Wednesday, April 27, 2011

the "nora burger" & variations

i have experimented with this burger recipe for about the last 6 years and this is an approximate recipe... i never measure, so we'll never know for sure.

Nora's Burgers:
for the ground beef, i honestly prefer to get 80-85 % lean, because it makes a juicier burger... in fact if i get the ones with less fat i often add 2 Tablespoons of butter because it makes the burgers SO much better... trust me on this one.

for each pound of ground beef, add:
1 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 T brown sugar (can use Splenda brown sugar if making low carb burgers)
1/2 tsp. onion salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. season salt
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. basil

form into 4 or 5 hamburger patties. grill on grill or grill pan on medium-medium high heat.
i LOVE my grill pan and use it at least 3 times a week. it is such a nice alternative to the outdoor grill... and is much easier to clean.
(and i know i am pathetic, but i always make a little baby burger for our dog, paisley)

we have been trying to limit carbs in our diet. i found these pitas that have only 7 net carbs, which is ridiculous, so we like to eat our burgers in them... which is much easier than eating them wrapped in a lettuce leaf.

a few variations:
swiss stuffed burgers
for these burgers, use the basic burger recipe from above.

make a very thin burger patty, about 1/4" thick. place 2 or 3 pieces of swiss cheese in the center of the patty. 
(this is actually mozzerella from the pizza burgers, but so you can picture it better...)

then make another 1/4" thick patty, slightly smaller than the bottom patty. place on top of the cheese and pinch the edges and "re-patty" it to form one burger.
grill 5-7 minutes on each side. the burgers will seem thick because of the cheese, but don't need to cook longer... they actually cook faster than "regular" burgers because the meat part of the burger is thinner.

greek burgers-

i LOVE greek food, so i decided to try to incorporate that into a burger.
i used the basic burger recipe, but substituted 1/2 tsp. dill for the basil.
i put crumbled feta in the middle of the greek patties using the same method as in the swiss burger recipe.

i also made a cucumber sour cream to go on the burgers-
cucumber-dill sauce-
1/2 c. sour cream
1/4 tsp. dried dill weed
1/2 cucumber chopped finely
1/2 t. lemon juice
1/2 t. splenda
1/8 t. garlic powder
pinch of salt

combine all ingredients. will keep for 2 or 3 days.

pizza stuffed burgers-
(***this is our new FAVORITE!!!!***)

using the method from the swiss burger recipe [above], stuff burger patties with fresh mozzerella and pepperoni. 

 grill at medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side. 
serve on toasted buns with pizza sauce and whatever "pizza toppings" you desire.
(we had grilled mushrooms and green olives on ours)

for low-carb burgers serve in low-carb pitas

****warning, these become addictive... this coming from someone who rarely craves beef.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

the "eating-moon"-inspired, pasta-less lasagna

well, i am once again months overdue on a blogpost, and while there are many wedding-related posts that i plan to do, i decided that since this recipe was still fresh in my mind that i would go ahead and blog it, and save myself the time of writing it down or the disappointment of not being able to remember it if i try to make it again in a few weeks.

we returned from the honeymoon (or "eatingmoon" as my cousin referred to it) on sunday night feeling ginormous from eating all of the delicious food that chicago had to offer us.  in an attempt to counteract our weeks' worth of indulgences, we are both doing a carb-restricted (atkins) diet for a few weeks. i must admit, i am not as disciplined as i was the last time that i was on this 'diet'. i am trying to be a little more creative this time around so that we don't have to eat salad or a slab of meat for every meal.

tonight's experiment:
one of the few carbs that i really miss when i do a low-carb diet (besides the obvious 'sugar' food group, which in my perfect world would be the only food group) is pasta. i have to admit that although lasagna is one of my favorite italian dishes, i often end up eating around the lasagna noodles because it's too filling with them. but trying to make a lasagna without the pasta is difficult, as it ends up just being a tomato-cheese soup. so i thought that i would attempt to replace the pasta with eggplant and zucchini slices. i was really worried about it since the last time that i made eggplant it was not a favorite with my main food critic. fortunately my experiment was a HUGE success! we both loved it... and hope that you do too.

this recipe is a little extra work than your average lasagna, but it is definitely worth it.

Pasta-less lasagna-
one large egg plant, sliced into 1/8" slices
2 zucchinis, sliced lengthwise into 1/8" slices
several tablespoons olive oil
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg. sausage, cooked
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1- 28 oz. can spaghetti sauce
1- 10.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsps. dried basil
2 1/2 c. mozz. cheese, divided
1- 16 oz. container ricotta cheese
2 eggs
1 T. dried parsley
1/2 t. pepper
salt to taste
1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese

  • preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • on a lightly-oiled grill pan on med-high heat, grill eggplant and zucchini slices about 3 minutes per side, until slightly tender.
  • in a medium saute pan, cook mushrooms in 2-3 T. olive oil until soft and slightly browned. add minced garlic and cook a few more minutes.
  • in a bowl combine spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, cooked sausage, and mushrooms. salt to taste.
  • in a second bowl combine ricotta, 1 1/2 c mozz., 2 eggs, parsley, and pepper.
  • spread 1 c. of sauce mixture on the bottom of a glass 9" x 13" pan. top with a layer of grilled eggplant slices. cover with all of ricotta mixture.  cover with all of the zucchini slices then pour about 1/2 of remaining sauce mixture over zucchini. top with remaining eggplant slices. pour the rest of the sauce mixture over the eggplant and then sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of mozz and 1/2 c. parm. cheese. 
  • cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. remove foil and bake additional 10-15 minutes.

hope that you enjoy this low-carb, pasta-less, eggplant lasagna as much as we did!