Happy Friday! In honor of summer being right around the corner, I’ve got a delicious, easy, grill-friendly recipe to share with y’all. :o)
First off, I do live in a tiny one-bedroom apartment with no patio or balcony, meaning I don’t own a grill. Instead, my extremely generous mom (who DOES have an outdoor grill) let me adopt her Cuisinart Griddler. I use this little guy to make grilled chicken, these burgers, grilled steak, grilled vegetables, etc. when I don’t feel like using my apartment complex’s shared grill. If you don’t have an outdoor grill, I HIGHLY recommend getting one of these. I like it way, way more than my old George Foreman. It heats up much faster, has multiple settings, cooks food more evenly, and it comes with interchangeable panini press plates. Worth every penny if you like grilling food, but don’t have a full-blown grill to use.
Now, the recipe. I crave burgers more frequently than I’d like to admit (daily, maybe?), but ever since I’ve started eating healthier, I get physically sick after eating burgers from In-n-Out, McDonald’s, or any other typical fast food joint. No joke — and sorry, this is probably way too much information, but I’m going there anyway — I puke if I try to eat them and end up with awful stomach pains. It’s weird, uncomfortable, and it really sucks. So, instead of enduring sickness, physical discomfort, and countless extra calories/grams of fat, I make my own in a healthier way. These patties only have a few ingredients, but they pack a serious amount of flavor.
Nutritional Overview (per cheeseburger)
Cook time: 20 minutes
- 1lb 93% lean ground turkey
- 1 pkg Kraft Fiesta Ranch dry seasoning (in the dressing aisle)
- 2 tbsp Sriracha sauce (or more if you like spicy foods)
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 4 Ezekiel sprouted grain buns (in the frozen section; kind of hard to come by — Whole Foods has them about half of the time. Sandwich Thins are a good alternative)
- 4 slices of Gouda cheese
- Heat your grill to medium-high heat (if you’re using a Griddler, I’d spray it down lightly)
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except the buns and cheese and mix thoroughly
- Portion your turkey mixture out into 4 even balls, then flatten them out into patty form
- Place on your grill/Griddler and cook for 5-10 minutes. I use the “poke” test to see if they’re done: poke the center of each patty and make sure it’s firm, but not over-cooked
- Leave the patties on your grill/Griddler and layer a slice of cheese on each. Allow it to slightly melt (30 seconds-1 minute) before turning your grill/Griddler off and removing the patties
- Toast your buns in a toaster or in the oven (broil for a minute or two)
- Assemble your burgers with preferred toppings — lettuce, onions, pickles, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, avocado, etc. (not included in nutritional details)
- Dig in!
I love serving these with sweet potato fries and roasted brussels sprouts. For the potatoes, I buy the pre-cut bags from the produce section at HEB and season them with paprika, seasoning salt, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. For the sprouts, I usually cut the stems off and halve (or quarter) them, then season them with red pepper and a drizzle of honey or agave nectar.
Both are cooked on a foil-lined baking sheet at 425 degrees for 20 minutes, and I always give the pan a good shake about halfway through to make sure they’re cooked evenly. Sides are only difficult if you try to over-think them, and the burger doesn’t need much more to go with it other than a simple veggie and some healthy fries!
Vacations: Everybody Needs ‘Em
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve realized that while I do really value having a strong work ethic and keeping busy, being able to relax and let loose is equally as important. I work all week, and my weekends are usually consumed 100% by cooking, which I absolutely LOVE (I’m cooking for more people this weekend than ever before!), but at the same time, I’m not good at relaxing. I haven’t sat around to watch TV or read a book in months.
I’m a big advocate of doing more of the things that you’re not so great at for the sake of self-improvement, so I decided to book a spontaneous vacation to Mexico for Ryan’s birthday to force myself to relax. It’s rare that he gets more than a day or two off in a row, but he was able to manage it for the week after his 32nd (June 23-26).
I spent all of my spare time this week comparing travel destinations, resorts, flights, perks, deals, airport transportation, excursions, and reading every single TripAdvisor review that I could find. Yesterday, I finally pulled the trigger. We’re going to Playa del Carmen and staying at the best all-inclusive resort that’s out there. You’d better believe I’m taking full advantage of the 24-hour room service AND fitness center while I’m there.
This is our first trip together where the goal is to relax — no strict schedule, nobody to meet up with, no firm plans, no pre-planned meals — and I am PUMPED. I remember back in March when I was worried about being out of my routine for a week during SXSW, and I’ve well overcome that fear. This time around, all I’m worried about is not wanting to leave the beach at the end of the week. :o) I know that everybody needs a break every now and then; I am no exception to that. And, since I haven’t been spending as much money going out to eat or hitting up the bars in the past year, now is the time to treat both myself and the guy that puts up with me day after day.
I do plan on staying active while I’m there, and I do plan on taking a few Quest bars and a tub of protein powder with me, but (as I’ve said before), my consistency over the last year has paid off handsomely. Just like a few days of eating healthy won’t result in lasting weight loss, a few days of indulgence won’t set me back to square one. I’ve developed a healthy relationship with food and exercise, and I’m comfortable with stepping away from it for a few days to give myself a break. That’s progress on the mental side of this whole health and well-being thing, and it’s equally as gratifying as being at my “goal weight” is. I encourage EVERYBODY to take a couple of days to enjoy the summer if you can. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t planned or booked it yet. Just go and do. Having something like this to look forward to without having to stress about any of it is the best feeling I’ve felt in a while.