One of my friends always seems to post recipes and demonstrations of the food she makes for her daughter, so this is my feeble first attempt to give it a try. Naturally, I forgot to take pictures of every step along the way, so it is quite light on the pictures. You'll just have to rely on my recipe and description!!
This is the 2nd time I've made turkey burgers for Micah. I actually am a vegetarian, so I have no idea how these taste, but Micah seems to love them, and DH says they are delicious. You could make these as a family dinner sometime, but I like having them around on-hand in my freezer because they are inexpensive, healthy, and I can pop one in the microwave and heat it up as needed in just one minute! We find this recipe quite inexpensive to make, and I think it is simple, too. We always use organic ingredients (meats and all the veggies) and in our area, we have been finding that Trader Joe's has some of the best prices for organic food, especially the meats. We have also had success with the "house" brand organics at the leading grocery store chains.
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 vidalia onion, finely diced
1-2 tsps minced garlic
1/3 c. bread crumbs
1/2 c. grated zucchini (can substitute other veggies - I did it once with spinach, and I bet you could use pureed baby food, too, and I'm thinking about trying it with some tomatoes)
Take the ground turkey and place in a mixing bowl. Finely dice about 1/2 a vidalia onion. For the little babies, it is important to really make sure you have a fine dice - you want the onion to sort of disappear into the burger and just slide down their throat. I picked vidalia onions because they have a sweet flavor - they add some spice without being too strong. You could use a regular yellow onion instead, but use cautiously!!
Next, add about 1-2 tsps of minced garlic - Micah definitely likes the flavor, and you can go heavier as your baby develops a taste for spices. I'm lazy and buy my garlic pre-diced, but you could probably just use a garlic press with 1 or 2 cloves of garlic, or hand mince a clove or two. Feel free to add other seasonings to taste - whatever flavors you think will appeal to you and your baby! I have one friend that puts sage, basil and thyme into everything.
The next step is to prepare and shred the zucchini. The easiest way to prepare zucchini is to slice it in half, the long way:
Then, you take a spoon, and scrape out the seeds/pulp in the center. The zucchini will have a half-moon shape (or a c-shape) when you are done scraping. I scrape out the seeds/pulp because the texture is really not pleasant, and it does not add much flavor.
Next, grate the zucchini into the bowl. It may only take 1/2 a zucchini to get about 1/2 cup. You can feel free to add more or less zucchini as you see fit, and you can always substitute different vegetables. I have also made these with spinach instead of the zucchini, but any kind of squash, pumpkin or carrots or even broccoli could work just fine. Feel free to be creative! I am certain you could put pureed baby food in here, too (or instead of the grated vegetables). I like to grate the veggies because Micah really enjoys the textures right now. Adding the veggies is an easy way to sneak in some additional nutrition, especially now that Micah is getting picky about eating vegetables directly.
At this point, I add about 1/3 c bread crumbs and 1 egg. I find that the egg and bread crumbs help bind everything together and give it a good texture, but you can certainly try to leave it all out. I was told that after 8 months, we were allowed to give Micah things that contained egg whites, but we couldn't give him a straight egg white. I'm not sure why that matters, but pancakes and bread with eggs and burgers with eggs mixed in were all on the "okay" list. If you are nervous about using the whites, you could just put in the yolk. Micah was probably at least 9 months old before we were really giving him protein on a regular basis, but turkey burgers and hamburgers were a great texture for him as we started introducing meats and "table" food instead of baby food.
I put it on one of those burger pans - with the drip pan underneath and the slotted top. You can make the burger any size you feel appropriate. The first time, I divided the mix up into 16 burgers, but this last time, I only made 12. I am thinking that as Micah eats more, next time around, I may only make 8-10. I bake them in the oven at 350 for about 30 minutes or so. It is a good idea to flip them as they start to brown on one side. You can usually tell they are ready by splitting one in half to be sure they are cooked all the way through. If you are at all nervous, you can always take a meat thermometer, and poultry is considered "cooked" when it hits around 160-165. The meat will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove it from the oven, so once it clears 160, it is good to go.
Here is what mine look like after they are cooked:
I then let them cool, then individually wrap and freeze them. You can freeze them on a cookie sheet and put them in a plastic bag once they are frozen - that way they won't all stick together. I take them out one at a time when I want to give one to Micah, and they heat up in about 1 minute in the microwave. Any longer than that, they get too hot and we have to cool them down before we can feed him, but 1 minute makes them warm all the way through, and not hot.
Lately, Micah has gotten a bit picky, so he doesn't always like to eat these plain. Tonight, we discovered that a bit of marinara sauce on top makes them even more delicious - as far as Micah is concerned. These turkey burgers have been great for us - we can almost always count on him gobbling them up whenever we serve one, and it comes complete with some built-in veggies. It feels like a very complete meal.
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