**Originally posted in Bohemian Playground, my hippy blog. Currently revamping and transferring between these two blogs.**
Ahh, New Year. I’m sure you’ve been reading about it. It happened approximately 26 days ago. Were some of you hoping the Mayan prophecy was true just to avoid making the resolution to hit the gym or quit smoking? I’m not gonna lie… a little piece of me did. So just nearly a month in, how many of you have stuck with your resolutions, whether full or half assed? Come on… be honest.
The last two weeks of my last tour were through the UK. Now, I don’t know how many of you out there are from the UK, have been to the UK, have EATEN in the UK… Let me enlighten you as to the choices you have when you have a 7 minute time frame to get your food. FRIED, GREASE or FRIED GREASE.
Now, I’m sure the UK offers other lovely options (besides Indian take-away.. come on UK, you can’t take credit for that one). Unfortunately, I don’t get to see that side very often. Needless to say, in the two weeks leading up to the holiday season, I packed on a couple of pounds due to poor eating habits.
Then there was X-mas in Sweden, with glögg (mulled or, hot wine, if you will… delicious, high in alcohol, and extremely fattening), lots and lots of different cheeses spread on different kinds of biscuits and crackers. And it would be rude to not eat the regular meals that come in between all of this cheese and wine snacking. Did I mention, that Swedish tradition includes the partaking of many shots of herbal snaps (liquor) between every 5th or 6th bite? Passing up dessert? What am I? An animal? Yes please.. more cake. And yes, I will have an Irish coffee, heavy on the cream and whiskey and Bailey’s, thank you. Exercise included waking up, literally rolling out of bed, moving to the couch, waiting until I had to pee, complaining about having to get up to pee, eventually getting up to pee, shlepping back to the couch, and repeat for 5 or 6 reps, depending on how much glögg was brought to me.
Anyway, now I’m approximately (achem…mumble mumble) pounds AND kilos (I know! how is that even possible?) heavier and not happy about it. So, since January 7th (let’s face it… the new year doesn’t REALLY start until it’s a Monday), I have been making a conscious effort to go back to my regular, healthy ways of eating and working out.
This blog, in particular, is for my friends Ewelina and Anna, who need more inspirational ways to spice up their cooking routines.
The Juiciest Stuffed Chicken Burgers EVER and Veggie Cobb Salad
One of the tips I’ve learned, is portion control when trying to diet. The beauty of this recipe, is that more is less. Before we get started, I’d like to say that when creating dishes myself, I rarely measure things out… it’s a matter of feeling, so I will always guesstimate here, the best I can for you.
What you need:
- 400 g ground chicken or turkey burger meat
- 3 or 4 large button mushrooms, finely chopped (or whatever mushroom preference you have.)
- 2 TBSP sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped (Drenched in olive oil preferably)
- 1/4 block of packaged Feta cheese, or to your liking. Less, if you’re watching your calories, more if you’re motto is “the cheesier, the better”. If you’re not a fan of feta, replace with parmesan.
- 1-2 TBSP coconut oil (this is what REALLY gives it that extra ‘kick in the face’ flavor. If you’re in a jam and do not have coconut oil, use olive oil. But seriously… pick up some coconut oil.)
- Salt, Pepper, Oregano to taste
- Extra bonus if you’re feeling up for it – 1 tsp. Pesto. It adds just a tad more flavor, but these are amazing with or without.
Mix everything together except for the coconut oil. Seriously.. get in there. Get messy. Throw all of those ingredients into a bowel and start mixing with your hands.
So here’s the beauty of this… while 400 grams of meat may normally only make about 3-4 burgers (we’re talking American sized burgers here), once you have all of these extra goodies in there, the burgers bulk up and you get twice as many out of the same amount of meat.
Now, of course these can be cooked however you wish. I own a George Foreman Grill, but unfortunately, it’s not at my current location, so I have to make do. You can, of course, cook these up in the oven if that’s your preference. I’m currently working with a gas oven, and I’m still trying to work out the ins and outs of that.
So that leaves me with the frying pan. Set the heat to medium and put one TBSP of the coconut oil in there to grease it up. Honestly folks.. look up the benefits of coconut oil. They are plenty and really add a new dimension of flavor to cooking.
Once the pan is nice and hot, start making your burger patties. They should be bright and colorful.
Continue cooking, flipping occasionally until cooked all the way through. You will notice by the color, but as it is chicken / turkey, always make sure you check the middle to make sure they are cooked all the way. NO PINK!! If needed, add more coconut oil to prevent burning, but the tops should have a nice golden brown to them.
While all of this magic is happening with your burgers (I bet you can almost taste them, can’t you?), you’ll want to be working on your veggie Cobb salad. Now honestly, this is just a regular salad. I call it a veggie Cobb salad only because of the presentation. In the past, my favorite salad to order out, was the Cobb. This was before my intolerance to eggs, which sucker punched me in the stomach from one day to the next. So now, I really, really miss Cobb salads. I love their presentation and the whole idea behind them. Mixed proteins, veggies, cheese… everything you need in one amazingly presented salad… everything lying neatly in it’s place.
I eat salad basically every day (except in the UK, as I’m pretty sure they don’t have lettuce there… juuuust kidding, mates!). I won’t lie, it does get redundant, and believe it or not, presentation does help.
All you need to do for your veggie Cobb salad, is pick out and chop up or shred 4 or 5 veggies you like and one form of protein. I chose sweet red pepper, celery, tomato and cucumber, and chickpeas for the protein. Choose your base, in this case, I chose leaf spinach. Obviously, you can choose anything you like. Corn, shredded carrots, zucchini, avocado, mushrooms, kidney beans, beets, radish, onion…. anything you like. This is basic stuff folks, I’m just offering another way of presenting it. You should know by now what you like on your salads. The important thing is to get those veggies in!
Lay your base down on the plate, and then line up your toppings! Choose your color scheme, your order, make it symmetrical, A-symmetrical, horizontal, vertical…whatever you want. It should be colorful and inviting. Dress it with a squeeze of fresh lemon, salt, pepper, and a zig-zag of balsamic vinegar glaze. Voila!
Your burgers should be done. I opted to skip the bread, but of course, feel free to indulge! Just remember…those bread calories and carbs aren’t going to burn off themselves. These burgers are incredibly moist and juicy… no condiments needed at all.