fat ground beef is exactly double to cost of 80/20 at my local market and because I have a slight sensitivity to beef, I’m alright with limiting it to one night a week. Feeling a lack of creativity, I decided to revisit an early favorite, my guacamole swiss burger over latke. However, this time I opted to give it a try with my ground turkey minus the latke.

 

 

Getting ready to combine the ground turkey with Tre’s breading.

Turkey Guacamole Swiss Burger

  • 1lb lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup breading
  • 1 medium sized onion sliced
  • 1/2 cup swiss cheese, grated or 4 slices swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup guacamole*
  • 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked and halved
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

*Guacamole was premade with 2 avocados, pitted and mashed with the juice of one large lemon, coarse sea salt to taste, pepper to taste, 1 small onion finely diced, and cajun seasoning (chili powder, paprika, crushed red pepper, and garlic powder). Store-bought guacamole or mixes will do as well.

Directions

  1. In a small pan, heat olive oil over low heat. Add onions and cook until they have softened and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, mix ground turkey with breading until combined. Divide mixture into four equal sized balls and shape into burger patties either with your hands or a patty press.
  3. In a large pan, heat olive oil on medium heat. Place your turkey burgers in the pan and cook both sides until meat is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes on each side.
  4. Transfer burgers to  baking dish and place cheese on each burger. Place the burgers under your oven broiler for about 2 minutes or until cheese has melted and browned slightly. Do not over broil. Remove the baking dish from the oven and transfer the burgers to plates.
  5. Assemble by adding caramelized onions, turkey bacon, and a dollop of guacamole to each burger.

This burger was enjoyed on its own with a side of baked sweet potato. While it had almost identical flavor characteristics to the beef version, the turkey burger was much leaner and much healthier without the addition of fried latke.

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Food Processor Series: Instant Oatmeal with no Unidentifiable Ingredients

9 Nov

Ground oats with a dash of salt, brown sugar, and cinnamon provide the base for my super quick, super easy instant oatmeal.

Alright, I’ll be the first to admit that my inaugural adventure with the new food processor was fairly anticlimactic. This was mostly out of sheer intimidation. A blade spinning at an excess of 90 mph attached to a motor — heavy enough that I had to take a break while dragging it up the 3 flights of stairs to my apartment — is nothing to be fooled with. That, and a long discarded users manual would be of no help in determining if the jet propelled blade was properly attached and of no threat to my or Tre’s safety. Sadly, these are legitimate concerns and I’m fairly lucky thus far in my life that almost everything I’ve encountered is largely idiot-proof. This food processor is no exception, thank god, and after a dozen false starts I began to figure out how to harness its powers for good in my own kitchen.

Thanks to my mom’s burst of culinary inventiveness last weekend (yielding oat-based “breadcrumbs” we now call Tre’s breading) and the gift of my new KitchenAid, my interest in cooking with processor ground oats was jumpstarted. Tre is not allergic to oats and, in moderation, I’ve been working this grain into our diet as a viable complex carb substitute to whole wheat. Though oats and oat products bear similar stigma as potatoes to carb-free eaters, they prove to be a better choice than simple wheat-based foods. Oats are an excellent source of dietary fiber (hence me pairing “oats” with “moderation,” semantically speaking) and have been linked to heart health, blood sugar and blood pressure regulation, athletic endurance, and even healthy weight loss.

One of my favorite breakfasts has always been oatmeal, instant oatmeal to be specific. The kind that comes out of a wax paper pouch and becomes a meal in a matter of seconds. It’s filling, not too sweet, and has what I consider the quintessential breakfast smell. But when you start to take a critical look at the foods you put in your body, even something as innocuous as instant oatmeal is jam packed with an excess of sweeteners, color enhancers for those little mock-fruit pieces, thickening agents, and stealthily placed allergens: wheat, corn, and soy. With a newly invigorated interest in oats, I wanted to make my own brand of instant oatmeal; one whose ingredients I had complete control over with no ambiguity. Using my food processor to break the oats down a bit helped make the overall texture more creamy and less dense. This simple recipe can be portioned out into ziplock bags and cooked exactly like store-bought instant oatmeal for a quick and easy breakfast.

Here is my instant oatmeal portioned out for 5 days of breakfasts. I used craisins as my fruit.

Instant Oatmeal: Makes 5 individual servings

  • 2-1/2 cups rolled quick oats
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit such as mixed berries, raisins, or craisins
  • 5 ziplock bags or other storage
  • Directions

    1. Combine oats, salt, cinnamon, and brown sugar in food processor. Pulse in short bursts until ingredients combine and oats are ground to a coarse meal. If you prefer a texture more like grits or “cream of wheat,” blend until oats reach a medium-fine texture. Do NOT blend to the point of powder.
    2. With a measuring cup, pour 1/2 cup of mixture into each of 5 ziplock bags or other storage. Add dried fruit, about 2 tbsp per bag. Seal bags and store in a cool, dry area.

    To Prepare Oatmeal

    1. Pour your 1/2 cup portion of oatmeal mix into a heat-safe bowl. Add about 1/2 cup boiling water OR add 1/3 cup water and microwave for 1-2 minutes.

    I like to make this Sunday night and portion it out for breakfast all week. The dried fruit will rehydrate slightly much like the fruit in instant oatmeal but the dish is also very good without the addition of fruit. Sometimes I’ll add a splash of almond milk when I forego fruit for a more creamy texture.