I Can Has Cheezburger?

Included recipes: Swiss Cheese & Mushroom/Onion Burgers, Horseradish Sauce


(In case you don’t understand the title, go to LOLcats.com right now. Come back after a laugh or 3. Never enough of those.)

This post isn’t about cats, though. It could be. But it isn’t. It’s about cheeseburgers.

Right at the top of my Favorite Foods list is a cheeseburger. I could eat a cheeseburger every day forever and never tire of it. So let’s say that’s your favorite meal, too, and yes, you want fries with that. If we’re trying to eat more wisely overall, does this have to be an uncommon treat?

Let’s find out, starting with fast food.

Burger King: (using BK as an example only. It applies to most fast food chains.)

  • Whopper with cheese = 740
  • Large fries = 430

Total of 1170 calories. That’s damn near my entire day!

Compare:

  • Whopper Jr with cheese = 390
  • Small fries = 320

Total of 710 calories. That’s 460 calories less for an equally good meal. Shows how much you can save calorie-wise just by getting smaller NORMAL portions.

Still that’s a lot to fit within my chosen parameters for one meal so this one stays a special treat. Just the burger without the fries is a different story, however. That I can easily do on occasion. Happiness.

At Home

  1. Replace the giant white buns (180 cal) with Nature’s Own Whole Wheat buns (130 cal).
  2. Instead of making 4 burger patties with a pound of 75/25 ground beef (320 cal each), make 5 (256 cal each). (You can save a lot more calories by using 93/7 ground beef – only 170 cal/4 oz – but it will cost in flavor/texture and $.)
  3. Add cheese as desired = 70 cal.
  4. Avoid mayonnaise (100 cal per TBS) and use mustard and/or salsa instead. Or get creative with a yummy horseradish sauce* (<10 cal per TBS), or pesto, or…
  5. Pile on the veggies (unless they offend your sense of cheeseburger purity).

The larger burger with mayonnaise = 670 cal. Without mayonnaise = 570 cal. 580 cal with horseradish sauce (just to keep things equal).

The slightly smaller burger with horseradish sauce and veggies = 470 cal. So 110 – 200 calories painlessly saved there, enough for a really good snack or dessert later.

Ore-Ida French fries, baked = 90 cal per 3 oz (about 14 fries).

A cheeseburger and french fry dinner = 560 calories. Gotta add a few more for ketchup so let’s call it a 600 calorie dinner. Not bad. That can fit pretty easily into regular rotation.

Yes, I CAN has cheezburger!

Now, let’s get to the recipes…

*Horseradish sauce

  • 1/2 cup of plain, non-fat Greek yogurt = 60 cal
  • 2 (more or less) Tablespoon of horseradish, to taste = 14 cal
  • Salt to taste

Total calories: 74 divided by 8 TBS (number of TBS in 1/2 cup + 2) = 9.25 cal/TBS.

To make: Just stir them together. Don’t get too carried away with the horseradish too quick. It’s sneaky. It heats up as it sits for a while. It’s delicious on burgers, most excellent on roast beef sandwiches. Much tastier than mayo and 90 calories less per tablespoon. That’s big. Try it on a Swiss cheese-sauteed mushroom and onion burger. To. Live. For.

Swiss Cheese – Mushroom and Onion Burgers (makes 5)

  • 1 lb 75/25 ground beef, made into 5 burger patties = 1280 cal
  • 1 TBS extra-virgin olive oil = 119 cal
  • 1 onion, sliced and rings separated = 44 cal
  • 8 oz pkg fresh mushrooms, sliced = 8 cal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 5 slices Swiss cheese = 350 cal
  • 5 whole wheat burger buns = 650 cal
  • Horseradish sauce = 50 cal

Total calories = 2501 divided by 5 servings = 500 calories each

To make:

  1. Saute the onions in the olive oil until they are softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook til soft. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add burgers to pan over high heat. Sear each side well and cook almost through.  (Grilling is even better.) – Stop* here and remove any burgers you plan to freeze to eat at another meal.
  3. Top burgers with a generous amount of mushroom/onion mixture.
  4. Top each with slice of cheese. Cover pan. Give it a couple of minutes to get the cheese all melty.
  5. Slather the (toasted, if you wish) bun with Horseradish Sauce. (Go for it – it’s GOOD for you!). Insert loaded burger.
  6. Chow down!

*To freeze: Cool and place each cooked burger with its mushroom-onion mixture into a zip-lock baggie. No cheese. Freeze. Best if allowed to thaw completely before heating to eat. When ready, nuke for 30 – 60 seconds, then top with cheese; nuke another 30 seconds.

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