A Healthy 4th of July BBQ

Summer, DefinedImage by Asten via Flickr

Independence Day is upon us. The grills are being cleaned and readied for the BBQ master. Shoppers are buying up the potato salad, macaroni salad and cans of baked beans from the groceries.I thought I might offer you a different option this year to lighten things up.

Back in the days when I was a Carnivore, my husband and I tag teamed making Turkey Burgers. They were a little trickier on the grill since they didn’t have all that fat to bind things together. We settled on him either being “very” careful turning them or using a grill basket which was much better. I have also added some egg or egg white to the burgers to bind them and that works pretty well too.

In my more domestic days I made fresh hamburger buns. Wow! Those really added a lot to the meal. If you can get some good buns from a bakery, not a grocery, I suggest you do.

Instead of heavy fat laden potato salad or the butter loaded scalloped potatoes my mother used to make, I make Buttermilk Herb Scalloped Potatoes. The Buttermilk is lower in fat. When cooked, it adds a very tangy cheesy texture to the potatoes. The herbs give the dish a fresh from the garden taste.

Then there is the macaroni salad. Now don’t think I am inhuman. I love my mother’s macaroni salad, mayonnaise and all but I have an alternative that I love equally. I got the idea while dining at Dakota’s restaurant in Downtown Dallas. They made a WheatBerry Salad with minced vegetables, blue cheese and a balsamic vinaigrette. I make it that way at times, but when my Albanian heritage kicks in, I make a Dilled Wheat berry Salad with minced vegetables, mint and Feta cheese. I dress it with the traditional fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil. The oil I use sparingly.

A bit outside the box, my Butter Beans Oreganato taste great and may help you add some of your own “Fireworks” to the occasion :).

So this year, try something outside of your comfort zone. These may not be “American” per se, but we are a melting pot in America and this "4th of July"
(or sometime this summer) I hope you try these recipes. I think you will like them and they are good for you too!!

Red Carpet Turkey Burgers

For the burgers:

1 lb “lean” ground turkey
1 ½ tsp liquid smoke (hickory if you are from the East, Mesquite if you are from Texas)
1-2 Jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped
1 Shallot minced
1 Garlic clove peeled and minced
S& P to taste
1 egg or 2 egg whites optional
4 Good quality hamburger buns
1 small green or red pepper cut in strips
Grated low fat Cheddar or Swiss cheese
Country Dijon Mustard

Preheat a BBQ grill. Combine all the burger ingredients and mix. Gently form the mixture into 4 burgers. Place in a lightly oiled grill basket or very carefully on the prepared grill (remember to oil the grill before heating it so you don’t burn your eyelashes off!!)

Grill until cooked through turning once. Don’t try turning them multiple times or they will fall apart and you will be eating turkey hash!!

Another option you could try instead of the liquid smoke is using Hoisin sauce and substituting sweet green pepper for the Jalapeno. You could top this with sautéed shitake mushrooms and Light Swiss Cheese

Buttermilk Herb Scalloped Potatoes

3 Medium Yukon Gold Potatoes (or large redskin potatoes) sliced in ¼ inch strips
¼ onion chopped (or more to taste)
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (white is ok too)
1 ½ tsp each dried thyme and rosemary crumbled
S&P to taste
1 ½ Tablespoon good quality Parmesan or Romano Cheese not the flavorless stuff
1 Cup Buttermilk
1 tablespoon Smart Balance margarine or margarine made with yogurt
Pinch of Paprika

Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8x11 loaf pan. Toss the potatoes with the whole wheat flour, salt and pepper and herbs. Layer half of the potatoes in the loaf pan. Top with chopped onion then repeat with another layer. Sprinkle the Parmesan over the top and dot the potatoes with Smart Balance or the Yogurt based margarine. Pour Buttermilk over all then sprinkle with Paprika
Bake (uncovered) for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until potatoes are tender.
Enough for 4 as a side dish.

Wheatberry Salad

1 cup dried wheatberries
2 cups water
1 Chicken or Vegetable bouillon cube (optional)
½ red or sweet onion, minced
1 medium carrot; minced
½ red bell pepper, minced
1 ½ oz feta cheese crumbled
Handful of fresh cleaned spinach torn into small pieces


1 ½ tablespoons fruity olive oil
½ large juicy lemon
1 tsp dill weed or 1 tablespoon fresh dill chopped fine
½ tsp dried mint crumbled or 1 tsp fresh mint minced (fresh is best here)
S&P to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add bouillon if you want. Add wheatberries, bring to boil then reduce heat and cook covered for 45-50 minutes until done but still chewy. Toss with a fork then let cool.

When cooled, add remaining ingredients except the dressing ingredients (onion through spinach). Mix. Add olive oil and dill. Mix to coat the berries with the oil. Squeeze the lemon over the salad and mix again. Add salt and pepper. Taste and make any adjustments to the dressing.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make this with the Blue cheese instead, substitute the Blue Cheese for the Feta. Omit the dill, and mint and substitute balsamic vinaigrette for the lemon and oil. I love it this way too and it might be more “American”.

Butter Beans Oreganato

1 Can Butter Beans
½ lemon
½ Tablespoon Olive oil
¼ Teaspoon dried oregano crumbled
S&P to Taste

Heat Butter Beans in a pan on the stove or bowl in the microwave. When hot add the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper and mix gently. Squeeze the lemon over all and mix again. Serve warm.

Have a Happy, Healthy and Safe 4th....and don't forget to exercise!!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]