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Burger and Fries Makeover

Posted Jun 30 2010 12:00am
Before I get to dinner, here is my “excitement” at work today.

I usually start my day with a Bruegger’s coffee. Lately, it’s been iced coffee.

Because my office is so close to a Bruegger’s, and due to my love for coffee, I have the Bruegger’s Bottomless Mug. Any medium coffee, tea, soda, or other fountain beverage free – all the time, unlimited for $140 a year. Pretty good deal, huh? Sorry about the blurry picture, not sure what that’s about :(

Before I made it to my office door, I was greeted by a maintenance person informing me of the “new recycling program” in my building, and hence the lovely little blue bins placed outside my door! :)

I don’t claim to be the most green person ever, but I certainly try to do what I can for the environment. Just for the record, I owned a Klean Kanteen way before they were popular ;)

Lunch was pretty standard for me: peach (fruit), sliced pepper and carrots with hummus (veggie), sandwich almost identical to last night’s dinner – turkey, salsa, hummus, lettuce on 6 grain bread (protein, whole grains, more veggies), and a Chocolate Chip Peanut Odwalla bar (dessert).

For dinner I made a healthier take on a burger with fries. I actually wasn’t craving fast-food-like food, but I didn’t feel like putting in a huge amount of effort and I didn’t defrost anything, so vegetarian it was! This recipe looked good and was something I’d never tried before.

First, I lined a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. For my non-fried Fries, I sliced up a sweet potato and tossed them in 2 tsp. Smart Balance oil and a little bit of salt and pepper.

Normally I would bake these at a little higher temperature, but since the burgers needed to bake at 375, I threw these in the oven first to give them a 5 minute head start, making sure to leave room for the burgers. Without a dishwasher, I’m always looking for ways to minimize dish usage!

For my Black Bean Burger, I basically followed the recipe, with a few substitutions based on what was in my pantry:

(for 2 burgers)

- 1/2 can black beans, drained and rinsed

- 1/4 green bell pepper, cut into 2″ pieces

- 1/4 onion, cut into wedges

- 1.5 tsp. minced garlic (or 1 1/2 garlic cloves)

- 1/8 c. egg beaters (or 1/2 of a regular egg)

- 1 1/2 t. chili powder

- 1 1/2 t. cumin

- 1/2 t. hot sauce

- 15-20 crushed Kashi TLC cheese crackers (or 1/4 c. breadcrumbs)

First, mash beans with a fork until thick and pasty.

Finely chop pepper, onion, and garlic; then stir into mashed beans.

In a small bowl, combine egg beaters with chili powder, cumin, and hot sauce, then stir into the mashed beans.

Mix in the crushed crackers until sticky (may need to add more if the mixture is too liquidy). Form into 2 patties. Spray the foil and place patties on baking sheet. Bake 10 minutes per side.

The result, along with some ketchup and honey mustard for my dipping pleasure:

The veggie burger doesn’t look all that pretty, but it was actually very tasty. It had a nice consistency and was not at all dried out. The fries were also good – I prefer them with the skin on, but you may want to peel the sweet potato first. I was a little worried that my burgers would be too watery and fall apart because I accidentally pureed the pepper, onion, garlic rather than finely chop them, but the burgers held together well and maintained their shape.

Next time I might add a little less hot sauce and chili powder (because I’m a wimp), but overall this was a successful dinner! Definitely more substantial than the frozen veggie burgers you buy in the store.

Another thing I love about this meal: so cheap! Organic beans were $1.39 – the whole can would have made 4 burgers. Four sweet potatoes would have cost $2.60. I got the bell pepper for $0.85, so the cost of half of it was $0.43. The cost of using 30-40 crackers would be about about $0.74. The onion and garlic is tough to estimate, but it’s probably close to nothing, and assuming you have the spices and an egg around, this meal for 4 would cost $5.16. Pretty good if you ask me!

Dessert will probably be a fresh blueberry, Simply granola, Kashi cereal, and Greek yogurt parfait :)

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