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I’ve made my boyfriend seared lamb with a red wine and shallot reduction.  I’ve made him homemade pulled chicken and pumpkin tacos.  I’ve made him beer-steamed shrimp with pesto butter.  But it wasn’t until last night when I prepared Big Macs from scratch that he said to me,

“This is literally the best thing I have ever eaten.”

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My cooking philosophy is all about turning my favorite childhood food memories into updated epicurean eats with my very own Fanny flare.  I hate the idea of recipes being unapproachable–which is why you won’t find goose livers or bone marrow in my kitchen.  Not to say that I don’t appreciate incredibly gourmet food, but when it comes to my everyday cooking–I like to create dishes that everyone is familiar with in one way or another.

And what’s more familiar…than a Big Mac?

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Yes.  That is my boyfriend.  And yes, he loves Big Macs that much.

I try to avoid fast food, mostly because I believe there’s usually a healthier option nearby.  However, I still have an appreciation (and a special place in my heart) for that fried, cheesy, yumminess that’s around every corner.  On that same note, when I’m making my own version of something at home–I always attempt to sneak in my own healthy tricks.  I’m not saying you’ll be in the mood for a jog after eating this, but I guarantee you saved more calories by giving Ronald McDonald the boot and starting from scratch.

The biggest secret for making an unhealthy meal healthy?  Don’t say a word.  And they’ll never know the difference…

Yes, Tony.  You ate a turkey burger.

Homemade “Healthy” Big Macs

Serves 2

  • .5 – .75 lb Ground Turkey (depending on how thick you want your burger) 
  • 2 TBSP Panko (or regular) Bread Crumbs
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire
  • 1 TSP Dijon Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 2 Sesame Seed Buns
  • 2 Slices American Cheese (use the 2% to reduce the fat)
  • Shredded Iceberg Lettuce
  • Homemade Pickles (or jarred if you don’t have the 24 hours to make them yourself)
  • Special Sauce (recipe below)

Not-so-Top-Secret Special Sauce

Makes approximately 1/2 cup | Let this sit for at least 1 hour before serving

  • 1/4 cup Light Mayo (shhhhh)
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 2 TSP Finely Minced Sweet Onion
  • 2 TSP Finely Minced Homemade Pickles (or jarred) 
  • 1 TSP Pickling Liquid (from your homemade pickles or from the jar) | Note: Plain White Wine Vinegar can be used here too
  • 1 TSP Sugar
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight.  Sauce will stay good for up to one week.

Homemade Pickles

  • 2 Pickling Cucumbers
  • 1/2 cup White Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 2 TSP Sugar
  • 1 Bunch Fresh Dill
  • 1 Clove Fresh Garlic
  • 1 TSP Mustard Seeds

Slice cucumbers into small pickle-size rounds and put in an airtight container with sprigs of fresh dill.  Smash garlic clove with a large knife and remove outside paper–keeping the clove as intact as possible.  In a small pot, combine white vinegar, water, garlic, sugar, and mustard seeds.  Bring to a boil and immediately pour over cucumber slices and dill.  Close container and refrigerate overnight.

To make the patties: In a large bowl combine ground turkey, Worcestershire, Dijon, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper.  Form into patties (either 2 large or 4 small if you’re making the triple stack version of the Big Mac).  Sear in a non-stick pan with 1 teaspoon of oil (or on a grill).  Cook to your desired doneness.  For medium rare, cook thinner patties about 1-2 minutes per side.  Medium: 2-3 minutes.

Assemble Big Macs with secret sauce, shredded iceberg, American cheese, and homemade pickles.  For authenticity: add some chopped onions and use a bottom bun for the middle layer.  Healthy side dish option: baked sweet potato fries and quick spinach salad with orange balsamic vinaigrette.

Take that, Hamburglar. 

Homemade Garlic-Dill Pickles

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