Saturday, January 21, 2012

Recipe: Turkey Burgers with Zucchini Fries

My husband loves burgers, but I don't like to eat much red meat. We settle on turkey burgers.

A while back, I found a promising recipe in Cooking Light for "Mediterranean Turkey Burgers." I've made it several times now, and it has become one of our favorites. The recipe calls for store-bought pesto, which can be challenging for those of us who avoid vinegar and lemon juice. Behold: Buitoni, my go-to low-acid pesto.

In a perfect world, I would make my own pesto. But let's be honest, I'd also hire a personal chef.

The original recipe in Cooking Light works great, but some days just the idea of pesto plus minced garlic plus minced onion gives me heartburn. The burgers taste almost just as good with a little tweaking: small amounts of onion and garlic powder. 

Mix together panko, feta, pesto, ground turkey, and the dried seasonings. Shape into four patties. The original recipe calls for grilling, but I usually cook the patties on the stove top, in a skillet over medium heat until browned.

I will admit I'm a bit paranoid about undercooking poultry, but I find that the skillet method alone doesn't cook the burgers all the way through. I brown both sides (about 5 minutes each side) and then put the skillet directly in the oven at 400 degrees for five more minutes. Please don't try that unless you know your cookware is oven-proof.

The burgers are really tasty with tzatziki sauce (yogurt + chopped cucumber + pinch of ground red pepper or fresh mint), or sometimes I top with plain Greek yogurt. The husband likes to slather his in more pesto. Sometimes we add spinach, sliced cucumbers, or other green stuff.

I had planned to make zucchini fries, but it was late and I was too lazy, so I served the burgers with some slices of celery, carrot, and apple. This recipe makes four burgers, which means two dinners for the two of us. 

For round two, you can reheat the patties successfully. I promise. Cut each one in half. Get a paper towel wet with warm water, and wrap it around the halved patty. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave for 30-45 seconds. And miracle! The burgers don't dry out.

On the second night, I did make the zucchini fries, which were DELICIOUS. 

Turkey burgers (adapted from Cooking Light recipe)

½ c. panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
¼ c. crumbled feta cheese
Pinch (about 1/8 t.) onion powder
Pinch (about 1/8 t.) garlic powder
2 T. store-bought pesto
¼ t. freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. ground turkey, ½ lb. white meat and ½ lb. dark
Cooking spray
4 whole-wheat hamburger buns

1.     Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
2.     Combine first seven ingredients in a bowl. Divide mixture into 4 portions, shaping each into a patty.
3.     Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray. Add patties to pan and cook about 5 minutes on each side or until browned.
4.     Place skillet directly in the oven and cook patties for another 5 minutes.
5.     Serve on toasted bun. The burgers can be a little dry without some kind of sauce: plain Greek yogurt, tzatziki, or pesto.

Zucchini Fries
Recipe courtesy Two Peas and Their Pod

3 medium zucchini, sliced into skinny sticks
2 large egg whites, beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I made my own)
2 T grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp dried basil
Pinch of dried oregano (I used Mexican for stronger flavor)
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I didn't use any and didn't miss it)
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425°. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a small bowl, beat egg whites with a fork until frothy.
3. Put the breadcrumbs, basil, oregano, garlic powder and cheese on a plate. Mix well.
4. Dip the zucchini sticks in the egg whites and then into the bread crumb mixture. Make sure all sides get coated well. Place the sticks on the prepared baking sheet. This takes a while because you have to do the sticks one by one.
5. Bake at 425° for about 20 minutes or until golden brown and a little crispy. Turn over half way through. Serve warm.

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