Not Your Average Veggie Burger

Have you ever tried a veggie burger? Some of you may turn your nose up to them but hear me out. You can have an amazing burger experience without all that fat and cholesterol clogging your arteries.

img_20170609_123505_662-1.jpgOne of my husband’s favorite places to eat is a little grimy diner called Twisted Burger in Grayslake, IL. I call it grimy only because it is so popular, they have trouble keeping the floors clean 😉 I’m not being cheeky here, it’s packed all the time.

Why is it so popular? Well, it’s local and we love neighborhood spots, right? And they have the craziest burger options… that taste great! The minus side? It’s a heart attack on a plate:


What you are witnessing here is a “Twisted Burger.”  It’s the actual name of the burger. This is their description:

Twisted Burger

I actually ordered it by mistake because I got distracted, like a goldfish, and forgot what I was going to order. So this massive burger came to the table and as the waitress placed it in front of me, Tim started laughing. The flavors were great but it was too much and the rest of the day I had a constant sluggish feeling. So, I thought– what if I create this Twisted Burger my way… and this is what I came up with.

See, that looks appetizing to me. Here’s what I did:

I switched out some of the ingredients. Instead of cheese, I used mashed ripe avocado. That gives the creamy texture of cheese without all the bad fat. If you are on a “healthy eating plan,” like me (especially after that last burger), use just enough avocado to satisfy the texture of creaminess. Avocado is good for you and has good fat but it’s still high in calories. I switched the fried egg out for sautéed mushrooms. I got rid of the bacon– settle down!img_20170609_204109_304.jpg You can add fake bacon or turkey bacon or baco bits if you really need that flavor. I left it out completely because there is already a lot going on here. I added lettuce from my garden, tomato, and red onion. Instead of fresh jalapeños, I added Giardiniera (because I like it) and I replaced the burgers with 1 veggie burger. I like boca burgers and I plop them on a paper plate (to absorb excess oil from patty) and microwave it for 2 minutes because my microwave is pretty wonky. Once assembled, I drizzled BBQ sauce on it. It was delicious!!

AND I didn’t feel sluggish the rest of the day. Try it out if you can. I promise you’ll like it!

Chinese Chicken Salad My Way

This is such a great summer meal that you can make from left over chicken. This is a merge of two recipes. My mother’s Chinese Chicken Salad and Martin Yan’s Recipe from Martin Yan’s Invitation to Chinese Cooking.

You don’t need a bunch of stuff for this– however, the dressing has several elements (don’t worry!).

Ingredients for the salad:

  • Left over chicken shredded
  • 2 Green onions (I sliced mine into julienne strips)
  • 1 carrot, cut in julienne strips (or however you like)
  • Cilantro (a handful– use as much or as little as you like)
  • Sliced almonds (optional- as many as you like)
  • Sesame seeds (optional- but it’s a nice textural addition)
  • Iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • pre-made fried wonton strips or any crunchy noodle type thing you like.

Dressing for salad:

  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (don’t use olive oil– use a light oil or even 1 T. oil and 1 T. water instead)
  • 1/2 Teaspooon finely chopped ginger (more if you love ginger, but Tim can’t stand it so I toned it down for him)
  • 1 Heaping teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 Cup rice vinegar (this makes a difference)
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce (you can use regular but low sodium is just as good and healthier for you)
  • 1 Tablespoon Honey or Agave (or any sweetener you like– I prefer honey)
  • 2 Teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 Teaspoon chile oil (optional– leaving this out is just fine)
  • Ground pepper and salt to taste
  • Taste it and if you like, add some Chinese 5 Spice, just a sprinkle. BUT if you like it as is, don’t mess with it because the dressing can go south very quickly if over seasoned.

When it comes down to it, making the dressing is the most annoying part of the dish and it really isn’t that bad. Mix the dressing together and drizzle over the chicken. Toss it and let the chicken sit with the dressing while you get the rest of the salad ready.

Once you’ve put together your salad, add the chicken and toss. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and sesame seeds. Everything will be lightly coated and taste delicious!

I placed my salad on pre-made fried wonton pieces. You can fry them yourself but I don’t have time for that!

I also made some Limeade to go with the salad, and I have to say— OMG it was delish! I just mixed 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, 5 cups water and 1 cup sugar or sweetener. I put the sugar in a pan with one cup of the water and dissolved it over low heat. Then I mixed everything together and put it over ice. It was SO refreshing!

So, this recipe has more elements than I usually like to use but it was worth it and makes a satisfying dinner on a hot night.

Simple and Delicious Lunch

Most days I am pretty busy and if I’m not careful, I miss lunch altogether. So, when I know I will be swamped, I grab this for lunch which is quick and easy to eat while I am working. A bit of cheese, a bit of baguette, and some sliced tomatoes does the trick. I love Brie– well, to be honest, I love most cheese. Brie has a creamy decadent texture and tastes better as it sits out to rest at room temperature. Add a few nuts and dried fruits on the side to really create a feast!

Even though I make lunch just for me, I like to create a simple but pretty presentation. A nice looking plate makes the food seem to taste better and really doesn’t take a huge effort. As you can see, I just plopped my food on one of my cutting boards!