MMMediterraean Burgers, baby! Recipe (and actual burger!) from my neighbor Lindsay – she was telling me about them at our November neighborhood get-together, at which time she said she’d be making them soon and would run a sample over. And she did! And they rock! And are very nutritious to boot – whole-grain millet with onion, mushrooms, garlic, spinach, sundried tomatoes, and feta cheese stirred in. They brown beautifully with very little oil, and topped with chopped Kalamata olives, arugula, and a dollop of Greek yogurt, they are warm, crispy, tangy, melty, salty, creamy… In other words, absolutely killicious, rarrrr… (Recipe posted in comments, below.)
And check out Kim’s Chops! The Maven is quite the cook these days – she and Brian took a few simple ideas from me and totally ran with them, whipping up healthy, lovely dinners and lunches for themselves. And sending me this photo, which (to steal Kim’s phrase) “gives me heart eyes” for her – I loved getting this pic! These chops look way better than when I make them (compare below!) – right on, girlfriend!
What else am I eating lately, in my continued efforts to slim down, even through the hellidays? As I said below, lots of veggies, as many as I can think of to cook up. Nothing fancy, just simply sauteed, roasted, or steamed, made interesting with herbs, flavored salts, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and/or a drizzle of olive oil. Cabbage and nutmeg are a great combo. Kale and balsamic vinegar. Carrots and thyme. Squash and cinnamon. Fenneland tarragon. Eggplant and Greek seasoning – big roasted eggplant thing going these days, actually. Delicious on its own, fab (and fillilng) toasted inside a whole-wheat pita half, along with a crumble of feta cheese. (Recipe posted in comments, below.)
I’ve fallen into a routine of cooking big batches of various veggies about twice per week – then I’m set for a few days and all I have to add most days is quick, tasty protein (canned tuna, frozen cooked shrimp, frozen tender turkey meatballs, tofu, canned beans, Greek yogurt, hard cooked eggs). Or, a couple of times per week, I actually make a batch of soup or do a saute of chicken paillards, or thin pork chops (per Kim’s pic!), or a lean steak, or a nice piece of fresh fish, perhaps a quick deglaze of the pan with broth for some pan juices, handful of fresh herbs, whisk in a little mustard or balsamic if I’m in the mood… Fresh fruit and a few raw cashews for something sweet… And that’s dinner, my friends. AND lunch for the next couple of days! Cooking ahead = healthy, tasty eats. Not just once, but all week long!
Hope you’re finding ways to stay healthy and slim through the holidays as well! And if not, that’s cool too – ’tis the season for booze and refined carbs, after all! Remember: moderation, not deprivation…
Lindsay Polyak (adapted from the Star Tribune)
Makes 7 burgers
4 sundried tomatoes (I use more)
1 ½ cup vegetable (or chicken) broth
½ cup millet (rinsed well, don’t skip this step)
½ tsp salt
3 cups lightly packed baby spinach stems trimmed
6 tsp olive oil, divided
1 large onion, chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup crumbled feta (I use gorgonzola or goat as well)
1 Tbl. chopped basil
2/3 cup fine dry breadcrumbs
7 whole wheat English muffins (optional)
Chopped arugula and sliced tomatoes for garnish
Chopped Kalamata olives
Place sundried tomatoes in boiling water to soak 10 minutes. Drain, and chop finely.
Bring broth to a boil. Stir in millet and salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the millet is tender and liquid is absorbed, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the spinach to the pan, on top of the millet, and let stand covered, for 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
While the millet cooks, heat 3 Tbsp. oil in large non stick skillet. Add onion and mushrooms, cook stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Transfer to plate to cool.
Place millet/spinach in food processor and pulse lightly to mix. Transfer to a large bowl. Stir in onion/mushroom mixture, feta, basil, breadcrumbs, pepper and sun dried tomatoes. Mix well.
With dampened hands, form mixture into seven ½ inch thick patties using about ½ cup for each. Dip each in additional breadcrumbs if desired.
Using 2 tsp. oil per batch, cook 3-4 patties at a time until browned and heated through, about 4 minutes per side. Serve burgers on toasted English muffins (or in toasted whole wheat pita; also excellent on their own). Garnish burgers with arugula, tomatoes and olives.
Tip on the Mediterranean Burgers - they can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and frozen.
6 small eggplants (about 7 inches each), tops trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (I don’t peel the small ones, the skin is tender and very nutritious; however, you can certainly peel or partially peel them)
¼ c. olive oil
1 Tbsp. (or less, to taste) Greek seasoning (optional)
Spread the eggplant pieces out on a baking sheet, flesh side up. Sprinkle generously with salt and let sit at room temp for about 30 minutes. There will be quite a bit of moisture beaded on the surface – with a wad of paper towels, press down firmly on the pieces to soak up the moisture. Transfer eggplant to a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and toss. Sprinkle with Greek seasoning and toss again. Roast on a baking at 325 degrees for about 1 hour, turning pieces a few times, until very soft and browned in spots. Serve warm or at room temp.