Festive Red, White and Blue “Stuffed” Burgers Recipe

Red White Blue Burger

Fire Up the Grill

With the Fourth of July right around the corner you can show your patriotic pride with a full flavored burger dressed in red, white and blue! These burgers actually have a healthy twist with marinated grilled vegetables incorporated right in.  I partnered up with Mazola Corn Oil to develop this festive recipe that uses Red pepper, White mushrooms and Blue cheese along with fresh parsley, balsamic vinegar and a heart-healthy marinade with Mazola.

You might not think of corn oil first when you think of heart-healthy oils. Mazola Corn Oil is the healthiest cooking oil for your heart, with more cholesterol-blocking plant sterols than other cooking oils, and it can play an important role in lowering your cholesterol. In fact, Mazola corn oil has 4 times more plant sterols than olive oil and 40 percent more than canola oil. A new study even found corn oil was better at reducing LDL or “bad” cholesterol than extra virgin olive oil!

Corn oil is a versatile all-purpose oil that is great for grilling due to its high smoke point, which is why I love using it with my grilled vegetables and my delicious, festive and fun Red White and Blue Stuffed Burger recipe below!

Red White and Blue Stuffed Burger Recipe:

by: Rebecca Scritchfield, MA, RD, ACSM HFS

Filling

1-8 ounce container fresh mushrooms

Veggie Mixture-parsley, blue cheese, marinated and grilled mushrooms and red bell pepper

Veggie Mixture-parsley, blue cheese, marinated and grilled mushrooms and red bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

½ cup Mazola Corn Oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

3 teaspoons Weber Gourmet Burger Seasoning

4 oz. blue cheese crumbles

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced

Burgers

1 ½ lbs. ground beef, 90% lean or greater

6 whole wheat burger buns

Make the Vegetable Filling:

Fast prep tip: You can marinate these veggies ahead of time and grill later, or instead of stuffing the burgers you can also mix in the filling throughout the patty.

diced grilled veggies

Dicing grilled marinated veggies

Slice veggies and marinate in Mazola with balsamic vinegar and seasoning for ~ 1 hr.

Preheat grill

Remove veggies from marinade and discard remaining liquid.

Grill veggies in a vegetable grill basket on high heat until lightly charred, about 8-10 minutes at 400 degrees. If you do not have a grill basket you can grill the veggies on foil, for 10-15 minutes.

Note: If you are not using a grill pan to sauté your veggies on the grill, make sure when cutting your veggies, leaving large enough space to place on grill.

Once mushrooms and peppers are grilled, dice and mix in blue cheese and parsley, then set aside while you form meat patties.

Make the Burgers:

You’ll need to make two 2 oz. patties for each burger.  Form 12-2 oz. patties (2 oz. ground beef is just a little larger than a golf ball).

For each burger, take one patty and top with 3 Tablespoons vegetable cheese mixture. Then place the second patty on top.  Press together and pinch the ends to seal your burger so the filling can’t escape. You may also use a fork to help seal the two patties together.

Stuffing burgers with veggie and blue cheese filling using 2-2oz patties for each burger

Stuff each burger with 3 Tbsp of veggie and blue cheese filling using 2-2oz patties for each burger

Grill to your desired doneness, about 5-7 minutes on each side for medium well doneness.

Enjoy this flavorful burger hot off the grill on a hearty bun and toppings of your choice – lettuce, tomato, onion, etc.

Nutrition Analysis

If you’re curious how these burgers stack up to your nutrition needs here’s the breakdown:

Analysis

Calories: 425

Fat: 25g

Saturated Fat: 11g

Cholesterol: 121mg

Sodium: 654mg

Carbohydrate: 8g

Fiber: 1g

Sugar: 4g

Protein: 37g

Calcium: 187mg

Share Your Favorite Grilling Recipes

What are your favorite Fourth of July recipes? Share your ideas in the comments below. Be sure to visit Mazola on Facebook to learn more health benefits and great recipes.

(Disclosure: I am currently working with Mazola as a paid spokesperson.)

 

 

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Eat More Fruit and Veggies

We all need to eat more fruits and vegetables! Did you know over 2/3rds of Americans don’t meet the recommendations for fruit and vegetable intake?!  We typically throw away spoil fruits and vegetable two times a week on average, which translates into about $42 a week!
I am not saying you need to sacrificing taste or flavor or have to eat salads at every meal, I’m here to say “you can’t mess it up”!  Just add in fruits and vegetables to any dish you’re making. No matter what the recipes says, you can always add fruits and vegetables to any dish to help bump up the nutrition. Include a variety of fresh, seasonal fruits and veggies in your meals. They tend to cost less and since they’re at their peak they tend to be more flavorful and nutrient-rich. Below are some simple ways to help bulk up your diet with more fruits and veggies.

1. Blend meat with mushrooms. The trend is to blend!  Blend finely chopped mushrooms into any of your favorite ground meat dishes, like meatballs or meatloaf (I like to do about 50% meat 50% mushrooms).  You’ll increase the amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals in your meal while decreasing fat and calories.  The finely chopped mushrooms blend so well with the ground meat that you’ll barely notice the difference. In fact, I think the mushrooms add moisture and flavor – mushrooms have umami flavor just like meat. Plus, substituting mushrooms for meat is a smart choice for your wallet, too!

Learn more about “blendability” from my friends at The Mushroom Council and try some fabulous recipes like these delicious looking Chicken and Mushroom Enchiladas Verdes. Grainfree-Enchiladas

Chicken And Mushroom Enchiladas Verdes
Chicken And Mushroom Enchiladas Verdes

2. Bust out the slow cooker

General Tsos

This image was reprinted with permission from http://mealmakeovermoms.com/ and http://healthyaperture.com

You really can’t beat a meal that cooks itself. The basic ingredients are protein (whatever kinds your family loves) and vegetables. Use water and herbs to add tons of flavor without a lot of sodium. Find an easy, delicious recipe you can follow like my General Tso’s Slow Cooker Chicken. The cost of making it at home is a fraction of what it costs to order take-out. My version costs about $13.00 and feeds 4 people whereas you’d pay that much for 1 entrée at a restaurant/for take out. Not only that, but you get to control the quality of ingredients that are used to prepare it. It’s a win-win!

Photo From: ohsheglows.com

Photo From: ohsheglows.com

3. Add veggies to a DIY smoothie

If you’re not crazy about eating your greens, incorporating them into your smoothies is a great way to disguise them!  It might sound weird, but you can use green vegetables like spinach, celery, and even kale and it can taste good! When you pair it with fruit like green apple or green grapes, it provide sweetness and I promise it does not taste like you are drinking veggies. This Peppermint Green Patty Green Monster Smoothie is kid-friendly and packed to the brim with deliciously minty and chocolatey flavor, with the added bonus of masking the spinach, you’re family will never know what hit them!

4. Go meatless burger

Black Bean Veggie BurgersDon’t think you can have a meatless BBQ?   Think again! Grilling isn’t just about meat, try adding something new to your barbecue spread. Veggie burgers can be made with chickpeas, black beans, white beans, potatoes, lentils, and pretty much any other vegetable that can be mashed and formed into a patty. Try this delicious Vegetarian Black Bean Burger recipe that’s perfect for your next gathering.  This veggie burger is a crowd-pleaser that even your carnivore friends will love.

5. Pack in the Fruit 

Fruit is an essential part of a healthy diet, delivering many essential vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates for energy and fiber for a healthy digestive tract. It makes for a smart snack, easy to drop in lunch bags or grab when on-the-go.

Take a break for some “afternoon energy” with portable good-for-you snacks, like blueberries! What’s easier than picking them up from the store and eating them right out of the container? Or you can make a portable snack ahead of time and bring it with you to work, like this Gluten-Free Spicy Blueberry trail mix.blueberry trail mix

Stay cool with this healthy and  fun kiwifruit pops dessert to make with your kids. They are so simple and really something the whole family will love. It’s just diced kiwifruit and 100% pineapple juice. This cold snack is so much healthier for you than your typical summer frozen treat.

I’d love to hear your tips and tricks to eating more fruit and veggies! Feel free to share your comments and favorite recipes below!

Sleep Better with Food and Fitness

Just as sleep is important to our body, what we do with our body in terms of food and exercise plays a major role in the way we sleep (or don’t sleep).  Good nutrition and exercise can help you sleep, but poor sleep leads to poor eating and exercise decisions immediately. A lack of shut-eye is linked with ditching your workout. It’s one thing to skip the workout to get more sleep once in awhile, but if you ditch your workout and cheat yourself of sleep, then you aren’t breaking the cycle.

Contrary to what we have all been told, eating prior to bed is not such a bad thing after all.  In fact, a light snack containing 25-35 g of carbs can help release serotonin which contributes to a more restful sleep. Foods rich in vitamin B6 also help boost melatonin production, a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness. Lighter is better when eating a bedtime snack to avoid heartburn. Click here to see my latest appearance on the OWN Show to learn more about this old wives tale and the secrets to keeping weight off.

Catch Some Extra ZZZ’s With These Tranquil Eats

  • Magnesium-rich foods like almonds, and calcium rich foods like cheese and crackers help your body use tryptophan and serotonin to get sleepy.
  • 1 piece of raisin toast with 1 Tbsp cream cheese – sweet and satisfying with carbs in the form of grains and dried fruit to help you relax, and calcium from the cream cheese to build your stress-depleted stores will keeping you snoozing through the night.
  • tart-cherry-juice-sleepThis Red Recharger Smoothie combines Greek yogurt and tart cherry juice to give you a boost of melatonin along with powerful antioxidants.
  • A bedtime bowl of cereal helps you make serotonin thanks to the carbohydrates and calcium.
  • This Mango Cherry and Avocado Salad combines creamy avocado with the sweetness of mango and  tangy tart cherries which helps promote melatonin. Top this salad with fish, such as a piece of grilled salmon for some extra vitamin B6, which helps boost melatonin production.
  • Get a boost of vitamin B6 from fish–tuna, halibut, and salmon along with garlic, walnuts and pistachios help your body make serotonin and melatonin.
  • Drinking chamomile tea is associated with an increase of glycine, a chemical that relaxes nerves and muscles and acts like a mild sedative.

If You’re Feeling Tired or Exhausted…

  • Go to sleep, take a nap. It is ok to allow yourself the time to take a nap. Sometimes it is really all we need.
  • If there is no time for a nap do a few jumping jacks or go for a little walk to get your heart rate up and blood pumping.
  • Stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect your mind and alertness. Aim for a minimum of 8-12 glasses of fluid daily, drinking more during warm weather.110310_grains
  • Limit caffeine in the morning – Instead of reaching for the 24 ounce Venti at Starbucks, sip on a  quarter or half-cup of coffee to give you more of a consistent level of alertness. Avoid caffeine after 2pm to prevent disrupted sleep.
  • Prevent spikes in blood sugar – Replace refined carbohydrates with whole grains to produce a steady surge of energy after a meal. Try these overnight oats for breakfast or a snack; they’re full of whole grains and have an ideal balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat to ensure a slow, steady boost of energy.
  • Don’t drink alcohol to fall asleep. This prevents you from reaching the important deep-sleep REM cycle that is required to feel fully rested.
  • Avoid screen time 1 hour prior to bed time. Backlit LCD screens disrupt melatonin production which disrupts you natural sleep cycle.
  • Exercise. Getting your heart pumping and body moving is a great way to reenergize and reduce stress, which is often one of the main culprits that keeps us lying awake at night.
  • Have a notebook by the bed to write down the worries and to-dos for the next day; get them out of your head for now so you can sleep.

Join the Challenge! 

What are your tips and tricks when it comes to getting a restful sleep? Be sure to join this month’s #30daysleepchallenge. All you have to do is “follow” me on Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest. I’ll be posting motivations, and many more tips and tricks to help you get more zzz’s. I’d love to hear from you too! Be sure to share you thoughts and I’ll be responding to your questions EVERY SINGLE DAY. Use the primary hashtag #30daysleepchallenge and #mefirst as the secondary hashtag.

Disclosure: I am a spokesperson for Tart Cherries but was not compensated to write this blog.

Sleep Your Way to Better Health

I once heard a great Irish proverb that has stuck with me throughout my life, ‘A good laugh and a long sleep are the two best cures for anything.’ These days Americans are getting less and less sleep every year. Currently only 40 percent of the U.S. gets the recommended eight hours, on average receiving only 6.8 hours per night. While a short-lived bout of insomnia is generally nothing to worry about, long term sleep loss can really throw a dagger in your overall well-being and health. This month I would like to challenge you all to get a good nights rest. If you think you’re in need of some shut eye, join this month’s #30daysleepchallenge to learn how a good night’s sleep will help you be more productive during waking hours.

How Losing ZZZs Can Harm Your Health

Research has shown that most Americans would be happier, healthier and safer if they were to sleep an extra 60 to 90 minutes per night.

So why aren’t we snoozing? Stress is the number one cause of sleep difficulties. 48% of people report lying awake due to stress. We have too much to do and not enough time, but instead of respecting the boundary of sleep, we nudge precious minutes to hours off our sleep each night.

Stress is directly linked to poor health. According to the American Stress Institute 77% of Americans experience physical symptoms of stress regularly and 73% experience psychological symptoms. These include fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, hemorrhoids, digestive issues, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle tension, memory loss, fertility issues, teeth grinding, increased risks for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, changes in appetite, changes in sex drive, dizziness, irritability, and anger.

Whew. That’s a lot of crap!

Both quantity and quality of sleep are important. If sleep is cut short, the body doesn’t have time to complete all of the phases needed for muscle repair, memory consolidation, and release of hormones that regulate our appetite. With not enough good quality sleep, we wake up unprepared to concentrate, make decisions, or engage fully in work, family, and social activities.

Could Your Lack of Sleep be Affecting Your Weight? sleep clock

If you think you can survive on 6 hours of sleep, think again. Our body needs between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, however most people put more importance on physical well being, including food and exercise than mental well being which includes being rested. There is a strong link between sleep, appetite, and weight. According to a recent study published in PLoS Medicine people who receive less than 7 hours of sleep each night have a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).

Lack of sleep elevates ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”  –so  if you’ve felt “tired and hungry” with strong craving for carbs, sugar, fat or  “comfort foods” that is your body looking for energy, when actually it needs to be energized through better sleep. Instead of reaching for a quick sugar fix, close your eyes and reenergize.

Stop Counting Sheep – Join the #30daysleepchallenge!

Be sure to join this month’s #30daysleepchallenge. All you have to do is “follow” me on Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest. I’ll be posting motivations, and many more tips and tricks to help you get more zzz’s. I’d love to hear from you too! Be sure to share you thoughts and I’ll be responding to your questions EVERY SINGLE DAY. Use the primary hashtag #30daysleepchallenge and #mefirst as the secondary hashtag.

Meatless Monday: Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata

Happy Meatless Monday!

Brinner (breakfast for dinner) is so much fun! It is an easy way to change up your meal routine a bit, or even to just enjoy that breakfast food you never have time to cook during the busy morning rush. This frittata doesn’t require a whole lot of  work, and can be on the table in under 30 minutes.  It’s full of wholesome veggies, muscle-building protein, and savory cheddar cheese;  just add a piece of whole grain toast for carbohydrates and you’ve got a well-rounded meal.  Frittatas also make wonderful left-overs which is a huge bonus in my book.

The recipe calls for broccoli and red onion, but feel free to add any other vegetables you like (or whatever you have laying around in your fridge).  You can use spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, asparagus, spring garlic – there are endless ways to customize this recipe to your own preferences.  And the more veggies you add, the more colorful and appealing it is too!  I hope you enjoy it!

Broccoli and Cheddar Frittata 

Source: www.foodnetwork.com

Servings: four 2-wedge servings

Prep time: 10 minutes  Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 small red onion sliced (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cups chopped cooked broccoli
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp Cheddar, (2 ounces)

 

Directions:

  • Separate 4 of the eggs, putting the whites into a medium sized bowl and discarding the yolks (or saving them for another purpose). Add the remaining 4 whole eggs and 2 tablespoons of water to the whites and whisk well.
  • In a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook for another 2 minutes. Season with salt and a few turns of pepper. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables in the skillet covering them evenly. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and let cook until the egg mixture has set around the edges but is somewhat liquid in the middle, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  • Meanwhile, preheat the broiler. Place the skillet under the broiler about 2 inches from the heat until the surface is set and golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or the egg mixture will become tough.
  • Cut the frittata into 8 wedges and serve.

Nutrition Information per Serving:

Calories: 259
Fat: 16
Cholesterol: 387
Sodium: 408mg
Sugar: 3
Carbohydrate: 10
Fiber: 3
Protein: 18

 

Healthy Eating With Canned Foods

Hey Nutrition Experts, It’s time to get excited!  Cans Get You Cooking is sponsoring a Twitter Chat on Wednesday May 28th at 8PM ET and I’ll be hosting! So many of our clients and customers look to us for help in making homemade nutritious meals, easyWell now the proof is in the pantry and it’s time we all talk about it!

cans get U cookingNew research shows people who eat canned foods typically have healthier diets and consume more essential nutrients. Join the social conversation to learn the latest evidence that has nutrition experts nationwide recommending canned foods as the key to getting healthy family meals on the table more often. With more than 1,500 food items available in cans you will learn how to provide your clients and customers with endless varieties of recipes all year long!  I’ll be sharing some of my favorite recipes and would love to swap recipes with you too!    cropped-rebecca-scritchfield246173.jpg

New to Twitter parties?

  1. Make sure you have a Twitter account and handle. Sign up here:www.Twitter.com.
  2. Choose a platform where you can see only the tweets for the Cans Get You Cooking Chat. My favorite is www.TweetChat.com
  3. All you do is login with your Twitter account and enter the hashtag #cansgetyoucooking in the search box. You should see only the tweets with that hashtag.
  4. Sign on a few minutes before the chat starts on May 28th (8 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. Pacific).
  5. Participate by tweeting messages, replying to others on the chat, sending “re-tweets” etc.

RSVP:  Leave a comment below with your Twitter handle so I can start following you.

Share: Spread the word about the chat with sample tweets and Facebook messages below.

Tweet: Join me & @ScritchfieldRD for @CansGetYouCooking Twitter chat 5/28 8pm ET Learn new research and share your healthy recipes #RDchat #RD2Be

Facebook Post: Hey Nutrition Experts! #Didyouknow frequent eaters of canned foods have better diet quality compared to those who consume canned foods just once or twice in a 2-week period? Our clients and customers are always looking for our help in making homemade nutritious meals, easy! Well now the proof is in the pantry!  New research shows people who eat canned foods typically have healthier diets and consume more essential nutrients. Join me and @ScritchfieldRD on May 28th 8p ET for a Twitter chat with @CansGetUCooking to learn the latest research and recipes with #cansgetyoucooking.

Disclosure: I am working with Cans Get You Cooking on programs this year, including this Twitter chat. 

Meatless Monday: Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Happy Meatless Monday!

The weather has definitely warmed up here in DC, announcing the arrival of one of my favorite times of year: barbeque season!   Friends, family, sunshine, great food – who doesn’t love a good cook out?

Don’t think you can have a meatless BBQ?   Think again!  I have a great black bean burger recipe that I want to share with you guys that’s perfect for your next gathering.  This veggie burger is a crowd-pleaser that even your carnivore friends will love.  These flavorful patties are made with savory black beans, sweet potatoes,  and fragrant herbs and spices like thyme and coriander.  Serve them on whole wheat buns with all your favorite burger fixins.  And don’t forget to sprinkle on some sharp cheddar before you dig in – you can thank me later.

Black Bean Veggie Burgers

Source: www.cabotcheese.coop

Serving size: 6

Prep time: 20 minutes  Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely diced fresh beets (optional; if omitting beets, increase cooked sweet potato to 1 cup)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup dry whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 cup mashed cooked sweet potato
  • 7 ounces Cabot Seriously Sharp Cheddar, grated (about 1 3/4 cups), divided
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

Directions:

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in medium skillet over medium heat; add onions and beets, if using, and saute until soft, about 7 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes longer; set aside.
  • In food processor, combine beans, breadcrumbs, flour, parsley, salt, pepper, thyme and coriander; pulse 5 to 10 times until combined.
  • Transfer mixture to large bowl and add sweet potato, 1 cup of cheese, lemon juice and reserved onion/beet/garlic mixture. Mix by hand to combine, then shape into six burgers.
  • Heat remaining tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-low to low heat. Cook burgers until browned on both sides and heated all the way to center, about 10 minutes. Top with each burger with about 2 tablespoons of remaining cheese. Serve on whole wheat buns, half whole wheat pitas or over salad greens, along with your favorite condiments.

Nutritional Information per Servings:

Calories: 303
Fat: 16g
Cholesterol: 35mg
Sodium: 446mg
Carbohydrate: 29g
Fiber: 6g
Protein: 15g

 

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