Thursday, March 12, 2009

Cutting down on costs (and chemicals!)

Between the "Eat Less, Move More" diet and the economy, we're always looking for ways to cut costs (and calories). Meat isn't big in our household, so I only buy chicken when it's less than $2.50/lb. and bake or poach it, eliminating a lot of the fats and sodium in prepackaged meat. When I'm out, I'm out. As the meat-eater, I feel guilty spending tons of money on something that I can only eat, so doing this eases my conscience a little bit.

We do spend a lot of money on produce, which isn't something we're willing to cut back on, and hey, why should we? What's better - spending more money on fresh, whole, nutritionally-packed fruits and veg or spending less on pre-packaged, HFCS-toting, chemically-made crap? We're even going to try our hand at gardening this summer to see if that lightens the load a little bit. Seeing as we're a (mostly) vegetarian family, we do buy a lot of frozen veg food, like Morningstar Grillers Prime and Gardenburger Riblets (our favourite). They're certainly better for you than a hamburger or a McRib, and they're delicious to boot, but they have one area that I'm just not satisfied with: the sodium. With Grillers Prime coming in at 360 mg per patty, that's more than 10% of your daily requirement, 20% of it if you're on a low-sodium diet.

As much as I enjoy them, I knew I could do better. Using a recipe from Self magazine's February 2009 issue, I came up with a great burger that we both enjoyed. I'll definitely be making a big batch of these again! They're meaty, filling and quick, reheat well and pretty easy on the pocketbook. Even if you are not a vegetarian, I'd recommend you to at least try them once.

Bean & Portobello Burgers
adapted from Self magazine
makes 4 giant patties or 6 normal-sized patties
  • 1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 portobello mushrooms, wiped and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup Panko
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (Annie's Naturals makes a vegetarian version)
  • 1 Tbsp. pepper mustard (honey mustard is a good substitute)

    1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook mushrooms and onion, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to soften, 4 to 5 minutes.
    2. Add beans, paprika, garlic powder and black pepper. Cook, smashing beans with the back of a spoon, 1 to 2 minutes more.
    3. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and allow to cool 10-15 minutes. Once cooled, mix in eggs, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and Panko. Form into patties.
    4. Wipe out skillet; heat remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat and cook burgers until brown and firm, 6 to 7 minutes per side.
    5. Place onto bun of choice with condiments of choice, and serve.

Nutritional Information for 1/4 recipe: 241.4 calories, 7.6 grams of fat, 203.5 mg of sodium, 30.5g of carbohydrates, 4.1g of sugar, 6.8g fiber, 11g of protein,


E said...

These were incredible! The texture is softer and less chewy/rubbery than commercial veggie burgers, which is kind of nice! Not to mention, the flavor is rich, meaty, and incredibly satsifying.

I can't wait until we have them again.

Lost In Splendor said...

Haha! These sound delish to me, but I don't know if I would be able to get KC to try one. I might have to trick her!

Donna said...

the burger sounds yummy even to me!