Welcome to Day 6 of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Our guest blogger today is Jenn from Jenn Cuisine. Jenn is a scientist who cooks for her gluten free husband and authors her food blog, Jenn Cuisine. She strives to cook flavorful gluten free dishes from scratch that anyone would love regardless of any gluten issues. She and her husband enjoy tasting a diverse selection of vegetables, fruits, grains and proteins. Her blog continually stresses the importance of using quality fresh ingredients.
Recipe: Mushroom & Goat Cheese Stuffed Burgers
Tip: Add fresh produce to spruce up classic meals
Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution touches me quite closely. While I cannot watch the shows on tv or online where I am, I have seen his Ted Talk.
Michael Pollan once wrote, “Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.” The idea behind this rule of eating that he came up with is that if you had to go through the labor of prepping so many junk foods that we take for granted in our American society, we’d all eat them a lot less often. And trust me, making such holiday treats like chestnut pumpkin fritters is quite the ordeal to prep, cook and clean up! However, while in general this and many of his other rules are good guidelines to follow, I don’t think Pollan realizes just how much time I am willing to spend in the kitchen in pursuit of great taste. For you see, I am the type of person who would cook my own sweet potato fries every night, and I can readily turn breakfast into candy by cooking such delights as Maple Buckwheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes.
You see where this can quickly go. And in fact, I have been indulging a little too much in the utterly exquisitely delectable. Unfortunately, as life and all its surprises have been happening over the past few years, creating food has been my outlet, a deep source of emotional comfort. And it’s starting to show. But this time I’m not out eating french fries and fast food every day. And even though I grew up in a family that did cook regularly, when college came around I ate terrible things way too often. And unless it’s brought to one’s attention about what exactly is in the foods being consumed, it’s an extremely difficult thing to realize on your own. Making the switch from such processed foods can indeed be as intimidating and daunting as when we first switched to being gluten free. But with anything, a little patience and resolve go a long way 🙂
A few years ago, I ran into this problem about my figure, and so I went to my doctor who referred me to a nutritionist. I didn’t want to put my health in the hands of some fad diet. I wanted to enact a real life-style change – because getting healthy isn’t about dieting, but about changing the entire perspective you have on your life, and your actions that then follow suit. . Managing one’s health is a bigger deal than just “Oh I wish I could fit into those jeans,” it’s something that should be taken seriously, because in the end it’s about taking care of yourself in a way that you don’t end up having to miss out on the life events that bring us so much joy.
Regular meetings with a nutritionist did wonders for my concept of food and health. I talked with her about my family history, for my family has had several issues (some quite serious indeed) related to being overweight, which she said makes me especially prone to similar issues if I can’t keep things in check. She taught me what proper portion sizes were, and I also learned that variety is absolutely essential when it comes to a healthy eating lifestyle. Compounded with some very educational trips to my local farmer’s market, I learned that while I didn’t love all veggies (sorry kale), I could add produce into my favorite comfort foods and create a completely different and oftentimes better dish than the original.
As I find myself approaching this point yet again, not due to eating fast food and crap but rather by relying on cooking to supply emotional comfort during some crazy stressful life events, re-evaluating how and what I am eating is more important to me than ever. Jamie’s movement couldn’t have been more timely, and for me it strikes a chord that is deeply personal.
I need a slightly different attitude behind Pollan’s well-known rule of thumb, for I could make myself comfort food and sweets and indulgences all day long if I had the chance. We are all deeply connected to the food we eat – but if we choose to eat mindful of where our food comes from and its quality, the entire experience is that much more enriching. So instead of just figuring out how to cook all your favorite junk foods yourself, the better idea is to spruce up your favorite classic dishes with flavor and nutrition by incorporating fresh produce!
Here, I took a very basic cheeseburger, a quintessential American dish, often blamed for so many health transgressions. It’s not really the concept of the cheeseburger that leads to so many unhealthy meals, as it is the quality of meat used, how it is cooked, and what it is served with. It is entirely possible to create a much healthier version, and not have to sacrifice taste or satisfaction. For this cheeseburger, I dressed it up by mixing herbs, mushrooms, garlic and goat cheese together and stuffing the patties. Then I topped it with onions and served it on a bed of greens with some avocado. Besides, a plain old burger is boring and blah – this now has a bit of pizazz, and lots of great veggies. And the mushrooms and goat cheese melting in your mouth on every bite? Well that’s just a little bit of heaven on a plate 🙂
Because my husband has a gluten allergy, we forwent the buns to make things easier. Truth be told, I did not miss them, not one bit – there was already tons of great flavor on my plate!
What are you’re favorite ways to incorporate fresh veggies into classic dishes?
Mushroom and Goat Cheese Stuffed Burgers
1 lb. ground turkey or beef
4 oz. goat cheese 2 tbs. fresh thyme, chives, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
2 tbs. olive oil
2 onions, sliced
4 cups. fresh salad greens
1. Heat a pan on high heat and add in 2 tbs. olive oil. When hot, add in onions, stirring occasionally until softened. Then turn down the heat to med-low and let cook down and brown, stirring every few minutes or so. When browned and caramelized a bit, remove from heat.
2. Heat a pan on med-high and add in olive oil. When oil is hot, sauté mushrooms until browned. Remove from heat and add to food processor along with herbs and garlic. Purée.
3. Combine purée with goat cheese until all incorporated. Divide ground meat into 4 servings, and roll each into a ball. Use your thumbs to create a well in the center of each and stuff with mushroom goat cheese and then seal each patty back up with your fingers, shaping them a little bit to look more like hamburger patties.
4. Cook burgers on a grill or on the stovetop, whichever way you like best.
5. When burgers are cooked through, plate on a bed of your favorite greens with some avocado slices and garnish with the caramelized onions. Enjoy!
For more from Jenn visit her blog today for Food Revolution.
In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing. The more you do, the more chances you have to win!
- Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like. Each comment is an entry.
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When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.