Marge Perry, Newsday's weekly 3 Simple columnist, also writes, broadcasts, teaches and speaks about cooking, food and nutrition.
1. TURKEY BURGER SLIDERS WITH AVOCADO MAYONNAISE
½ avocado, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
½ teaspoon lime juice
⅛ teaspoon ground cumin
1¼ pounds lean ground turkey
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
8 slider-size potato rolls, split
1 medium tomato, cut into 8 thin slices
1. Heat the grill for high temperature direct-heat cooking (400-500 degrees).
2. Use fork to mash the avocado in a bowl; add mayonnaise, lime juice and cumin and mash until it is the consistency of chunky applesauce. Set aside.
3. Use fork to combine turkey, salt and pepper, working meat as little as possible. In bowl, divide turkey into 8 portions. Form each portion into a ½-inch thick patty. Press your thumb into top of each patty to form an indentation.
4. Lightly oil grill. Place rolls, cut sides down, on rack until lightly toasted and marked, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from grill.
5. Place burgers on grill and cook 4 to 5 minutes, until well marked. Turn and cook until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 165 degrees, another 4 to 5 minutes.
6. Spread avocado mayonnaise on bottom of each roll. Top with slice of tomato and turkey slider, close sandwich and serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 408 calories, 16 g fat, 3g saturated fat, 34 g protein, 35 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 74 mg cholesterol, 661 mg sodium
2. BEEF BURGER WITH CABERNET-ONION JAM
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cups thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons sugar
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
⅔ cup cabernet sauvignon wine
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1¼ pounds lean ground beef
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 ounces thinly sliced Gruyère cheese
4 (2-ounce) sourdough or kaiser rolls
1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat; add onion, sugar and ¼ teaspoon of salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is very soft, about 15 minutes. Add wine and vinegar and cook until liquid is nearly gone, 12 to 14 minutes longer. Cover and set aside.
2. Prepare grill for direct-heat cooking (400-500 degrees). Brush the grates lightly with oil.
3. Mix beef, remaining ½ teaspoon salt and pepper with fork; form into 4 (¾-inch-thick) patties. Press your thumb into center of each burger to form an indentation. Grill patties 4 to 5 minutes, turn and grill another 4 minutes and top with cheese. Cook until cheese is melted and burger is cooked to desired degree of doneness (160 degrees for medium).
4. Place the burger on the bottom half of the roll; top with the onion jam and close the sandwich. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 460 calories, 18 g fat, 7g saturated fat, 30 g protein, 38 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 699 mg sodium
3. PORTOBELLO-FETA BURGER
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 shallot, minced
4 large portobello mushroom caps, stems and gills removed
1 red bell pepper, halved and seeds and stem removed
4 (¼-inch-thick) slices red onion
¾ cup crumbled feta
4 hamburger rolls
1. Combine balsamic, mustard, olive oil, salt, pepper and shallot in bowl. Remove and set aside 2 tablespoons of mixture; add mushroom caps to bowl and toss until they are well coated. Allow to stand, tossing occasionally, for 20 minutes.
2. Heat grill for direct-heat, medium cooking (350-450 degrees). Lightly oil grill grates.
3. Place the peppers (skin-sides down), mushrooms (gill-sides down) and onion on the grill.
4. Remove onion when fork tender, about 6 minutes. Cook peppers until skin is charred and blackened, about 7 minutes; when cool enough to handle, brush off charred skin and cut each piece in half. Cook mushrooms, turning once, until just fork tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Fill the cap with the crumbled feta, cook 1 minute until partially melted and remove from grill.
5. Brush bottom of each roll with reserved dressing, top with pepper, mushroom and onion; close roll and serve. Makes 4 servings.
Nutritional analysis for each serving: 342 calories, 19 g fat, 7g saturated fat, 12 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates, 3 g fiber, 862 mg sodium
TIP: Press a thumbprint into the top of burgers before cooking to prevent the centers from puffing up into a dome shape as they cook.