Menu Planner: Spice up your day with zesty barbecue cheeseburgers

Thinking ahead to your next few meals? Here are some main dishes and sides to try.

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Zesty barbecue burgers can be topped with white cheddar, pepper jack, smoked Gouda or provolone cheese.

Zesty barbecue burgers can be topped with white cheddar, pepper jack, smoked Gouda or provolone cheese.

Cattlemen’s Beef Board

Zesty Barbecue Cheeseburgers

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 7 to 10 minutes


1 pound ground beef (93% lean or leaner)

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

4 tablespoons barbecue sauce, divided

4 slices white cheddar, pepper jack, smoked Gouda or provolone cheese

4 whole-grain hamburger buns or pretzel rolls, split and toasted

Lettuce leaves

Tomato slices

Red onion slices

Combine ground beef, chopped onion and 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place patties on grill over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (7 to 9 minutes on preheated gas grill at medium heat) or until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees, turning occasionally. About 1 minute before burgers are done, brush with remaining 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce and top with cheese. Line bottom half of each bun with lettuce, sliced red onion and tomato, as desired; top with burger. Close sandwiches and serve.

Per serving: 434 calories, 31 grams protein, 20 grams fat (43% calories from fat), 8.4 grams saturated fat, 30 grams carbohydrate, 86 milligrams cholesterol, 550 milligrams sodium, 3 grams fiber.

Carb count: 2.

Avocado potato salad

Makes 8 servings

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: none


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 pounds cooked and diced red potatoes

1/3 cup chopped celery

1/3 cup Vidalia or other sweet onion

1 large ripe avocado, diced

3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Cilantro sprigs for garnish

In a small bowl, mix lemon juice and garlic; stir in mayonnaise and oil; set aside. In a large bowl, combine potatoes, celery and onion. Just before serving, combine potato mixture with dressing, folding in avocado and cilantro. Garnish with cilantro sprigs; serve.

Per serving: 166 calories, 3 grams protein, 8 grams fat (40 percent calories from fat), 1 gram saturated fat, 23 grams carbohydrate, no cholesterol, 96 milligrams sodium, 4 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.5.

Pan-seared arctic char with olives and potatoes

Makes 4 servings

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: about 16 minutes


3/4 pound small red potatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

4 arctic char fillets (about 5 ounces each), skin on

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, each about 3 inches long

1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives

3 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

4 lemon wedges

Cook potatoes 5 to 6 minutes in boiling water or until tender; drain and set aside. Pat fish dry. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high. Arrange fish, skin side down, so fillets fit without touching. Cook undisturbed 3 minutes. Turn; cook 2 or 3 more minutes or until cooked through. With a slotted spatula, transfer to serving platter. Add remaining oil to pan; allow to heat. Add potatoes and rosemary, turning occasionally, until the potatoes are tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add olives, parsley and vinegar; stir gently to heat. Remove rosemary sprigs. Arrange potato mixture around the fish. Garnish with lemon wedges; serve.

Per serving: 385 calories, 33 grams protein, 20 grams fat (48% calories from fat), 1.4 grams saturated fat, 16 grams carbohydrate, 20 milligrams cholesterol, 372 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Carb count: 1.

Beef pita folds

In a small bowl, mix 3 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream and 1 tablespoon salsa. Divide and spread 1/2 cup guacamole over inside of 4 trimmed pita pockets (6-inch diameter). Divide and stuff with 2 cups shredded lettuce, 3/4 cup chopped tomato and 6 ounces thinly sliced deli roast beef. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup 50% light shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with salsa mixture for dipping.
TIP: Soften pita bread in microwave for 10 seconds to make it more flexible.

Montreal turkey burgers

Add 1 tablespoon less-sodium (or regular) Montreal-style chicken seasoning to 1 pound ground turkey until well-blended. Shape into 4 patties. Grill 4 to 6 minutes per side or until cooked through (165 degrees in center). Toast whole-grain buns on grill for about 30 seconds. Spread buns with low-fat mayonnaise and add sliced red onion.

Macaroni soup with beans and cabbage

Cook 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni according to directions; drain. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil on medium-high. Add 1 thinly sliced medium onion, 1 pound thinly sliced savoy cabbage, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; cook 6 to 8 minutes or until cabbage begins to wilt, stirring often. Add 4 (14-ounce) cans unsalted vegetable broth, 2 (16-ounce) cans rinsed reduced-sodium cannellini beans and 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Add macaroni; heat through and serve.

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