Those who follow Dixie Pixie Dust (my travels blog) may remember we spent our wedding anniversary in El Reno, Oklahoma, dining at Sid’s, home of the original onion burger. It’s a classic diner along historic Route 66.
Today I duplicated the experience in our kitchen. I need to tweak my technique a bit, but we were pleased with the results.
I toasted whole wheat hamburger buns, which I discovered hidden in my freezer, on the griddle while frozen fries cooked in the air fryer.
Using two quarter-pound burgers from the freezer and one onion, chopped, I grilled the onions first before adding the burger. Onion burgers are created by pressing the meat into the onions, incorporating the onions into the meat. Sid’s uses 3 ounces beef, which yields a thinner burger.
The onion burger was born in the Great Depression as an economic move to stretch beef. Like many recipes of that era it’s now a popular, beloved dish. Onion burgers are a way to reduce red meat and add a vegetable to a meal.Unfortunately, I already had 4-ounce patties. Next time I will use 3 ounces of meat for a better meat-to-onions ratio.
I can’t compete with Sid’s Diner, but this was a close knock-off. Not bad quarantine cuisine.
Are you shunning America’s favorite fast food because it’s rich with fat and calories? Good news: You can have your pizza and eat it, too. The caveat: you need to make your own. With the growing availability of whole grain, thin crusts, you can make pizza that isn’t labor-intensive.
Today I took leftover pasta sauce (which I’d made using ground lean turkey, lots of garlic and onions, and San Marzano tomatoes crushed using my Vitamix) and spread it on a store-bought crust. I added a few items (sliced Crimini mushrooms, a bit of green bell pepper, and sweet onion), topped with reduced fat Mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese plus a sprinkle of Redneck Pepper Italian. I baked it ten minutes in a preheated 450° oven (but I used a Pampered Chef stoneware baking pan. If you use a metal pizza pan, reduce heat to 425°). After removing it from the oven, I sliced it into six pieces (3 servings).
You can use any combination of toppings you like. There are pizza sauces available. Just read the labels to be sure you don’t get too much fat or sugar. Shred your own cheese or buy it already shredded and ready to use. The two big offenders that make pizza less healthful are meats and refined flour crusts. If you stick to meat-free or lowfat meats like ground turkey, and if you use a thin, whole wheat crust, you can enjoy two slices of pizza without wrecking your diet.
A common complaint I hear about making sandwiches with 100% whole wheat bread is the toughness of the bread. Whole wheat bread can be dense and chewy, and what most people want for a sandwich is light and tender. Yet there is little nutrition in white bread, and almost no fiber.
After experimenting in the Hasty Tasty Meals Kitchen, I’ve found a way to make whole wheat bread with the right texture for sandwiches. Whether you have a bread machine or you use a Vitamix or your hands, try this recipe. You’ll need a 12 oz. can of beer (and no, it’s not for the cook! :D)
Whole Wheat Beer Bread
12 oz can beer, room temperature (pull the tab so it goes flat)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 Tbsp. molasses
½ stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. wheat germ
½ cup gluten
2½ tsp. yeast
Add all ingredients in order listed to the bread machine pan. Select “Wheat” setting and hit “Start.” Approximately three and a half hours later, you’ll have tasty whole wheat bread. Remove immediately from the bread pan and allow to cool before slicing.
If you don’t use a bread machine, make the dough (I’ve omitted dough making instructions, but if you have a Vitamix, follow the directions in your Vitamix book) and let it rise. Knead and let it rise again. Bake in a buttered loaf pan at 350° for about 40 minutes or until done. Loaf is fully baked when you thump it and it sounds hollow. Remove loaf from pan and allow it to cool at least 20 minutes before slicing.
You will be delighted with the airy softness of this whole wheat bread. Enjoy!