Friday, May 24, 2013

Grilled Chicken Burgers

Happy Friday of Memorial Day weekend!  Not only does Memorial Day officially kick off summer but it marks the start of all the great things that come with it- grilling, swimming, traveling and finding any reason to spend more time outside.  As far as summer cooking goes, I love grilling! It makes for the most delicious meals and preparation couldn't be any easier.  However, I am always looking for red meat and sugar-ladened bun alternatives.  That doesn't mean I don't enjoy a good burger every now and then but every weekend for the next 3 months won't exactly qualify as moderation. I plan to share lots of grilling ideas but last night I tested out a recipe for chicken burgers and they rocked! They are so tasty you won't miss the red or processed meats filling up everyone else's grills this weekend.  Grilling up lots of veggies guarantees you get your daily intake while not waisting wasting calories on nutritionally empty sides like potato chips or macaroni salad.

We topped our burgers with a tangy horseradish cheddar and fresh avocado.  No need for ketchup or mustard!  We also grilled up some carrots and zucchini and heated spicy bok choy on a foil pan. Enjoy every bite :)

What makes this bite better?
The average cheeseburger can have over 300 calories and 20 grams of fat, 10 grams coming from saturated fat (that's not including the bun and toppings!).  Additionally, high red meat intake is linked to cardiovascular disease and finding healthy substitutions to reduce intake is ideal for optimal health.   Chicken burgers are around 150 calories and have less than 10 grams of fat, with only about 3 grams coming from saturated fat.  You can cut even more calories and fat if you choose 98% lean all white-meat ground chicken. 

Grilled Chicken Burgers 
1 pound ground chicken 
2 cloves garlic
1 spring onion or scallion (shallots or regular onions will also work in a pinch)
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on spice preference)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon olive oil 
pepper to taste

Remove the roots from the bottom of the spring onion and finely chop 2-3 Tablespoons, including the white onion and the green stem.  Finely mince the garlic.  Add all the ingredients to the ground chicken and combine well. Form into burgers and cover in plastic until ready to grill.  Be sure not to allow other ingredients to come into contact with the raw chicken.  1 pound of ground meat will make 4 burgers. Grill on one side for about 5-8 minutes until nicely charred.  Flip and continue to cook until the juices run clear, about 5 more minutes.  Top with cheese, if desired.  

For the vegetables, clean, cut and gently brush with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill until tender and charred.    

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