Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Turkey burgers a delicious alternative

My fascination with turkey burgers started this winter while I was frequenting the cafeteria at Wilson Medical Center. My mother was hospitalized, and many days I was eating all three meals in the downstairs cafeteria. I'd usually alternated my meals between the cafeteria line, the bountiful salad bar and the grill.

One of my favorite menu items at the grill was the turkey burger. I had made turkey burgers before from a recipe my sister gave me, but this turkey burger was the first one I bought at a restaurant, and I loved it. I was first drawn to it because the cafeteria posted the nutritional information for both a beef cheeseburger and a turkey burger. The turkey burger had 9.5 grams of fat with 203 calories. In comparison, the cheeseburger had 24 grams of fat and 476 calories. I couldn't bring myself to eat the cheeseburger!

I dressed up the turkey burger with my favorite condiments and thoroughly enjoyed it every time I bought it.

When my cafeteria days ended and I had no one to cook for me three times a day, I still craved those turkey burgers and bought some frozen patties from the grocery store and made them myself. They were very good, but I wanted to try something else.

I did what I do so many times when I try something new -- I read a number of turkey burger recipes and came up with my own. After making the burgers once or twice, I tweaked the recipe some more, cutting back on the onion soup mix to lower the sodium and dropping the egg, which isn't really necessary. My version is very simple and takes only a few minutes to assemble. (A few weeks ago, we published a turkey burger recipe that I'm sure is quite good, but mine is more streamlined in its preparation and needs very ingredients.)

My husband and I still pile on our favorite burger toppings, choosing from mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, bread and butter pickles, lettuce and tomato. He's added cheese to his a few times, but I haven't tried it that way yet. We also make the turkey burgers on multi-grain sandwich thins. Have you tried these yet? They are very thin and flat and quite tasty. We really like them for variety and use the leftovers for egg and cheese breakfast sandwiches or even grilled pimiento cheese.

So far, Reggie and I are the only ones who have eaten turkey burgers at my house, so there are two leftover burgers each time I make them. I warm them in a skillet at lunch the next day, and they are just as delicious as the night before.

I'm really glad I have this recipe. Burgers are probably Reggie's favorite food, but I feel guilty whenever I make them (and I do still make them occasionally.) But he really likes turkey burgers because he can layer on mustard and pickles and ketchup and enjoy the taste without so much guilt.

My sister tells me she has a delicious black bean burger recipe, so stay tuned; I might try that next!

Seasoned Turkey Burgers
  • 1 package ground turkey (the package I buy weights 1 1/3 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon Lipton Onion Soup Mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Mix all ingredients well, making sure to evenly distribute the soup mix. I start out with a spoon and then use my hands. Make into 4 patties.

Cook 3 minutes on one side; flip and cook about 3 minutes on the other side or until cooked through. (I cook mine on a George Foreman Grill.)

Serve on bun with favorite condiments. I use multi-gain sandwich thins for this burger.

If you have leftovers, reheat slowly in a skillet.

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