Middle of the week celebrations! Well, not really celebrations in a big sense, but just a mental one – half way to another weekend! It’s a busy week here, so it’s going by quickly. This week is new release week at the gym for me, so I’ve got some extra classes to team teach, not to mention new choreography to cram into my brain. So far, BodyStep 100 is terrific! Another release I would happily do in its entirety down the road – something I don’t often say.
Anyhow, onto the main topic of this post – food! And good food at that. Kyle is always looking for ways to buy good game meat (bison mostly). A friend of ours posted about it the other day and he asked she were found it and we were introduced to the beauty of Costco online! We definitely never thought of this as an option for buying food – especially perishable food – but it’s going to be a regular occurrence now.
Kyle ordered a box of elk burgers and they arrived quickly, in a box with an insulated cooler inside and plenty of ice packs. They were all still totally frozen, so that was a relief to me (shipping meat? Seems too odd). While the burgers are great to use in a pinch, the plan was always to break them down to make our own burgers out of, and we finally got that chance last weekend. With both of us now officially in our off-season, we’re ready to visit new restaurants and cook new food at home!
Even though we’re in our off-season and have the opportunity to eat freely when we want, we’re alternating our cheat meals, based on how we feel. If we decide we want to go out and have something ridiculous, we will, but some weeks we just want to stay in, cook together, and make things that are more healthy. That was the decision last weekend (probably because we both had a few too many restaurant meals the weekend before). Kyle took over the main course with the burgers, and I wanted to experiment with a healthier version of apple crisp. Everything was a success!
Elk burgers – I’m apologizing now that I don’t have measurements for anything here, but it’s burgers, just throw the seasoning in the meat and you’re golden!
After breaking down the basic patties, Kyle added some Frank’s hot sauce, oregano, onion powder, a pre-made chipotle-ginger garlic mixture (so amazing in burgers, found in the produce section at our grocery store), and ground cinnamon. Yes, cinnamon, that’s not a typo. It was a really good add, actually! (Normally we add oats and egg whites to bind everything, but it wasn’t needed with this meat.) After forming the patties, he seared them in a hot pan on the stove until there’s a good crisp to the outside. They finish cooking in the oven. We added some slices of fat free cheese to ours, broiled until it turned slightly brown.
To take them to gourmet status, he sautéed slices of red onion and pineapple in a pan with some Stevia brown sugar. Don’t knock it until you try it! The pineapple is amazing on a burger and we’re now hooked on it. A side of sweet potato fries made it a perfect meal.
Apple crisp – I spent some time looking through a variety of recipes to get an idea of what people traditionally make their crisp out of before coming up with a very loose game plan. We never have butter in our house, and I didn’t think about it when we were shopping, so I had to go with the tiny bit of margarine we had left over.
Ingredients (approximate values, I was experimenting as I went):
- Margarine ~3 TBSP
- Cinnamon ~1 TBSP
- Vanilla extract ~ 1 tsp
- Stevia brown sugar ~ 1 TBSP – divided in half
- Oats ~1/4 cup per serving
- Red delicious apple
Because margarine is already pretty soft, I just mixed a few shakes of cinnamon, a tsp of vanilla, and 1/2 TBSP of brown sugar into it until it was all combined. Slice the apple into thin pieces so it’ll cook faster. I sprayed two small ramekins with cooking spray to make sure nothing stuck and lined the bottom with a layer of apple. I sprinkled some oats and cinnamon on top of them, then microwaved the margarine mixture until it was a little more liquid. THIS is where butter is probably a better option, as the margarine got kind of thick with everything else in it… but it still tasted amazing. I spread some of this mixture on top of the oats, then did another layer of apples, oats, and more of the mixture before topping it with the remaining brown sugar.
I baked it at 350 for about 40 mins (it took way longer than I expected, to be honest). I just kept checking to see how soft the apples were. I finally gave up when dinner was ready and deemed it good enough to eat – my patience game is still weak. When it was time for dessert, I heated it in the microwave quickly and topped it with a scoop of frozen yogurt and a little drizzle of caramel sauce and it was PERFECT! It tasted exactly like an unhealthy version of apple crisp, while being pretty healthy overall. And, it was easy.
Tasty, fancy food doesn’t have to be unhealthy! Just getting creative and taking a little time in the kitchen can yield some pretty great results. In total, we were in the kitchen for about 30 mins doing the prep work, that’s it! I only made two individual servings of dessert because it was a test version, but I would definitely make this in a bigger batch for leftovers in the future – without taking any extra time.
The burgers can be replicated with any ground meat you like, but you should definitely try alternating toppings like the onions and pineapple! The weekend is just around the corner – start planning now! I think our plan is sushi this weekend because it’s been a really long time since we’ve had it… Happy eating!!