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Healthier than the Box Cheeseburger Macaroni (GF)

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Christmas season is in full swing now and I feel like I should be posting a cookie recipe, not a dinner. I’m sure I will be doing plenty of cookie baking and sharing in the coming weeks (including my eBook with cookie recipes), but, in this hectic and busy time of year we need to eat more than cookies! This skillet dinner is warm, comforting, and ready in under in 30 minutes.

Hamburger Helper was the first meal I ever cooked on my own. My Mom has always loved the stroganoff variety so that was a frequent and favorite dinner in our household. Since it was a fairly simple dinner I would often be the one responsible for mixing up the sauce or making the ground beef, and eventually making the entire meal. I suppose all cooks have to to start somewhere!

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Although Hamburger Helper was a totally viable dinner option in my childhood it is not now! When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in my 20s it immediately became a forbidden food. Still, sometimes I crave it, even though I know it is both full of gluten and not exactly healthy.

Enter this recipe. It is delicious. It will take you the same amount of time to cook as the boxed variety. The ingredient list is short and includes more whole foods and less processed foods. Adults and kids will love it. And best of all, you don’t have to feel a bit guilty about eating this or serving it to your family!

Healthier than the Box GF Cheeseburger Macaroni

 
Ingredients
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb elbow shaped GF brown rice pasta
  • 2 c water
  • 1 1/4 c tomato sauce
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 c shredded cheddar cheese (this makes it very cheesy, feel free to use less)
Directions
  1. Add the chopped onion and ground turkey to a large skillet. Cook over medium high heat until the turkey is browned, breaking it into small bits as it cooks.
  2. Stir in the water, tomato sauce, mustard powder, onion powder, and garlic powder. When combined, stir in the pasta and bring to a boil.
  3. Cover and simmer (reduce heat to a medium/low) for 15 minutes, or until pasta is done.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cheese.  Serve with steamed vegetables or a salad.
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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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