Friday, June 1, 2012

Memorial Day Burgers

My whole family has become health food nuts. Well just health nuts in general, but health food in particular. 

I (fondly) remember, a few years ago, we would eat hamburgers and hot dogs every single day for lunch, and sometimes dinner, during the summer. We would cook multiple for each people and no one thought twice about chowing down.


Friday? We had steak/pork chops, baked potato, grilled asparagus and steamed broccoli. Saturday? Grilled chicken with southwestern salsa, grilled veggies, tomato salad. Sunday? Butter steak, grilled shrimp, grilled veggies, stuffed peppers and tomato bruschetta (recipes to come, I'm a litttttle behind)

Not exactly the unhealthiest thing I've ever heard of. And we don't even finish what we get! Sunday's lunch was leftover grilled chicken. After the weekend I took home a big bag of grilled veggies that I have been eating all week. See a trend? 

On top of that, each day my family works out. Even over a holiday weekend! My mom takes an hour walk in the morning. My brother bike rides. His girlfriend runs. My dad WOULD exercise, but he tore his meniscus...exercising. My how the times have changed. 

Trips now revolve around a healthy lifestyle as well. My brother and dad climb mountains and iceclimb, my brother and his girlfriend go hiking in New York state, my mom and I go to health spas like Miraval. No longer do we go to a beach locale and sit on our butts. I kind of miss it, but I think this family mindset change happened at the perfect time for me; as my wonderful teenage metabolism began to slow, my lifestyle got healthier.

That being said, Memorial Day is a holiday, so you're damn right we had hotdogs and hamburgers! We just served them with a big green salad and grilled veggies...oh, and chili (recipe coming eventually) and fried onions (also below). We can't always be perfect...

Memorial Day Burgers


2 lbs. ground Angus beef (80% lean)
1/2 onion, minced
2 tbsp garlic, minced
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Two small slices of cheese (we used PepperJack and Irish Cheddar) per burger
Hamburger buns


1. Place the ground beef in a bowl. After dicing the onion and garlic, throw that in the bowl as well. Shake soy sauce over top. 

2. Using your hands, mix all ingredients well. Make sure not to push down too hard on the meat when mixing or your burgers will not turn out well. 

3. Form patties with the mixture. Two pounds of beef should make about 8 burgers at 1/4 lb each (yep, mathematician right here!).

4. Grill the burgers (obviously) to you preferred level of doneness. With five minutes remaining, place buns on the top section of the grill to toast. With two minutes remaining, add the cheese slices (for cheeseburgers). 

5. Remove from the grill, place on a bun and serve. 

As I said above, we served the burgers with my mother's world famous chili and caramelized onions. Other toppings include the obvious (ketchup, mustard, relish) and the restaurant quality (sauteed mushrooms, avocado, thousand island).

Caramelized onions are only slightly different than fried onions, and both are delicious. If you're not sure about the secret ingredient to caramelized onions (take a wild guess what you have to add to caramelize!) than leave it out and you have simple fried onions! Or, as my mom said, if you don't want the added calories.

Caramelized Onions


1 onion, sliced (NOT minced or chopped. The pieces should be about 1 inch long)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar


1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

2. Once the oil is hot, add the onions. Stir constantly until the onions are translucent.

3. Add the sugar to the pan. Lessen the amount of stirring, although continue to shift the onions around so that all pieces become caramelized. When done, the onions will be browned and soft.

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