A Healthy Hamburger?

Ya ever wonder why a hamburger’s called hamburger? As far as I can tell, there is no pork product involved – thus, why the “ham”?  Actually, this is a turkey burger but I promise you, if you’re already looking to click the red X in the upper right hand corner, stay awhile, look awhile and see if this burger doesn’t fulfill your flavor craving.

When Mr. Wonderful and I met, we were gym-fanatics, working out avidly 5-6 days a week.  Wow, what a difference 3 years of marriage can make! Back then, we strictly adhered to a low fat, well balanced diet 6 days a week and on the 7th, it was cheat day!  On day 7, we were allowed to eat anything we wanted, and made ourselves miserable on more than one occasion.  But those other 6 days, we used tremendous creativity to come up with meals that didn’t fall short on flavor.  This was one of our favorites.  All the flavor with none of the guilt, and a burger to boot!
The Ingredients of love:  Lean ground turkey, egg, quick oatmeal or bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, onion, pablano pepper, cremini mushrooms, pepper jack  or low fat swiss cheese, whole wheat burger buns.

Take a pound of ground turkey or, if you really need bovine, use lean ground beef.  Because you’re using turkey, you need to flavor and bind it, otherwise, it will fall apart on your grill.  Add one egg (egg white only is fine).  Dump in 1/3 c. oatmeal or breadcrumbs, 1/2 t salt  and 1/4 t. pepper.  Chop up one clove of garlic and toss it in the bowl. 

Now, there is no nice way to do this.  Mess up your hands and really squish everything around until its well-mixed.  These are Mr. Wonderful’s hands.  He has an aversion to both hands being messy at the same time, so I finally had to tell him to just pretend to mix with them and he finally went along with it (Note the one clean hand?) 

 If your mixture seems too wet, add a few more bread crumbs.  Form mixture into a ball, press it a little flat and evenly score it with your hands into 4 parts.  As you see, there is no picture due to the one neat hand…I don’t even know what he did? I’m only tellin you how I would do it. Again, we have different styles!  I still adore him…

Roll each into a ball and press to form a patty.  Pile on a plate and send your favorite grill man to your BBQ grill.

Now for toppings!,  In  saucepan #1, drizzle about 1 T. olive oil and turn on medium heat.  
See those little scratches in my non stick pan? That is cuz the kids in this house refuse to use plastic utensils when cooking…someday when they  move out, I’m going to their house and scratch up their new pretty pans!  I NEED a Le Creuset! Slice up your cremini mushrooms.  These are actually baby portabellos and I just find them more flavorful than button mushrooms but you can substitute any mushroom that floats your boat.  A quick easy way to slice mushrooms (and strawberries) is by using another of my favorite kitchen gadgets -an egg slicer!
 Throw those babies into your scratched pan!

Now, keep your eyes on these little darlings.  Soon they will begin to carmelize and turn brown and yummy.  Give them a stir every minute or two.  I am using a bamboo wooden spoon which is entirely appropriate for a non-stick pan! (Kids are you reading?)

Now in another saucepan, dump another T. of olive oil and turn the heat on medium also.  Slice up an onion and throw it in the pan.

Get your pablano pepper.  A pablano pepper looks like a mutated green pepper. It’s a little longer and funkier looking than a green pepper and I adore the flavor of these beauties.  When sauteed, they are heavenly – a little spicy but not too much so for my taste.  To cut them up – lop off the stem end:

Next, cut your pepper in half and pull out the seeds and white membrane. 

 Depending on your mood, either slice them longways or crossways.  I was feeling a little cross today, so I sliced mine like this:  

Dump both your sliced onions and your sliced pablanos into your now sizzling pan.

Cook these stirring frequently until they are carmelized and browning lightly.  

Do the same with your mushrooms.  Cook until they are browning.

By now your burgers should be back from the grill.  Place one on a whole wheat bun.  Top them with a slice of cheese -I love pepper jack.  Spoon some of your carmelized peppers and onions over the cheese, and then top with a dollop of the ooey gooey mushrooms.

It may not have the “ham”.  But it sures packs the flavor! Enjoy!


4 wheat buns
1 pound lean ground turkey or beef
1 egg or 1 eggwhite
1 clove garlic
1/3 c. quick oatmeal or breadcrumbs
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1 pablano pepper
1 medium onion
1 package cremini mushrooms sliced
low fat cheese, like pepper jack or swiss
Mix together first 6 ingredients with your hands.  Form 4 even patties.  Grill.  In sauce pan #1, drizzle 1 T olive oil.  Slice and cook mushrooms until golden brown and soft.  In sauce pan # 2, saute sliced onions and pablano pepper until carmelized.     

Place burger on wheat bun, top with low fat cheese.  Top cheese with onions, pepper and mushrooms.

Enjoy!
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