Moist & Tasty Hamburgers

I like simple recipes. If there are more than 10 ingredients and/or steps, I quickly lose interest. Even better, I love to be able to just toss some ingredients together and get something delicious! Of course being able to do that requires much practice and willingness to learn.

When I was first married I was a horrible cook! I am not was really bad! I absolutely had to follow a recipe out of fear that I would mess something up, but even then things would either burn or not be cooked through. Very rarely did anything turn out the way it should. I had no idea why each ingredient would be included in a particular recipe and I didn't particularly care. I just wanted to feed myself and my new husband something yummy and more often than not, I disappointed myself (and Kirk too).  He was very patient with me...

The annoying thing was that Kirk actually could "just throw things together" and it would turn out great! I couldn't figure out what was going on with me...was I doomed to be such a terrible cook? Well, after years of disappointment, I finally started listening, reading, learning and experimenting...and eventually I was able to produce some tried and true meals that we still eat to this day. And once I began to enjoy cooking that's when I started to understand the purpose of each ingredient and was finally able to be proud of what I presented at the dinner table. I think I have come a long way from those first few years of burning my meals and I know Kirk would agree with me!

Now, on to today's recipe! We've had 2 sweet recipes so I think now it's time for some savory fare, and an easy one at that...a North American classic: Hamburgers! I tried numerous recipes before settling on my own version that incorporates loads of veggies and simple spices. Remember that 'secret' ingredient from the brownies? That's right, I use zucchini in my hamburgers, along with lots of onions, garlic and mushrooms...all of which add nutrients, moisture and bulk to your burgers so you get a lot more bang for your buck! And for those of you with picky eaters in your household, all you have to do is chop those veggies up really tiny and you're good to go! I use this same recipe to make meatballs as well. When avoiding gluten it's important to know that there are many hidden sources of wheat. Some continue to surprise me! One of the obvious and commonly included additives to pre-packaged beef products can be bread crumbs or some sort of wheat starch. This is where it can get frustrating because it's so nice to have some ready-made convenient items in the freezer for those nights when you just don't have time to make something from scratch. For this reason, I like to make both the burgers and meatballs in bulk and freeze for later use.

Moist & Tasty Hamburgers (and Meatballs)
These are very versatile so if you have an allergy to any ingredient just sub it out for something else. Feel free to comment below if you have any questions.

2 lbs Lean round beef* (if you prefer to use 1 lb then just reduce the rest of the ingredients by half)
1 c diced Mushrooms
1/3 c diced Onions
1/2 c diced Zucchini
1 large egg
2 Cloves garlic, diced (feel free to use a tsp of garlic powder if you prefer)
1 tsp Beef seasoning (I used Clubhouse Montreal Steak seasoning w/no MSG)
1 tsp Italian seasoning

Directions (Hamburger Patties):
Place all ingredients in a bowl and, using your hands, mix together very well.
Form into patties and push in the middle with your finger to allow for more even cooking.
Place in pre-heated skillet and cook for about 4-5 minutes per side. Once flipped once you can add cheese if you wish. Or you can grill them up on your barbeque!
Prepare with the fixings of your choice. For a gluten-free option, simply omit the bun (like I do), or use Udi's Hamburger buns...Kirk is already a big fan! They are more expensive than your regular buns, but when you're only eating hamburgers occasionally it's worth it because they're good!

Directions (Meatballs):
Mix all ingredients and then form into small meatballs with your hands.
There are several ways to cook them:
1. Pre-heat a skillet and cook them for about 5-6 minutes rotating every so often.
2. Pre-heat oven to 350 and place them on a broiler pan so the drippings fall through. Bake for about 12 minutes rotating once halfway through.
3. If you don't have a broiler pan just line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and bake for 12 minutes, rotating halfway through.

*Feel free to substitute ground chicken, turkey or pork if you prefer. You could also substitute some cooked lentils for the meat and then you would have a veggie burger!

A little story...
I have a friend, Colette, with whom I love to discuss food alternatives. She is still attempting to come out on the other side of certain debilitating symptoms and has done an unbelievable amount of research to try to become healthy again. I am always amazed however at how positive she always remains even on bad days...she is such an encouragement to me! She has educated her children much like I have about how important it is to nourish your body well. In her home both children have a night where they make dinner and they are allowed to make whatever they wish (within reason of course). :)
Her son is a good friend of our 9 year old and there have been several times when he'll come over to play and he'll end up eating dinner with us. He is always very good to try new things and he is an excellent little dinner guest. He had our hamburgers one of these times and immediately asked for the recipe because he wanted to make it on "his night" at home. I gladly shared with him! He didn't shy away from any of the 'secret' ingredients and was very excited to get home and make them for his family.

have been overwhelmed by the response to the first 2 recipe posts and I look forward to sharing more with you! Thank you to those who have asked me for even more alternatives due to allergies, medical conditions or simply preference. I am thrilled to research even further. And thank you to those who have shared my posts on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I greatly appreciate it and hope that you will continue to spread the word!

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Treat yourself well,