Hamburger Helper

burger 1

OK.  So technically these are turkey burgers, not beef.  Why so many?  I’m making them for school lunches of course.

Spring break just ended for us and we’re in the home stretch now, but there are still 10 or so weeks of school left–that’s still 50 lunches times 3 kids to pack.  Whew.

One of our current faves is a burger for lunch.  Pictured above you see 8 patties (there are more that didn’t fit on the pan) that I made from a pound of ground turkey.  Little olive oil in the pan, dash of garlic salt on top and wah-lah: ya’ got yerself some burgers.

Once they’ve cooled, I can put the patties in the freezer (buns separate) and then pull them out for a fridge-defrost the night before.  20 minutes at the stove top for a dozen lunches = good return on my time investment!

burger 2

Out of a one pound package of meat, I can make 12-14 patties.  Slap these little honeys on a whole wheat bun with some ketchup and what do you know:  Lunch!

Here you see me placing my model burger in a reusable  food pouch.

burger 3

The pouch cost me about eight bucks–but they clean up in the dishwasher, and we’ve been using them all year long and they still look great.

(I made sure my kindergartener was going to be responsible with his lunch bag before I started sending such pricey accoutrements with him.  It’s important to be green, but once my daughter lost her lunch bag with a water bottle, thermos, food pouch and fruit container.  Thank goodness we recovered it or it would have come out of her college fund…)

My middle child will eat one of these a week.  The other two would eat it every day if I packed it up.  Throw in some veggies, fruit and a little cookie–now we’re talkin’!

Does the bun get soggy from the condiments?  Not enough to bug my kiddos.  You could see about a small container with a dipping style situation though if it’s a problem.

Sometimes when Mike’s been a very good boy, I send him to work with a burger too.




I’ve been experimenting a bit this season with fruits in new culinary ways.  Apples and pears are so divine right now at my local farmers market and at the grocery store.

Last week I whipped up a turkey, provolone, red onion and sliced Bosc pear sandwich for Mike and me.  On his I put some Coleman’s hot mustard and on mine I put some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  On both of ours we gave a thumbs up.  Really nice combination.

My latest fave late breakfast/early lunch depending-on-my-schedule light meal is my newly titled “PB&A.”  On a toasted slice of whole grain bread, I put a light smear of peanut butter and then pile on some fresh, tart and gorgeous sliced apples.  Think apple w/peanut butter meets peanut butter sandwich or PB&J grows up!   (I am, like, so, like, mature now…)

This open-face sammy is super tasty, healthy and easy to whip up/clean up.  Just what a mama-on-the go needs to fuel her day!

Some particulars: Years ago I made the switch from the hydrogenated peanut butters (like Jif, Skippy, etc…) as I had read enough to turn me off.  It was tough at first to acquire a taste for the non-hydrogenated, natural peanut butters.  I used to salt (sounds weird, I know, but it worked) our peanut butter sandwiches until Mike and I got used to the simpler flavor.

Mike was a trooper as you can imagine how tired he gets of the “Honey!  Guess what cool thing I learned to help us be healthier!” type conversations I have been known to start… Now both of us–and the kids who never knew any different–agree that when we eat the more conventional peanut butters it tastes like candy.  Way too sweet.

Do keep in mind, however, that although natural peanut butter is a healthier choice than hydrogenated and is a good source of protein, it’s still loaded with fat.  Sigh… if only it weren’t I’d love to have about a 1/4 inch of it between my bread and apples… but smear is nice too.

Finally, I used Pink Lady apples on this PB&A.  Dessert?  The other half of the apple!