Good to Have a Grill!

May 23, 2011 at 11:49 pm 2 comments

I am back in NJ, and one of the benefits is having full access to my mom’s lovely kitchen! Not only does she have better knives and kitchen tools, but she also has an enormous outdoor grill! Grilling is my favorite summertime cooking method. It doesn’t heat up the house with the stove or oven on a hot summer day, and it is a great way to cook your food with little added fat and a lot of extra flavor. I am excited to be the full-time cook for my family this summer, giving my mom a well deserved break from her 23+ year role as Chef Mom. I am hoping to introduce her and my dad to new veggies and healthy lifestyle tips and encourage them on their weight loss journey. Mom has always done a good job of being relatively healthy with food selection, but her self-admitted problem is in portions. There is always room to improve in the quest for a healthier lifestyle!

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Tonight, I experimented with Greek Turkey Burgers, served with grilled zucchini and portobello mushrooms as well as Kale Chips on the side. This dinner was designed to be low-fat and cholesterol, as well as easy to control portion sizes. The calorie-dense food is served in single serve burgers, making sure that everyone is happy getting meat at dinner, but also making it a lot harder to overeat. A proper serving of meat is 3-4 oz, or the size of your palm or a deck of cards – definitely not the classic American steak dinner! I mixed herbs and a bit of feta into the burgers, inspired by some great rosemary turkey burgers I had at a friend’s BBQ this past weekend. I also topped the burgers with flavorful homemade roasted red peppers – a great alternative to store-bought peppers that are often packed in oil or filled with sodium. My uncle taught me to make these on his last visit, except we used the open flame from the burner on the stove, only to be chased out of the kitchen with a towel by my grandma. If you want a safer method, check out my new How-To page! To replace the cheese on top of the burgers, I made a loosely interpreted Tatziki sauce. To fill out the dinner (and your stomach), veggies are a great option because they are nutrient but not calorie dense, and the Kale Chips are an exciting alternative to salad and a healthier option than fries or chips. Even my veggie-fearing best friend loved every part of this dinner! Enough of my rambling thoughts… here are the recipes!

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Feta Herbed Turkey Burgers

makes 6 burgers

1 1/4 lbs ground turkey

3 tbsp crumbled feta cheese

2 tsp dried tarragon (could also use dill or rosemary, but these were the only 2 spices my mom was out of!)

Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Shape into 6 patties of desired shape (I like thicker small burgers than thinner large ones.) Grill for several minutes on each side until golden brown and cooked through. Serve on sandwich thins or whole wheat rolls topped with Roasted Red Peppers and Herbed Yogurt (recipe below).

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Herbed Greek Yogurt

1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt

1/2 cucumber, chopped

1 tbsp dried tarragon (again, can substitute dill)

Chop cucumbers into small pieces. Mix with herbs and yogurt. Let stand covered in fridge for several hours before serving for best flavor.

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