One of the more difficult aspects of maintaining a food blog while also being on a serious diet is that I tend to eat the same things more often because I know better how they fit into my diet and therefore don’t need to do as much math from day to day.  For the past month or two I’ve been eating lots of roasted or stir-fried veggies with assorted lean proteins.  We’ve also done lots of “grilling” using the trusty old George Foreman, because it is a great way to cook with virtually no fat.  Nonstick grill plates, yay!

Of course I can only do that for so long before I feel the need to start exploring other options.  Last Wednesday was National Sandwich Day, so I knew I had to come up with something more fun for dinner.  Now, as a rule, when I do sandwiches, I tend to go way outside the realm of meat-cheese-mayo-bread, because that’s kind of boring, and Darren won’t eat it.  So here’s what I did:

Hearty mulit-grain bread, “secret” sauce, caramelized onions, avocado and tomato, provolone cheese on a turkey burger.  Yes, I do consider burgers to be sandwiches.  And there’s nothing wrong with that. =)

The first thing I did was to caramelize the onions, because that is an item that is best done slowly and gently.  There’s no real science to it, but having a nonstick skillet really helps.  Use a small amount of oil, slice your onions thin, don’t set the heat above medium, and stir them fairly often as they cook down so nothing does the “burn and stick” routine.  You’re going for a nice amber to golden brown all over, but a few darker spots (for when you get distracted and forget to give the onions a stir) are perfectly fine.  Just don’t burn them, is the big thing.

Then I made quarter-pound turkey patties out of some lean ground turkey that I had on hand.  I didn’t add much other than some salt, pepper, and spicy dry rub.  Overly-flavored burgers are hard because I do like the taste of the meat, so there’s no reason to mask it.  I cooked it simply in a nonstick skillet (the same nonstick skillet I’d had the onions in before, actually.  I just moved the onions into a bowl while I was cooking the turkey) with a little bit of nonstick spray just for security.  I turned the heat up to medium-high, and basically let the patties get a good sear on each side.  By the time both sides are nice and dark, the patty will be mostly cooked through.  Then just turn the heat down and it will carry itself right over.  Oh, I also had the broiler preheating to high during this whole procedure. (Actually, I was broiling asparagus to go with the burgers.)

So when Darren got home from work and I was about ready to serve, here’s how it all came together:

– Three slices of bread went into the toaster (2 for Darren, 1 for me) to get medium-browned.

– Burgers were topped with some caramelized onions, a couple thin slices of tomato, and some provolone cheese, then placed on a sheet pan and put under the broiler, until cheese was melty and beautiful.

– Once toast was out of toaster oven, “secret sauce” was spread on each slice. (the sauce is just a mix of mayo, honey-bbq sauce, and some grainy mustard.  do it to your own tastes, or just use mayo or just bbq sauce.)

– Burger piles were put onto sauce-d bread.

– Thinly sliced avocado was placed on top of burger pile.  Then I topped Darren’s burger with his other slice of bread.

– Plonk the whole lovely mess onto a plate with the asparagus from before, which was beautiful and caramelized and tasty.

Dig in!  It will get messy, and it will be delicious.  Darren has claimed that it is likely the best sandwich I’ve ever made for him, which is pretty intense given how much he loves the flank steak sandwiches I usually make.

It’s fantastically tasty, and not something to eat every day, obviously, but it still fits into my diet, and that’s just awesome.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good messy burger now and then?