Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Salsa burgers with guacamole

Can I tell you something?

I'm in the throes of a major burger kick.

For the past few weeks, I've been craving meat like more than I can ever remember.  Wherever we go, I'm scanning the menu for a steak or a burger.  Doesn't have to be beef necessarily, but it's gotta be sizable and cooked just right.

I've wracked my brain as to what could've triggered this, and the only real change is that I've been running more.  A lot more, to be exact.  But I would've guessed my cravings would be for pasta, breads, and spaghetti sandwiches.  Not so, apparently.  My muscles want protein.

This past weekend, I consumed an 8-ounce tuna steak, one turkey burger, the last of the meatballs, a frittata with cooked chicken added (first time for that!) and two beef burgers.  For some, that's normal; for me, that's a little unusual.

(And yes, I realize tuna, chicken and turkey aren't considered "meat" by most, but for argument's sake, I'm including them.)

Salmon is usually my entree of choice, but it's done little to grab my attention recently.  Especially if there's a big, juicy burger in its way.  Give me that burger or give me death.

Too dramatic?  No, ma'am.

The burger thing has gotten a little out of control.  It's not uncommon for me to think about food when I'm running (anything to distract from the monotony of a treadmill).  But to spend nearly an hour dreaming up new-fangled burgers?  Hey, I did what I did make the hamster wheel tolerable.

And then I went home, showered, and made the juiciest burgers I've ever had for dinner.  Salsa burgers with guacamole!

Lean ground beef is amped up thanks to a blend of Mexican spices and fresh salsa.  And because, along with burgers, I can't enough avocado in my life, I topped each burger with a schmear of creamy guacamole.

There's a reason you don't see any mid-meal snapshots -- these burgers are a bit on the messy side.  I wasn't about to risk dirtying my new camera with my salsa and guacamole-covered fingers.  I was too busy licking them clean and devouring my dinner.

With positive (and delicious) reinforcement like this, there's no telling when the burger blitz will end.  No time soon, that's for sure.

One year ago: Slow cooker white bean & kielbasa stew
Two years ago: Dijon soy salmon
Three years ago: Slow cooker short rib ragu sandwiches
Four years ago: Overnight oats

Salsa Burgers
-makes 4

1 1/4 pounds lean ground beef (I used 93% lean)
1/2 cup salsa, plus more for serving
1/4 cup panko (or unseasoned bread crumbs)
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
Ground black pepper
1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
Juice of 1/2 lime
4 burger buns

Preheat grill pan, Griddler, or nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  In large bowl, combine ground beef, salsa, panko, egg white, spices, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper until evenly mixed.  Shape into 4 equal patties.  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or to desired doneness.  When finished cooking, remove burgers to plate to rest for a few minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare guacamole by mashing avocado with lime juice in a small bowl.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place one burger in each bun, top with guacamole and more salsa, if desired.  Serve with black beans on the side and enjoy!

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