Buffalo Turkey Burgers

We were qualifying for a tricycle race…and having a blast as usual.

Have you ever met someone who not only becomes a person you want to be friends with forever but you also share so much in common in life that you become soul sisters? That’s Heather for me and this is the story of our Buffalo Turkey Burgers.

A few years ago my dear friend/fellow dietitian Heather and I decided to do a healthy spin on a burger. We love burgers and buffalo chicken so why not combine the two! You have to understand a few things about the both of us. Not only do we like burgers, buffalo chicken, ketchup (French fries are just the transportation to get ketchup in our mouths), and dessert…we like healthy foods too 😉 We’ve followed each other throughout our careers, working at the same places and usually at the same time. Surprisingly, both of us have identical twins and thankfully I had Heather to support me on the journey to being a new twin mom (I couldn’t have made it through the pregnancy without her encouragement). Oh yeah, we also really love nutrition, cooking/eating food, and we really really like helping people on their personal nutrition journeys. This dynamic duo is fly by the seat of our pants, outside the box, not-your-ordinary dietitians…that’s us and that’s how we roll.

Now that you know our back story here’s how these fantastic burgers came to be. We made up the recipe to be used for a public event. Although we love to fly by the seat of our pants, we definitely had to practice at least once before it was show time and what better audience than the honesty of a children. So we held a run-through with her kiddos. They filmed it, rated us, tried the burgers and…IT WAS A HIT! They loved it! If we could please a bunch of kids then we knew we had a winning recipe on our hands. She actually still makes it for her kids…it’s one of their favorite meals.

We added veggies to the meat and then served veggies on the side with a ranch hummus dip. Listen, we are moms and sometimes we need to fit in as many veggies that we can for our family. When I prepared this for mine the other night my daughter said “Mom, the shreddy carrots really make it good.” Sure does young squire, sure does. This is my spin on our Buffalo Turkey Burgers.

Shreddy carrots…and celery, garlic, and green onion.

Side note: this recipe featured here is not gluten or dairy free. I will show you how to make them both as at the end.

Buffalo Turkey Burgers

Burger Ingredients:

  • 2 Tablespoons Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (you can definitely use your own dry mix if you make it…this stuff has artificial flavors in it so it’s not my favorite but it’s delicious)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 pound ground turkey (97/3 or 99% fat free)
  • 1/4 cup minced or finely shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup minced or finely shredded celery
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 minced green onion
  • 1/4-1/2 whole wheat bread crumbs (I usually don’t use these but have on hand if needed and this week I needed)
  • Franks Buffalo Wing Sauce (no amount here, use to your desired spiciness)
  • Whole grain buns
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers, pickles, etc

Hummus Ingredients:

  • 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • 1 packet Bushes hummus starter (it’s got everything you need and no extra stuff)
  • 1 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix
  • Carrots and celery (to dip into the hummus)

Directions:

  1. Combine dry ranch, egg, turkey, carrots, celery, garlic, onion, and wing sauce. Add bread crumbs if the mixture seems too wet. You want the burgers to stick together!
  2. Split the meat mixture. For sliders, make 2-3 ounce patties. For burgers make 4 ounce patties.
  3. Grill, broil, or skillet fry the burgers. I used my cast iron skillet (I use this for just about everything).
  4. Ensure that the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees!
  5. While the burgers are cooking start making the hummus. Combine chickpeas, hummus starter, and dry ranch to a food processor. Blend until smooth. If you do not have a food processor use a zipper sealed bag! Seriously, it works just fine.
  6. Serve the burgers on whole wheat buns with hummus, carrots, and celery on the side.

NOTES:

  • To make dairy free simply add ranch style spices: dill, parsley, more garlic. For my sons I just omitted the ranch dressing mix all together (and the wing sauce).
  • To make gluten free omit the bread crumbs. If you need to use another dry binder use gluten free oats. Instead of serving it on a bun you can serve it on a salad with beans. I did for lunch and it was quite delicious! REMEMBER if you are eating gluten free you still need starches (carbohydrates). You can’t just eat the burger on lettuce and call it a day. Serve it with rice, fruit, beans, or a gluten free bun.
  • I omitted the wing sauce from this entire recipe for my family. Normally I wouldn’t because kids should try different foods even if they are spicy but I decided to let my family use the wing sauce instead of ketchup on the burger if they chose.
  • I put the wing sauce on the hummus…woah…delish! I recommend that!
Turkey burger on a salad. Delicious!

Week 6 Meal Plan

Surprise! There’s actually no “real” meal plan per say  here. You know the drill, you know the deal. I want you to create your own! Sit down with a pen/paper or your computer and come up with your own meal plan for the week (or for next week).

Here are some things to keep in mind:

BREAKFAST:

  • Are you in a hurry or can you take your time?
    • In a hurry:
      • Grab and go things like string cheese and whole grains crackers, apple and string cheese, Kind bar, nuts and dried fruit
    • Take your time:
      • Breakfasts that take more time and can be enjoyed at a slower pace like oatmeal with nuts/fruit, eggs and whole grain toast
  • You always want these to be included:
    • Protein: cheese, peanut butter, nuts, cottage cheese, eggs, hard boiled eggs
    • Carbohydrate with fiber: fruit, whole grain bread, oatmeal, whole grain crackers

LUNCH:

  • Are you in a hurry or can you take your time?
    • In a hurry:
      • Pack a lunch that you can eat in your car, in a meeting, or eat without having to heat up: sandwich, salad, tuna salad/crackers/veggies
    • Take your time:
      • If you have more time to spare think of leftovers or soup
  • You always want these to be included in a balanced lunch:
    • Protein: chicken, fish, turkey, peanut butter, beans, cheese, eggs
    • Carbohydrate with fiber: whole grain bread, brown rice, corn, peas, beans, whole grain crackers, fruit
    • Non-starchy vegetable: lettuce, carrot sticks, celery, peppers, broccoli, cauliflower

DINNER:

  • Are you in a hurry or can you take your time?
    • In a hurry: there’s no shame in eating a sandwich or something quick for dinner!
    • Take your time: if you have more time to make a meal and sit down to eat it that is perfect!
  • You always want these to be included in your dinner:
    • Protein: chicken, fish, turkey, pork chop/loin, lean beef, beans, tofu, eggs
    • Carbohydrate with fiber: quinoa, brown rice, potato, sweet potato, corn, beans, peas
    • Non-starchy vegetable: salad, green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower

SNACKS:

  • Should give your body nourishment, not just “fill you up”
  • Think whole foods instead of highly processed foods
  • Think lunch box instead of vending machine
  • Nuts, fruit, veggies, hummus, yogurt, cottage cheese

You CAN do this. You CAN and you WILL and you are ABLE.

Week 4 Tips: Getting in more plants

25 ways to get more plants in your diet

  1. Fruit in oatmeal
  2. Fruit on top of whole grain cereal
  3. Fruit as a side for any breakfast
  4. Nuts or nut butters on fruit
  5. Nut butter on whole grain bread
  6. Veggies for breakfast: like in an omelet
  7. Fruit for snacks
  8. Veggies for snacks
  9. Nuts for snacks
  10. Salad for lunch
  11. Beans in a salad
  12. Fruit in a salad
  13. Fruit as a side at lunch
  14. Nuts in a salad
  15. Fruit in yogurt
  16. Fruit dipped in yogurt
  17. Veggies dipped in plain yogurt (Greek yogurt ranch dip)
  18. Raisins, nuts, and dry whole grain cereal trail mix
  19. Steamed veggies with dinner
  20. Fresh veggies with dinner
  21. Grilled fruit
  22. Whole grains with dinner
  23. Popcorn for a snack
  24. Tofu instead of meat for dinner
  25. Salsa and whole grain tortilla chips for a snack

What are some ways you eat plants every day?

Healthy Kitchen Shortcuts

I have 3 kids, 4 and under. Don’t be alarmed, two of those are twins. My goal as a wife-mom-dietitian is to provide the best food I can for my family. That means making healthy, homemade meals in between diapers, spit up, and toddler problems.

Cooking dinner tonight I came up with this blog post. You can read about me in my bio section but I like to get as fresh and as local as possible. But let’s get real, sometimes we are looking for healthy AND quick. Taking shortcuts has been my go-to since having children.

Here are the 5 quick and healthy items I keep in my kitchen always:

  1. Minced garlic. Yep, I buy the garlic in the glass container and I LOVE IT! Almost everything I cook has garlic in it. Any time I need a clover or two I get in my refrigerator, grab a spoon and boom, it’s done! Fresh garlic is delicious but when I need a time saver (which is daily at this point) I go with it!
  2. Diced frozen onions. Similar to the garlic, I could grow my own onions, dice, and freeze them and someday I will. But right now I need diced onions without having onion juice all over my hands when the babies are screaming. Frozen diced onions it is! This only works if you’re cooking, if you are making a dish that isn’t cooked (summer salsa, salads, etc) then use fresh onions.
  3. Frozen veggies of all types. When I’m making vegetable soup in the winter I buy frozen. If I have any fresh then of course they go in the pot but frozen is so much better than fresh in the winter. All year long I keep frozen broccoli and cauliflower bulk bags in my freezer. Corn isn’t a veggie but that’s also a staple frozen food that we keep on hand.
  4. Lemon and lime juice concentrate. There’s nothing better than fresh lemons or limes but in a pinch, concentrate can be a recipe saver. You can use the concentrate in any recipe that calls for lemon or lime juice so it works well in fish and chicken dishes, salsa, sauces, and tea.
  5. Quick grains like quinoa, farro, and brown minute rice. Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and farro (pronounced fare-oh) are whole grains packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients. All three of these power packed grains cook completely in about 15 minutes unlike regular brown rice or other grains that may take about an hour to cook. To flavor these up toast them in a dry pan first and then cook with vegetable or chicken broth or stock.

I’ve learned, after having twins, that sometimes shortcuts are A-OK and you have to be A-OK with the shortcuts. Cooking healthy doesn’t have to mean preparing a gourmet meal, using tons of ingredients or ingredients that you have to find at a specialty food store, or spending hours in the kitchen.

Final thoughts: We unfortunately do not live on a cooking show set where there are tons of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs/spices, and any ingredient we so desire. Sometimes we need shortcuts to make our lives easier especially when cooking for our family day in and day out. Use some shortcuts to make your life simpler!

Challenge – if you are overwhelmed with cooking and menu planning for your family, figure out which shortcuts would work best for you and run with it! Share your shortcuts with us!