Ashley’s Southwest Turkey Burgers

GUEST BLOG!: I’m in Orlando for a few days to attend a meeting and work on a profile of a political candidate, but my friend Ashley is picking up the slack.  Ashley, a PR wiz for a children’s hospital in St. Louis, and I love to talk about food, food blogs, cooking, etc.  Her favorite blog is the Pioneer Woman Cooks and she is getting MARRIED to her wonderful boyfriend George (aka the mechanic) this October. I’m so  excited for the wedding!  Anyway, she’s been telling me about this recipe for a while, but this is the first time I’ve seen all the ingredients, pictures, etc.  So, from Ashley…the southwest turkey burger.


During the week, I’m pretty well-behaved. I take jogs, I spend time on my recumbent bike and I keep the high-fat food to a minimum and vegetables to the maximum. I have a wedding dress to fit into, people!

But on the weekend, I want to dive face-first into a greasy burger and fries and then sleep it off watching a bad movie.

Don’t worry. I don’t let myself do that.

Instead, I find ways to fake myself out.

One of my favorite things to do is dress up turkey burgers. If you make them with ground, 99 percent lean turkey breast, they are insanely good for you—tons of protein, very little fat. And they’re a terrific vehicle for countless combinations of flavors.

Right now, my fave is a Southwest-style turkey burger. Super easy to make with a kick of flavor. And if you pair with some “fries” baked in the oven and prepared with no oil, you’ll swear that you just had a artery-clogging-but-so-good fast food dinner but you’ll have none of the guilt.

First, let’s start the “fries.” These are crazy easy. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Just grab a potato (two if you’re cooking for a Mechanic, as I am) and cut it down the middle once. From each side, cut strips roughly the size of a steak fry. If you like them extra crispy, make them super thin. If you want some chew to your fry (my preference), make them a little thicker. Spray a baking pan with non-stick spray and line the potatoes up. Give them a liberal dose of your favorite grill seasoning—my fave is Mrs. Dash’s Salt-Free Hamburger.

You don’t need any oil. Just potatoes and seasoning. These will go ten minutes and you’ll flip them (a knife works great to get them off the hot surface.) Give them another ten minutes after that.

Now, on to the main course!

Here’s all it takes to make a delicious turkey burger.

Chop some jalapenos and red onion and grab some of your favorite seasoning. I sometimes make my own mixes but I like Mrs. Dash’s too. They’re salt free but have tons of great combinations. For this burger, I like to mix the “Extra Spicy” and “Fiesta Lime.”

Mix this deliciousness into the turkey breast. Make four patties and toss them on the grill. (My George Foreman is a godsend, by the way. I know Kathleen is a fan!) These will take about ten minutes. Let’s work on some toppings while they cook, shall we?

I like to keep it simple and healthy. I cut a yellow pepper and Vidalia onion (soooo good right now) and throw them into a skillet—no oil, just non-stick spray. Turn the burner to medium-high, give them a shake of your favorite seasoning (these guys got “Extra Spicy” to complement the burgers) and let them hang out. You’ll want to stir them sometimes, although I prefer to grab the skillet handle and give the whole thing a shake. It makes me feel like a professional chef!

After a few minutes, they’ll look like this. That means we’re halfway there.

When the burgers are done (no pink and at least 165 degrees on the digital thermometer), I always throw them onto a plate with a paper towel. This is a habit from making beef burgers, but there won’t be a drop of grease to sop up. These babies are lean. Don’t you love them visible veggie chunks? *Picture 6*

Now the potatoes are done! (I flipped them like I promised but I didn’t bore you with that picture.) I like to slather mine in ketchup.

Oooh, and our peppers and onions are done. Just in time!

I like to have some fun with toppings, as long as they stay fat-free or low-fat. For this burger, I picked some fat-free bean dip (I highly recommend this brand, YUM), salsa and some Light Laughing Cow cheese. I’m digging the new flavors of Laughing Cow, and Queso Fresco with Chipotle is the BEST.

I ordinarily eat my sandwiches low-carb, aka sans bread, but you can feel good enough about these healthy burgers to plop them into a bun if you’d like. Don’t forget your caramelized onions and peppers!

Voila! Easy weekend food tasty enough to be sinful, but healthy enough that your hips won’t get the memo.


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