Monday, March 18, 2013

Potato Substitute

I literally just put down my fork, and am thinking “MUST…. BLOG…. RECIPE…NOW!” Yes, it was that good! 

For the last two months, as you know I have desperately been banging out my thesis and I am SO CLOSE to being finished. I’m on my LAST round of edits and I defend in 9 days! What does this have to do with potatoes you ask? Well, they are one of my big comfort foods (along with mac & cheese).  I like mine loaded with sour cream, sharp cheddar and smoky bacon (who doesn’t, right?). One of the other things I have been doing for the last two months is going to the gym. I’ve been really dedicated to my strength training classes and working up on my cardio. While I would love to eat potatoes (or mac & cheese) every day while I sit at home and pound away on my computer, it would not point me in the direction of my health goals (bummer). We need a substitute! Quinoa burgers to the rescue!! 

Have you ever had a quinoa burger before? I never had before today, but I had a few magazine clippings with recipes and a few things on pinterest and decided to give it a go. I looked at a dozen recipes and nothing was quite what I was looking for. I should use this moment to add that quinoa burgers are a great vehicle for lots of veggies or legumes, just mix them into the mixture and enjoy. That was not what I was going for today. Here you will find a super simple, pared down version of the quinoa burger that offers a million ways to mix it up, change the spices, change the toppings, add some veggies or chick peas (Sorry, Amy! I do love them so!). I found that a cast iron skillet gave me the best crunchy exterior and you really can’t skimp on the oil in the pan. It makes a huge difference and I promise it will not leave your burgers tasting or looking greasy. 

I topped mine with the old baked potato stand-bys of sour cream, sharp cheddar and bacon. I’ll even let you in on a little secret: I keep a little packet of Black Label Bacon Pieces in my fridge. It’s one of the few “convenience foods” I love, perfect for those times when you just want a bit of bacon without all the hassle (and since it’s REAL bacon, I don’t feel as guilty about it, as I would about buying Bacon Bits). These “baked potato” quinoa burgers are heavenly (and full of protein)! They are moist on the inside, they hold together nicely for cooking, and have an irresistible crispy exterior. The best part is, this recipe makes a huge batch, so make a few for lunch today and then put the rest in your fridge and you can enjoy these babies all week! You know I will be!!

Quinoa Burgers 

1 c Uncooked Quinoa
2 c Water
¼ tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Garlic Powder
¼ c Wheat Germ
1 egg
½ c Sharp Cheddar Cheese

First bring water to a boil, add salt and quinoa (make sure to wash your quinoa well, in a fine sieve before boiling, or it will turn bitter). Put the lid on the pan and lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes covered. All the water should be absorbed when it is cooked. When the quinoa is cooked combine quinoa with the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Make quinoa mixture into patties and fry until dark golden brown on each side. Remove from pan and top as you please! 
(I Used ½ tbl Sour cream, 1 tsp bacon and a large pinch of shredded sharp cheddar on each patty.)

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