Friday, May 6, 2011
BBQ BACON CHEESEBURGER AND ITALIAN SEASONED FRIES
Think you can't eat burgers and fries if you're trying to lose weight or to eat more healthfully? Chef Devin Alexander, author of the New York Times bestseller The Biggest Loser Cookbook, would beg to differ. I've owned Alexander's Most Decadent Diet Ever for a few years now and am happily cooking my way through it. Unlike Hungry Girl, whose book I gave away after the first 2 recipe disasters, Alexander isn't trying to recreate fast food (my first bite of Hungry Girl's disgusting cereal-coated onion rings made me gag). Alexander's food makeovers actually taste like the real thing because they ARE the real thing. She uses fresh ingredients, a sparing amount of fat, and keeps her portion sizes reasonable.
In our second week of taking off the vacation pounds, I was craving a burger. I find that ironic since I seldom eat them, but this post isn't about what's going on inside Arlene's head. I made 2 changes in Alexander's recipe. The first was to substitute the multi grain Arnold's thin for her suggested light hamburger bun. I find the latter too similar to cardboard in consistency. So, our "buns" were a little large for the quarter pound hamburger. The second was to use 1/2 oz light cheese wedges instead of the light Swiss cheese slivers.
BBQ Bacon Cheeseburgers
1 lb lean ground beef (93% lean)
pinch of salt
6 slices center-cut bacon
6 reduced-calorie hamburger buns (or your preferred light roll)
2 oz light Swiss cheese slivers (or, 4 light cheese wedges)
red onion slivers
2 tsp BBQ sauce for each burger
Pack the beef tightly with your hands and then shape them into a 4 inch diameter patty. Sprinkle lightly with salt on both sides. Freeze for 5 minutes on a sheet of waxed paper to help retain the shape.
Preheat a grill to high. Cut the whole bacon strips in half and place side by side in a nonstick skillet to cook over medium heat until crispy. Drain on a paper-towel lined plate.
Cook the burgers on the grill to desired doneness. Toast the buns lightly. Add the cheese to the burger for the last 30 seconds of cooking. Place the burger on the bun and top with the 3 half bacon slices, then the onion slivers, and finally the BBQ sauce. Serve at once.
N.I. per cheeseburger as described above: 304 cal, 33 g protein, 23 g carb, 10 g fat, 3 g fiber, 752 g sodium
Italian Seasoned Fries
2 medium (8-9 oz) baking potatoes, peeled and cut into sticks about 1/2 inch
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbs reduced fat grated Parmesan
1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Optional: 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees and line a medium nonstick baking sheet with parchment paper.
Toss the potato sticks with the other ingredients, then add salt to taste. Place the potato sticks in a single layer, not touching, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Flip the potatoes and bake another 8 - 12 minutes or until the potatoes are tender on the inside and have some browned spots on them, but are not completely brown. Serve immediately.
N.I. per 1/4 portion: 97 calories, 2 g protein, 19 g carb, 2 g fat, 2 mg chol, 2 g fiber, 34 mg sodium
Usually a guilty pleasure, this BBQ bacon cheeseburger tasted even better because the ingredients were fresh and it was guilt free. The fries were a pleasant surprise, also fresh and flavorful and so much less fattening than the frozen kind served everywhere. I would definitely use fresh herbs on the potatoes next time out. I ate one burger and 1/4 of the fries, and with a big tossed salad, I was quite satisfied. You can be sure we'll be making this burger again and again. Next time I'll keep the kitchen totally clean by using the side burner for the bacon. I'm sure you noticed the paper plate in my photo. Welcome to BBQ season!