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Pizza Burgers

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This isn’t the first fancy burger recipe I’ve posted, and it certainly won’t be the last. I just love making hamburgers more interesting! Made with lean ground turkey and just a tablespoon of cheese per serving, this is a healthier (and more unique) way to enjoy the traditional flavors of pizza!

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The idea for these Pizza Burgers came from a dish at my college cafeteria, also called (no surprise here) Pizza Burgers. There was always a hamburger/hot dog station in the cafeteria, but once a week or so they’d have Pizza Burgers on the menu. There wasn’t much special about these burgers. The cafeteria worker would take a regular cheese burger, put in on a bun, and dump some tomato sauce on before adding the top half of the bun. It must have been a student favorite, because the Pizza Burgers were on the menu at least one a week!

My Pizza Burgers are a bit different. I had the idea to recreate this college cafeteria recipe because I really wanted a healthier way to enjoy pizza. There are tons of healthier pizza alternatives out there! Cauliflower crusts, zucchini crusts, and plenty of pizzas full of veggies, but making any pizza crust takes work. Even cooking lovers and food bloggers sometimes get tired of being in the kitchen! A turkey burger comes together much more quickly than a pizza crust!

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To make the burgers, I seasoned ground turkey with some traditional Italian/pizza flavors – garlic powder, crushed red pepper flakes, and some Penzey’s Frozen Pizza Seasoning. Just a little bit of seasoning goes a long way! The burgers had a gentle herb-y flavor, enough to notice, but not overpowering. To keep turkey burgers moist I always use caramelized onions in my hamburger mixes. The onion adds flavor and keeps the burger from getting dried out. Towards the end of the grilling time, I add a bit of mozzarella cheese to the top of each of the burgers, and to really finish out the pizza flavor I top each finished burger with tomato sauce. I can’t claim something with melted cheese is 100% healthy, but with just a tablespoon of cheese for each serving, this absolutely counts as enjoying something in moderation.

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Feel free to add any of your favorite pizza toppings to these Pizza Burgers. I add some chopped turkey pepperoni to mine. I served these burgers with sauteed kale. I’m sure with all the flavors and toppings you won’t miss the hamburger bun, but serving Pizza Burgers with hamburger buns is also an option. This meal is easily made portionally gluten free by having both GF and wheat hamburger buns available. Just be sure to serve ALL of your GF burgers before even getting out the wheat buns (click here for additional PGF precautions)!

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Pizza Burgers

Makes 4 -6 burgers.
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Penzey’s Frozen Pizza Seasoning (or any Italian herb seasoning you have on hand)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 c shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c tomato sauce (any flavor/variety you like, just check the ingredient label to make sure it is gluten free)
  • optional: any other traditional pizza toppings
Directions
  1. Add the olive oil to a small skillet and turn heat to medium. When the oil is warm, add the onion to the skillet and stir to coat with oil. Continue cooking the onion, stirring frequently, until it softens and turns light brown in color. This takes any where from 10 – 20 minutes, depending on how much onion is in the pan, different stovetops, etc. When the onion is cooked, move it to a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the ground turkey, pizza seasoning, garlic powder, and crushed red pepper flakes to the mixing bowl and combine all the ingredients together.
  3. Divide the mixture into 4 to 6 even sections, and form each section into a patty (I prefer 6 smaller patties, but make whatever size you’d like).
  4. Put each of the hamburger patties onto a grill, over medium/high, direct heat. Grill for about 12 – 15 minutes, or as long as it takes for the internal temperature of each hamburger to reaches 165° F.
  5. When the burgers have cooked through, sprinkle a bit of the mozzarella onto the top of each patty and leave them on the grill for another minute or two, to let the cheese melt.
  6. To serve, to each hamburger with 1 to 2 tablespoons on tomato sauce, and any additional toppings. Place on a hamburger bun if desired. If serving GF and regular hamburgers, be sure to make ALL GF burgers before making any burgers using wheat buns, to avoid cross contamination.

P.S. This post is linked to the Gluten Free Carnival at Gluten Free Homemaker. Check it out here!

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Gourmet Turkey Burgers: Sweet Thai Burgers

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I thought food blogging would be easy. Creative cooking is one of my talents. I figured I’d just snap a few photos before each meal and then post them online with the recipe. Yeah, it’s not that simple. The recipe development comes naturally to me but the photography, not so much.

Lets take these burgers for example, which I have tried to photograph now on two occasions. Luckily, they are really good, so we haven’t minded having them a few weeks in a row.

The first round of photographs went badly all due to my hungry and lack of patience. I was a little lazy and just wanted to eat my dinner. And warm. After taking pictures for half an hour the burger is only lukewarm and the cheese is not melt-y anymore. That takes half the fun out of a cheese burger. So, I gave in to my taste buds after about a dozen photos, most of which turned out poorly.

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Second photo shoot, I was totally prepared. Like, I ate a snack while I was cooking so that I would have the patience to get through taking the pictures without getting hungry and frustrated. Well, I’m grilling the burgers and it starts raining and storming. We have a tarp hanging up on the deck to keep the grill area dry, so that was fine, but it was DARK. And this is what happens when you try to take pictures in the kitchen with a really crappy artificial light instead of using natural light:

Now, pretend you never saw that!

So, my other pictures of these burgers are not quite as awful as that one, but didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped for, either. I’m sorry. I hope you try them, anyway!

Moving past the photography and onto the food (that is what we’re all here for, right?), these burgers I’ve been having such a hard time capturing on film are pretty darn tasty. As a GF person, who rarely eats a burger with a bun, I feel pretty strongly about having a burger that is so delicious that I won’t even miss not being able to have the bun. These burgers fit the bill perfectly. With one pound of ground turkey, an onion, 2 seasonings, and 20 minutes of time you get a mouthwatering dinner that is naturally GF. You will enjoy these Thai burgers with or without a GF hamburger bun!

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Gourmet Turkey Burgers: Sweet Thai Burgers

 
Ingredients (makes 6 burgers)
  • 1 lb. ground turkey (or ground beef or chicken)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4 c Thai sweet chili sauce (check label to make sure its GF – I use the Maggi variety)
  • 2 Tbs chopped Thai basil leaves (or regular basil)
  • optional: GF hamburger buns (You can easily turn this into a PGF meal by having regular hamburger buns available for anyone who doesn’t need GF buns.)
Cooking Directions
  1. Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warm, add the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft.
  2. In a bowl combine the ground turkey sweet chili sauce, chopped basil and softened onions. Form into 6 patties.
  3. Grill the burgers for about 5-8 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature is 165°F.
  4. Serve plain or with additional sweet chili sauce, basil leave, and hamburger buns.
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