Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hamburger Stretch

It is possible to get five burgers from one pound of ground beef by adding some flavor. Depending on the servings for yourself or your family, this is an economical way to stretch food on a budget. Cooking for two? You then have lunch the next day or two.

Prep: Purchase a good quality ground beef. Bring out one egg, ketchup, Worcestshire Sauce, salt & ground pepper, bread crumbs or Panko crumbs (crispy, Japanese crumbs). Optional: add chopped onions, green/red peppers, chopped baby spinach. Have your chopping board and sharp knife ready along with a large bowl. A smaller bowl for cracking open the egg. Also have a clean plate ready to put the formed burgers on before cooking. (Can prepare formed burgers uncooked, keeping them covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for an hour or two.)

Mixing ingredients: No measuring required. With clean hands, put the ground beef in a large bowl. Crack open the egg in a smaller bowl to make sure the egg is fresh, then put the egg on top of the ground beef. Continue to add the rest of the wet ingredients, then the veggies, saving the crumbs for last for the desired consistency. When using the wet ingredients, use amounts that you feel comfortable with a few shakes at a time. The ground beef should be loose a bit. After adding some crumbs, use your clean hands to gently blend in all the ingredients.

Make hamburger patties for your desired size burger, putting them on a clean plate to transfer to a frypan or outdoor grill. Be sure to use a spray Canola oil for frypan or grill rack. (Canola oil can be brushed in a pan or on a grill. Canola oil holds up to a high heat. A vegetable oil also, but olive oil requires a lower heat.)

Important point when cooking burgers: Do Not Press Down with a Spatula. This will release juices and make a very dry burger. A simple test for doneness in meat is: press a clean finger gently to the center. The firmer the meat, the more well done the meat is. A medium well burger is done with just a little press in the center.

Serving tip: Allow cooked burgers to rest a few minutes on a clean plate before serving. Use this time to have desired condiments available at the table to build your custom burger. If using a bun, add some fresh lettuce or baby spinach (washed), have sliced tomatoes available to include veggie servings during your meal. Or serve a burger on a plate with a side salad.

With a tasty, custom burger prepared at home, you will not miss a take-out burger and will WOW your family and friends. Your burgers will be healthier prepared with the control you have over the ingredients you put into your food.


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