Healthy homemade beef burgers – gluten free version

I made the decision to give up Macdonald’s and junk food 10 years ago. Since then I have been making my own burger for good, I say that because I only used to do it ocassionally. Cut a long story, I love making my own burgers, when I tell people they are usually surprised. This is usually because they think it’s a lengthy process and a waste of time, but when I tell them what it entails they change their minds. Last year, I actually made mini burgers at the first birthday party of a friend’s daughter, whilst the kids were playing party games. It went down a storm, some of the mothers were asking for the recipe before they left. 

I have adapted the recipe over the years as I got healthier, the popular version is with bread crumbs, but for this recipe I have used couscous for a gluten free version. However, do feel feel to go down the breadcrumbs route if you prefer.

The ingredients I used were cooled cooked couscous, mixed dry herbs, black pepper, red onion, and lean minced beef.

I placed all the ingredients in my wooden bowl, ok I admit I was multi tasking as all the other bowls were used up for proving bread. Back to the recipe, the onion was chopped, all the ingredients were mixed with my fingers and that was it. By the way you can add other spices into the mixture, eg; curry but make sure you are wearing gloves as you don’t want it going into your eyes if you accidently rub them, neither do you want to end up with stained hands.

Once all the ingredients are combined, roll the mixture into balls. There, you have just made your first burger. It’s that simple, continue until you have used up the mixture.

I wrapped each burger individually in cling (plastic wrap) film. As I had made a batch, I froze them. However, if you want to eatyours straight away, place in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to ‘set’. Or in a freezer for about 15 minutes, like I did at my friend’s party. 

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RECIPE

HOMEMADE BEEF BURGERS

Ingredients

500g Minced (Ground) beef or turkey, pork or chicken

1 Red or regular onion, chopped

1/2 teaspoon dried or fresh herbs of choice – mixed, or parsley.

Cooked couscous, cooled  or fresh breadcrumbs if preferred

Dash of ground black pepper 

Method

In a bowl, add the ingredients until incorporated into the mince beef. Take a handful and roll into small to medium balls. I made 9 burgers out of mine. Cut pieces of Cling (plastic wrap) and wrap each burger indiviudally. Put in a fridge for 30 minutes or an hour to ‘form’, freeze the left over wrapped burgers in a large freezer bag, you don’t want it to split and come into direct contact with other foods. To cook burgers from frozen, allow to thaw overnight as this makes it easier to cook. 

Grill the burgers for 3 minutes, flip to the other side till it is thoroughly cooked and the juices are running, ensure the burgers are cooked through. Enjoy with wholemeal burger buns, pitta bread or as a naked burger with salad or low fat vegetable chips – see my last post for ideas.

If using chips, parboil for 5-7 minutes in boiling water. Drain and place in a baking tray drizzle with olive oil and salt. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven temperature, mine was 250c. 

  • Alternative ingredients – 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1 teaspoon of Worcester or BBQ, applesauce if using pork or turkey. Bulgur wheat instead of couscous.
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Prepping chips for the freezer 

I got carried away with my food shopping as usual. It was only when I unpacked that I realised I had bought so much vegetables. The question was what do I with all this excess, light bulb moment – chips. 

So I choppe the vegetables into chunky chips and wedges, the result you can see below.

Swede, Carrot,  Celeriac chips and Sweet Potato wedges, before ‘heading’ for the freezer. I have to admit I have tasted carrot chips I am just jumping on the bandwagon, it will be interesting to see if it lives up to the hype!

Baked Swede chips with omelette, sausages and homemade baked beans.

Dry frying

This is one thing I started doing from the early stages of my dieting and have stuck it with ever since. Don’t get me wrong I still fry with oil, it depends on the recipe with only a few drops of oil, I literally have my finger at the top of the bottle to shield the oil from coming out too much.

As you can see there is oil in the frying pan, this is the oil from the sausages.

Using the oil from the sausages I fried the remaining ingredients for my recipe. This means I have not only reduced the fat content but I also had the natural source to cook with. 

The recipe was a bean and sausage bake which I  will tucking into, later.

Bye 2016

It’s that time of year again, off with the old one with. It’s been a very busy month hence my lack of posts.

I moved into my new place yesterday so I’m a bit tired. Anyone who has had to move will know stressful it is. Anyway I won’t bore you with details.

Just want to wish you a Happy new year. I will be back in 2017 with new posts as usual.

Dee

Savoury muffins

Muffins don’t have to be sweet especially for those who would rather have savoury. I like both but I do like savoury muffins for lunch either with salad or soup. This recipe is similar to the Egg muffins I posted earlier in the year but with flour and baking powder.

These muffins are so quick and easy to make, you don’t even have to be a ‘baker’ to make these, it’s just a case of putting together ingredients you already have in your cupboard and fridge.

To begin with I chopped up red onions, mixed peppers, ham then fried them. After the mixture had cooled, it is time for the baking part, dry and wet ingredients together ending, adding the the cooled ingredients, finishing off with grated cheddar cheese. Below is what it looked like before they went in the oven.

The baked muffins, the smell in my kitchen was mouthwatering, even if I say so myself, lol.

The inside of the muffin, just to show you how yummy this looks

As with the egg muffins, you can make add ingredients of your choice. You can use gluten free flour for this recipe, for Vegans, use egg substitue, cheese alternative or omit completely.

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Mixed Peppers and Cheesy muffins

Plain (All Purpose) Flour – regular or gluten free

Mixed peppers – one of each, diced

1 small red onion, finely chopped 

1 tablespoon baking Powder

1 teaspoon olive oil for frying

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 teaspoon Rapeseed (Canola) oil for baking

2 eggs – beaten slightly

Ham, Bacon or other ingredients of your choice or additional vegetables

Cheddar cheese (optional) grated or alternative for Vegans

Method

Preheat oven

Fry the peppers, onion and other ingredients of your choice. Allow to cool slightly.

In a bowl add the dry ingredients, whisk.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, blend, adding the cooled ingredients, mix lightly.

Spoon the mixture into muffin tin, using a spoon

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, depending on the temperature of your oven.

Allow to cool slightly or completely if you are going to eat straight.

Tips

Make a batch if you are not going to eat all at once, freeze and take out what you need, just reheat in the microwave.

Enjoy your muffins with a sauce, salad, soup or on its own as a snack. It is great for lunch when friends drop by unexpectedly.

 

Making use of leftovers 

 

I was in search of something to eat for lunch, on my day off. My fridge was a little (by my standards, I like it fully packed, lol) bear. As I looked I found one plaintain, corn cob and eggs, as I put the ingredients together I had a light bulb moment. I got out the grater, frying pan and olive oil, then began grating the plantain.

Next I beat two eggs, added the grated plaintain, mixed spice, all mixed together, however, I realised the fritters may break so I decided to add a teaspoon of gluten free, while the oil was heating in the frying pan, I decided to boil the corn on a cob.

Below, the mixture or dare I say batter.

 

To ge the best of the fritters, I allowed it to to bubble before turning it over, this was to prevent breakage. The tip is to ensure that the fritters is well cooked on both sides because unlike bananas, plantains should not be eaten raw as it could lead to stomach ache.

Although, an unusual combination I really enjoyed my lunch. You can also use bananas for this recipe, but you will have to mash it instead of grating as it is a lot softer than plantain.

I went food shopping afterwards to stock my fridge and cupboard. It was back to eating properly once again.

 

Banana or Plantain Fritters

Ingredients.

 

1 ripe plantain or 2 small over ripe bananas

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon of olive or rapeseed

Pinch of cinamon

1 tea spoon of gluten free or Rice flour (optional)

Accompaniment of your choice

 

Method

Heat oil in a pan

Grate if using plantian or mash banana

Beat egg

Add grated plantain or mashed banana, cinammon, and flour of choice if using.

Mix all ingredients together.

Spoon batter to the pan on medium heat, ensure its bubbling before turning.

Once you notice the bubbles turn and continue to cook on the other side.

Both sides should be slightly golden brown, plate and serve with accompaniment of your choice, enjoy your fritters.

 

 

 

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5 Days of Sandwiches – exciting ideas for your lunch time

​ I often hear people say they don’t like making their own sandwiches because it will mean eating bread everyday. I have told them that sandwiches is not boring it is not all about using sliced bread or rolls everyday but using a variety of breads, wraps, and low carb ingredients.

For example, I buy a packet of turkey wafer to use for the week. Please note I make my sandwiches in the morning not overnight but that’s my preference. You can make yours overnight if that is what works for you.

Below is how I add variety of ways using various (fresh or left over roasted) vegetables and spread.

Day 1 

2 slices of wholemeal bread, spread with Dijon mustard, spinach or lettuce leaves, finish with ham. I don’t add tomatoes as it makes my sandwich soggy.

Day 2

Pitta bread or rice cakes, top with tomatoes or any other vegetables of your choice. Don’t over top up it or it will be difficult to eat.

Day 3

1 wholemeal bread roll or bagel –  with spread of your choice, tomatoes, rocket or watercess or kale, add your filling.

Day 4

Wraps or lettuce leaves. Take another break from bread, split lettuce leaves open, top with tomatoes, and filing. It’s important not to overfill or the leaves will split! For traditional wraps, fill up with ingredients of your choice. 

Day 5

Baguette or panini – What better way to get into the weekend mood than a baguette. I freeze mine on the day of purchase or buy it from the mini supermarket on the way home. If it is from frozen, I put it in the oven for 10 minutes in between getting showered or getting dressed. I like the crispness. With a baguette I just fill it up with all the left over vegetables from the week, wrap it tightly in cling film.

At home

If you don’t work full time or have left over ham at the weekend. You can make yourself a hot toasted sandwich with cheese. Or ham with cheese on toast or toasted panini, etc.

Can I emphaise this article is for illustration purposes only, I am not trying to dictate to anyone. I’m aware that some people don’t like lettuce or tomatoes, so please feel free to use vegetables of your choice. I use other vegetables such as radish, cooked beetroot, fresh herbs, etc.

Sides

I don’t know about countries but us Brits like to eat our sarnies with crisps and a piece of fruit. However, as this is blog is all been healthy, I will recommend baked crisps, mini ryvitas, rice cakes, vegetable crisps, the list goes on, the most important thing is that is it is baked not fried. If you are not a fan of crisps, then carrot batons, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes, sliced fruits. Personally I alternate as I like variety.

Tips for newbies 

Invest in a very good quality tupperware, I invested in a brand name which although, expensive I am still using two years, I actually have a wide range of their products to suit my work and picnic needs.

However, if you will rather stick with the traditional – foil, freezer bags, cling film, then be sure to invest in a good lunch bag or box if you don’t want to end up with flat soggy sandwiches.

When making sandwiches overnight keep it in the fridge to maintain freshness.

If your place of work has a fridge, leave your sandwiches in there till lunch time.I have discovered the temperature from the work area can leave sandwiches warm as they have been left out for hours. Otherwise, place cool packs in your lunch box to maintain freshness.

Freeze your breads on day of purchase, take out what you need the night before and keep it in the fridge to defrost.

I hope my example has given you ideas on how to create your very own ‘personalised’ sarnies. You will not only know what has gone in your sarnies but you will be saving money too. 

Have fun creating your very own sarnies