Eating My Way Through

Portobello Mushroom Burgers and Sweet Pototo Fries August 27, 2010

Filed under: Dinner,Sandwiches,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 12:15 pm

Growing up it seemed every weekend my family was having a cookout. Friends would come over for some grilling out, swimming and of course only the adults indulged in some beers. But that is what summer reminds me of, grilling on my families deck, just enjoying being with friends.

So when my friend Haley came for her first DC visit with Emma on her way to Maine for grad school, I thought it was only fitting that we recreate a cookout, albeit in my apartment! Growing up Haley was a vegetarian, and Emma wasn’t, but now it’s the opposite. Go figure. So no matter what, I knew I was making something veggie friendly.

This meal is a great no stress meal for having people over. It does take some prep tine in that you need to slice the sweet potatoes and chop up some veggies for the burgers, but once that it is done it is a breeze! And as a side note: cooking with Haley and Emma was a bit distracting…so sorry for the lack of pics!

To start, cut up a bunch of sweet potatoes. Simply toss with some olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. You toss them in the oven to bake for about 45 minutes.

While they are cooking, whip up the two sauces for this meal. First a dipping sauce for the fries, a garlic and basil mayo. In a bowl, just combine some salt, low-fat mayo, garlic and lemon juice.

Garlic Mayonnaise for dipping

Garlic Mayonnaise for dipping

Then make the sauce for the burgers. We’ll top them off with a blue cheese sauce. In another bowl combine some nonfat plain yogurt, I used Greek yogurt, some crumbled blue cheese and a bit of balsamic vinegar.

Blue Cheese Sauce

Blue Cheese Sauce

Place both sauces in the fridge while you cook up your burgers and toppings.

Preheat your grill to medium-high.

Toss the Portobello mushrooms, chopped tomatoes and onions with some olive oil and salt.

Then place all the veggies on the grill to cook. Flipping the veggies once to cook both sides.

Once everything is cooked through, set up your burgers, and serve with fries and sauces!

Portobellow Mushroom Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Portobellow Mushroom Burgers with Sweet Potato Fries

Even Haley and Emma were excited!

Emma and Haley

Emma and Haley

Sweet Potato Fries (adapted from Giada De Laurentiis and the Food Network)

5 sweet potatoes, cut into 1 by 5 inch “fries”

3 tbsps olive oil

2 tbsps chopped fresh basil leaves

2 tsp kosher salt

3/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tbsp lemon juice, fresh


Pre-heat oven to 400°

Cover baking sheets with foil and arrange sweet potatoes and toss with olive oil. Bake for about 45 minutes or until golden brown.

In a bowl, combine basil, kosher salt, mayo, garlic and lemon juice and whisk together to combine.

Serve sweet potatoes with dipping sauce

Yields 4 to 6 servings

Blue Cheese Sauce (From Eating Well)

1/3 cup nonfat plain yogurt (Greek Style)

3 tbsps crumbled blue cheese

1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar


Combine yogurt, blue cheese and vinegar in a small bowl and stir to combine with a fork

Yields 1 tbsp servings

Portobello Mushroom Burgers (adapted from Eating Well)

3 tsps olive oil

4 whole-wheat buns

2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2 inch slices

4 portobello mushroom caps

1 sweet onion, cut into 1/2 inch slices

Salt to taste


Preheat grill to medium-high heat

Toss tomatoes, onions and mushrooms with olive oil. Season with salt.

Oil your grill. I simply used cooking spray, because I was using a George Foreman, but it wouldn’t be safe to do that with a normal grill!

Cooke the veggies, about 1 minute per side for the tomatoes, 3 to 5 minutes per side for the mushrooms and onions.

To assemble your burgers, spread the cheese sauce on the bun tops and divide up the mushrooms, tomatoes and onions among the burger bottoms.

Yields 4 “burgers”


Beets…Who knew they were so great? April 20, 2010

Filed under: Salad,Sandwiches,Veggies — Nikki Wegner @ 5:50 pm
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I used to hate vegetables other than carrots, peas and potatoes.  I would hide broccoli, give the dog my tomatoes under the table, and flat-out refuse to eat anything that looked funny or I just decided to hate. I was very stubborn about my veggies. And until the past few years, I still wasn’t very adventurous.

Recently, I discovered I like beets. Who knew they were so good?



In the past, I always thought of them as the gross pink things that had a slimy texture and came out of a can at holidays. But as I am known to do, I recently sampled them off a friend’s plate at a restaurant and loved them!

They are a bit time-consuming to make, but the finished product is worth the wait. I decided to cook a bunch last night to use in sandwiches and in salads this week.

The first step in using beets for anything is to roast them. Chop off the stems and bottoms, and give them a bit of a wash to clean them up. Put them in a small baking dish with 1/4 cup water.

Beets about to be roasted

Ready for roasting

Cover with foil and roast  at 400° for 35-50 minutes, depending on the size of the beets,  until they are fork-tender.

Let cool slightly and peel off the skins with your fingers. Be careful not to burn yourself! Serve warm or finish cooling depending on what you are using them for.

Last night I made a sandwich for dinner using the beets, brie and avocado…

Beet, Brie and Avocado Sandwich

All the pieces


Finished product

and a salad for today’s lunch using the beets, goat cheese, dried cherries and pomegranate blueberry vinaigrette…

Beet, goat cheese and dried cherry salad

Today's lunch.

One the beets were roasted, all of the recipes are super simple! And they’re healthy too, since beets contain folic acid, calcium, antioxidants and potassium…all good things! Just watch yourself with the cheese, it’s my weakness too.

Roasted Beets (from Yum Sugar)

1 bunch beets

1/4 cup water


Preheat oven to 400°

Trim stems and bottoms off beets

Wash to remove any dirt on the skin

Place in small baking dish

Add water

Cover with foil

Roast in oven for 35-50 minutes until beets are fork-tender

Remove from oven and let cool slightly

Peel of skins using your fingers

Serve warm or let cool depending on your plan for them!

1 serving=1 cup of beets

Beet, Brie and Avocado Sandwich (own recipe)

1 beet, roasted and sliced

1/4 avocado

1 oz french brie

2 slices multigrain bread



Slice beet

Spread/smash avocado on 1 slice of bread

Spread brie on remaining slice of bread

Add beets and lettuce to one slice, place the other on top to form a sandwich

Yields 1 sandwich

Beet, Goat cheese and dried cherries salad (own recipe)

1 beet, roasted and cubed

1 oz goat cheese, crumbled

1/8 cup dried cherries

2 cups lettuce

1 serving vinaigrette of your choice (I used low-fat pomegranate-blueberry)


Combine beets, cheese, cherries and lettuce in a bowl

Toss with vinaigrette


Yields 1 salad

p.s. Adding sliced almonds or walnuts would also be a great addition if you have them on hand.


A delicious panini! April 14, 2010

Filed under: Sandwiches — Nikki Wegner @ 7:10 pm
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At the end of a stressful day, I want to come home and make something that is super easy yet yummy. A simple sandwich usually fits the bill. I like combining whatever cheese, meat and veggies I have in the fridge and making some sort of Panini or grilled cheese.

Personal favorites: Cheddar Cheese and Bacon, Gruyère with tomato, Provolone with Turkey and avocado, Brie with dried cherries and sliced almonds…the list goes on actually, since we all know how I love cheese!

When I have a bit more time, I love to make my favorite sandwich, Brie, Green Apples and Caramelized Onions. Yum! It might sound a little strange, but the combination of the tart apples with the sweet onions and gooey cheese is delicious, and perfect after a long day.

First, caramelize the onions. This could take a bit, but it is well worth the wait. I like to make a bunch at once and then put in an air tight container. They will stay for at least a week, and you can use them in so many other dishes.

Lots of onions!

Caramelized Goodness!

After the onions are caramelized, all you have to do is assemble…

All the parts

and put back in the pan to crisp the bread and melt the cheese.

Looks good enough to eat!

And since a girl can’t just have a sandwich for dinner, I like to serve mine with the remaining green apple, as well as some veggies or baked chips. I just discovered that Kettle Chips make baked varieties, and they are great, I highly recommend.

Brie, Green Apple and Caramelized Onion Panini (adapted from Weight Watchers)

1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

2 large sweet onions

2 medium green apples

4 oz Brie cheese

8 slices of bread (I prefer sourdough or multi-gran)

Cooking spray


Slice onions into 1/4 inch strips

Heat vinegar in large skillet

Add onions, stir frequently for about 30 minutes to caramelize, remove from heat and let cool slightly

Slice apples thinly

To assemble the sandwiches, spread 4 slices of bread with brie

Top the 4 slices of bread with equal helpings of onions and apples, top with remaining slices of bread

Place any remaining onions in storage container and put in fridge for later use

Spray the skillet with cooking spray, place sandwich in the pan to toast

Toast one side, then flip to the other, repeat until cheese melted and bread is toasted to your liking

Yields 4 servings