Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers

Before I start to indulge you guys with my very slightly tweaked version of these delicious tuna burgers, let me just tell you that someone found my blog by searching:

“Looks like butt cheeks”

O.O

Should I be concerned? Baha!

Anyhow, last night the bearded one worked late so my sister and I whipped up these burgers and sat down to a few episodes of Criminal Minds.  We party hard, I know.

The closest thing I can compare these to in good ole’ southern terms would be salmon patties.  Now, I once made a batch of salmon patties and they were pretty much the most awful tasting things I ever put in my mouth.  And I’m not a bad cook, I promise.  The canned salmon just made me cringe.

On the other hand, I am a tuna lover.  Of all kinds.  I can open up a can of tuna and eat it straight up, maybe with a few crackers on the side. Add lemon, parsley, and green onions (my three favorite things ever) and you’ve pretty much won my heart.

Not to mention those giant chunks of garlic.

To be quite honest, I’d never used panko before.  Not that I’m averse to them or anything, I had just never thought to use it in lieu of regular breadcrumbs.  They’re great, just like an extra crispy version of the original stuff.  Now, I might just go and do something crazy like dip my pickles in them. You’ll see what I mean later.

Just take your tuna and break it up as much as you’d like.  You can process it to get a very mushy, bean-burger-like consistency, or leave it a little flakier for more chunk-a-lunk.

A little parsley… about three tablespoons.

A little bit less than a 1/3 of a cup of the panko breadcrumbs.

Seriously, I could put green onions in just about anything.  Eggs, pasta, salads, burgers… they kind of have a sweet crispness to them.

The juice of half a lemon… put the other in your seltzer water, or in a handy-dandy lemon holder! I got one in my stocking at Christmas last year and it is the cutest little thing.

All together now!

Throw in your egg and three tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt, mix up, and form into four (very wet!) patties and bake for twenty minutes at 400 degrees.

We baked up some sweet potato fries to eat on the side and served the burgers on whole wheat English muffins with a tomato slice and some spinach.

And coming from a girl who is anti-leftovers, these taste just as great out of the toaster oven or microwave the next day.

Enjoy!

Lemon Garlic Tuna Burgers
(adapted from Andie’s, here)

2 5oz cans of tuna
2 garlic cloves, chopped up
3 tablespoons of parsley (more if ya like ;)
1/4 of a cup of green onions
1 egg
3 tablespoons of plain Greek yogurt
1/3 of a cup of panko breadcrumbs (a little less)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Mix all ingredients together and bake on a greased cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.

If you’ve got it on hand, a few tablespoons of cottage cheese make for a fatter, tangier burger, too.

Weekly Menu & Grocery List

Guys,

I am so excited to share this week’s menu and grocery list because one, I stayed completely within budget, and two, the wee Rader household is in for some good eats this week.

Just to recap, the mister and I try to stay within a $55-60 budget every week at the store.  We go every week because we buy so much fresh produce to use, and as you know, that kinda stuff doesn’t keep for very long. We do buy the majority of our frozen vegetables, canned goods, and boxed pastas at Wal-mart; let’s face it – as long as you’re reading the ingredients list and not loading up on pre-prepared meals (which are high in calories, fat, and sodium), it doesn’t matter where these particular items come from. However, for fresh and nice-looking produce, I make a special trip to Earth Fare.

This week’s menu:

M: Grilled chicken, red pepper, and goat cheese paninis + sweet potato fries
I will have some leftover grilled chicken from Sunday night’s dinner for this, as well as some chive goat cheese from the farmer’s market last weekend, mmm! Inspired by a sandwich I had a few weeks ago near the mall.

T: Tempeh tacos
I have been hoarding a few packages of tempeh for quite some time now and I came across this super easy recipe a while back

W: Personal pizzas
In the wee Rader household, we love pizza.  Of any kind.  At any time of the day.  We would eat them in a boat with a… you get the picture. Most of the time, we just buy a simple pizza crust and have at it, but with the tomatoes springing up, I’m aching more and more for them on my pizza – something my partner in crime is strictly against.  So, this week, I’ll be enjoying my fresh tomatoes and he will (at last) have a manly meaty pizza party.

R: Shrimp & grits:
Seriously, y’all… I’ve been longing for a bowl of shrimp and grits for months, now.  I did a little investigating, gathered a few supplies, and will attempt my own version of this.  If successful, I promise a recipe to follow.

F: Roasted lemon pepper salmon + scallion brown rice + mixed green salad (from the Biggest Loser family cookbook)
We like to have fish at least once a week for the sake of our waistlines and our cholesterol, not to mention Omega-3s, and cooked with a little olive oil for a sweet complexion — you seriously can’t go wrong when eating fish… except maybe the Paula Deen way.

S: Chicken stir-fry
Confession: I have never cooked Chinese food at home before.  I have made a delish version of Coconut Curry Chicken before, but that’s a different part of Asia. Again, I’m going to have a go at this and if we are successful, then everyone gets to celebrate with the recipe!

S: Annie’s Turkey Burgers + baked pickles + mixed greens salad
We normally use this recipe for turkey burgers (which we tweak into a couple variations), but these just looked so good I couldn’t resist. And baked pickles? Yeah, just imagine those deep-fried Zaxby’s pickles but on a lighter scale. Still just as crunchy and delicious.  Stay tuned for that recipe, cause seriously, they’re amazing.

In addition, I got ingredients for homemade hamburger buns and zucchini muffins with cream cheese frosting, mmm.

As for the grocery list:

1 small package of organic chicken tenders: $3.51 (like, 1/2 a pound)
1 lb. ground turkey: $2.82
1 small bag of grits: $1.12
1 package of cream cheese: $1.72
1 red bell pepper: $1.78
1 lb. zucchini: $2.89
1 Jalapeno: $0.09
Frozen stir-fry veggies: $1.83 (almost the same quality, much cheaper than buying individual fresh)
Green onions: $1.18
Confectioners’ sugar: $1.42
Brown rice: $2.00 (I buy boil-in-a-bag… I fail, I know)
Cheddar cheese: $2.08
Mozzarella cheese (part-skim): $2.08
Whole wheat English muffins: $2.50
Chopped walnuts: $1.12
Salmon: $4.94
Shrimp: $5.48
Ciabatta rolls: $2.68
Hormone-free eggs: $1.92

Bananas*
Sweet potatoes*

The last two were purchased by a sweet lady in front of me in line who had extra on her WIC voucher and did not want to waste it.  So glad there are people in need that still know how to pay it forward.

At Walmart, the total was $46.50

At Earth Fare:

Shredded lettuce: $1.50
1 tomato: $2.00
Pizza dough: $1.98
Spinach/mixed greens: $3.50
Larabars: 2 @$1.49 a piece

Total of $12.50

Total in groceries: $59.00 (ish).

Enjoy your weekend! I’m off to bake some zucchini muffins… :)

Coffee Anecdotes and a Weekly Menu

Happy Monday to you all!

First things first: let’s talk about coffee.

Now, GBP patients are not supposed to drink caffeine.  It’s hard enough to consume the daily required intake of water without the dehydrating effects of caffeine, right? Right.  Well, I’ve never been a big caffeine person in the first place, so when my nutritionist made it known that caffeine was frowned upon, I never looked the other way.

I do, on occasion, have a mug of very very lightly caffeinated tea or a glass of iced (unsweetened) tea at a restaurant, but never sodas or regular coffee. If I ever consume regular (diet) soda, I pretty much bounce off the walls for about thirty minutes.  It’s insane!

Now, I do confess that I have a deep love for iced coffees.  I first discovered this the summer after my surgery, when I was working at the hospital as an interpreter.  I would come in to work and pass the Starbucks inside the hospital and look longingly at the people with their sugary, frothy, delicious caramel frappuccinos, something that had been an evil pre-surgery vice of mine.

Something about that sweet, creamy coffee taste takes me back to my childhood… you see, as a child, my great-grandmother would take care of me and my brother while my parents were off doing their grown-up thing.  For a quick breakfast, Iñita (her real name was Margarita, but she was always affectionately called this) would saddle me up with a big mug of cafe con leche (something that probably very much propagated my sweet tooth) and a big hunk of pan de agua (similar to Cuban bread), and I would dip the bread into the sweet liquid and eat it. Oh me.

Of course, I had to find a way to experience that in a healthy, gastric bypass-friendly way.

Enter the sugar-free caramel, decaf, soy iced latte from Starbucks: the culprit.

The sweet nutty creaminess of that expensive cup sucked me in.  Every since then, I’ve been a victim of the iced coffee syndrome.

There are two problems with this:

One, I now live less than a mile away from a Dunkin Donuts, which, as we all know, has the best coffee ever.

Two, on occasion, I forget to ask for decaf.

This morning, I forgot to ask for decaf.

O.O

Y’ALL, it has made me a different person, this vast amount of caffeine.  Granted, I have a 1.5 liter bottle of water that I’m working my way through to supplement my hydration levels with, but still. I now completely understand why people drink this stuff! It’s almost 11 o’clock and I don’t even remember 8:45AM-now!

Do you drink coffee? How do you feel without it in the mornings? Do you feel plenty hydrated if you do drink it often?

In addition to the coffee problem, I am a recovering bagel and cream cheese-aholic.  I very rarely eat them because of the ridiculous amount of calories and the lack of positive nutritional content, but when I do, I pretty much delight in every second.

On to this week’s menu!

We kind of cheated since we didn’t follow through with two of our meals from last week.  This happens often, since we sometimes just eat off of our leftovers instead of preparing a whole new meal, hence the repeats:

Monday: Portobello Sandwiches + Sweet potato fries

Tuesday: Homemade pizza with Trader Joe’s dough

Wednesday: Chana Masala + TJ’s garlic naan

Thursday: Black bean burgers + Roasted broccoli

Friday: Leek and Goat Cheese Tart

Saturday: Soup + Grilled cheese sandwiches*

Sunday: Leftovers & restaurant meal

*We might be having Robert’s birthday dinner on Saturday night with his family, so, this is tentative! Also, for the birthday boy, I’m making Jessica’s Peanut Butter Stuffed Dark Chocolate CupcakesUm, I know, right?

We semi-cheated with the groceries (due to repeats), so we bought a whole slew of snacks for the week and ended up spending a grand total of $45.98 on groceries out of our weekly allotted $55:

At Fresh Market:

Honey tangerines (2) – $1.72
Garlic clove (1) – $0.44
French mini baguettes (3) – $2.37
Pillow cookies (4) – $2.00 (YUM, shopping treat)

Total with tax: $7.10

At Walmart:

Vitamin water – $1.18 (was thirsty)
Cream – $1.68
Dannon Greek Yogurt (2) $2.00

Total with tax: $5.01

At Aldi:

Milk – $2.89
Applesauce – $0.89
Granola bars – $1.79
Paper towels – $1.89
Snack fruit crisps – $1.69
Eggs – $1.19
Baking soda – $0.45
Granola – $1.99
Trash bags – $2.29
Toilet paper – $2.49
Buttermilk – $1.69
Cinnamon graham crackers – $1.39
Brown sugar – $1.49
AZ Green tea – $0.79

Total with tax: $23.88

At Publix:

Goya drink – $0.99
Pie crust – $2.99
Bananas – $1.37
Hot fudge – $2.69
Pears – $1.23

Total with tax: $9.99

I’m looking forward to a yummy week!

Grocery Shopping & Weekly Menu

Hi!

Remember me?

I know it’s been a while…

But I’m all yours, once again.  Promise.

Last week, we spent every night trying to get our apartment situated and boxes unpacked… and my sister came over and spent the weekend with us and helped us get more stuff situated.  Y’all, this is going to take forever.  We still have a few things at the old apartment but with work and the gas prices we haven’t been able to go back and get anything.

$3.50 a gallon has me on edge about everything.  I have been most unpleasant due to financial stress caused by the ridiculous gas prices.

When will it end? When will the madness end?

Feels that way, huh?

Anyhoo…

We had our first grocery shopping adventure on Saturday.  Robert was off all day so we had a late breakfast and made out a grocery list.  We are still trying to figure out where is the best place for us to get our groceries.  In Rome, we pretty much stuck with Kroger and Wal-Mart… not ideal for clean foods, but excellent for our budget.  Unfortunately, the Wal-Marts near us are… shady, to say the least, and there’s not a Kroger for 30-45 minutes.

However, we are lucky to have several amazing whole foods stores nearby like Earth Fare and Fresh Market, as well as a Publix (!!) and Target.  A little more expensive? Yes.  Totally worth it? Yes.

Earth Fare is more for fun and exciting foods, to be quite honest, and I don’t plan on buying staples there any time soon.  Also, a great selection of vegan-friendly foods and beautiful fruits.  I bought a bucket of watermelon for less than three dollars and it was like eating little bits of heaven.

Fresh Market was much better for staple items, produce, and meat! We bought almost a pound and a half of antibiotic and hormone-free natural chicken breasts for less than seven dollars.  I made baked chicken tenders with it last night and I can’t express how clean and delicious it was.

Just beautiful.

Will definitely be getting our meat from there from now on.

Our last stop was Publix… which I love dearly.  I have fond memories of my Grandmother and Publix ’cause, well, she lives in south Florida, and she’s a little old lady meaning that it’s kind of unsaid that she frequents Publix, right?

While a little expensive, it was very clean and well-organized and had an excellent organic section, and we will probably be back for lunch items and canned goods.

Unfortunately, we went about $11 over our budget because we picked up a treat at both Earth Fare (Mexican Coke and Steaz) and Fresh Market (Fresh cookies!), but it was well worth it.  It also rained on us all day, so we dried off and enjoyed some tacos and burritos at Salsarita’s to make ourselves feel better.

All in all, a very nice Saturday :)

This week’s menu:

Monday: Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers with leftover collard greens and sweet potato fries

Tuesday: Homemade pizza with Trader Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough

Wednesday: Sloppy Josephines and steamed green beans

Thursday: Philly “Cheese” Sandwiches and spinach salads

Friday: Black bean burgers and steamed broccoli

Saturday: Chana masala

Sunday: Leftovers!

Seemed like a Mama Pea and Jenna kind of week.  Obviously I was blogstalking them as I was preparing my grocery list… PUMPED about tonight’s turkey burgers! Yumm…

A Deliciously Cheap Week

Good morning, folks!

Have you guys ever watched Rachael Ray’s show “Week in a Day”? I absolutely love it.  I saw it for the first time last week, and turning on the tv this morning, found myself super excited to see it on again.  I might try this technique next Sunday… we’ll see.

My favorite part of Saturday mornings is perusing websites like epicurious.com, allrecipes.com, and various lusty food blogs for inspiration for our weekly menu.  I usually lazy about on the couch in front of the TV (on Food Network, of course), making out the menu and a grocery list.  I then print out both; one goes on the ‘fridge for reference, and the other comes with me to the store.

Now… I understand that going to the grocery store on a Saturday afternoon is somewhat masochistic, but for some reason, everything is always fully stocked then, and I am usually pretty patient with the millions of Romans buying their weekly rations. Notice: I used the word “usually”.

On the menu for this week…

Monday: Spicy Fennel Shrimp & Toasted Israeli Couscous

- It’s always important to look in your freezer and pantry to see if there is something lingering in there that needs to be eaten.  Don’t even pretend like there’s not a package of ground beef or a bag of rice that you bought weeks ago that you never used… because, I know you, average American.  I know you like I know… myself.  We happened to have a bag of shrimp leftover from last week and a three-month-old box of couscous from Trader Joe’s.

Tuesday: Cuban Black Beans

On the nights that Robert works through dinner, I stick to things that I know he would never eaten in a million years… enter: beans! I love beans.  I’m Dominican, hello.  I grew up eating beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Not to mention they’re super low in cholesterol and fat, and cheap as all get out. This is my current favorite recipe, and I usually put some in a bowl with a dollop of Greek yogurt and some tortilla chips.

Wednesday: Dinner Out!

We only eat out at restaurants twice a week, or if we have a special date planned, Wednesday night being one.  This is our time to enjoy a meal with our family here in town.

Thursday: Linguine with Spicy Red Clam Sauce

Now, we rarely ever eat pasta, maybe twice a month.  But here lately, I’ve had the strangest hankerin’ for linguine with clam sauce.  I used to eat it a lot as a child and Robert has expressed his fondness for the dish on occasion, too. I buy whole wheat linguine for the extra fiber, but honestly, if you replace the typical slice of garlic bread on the side with some roasted broccoli or a spinach salad, you’re fine with regular white pasta.  Although, I would recommend those options with whole wheat pasta, too!

Friday: Eggplant Parmesan Mini-Pizza

I have always hated eggplant… but this week I’m going to give it a shot! An eggplant costs about 88 cents a pop, and instead of marinara sauce, I got a jar of arrabiata (I like it spicy!) instead for the same price.  We’ve always got a little bit of Parmesan cheese in the ‘fridge, so that we don’t have to worry about.  To turn the eggplant parm into “mini pizzas”, just scoop it on top of a whole wheat pita and toast it in the oven.  Mm!

Saturday: Lemon Garlic Tilapia + Whole Green Beans + Brown Rice

It’s important to get enough protein throughout the week, but it’s also important to keep the cholesterol down.. thus, enter: fish! I love fish… again, I’m from an island, helloo.. and we’ve found that salmon and tilapia are definitely the easiest to work with and the least expensive.  Seriously, this is the easiest recipe in the world to make — and Robert’s favorite.  The green beans are steamed, and the brown rice is just a pantry staple.

Sunday: Veggie Soup + Oat Bran Bread

Sunday after church, we enjoy our second restaurant meal, and normally, we’ve got leftovers for dinner.  I like to be prepared in case we don’t, though.  Sunday afternoons for me are all about baking treats and/or bread and being lazy.  So, a nice, healthy Amy’s prepared soup with home made bread are perfect for these chilly Sunday nights we’ve been having lately.

And that’s the week!  Like I said, I normally have some extra fun ingredients on the grocery list (like chocolate chips) for the Sunday afternoon treat.

This week’s grocery list…

Frozen mango chunks – $1.73 (for my green monster smoothies! Perfect for post-work out meals)
Frozen pineapple chunks – $1.72
Fresh cilantro – $0.48
Spinach – $1.98
Steam Fresh Whole Green Beans – $2.48
Green onions – $1.12
1 Cucumber – $0.88
1.62 lbs Bananas – $.076
Whole Wheat Bagel Thins – $2.18
3 Lemons – $0.96
2 Anjou Pears – $1.21
Olay Bar Soap – $2.48 (So we’re not stinky!)
Shaving Cream – $1.97
Whole Wheat Linguine – $1.08
Veggie Soup – $1.50
Minced Garlic – $1.48
1 Can Diced Tomatoes – $1.08
Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder – $2.66
Diet Snapple – $1.00 (To get me through the shopping trip)
2 Cans of Minced Clams @ $1.32 a piece
Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – $2.24
Butter – $2.48
1 Tub of Greek Yogurt – $1.00
Tilapia Filets – $3.98
Tomato paste – $0.58

For a total of… (including the soap and shaving cream!) $42.38.  Ta-da!

So, even if we had to buy the shrimp, (about $5) we would still have been under budget.

I hope this is helpful to you guys.. and I hope you are inspired to buy and cook delicious, cheap, and healthy foods this week!