Tuesday, February 10, 2009
If you follow my meal plans, you know that we eat a good deal of red meat in this house. It's on the menu at least once a week. Particularly beef. It's readily available and free! For readers who are new to this blog, I get my beef from "back home". It's raised in the pasture behind my grandparent's house. And I love beef. Give me a good steak any day! The redder, the better. Just being honest. I do try to balance out the amount of red meat in our diet with leaner meats, vegetables, whole grains, and once a week, a meatless dinner. This week the meal plan features not one, but two meatless recipes; these Veggie Burgers and Monday's Spaghetti Pie. While I can say with confidence that I will never become a vegetarian, I do enjoy the occasional veggie burger. For a while there I was eating Boca Burgers like they were going outta style. And I KNOW my kids will eat burgers, so why not get them to eat their vegetables in the form of a burger? It's genius.
Let's get started. First, the recipe calls for finely chopped mushrooms, onions, sweet pepper, and garlic. Unfortunately, a quick look and whiff of the mushrooms in my fridge was enough to send them sailing into the garbage. My fungus had grown fungus. So now for the other veggies. Why would I take the time to chop the onion, pepper and garlic into itty bitty bits when I had already set up my food processor for the beans and oats step? Exactly. Fire that baby up! I did end up with sort of pureed veggies. But for veggie burgers it was fine. As far as I'm concerned, the less discernable a vegetable in a dish, the better. That way my kids aren't picking out a piece of onion and saying, "Eww. I won't eat this. This is an onion! You said there weren't any onions!"
I did drain off some of the vegetable liquid after I accidentally pureed them.
You also need a shredded carrot. Go, food processor, go! I actually shredded one carrot and added it to the veggie burgers. Then, since I was having so much fun, I shredded a few more. Maybe I'll make a carrot cake... Also, you can slip shredded carrots into many recipes (think spaghetti sauce, casseroles, soups...) without your family being any wiser that you've just given them a healthy dose of Beta carotene (converted to vitamin A). And one more thing...my kids love shredded cheese. Especially the baby. She just loves to shovel shredded cheddar or mozzerella into her little baby mouth. Shredded carrots kind of feel like shredded cheese to the baby. Sure, it tastes different, but after the initial adjustment the shredded carrots were a huge hit. And not a choking hazard! Yay! My oldest has been asking when I'll be shredding more carrots. For the kids, it's just a fun snack. So go ahead and shred some carrots!
Now for the "meat". Put a can of drained kidney beans, 1/2 cup of old fashioned oats, some ketchup, salt, and pepper into the food processor. At this moment my daughter walked up. "Great," I thought. "Busted. She'll never eat this now." But she just said, "Can I push the button to turn it on?"
"Wow! Cool! Mom, you made hamburger! How did you do that?!"
Yep. It totally does look like hamburger meat. I'm a little impressed too.
Now add the bean/oat mixture to the chopped veggies and stir it all up. Mine was a little on the runny side, not good for making patties. I just processed some more oats and added them in until I was happy with the consistency.
The recipe says that it makes 6, however, I dropped the patties by 1/3 cupfulls onto waxed paper and ended up with 8 good sized patties. After the patty was dropped onto the waxed paper, I folded over the corner of the paper and pressed the burger flat. Then I peeled back the corner of the waxed paper and put a sheet of plastic wrap over the patty. Next, I flipped the burger over and peeled the waxed paper off completely so that the burger was just on the plastic wrap. I finished wrapping the burger in plastic and put them on a tray to take to the freezer. Patty patty patty. PATTY. Sorry, I was just reading over the last paragraph and it occurred to me that I have never typed the word patty so many times in one place. I wish I had gotten more pictures of the patty making process. I hope that my explanation is sufficient here.
I put them on a cookie sheet for freezing so that they would hold their shape. The burgers pictured here have already been frozen.
Once frozen, I transferred them into a freezer bag.
According to the recipe, you are supposed to freeze these for later and then bake them in the oven. Since I'm a rebel...and hungry, I decided to fry a few on my griddle.
I prefer toasty buns, so when the burgers were about finished I started toasting some hamburger buns in the skillet.
Just to insure that my kids would eat it, I topped these perfectly healthy veggie burgers with a nice, melty slice of processed American cheese. They'll eat just about anything covered in cheese. I also served it on a zapped of nutrition, plain old, bleached-out, white flour bun. $.99 a bag. What can you do? Baby steps, my friends. Baby steps.
Mmm. Here's a cross-section of my burger topped with all of the fixin's. Fellow carnivores, you can't tell me that this doesn't look at least a teeny bit delicious.
Translated to a kid's plate: I cut each cheeseburger into 4...they look like little veggie burger sliders...and served them with grated carrots.
Freezer Veggie Burgers adapted from Light and Tasty Magazine
1 can (16 ounces) kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
2 tablespoons ketchup
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, shredded
1 small sweet red pepper, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
6 hamburger buns, split
6 lettuce leaves
6 slices tomato
Place the beans, oats and ketchup in a food processor; cover and pulse until
blended. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in the vegetables, garlic and seasonings.
Shape into six 3-in. patties; wrap each in plastic wrap and freeze. When ready
to use, unwrap burgers and place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until heated through, turning once. Serve on
buns with lettuce and tomato.
One serving: 1 burger Calories: 241 Fat: 3 g Saturated Fat: 1 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 601 mg Carbohydrate: 45 g Fiber: 7 g Protein: 11 g Diabetic Exchange: 2-1/2 starch, 1 very lean meat, 1 vegetable.
WW points: 4 per burger