Veggie Burgers

While I’m not a vegetarian, I really enjoy vegetarian foods. Veggie burgers are one of my favorites because they often highlight delicious vegetarian flavors and are so versatile. In addition to eating them as a burger you can put them on top of salads or crumble them in egg scrambles. Store-bought veggie burgers often are full of salt and additives, so I prefer to make my own. They can be a little time consuming, so I prefer to make a bunch of them and freeze them for use later. I had a.m.a.z.i.n.g. walnut veggie burger at Jac’s in Madison and decided it was time I tried a few few new recipes. These burgers turned out great. J and Eli love them too!

These burgers can be prepped and frozen to be cooked fully from frozen when you are ready. Another option that saves a lot of time later is to prepare them fully, let them cool, and them freeze them individually. The latter option allows you to just warm them up in the microwave, on a GF grill, or in a skillet when you are in the mood. It saves a lot of time and is less messy since they are fully cooked already.

The key to freezing these is to line a baking sheet with wax paper and place the burgers on the paper individually. Be sure they are not touching. Put this in the freezer for about 2 hours, or until the burgers are hard. At this point you can remove them from the paper and place them in a freezer bag. It is critical that you do it this way so the burgers are individually frozen. If you don’t the burgers will freeze stuck together. This isn’t a huge deal if you plan to thaw them all at once, but it makes it impossible to remove individual burgers from the freezer. It is also a problem if they aren’t pre-cooked, because they will need to be thawed and then they will just a be a big pile of mush. This approach of freezing individually has been a live saver and can be used for anything you are freezing. We use it all the time in the summer when berries are in season!

 

veggie burgers-blackbeanSpicy Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers
Recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

 

 

veggie burgers-chickpea walnutChickpea-Walnut Burger
Recipe Adapted from Big Mike Eats

veggie burgers3veggie burgers2

 

 

 

 

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Smokey Sweet Potato Burgers

photo 1While I have taken a new liking to beef (poor J wouldn’t fare well eating an entire 1/2 a cow by himself), I still really love veggie burger. We had a few sweet potatoes on the counter that I was planning to into wedges and eat as a side, I stumbled across this recipe and my plans quickly changed. A smokey sweet potato veggie burger made with a few simple ingredients I had on hand – why yes, I will put on my grown-up cooking pants and actually make a dish instead of just throwing together the simplest thing I can think of (and this was pretty simple…I can’t take too much credit).

The original recipe (as with all veggie burger recipes) said to cook it in a pan. I don’t know about you, but I have never had luck with this. They always break into a bunch of pieces or stick to the pan. They never turn out like they look in the picture. For that reason, I opted to bake these in the oven instead. I am very happy I did because they turned out great and kept their shape.

Sweet potatoes and beans are both starchy, so the idea of putting it on a burger bun, no matter how healthy, wasn’t really of interest to me. Instead, I topped with with some mozzarella and served it over a bed of spinach with hot, sautéed veggies, pepitas (fancy word for pumpkin seed), and balsamic vinegar.

Smokey Sweet Potato Burgers
adapted from a recipe by How Sweet it is

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cooked sweet potatoes with skins removed (I used 3 small potatoes)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (any white bean should work)
  • 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup flour (any kind that suits you)
  • 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 clove of roasted garlic, minced (maybe 1-2 tsp dried)
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • cooking spray

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line  baking sheet with foil and spray generously with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Place the sweet potatoes and beans in a large bowl. Mash up with a potato masher (Don’t use a food processor because the mixture will become too sticky – think hummus).
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and mash together. Mix well.
  4. Place in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to firm up.
  5. Remove from refrigerator and begin making patties. Have some extra flour ready to make this process less sticky. Place your hands in the flour and then grab a small handful of the mixture. Form into a patty and place on the prepared pan. Dip you hands in the flour each time before you make a new patty.
  6. Once all of the patties are prepared, spray them on top with cooking spray and place in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove and flip with a spatula. Spray the tops again and return to the over for 15 minutes. Remove and flip. If they seem sturdy enough, they are done. If they still seem like they could easily break or are soft in the middle, spray again and cook for an extra 10 minutes. Continue to flip and check until they seem to be cooked all the way through.
  7. Serve on a bun, over greens, or alone with freshly sautéed vegetables. Enjoy!

 

CSA Week #14

The first sign of fall came today – winter squash! Is it really that time already? We have a few baby squash coming up in our backyard garden as well, so it will just be a matter of time until I can start to use all of the sage I dried this summer. If you have never tried winter squash with sage, you must! It is absolutely amazing. Our favorite recipes are Spinach and Butternut Squash Lasagna and Acorn Squash Crock Pot Bake. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself…it is only Sept 10th and there are still lots of summer vegetables to be eaten.

(the apples are not from the CSA and the pickles are some I canned last weekend)

(CSA Week 14 plus some pickles I canned last weekend)

Here is what’s in the box this week:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Bell Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Hot Peppers-mix
  • Onions
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Watermelon
  • Winter Squash

Here are some recipes I am thinking of making this week:

Need more eggplant ideas? I found this great post with the 10 best eggplant recipes (one of which is the thai basil recipe above)

Chicken Shawarma on Pitas

Chicken Shawarma from eatingwell.com

Ingredients

  • 1 cup(s) shredded English cucumber
  • 1/4 cup(s) low-fat plain yogurt
  • 3 tablespoon(s) tahini
  • 2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon(s) garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon(s) curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound(s) boneless, skinless chicken breast, trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon(s) canola oil
  • 4  6-inch whole-wheat pita breads
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cup(s) thinly sliced romaine lettuce

Directions

  1. Preheat grill to medium.
  2. Stir cucumber, yogurt, tahini, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Combine garlic powder, curry powder, pepper, and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in another medium bowl. Slice chicken breast crosswise into 1/4-inch strips; toss with the spice mixture to coat. Add 1 tablespoon oil and toss to combine.
  4. Grill the chicken, turning once, until cooked through, about 2 minutes per side.
  5. To serve, spread 1/4 cup of the cucumber-yogurt sauce on a pita  and top with one-fourth of the chicken, tomato, and lettuce. Fold like a taco (or roll closed, if using lavash). Repeat with the remaining ingredients.

Shredded Beef Sandwiches

Peperochini Beef Sandwiches by a Year of Slow Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast (frozen is okay)
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar peperoncini peppers
  • 6 hamburger buns or French bread

Directions

  1. Spray a 4qt or 6qt crock pot with cooking spray. Add the meat and peppers. Cook on low for about 8 hours.
  2. When done, shred the meat with two large forks and stir. Serve on toasted bread or buns.

Jason’s Turkey Sloppy Joes

I handed this recipe off to Jason to prepare a few weeks ago and he said it was extremely easy to make. While you could easily open a can of Manwich when you’re in the mood for Sloppy Joes, this is a healthier and tastier option. The original recipe is from good old Rachel Ray’s Everyday Food – the woman notorious for delicious and quick meal ideas.

Turkey Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Everyday Food (found on TheKitchenSinkRecipes.com)
Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 carrots, coarsely grated (2 cups)
  • 2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey (93% lean, dark meat)
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 good-quality hamburger rolls, split

Directions

  1. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium; add carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add turkey; cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, 4 to 5 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 12 to 14 minutes. Serve on rolls.

A Lunch Time Favorite

When I think there is nothing in the house to eat, there are ALWAYS two things: Bread and Cheese. What is more comforting than a good old grilled cheese sandwich? Not much! Jason and I love grilled cheese sandwiches and usually end eating them at least once every other week. We use a non-stick pan, so only a little butter goes a long way. I also make them on the George Foreman Grill for a lighter option. However, they taste 100% different, so if you are in the mood for that crispy, buttery crust, stick to the pan.

Grilled Cheese Ingredients:
(for one half of the grilled cheese below…I usually only have one, but Jason was hungry and is having two in the pictures)

  • 2 slices of Home-made bread
  • 5-6 slices of cheese from the skinny end of the cheese (if you have a brick, put it flat on a cutting board and cut 5 slices from the left side)
  • 1 tbsp of softened butter (or less if you are using a non-stick pan. By using softened butter, a little will go a long way)

Directions

  1. Heat a small skillet to medium heat (about level 6)
  2. Butter one side of each slice bread.
  3. Place the butter side down in the pan and put the pieces of cheese side by side from the left skinny side of the bread to the right. Place the second slice of bread on top, buttered side up.
  4. Let sit about 3 minutes.
  5. With a spatula, flip the sandwich over. A little trick…flip from the skinny side, not the wide side. I always flipped from the wide side and it would fall apart. Since Jason has showed me the skinny side flip, they turn out perfect every time!
  6. Cook about 3 more minutes.
  7. Repeat for 1 minutes on each side, if the sides need more browning.

Ingredients for the Zucchini Side Salad

  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large zucchini, coined (see picture)
  • 2 beef-steak tomatoes, cut into wedges and then cut in half
  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1-2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Heat a large skillet to medium-high with the oil in the skillet.
  2. Place the zucchini slices in the pan. Let sit about 1 minute and then turn frequently so both sides brown.
  3. After about 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and seasonings.
  4. Cook until the zucchini are soft and browned.
  5. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

Happy Lunch 🙂

Stuffed Herb Turkey Burgers

Turkey burgers are probably the most consumed form of meat in our apartment. Jason really likes them, so we usually stock up on the Jennie-O patties when they are on sale, so we have a quick meal on hand. However, I prefer homemade turkey burgers over the patties; mainly because I can cover up the turkey burger taste with other tasty things 🙂

Last weekend I was inspired by More than Burnt Toast’s* version of stuffed burgers. I tried doing mozzarella stuffed burgers once before but they ended up falling a part a little. When I told Jason I was trying them again, he was skeptical, but it was my chance to prove him wrong (as all wives seems to love to do). Thankfully, they turned out great! Jason and I both loved them and I will be making them again sometime soon.

Please don’t mind the super fake white bun…usually we go for the good buns, but we were at Aldis this week and all they have are those classic generic brand enriched buns. Hopefully next time we will get some good wheat buns 🙂

*More than Burnt Toast’s Stuffed Burgers: http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com/2008/09/bifteki-yemista-stuffed-burgers-with.html

Ingredients
-20 oz. lean ground turkey
-1/4 cup bread crumbs
-1 half of a roasted red pepper, diced
-2 tbsp fresh basil leaves, diced
-1/4 cup chives, diced
-Feta Cheese, crumbled

Directions

  1. Start your outdoor grill.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the cheese and mix well with your hands.
  3. Form the meat mixture into a ball and with your hand, press in a seam down the middle horizontally and vertically to make the ball into 4 equal pieces (this will be the size for each of the 4 burgers. Anything smaller will be hard to stuff, but you can try!).
  4. Remove 1 piece from the bowl and split it into two pieces. Flatten one piece out to be about 1/4-1/2″ thick (see picture above).
  5. Spread cheese in the center of the flattened piece, leaving at least 1″ of meat around the cheese (size picture to the right)
  6. Flatten the second half of the first patty that was reserved on the plate. Place it on top of the cheese-topped patty and push the edges together to seal the seam. Pick the ball up and work it a little to remove any visible seam line.
  7. Continue with the remaining burgers.
  8. Grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until the meat reads 165F. Remember, there is cheese in the middle, so you need to only go down about 1″ to read the meat temperature.

ENJOY!

Homemade “Hummus”

While I am not sure what specific ingredients specifically make hummus, hummus, I personally think it is the chickpeas. With that, I am calling this concoction hummus, even though there is no lemon juice or Tahini. Jason and and I really like hummus for sandwiches and dipping bread and vegetables in. I had planned to make a sun-dried tomato and basil pasta one week, but it didn’t work out, so I decided to use the ingredients for this dip.

When we first started making our own hummus our recipe usually just included 1 can of drained chickpeas, and Zesty salad dressing (sun-dried tomato, Italian, etc…). This recipe isn’t much different.

Ingredients:
-1 can of chickpeas, drained, or dry chickpeas, soaked and cooked.
-Ready-to-use Sun Dried Tomatoes
-Fresh Basil
-Sun-dried Tomato Dressing
-Sunflower Seeds

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, add the chickpeas, a handful of sun-dried Tomatoes, about 1 tbsp fresh-packed basil, a splash of salad dressing, and about 1/4 cup of sunflower seeds.
  2. Process on high until smooth – you may need to scrape down the edges and stir a little so it is all blended.
  3. Taste to see the flavor at this point. If it is runny, add more chickpeas or sunflower seeds. If it is dry, add more salad dressing. If it is bland, add more basil and sun-dried tomatoes.
  4. Blend with added ingredients and repeat process until the final product is as you like it.

A Man’s Meal with a Woman’s Touch

I just thought this was funny, so I wanted to post it…no real recipe. Jason grilled the brats, topped them with relish, ketchup, and mustard. I sauteed some vegetables in extra virgin olive oil and added some garlic and Mrs. Dash Tomato Basil seasoning. As the post says, a man’s meal with a woman’s touch…I do not think I quite realize how lucky I am that Jason enjoys his vegetables!