Cheeseburgers are my downfall.
Well, bad habits, inconsistency and the failure to prepare for weight loss are my downfalls.
But, also cheeseburgers.
They’re gooey, greasy, meaty … all the reasons you’d love a cheeseburger. But wouldn’t you know it, cheeseburgers don’t really love you back. Unless you make them at home, that is.
As I’ve slimmed down, I’ve noticed how my cheeseburgers have slimmed down too: I used to eat doubles with bacon at fast food restaurants regularly. Over time I left the drive through behind, dropped a patty, and most of the time the bacon too. Mayo never makes an appearance anymore.
I found the blueprint for a skinnier burger in Men’s Health “Cook This, Not That.” In short, the basics of a skinny burger revolve around the type of bun you use and the ratio of meat to veggies.
Men’s Health suggests potato buns, which skew close to the 200 calorie mark depending on brand. I went with a freshly baked small-sized white bun from my local Fuddrucker’s. Four fresh buns for less than $1.50. That’s a deal.
You want the amount of veggies to be larger than the amount of meat. For the recipe at top, Cook This, Not That’s 340-calorie A-1 Steak Burger, they use 1/4 lb. of ground beef per burger plus a whole lot of sauteed onions and mushrooms.
The burger, a small meatball that you smash on the grill to sear hot and fast, has a crunchy crust in just a few short minutes with this method. This is the trick to making really great burgers at home without a grill.
Doctor it up with blue cheese, hatch chilies, a slice of bacon … anything you’d want to put on a burger out really. (Read more: Fat Dude’s Grass-Fed Breakfast Burger.)
I stick to about 1 oz. of cheese on each burger (a 100-110 calorie serving size) and ask the guy at the deli to cut the cheese into 1/2 oz. slices. That way, it’s like I’m getting two pieces of cheese, but in a serving size that’s less calories than even one piece of cheese at a regular restaurant.
And because you can’t have a solid burger without fries, you know I had to make those too.
Fries are simple: If you know know that 150 grams of potatoes is 110 calories, you’ll automatically know the perfect serving size for an order of homemade French fries.
The trick to getting them crispy is to first cut the potatoes (into planks, then into fries) and then soak them in cold water, changing the water once, for about 24 hours. The starch will leave the potatoes, ensuring a crisp result.
To cook, spray with cooking spray, salt and bake the fries at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, then at 425 degrees for a final 10 minutes.
You’ll never crave another deep fried spud or calorie-laden restaurant burger again.