Sandwiches & Burgers

Simple Tuna Burgers with Pimento Mayo

I have a thing for tuna.  If I could, I’d eat it every day, straight out of the can (or pouch) and be happy. I get really giddy when salad bars have tuna on them.  I load up. I’d bring tuna in my lunch bag every day if only it didn’t stink up my entire office.  It’s a shame, really.  And of course, there is the whole mercury thing (which I only really worry about now since I’m still pumping). Read more about that below.

Tuna Burgers with Pimento Mayo

So anyway, these tuna burgers….they were amazing.  When I made them I doubled the recipe and froze the second half (I try to do this whenever I can.  I mean, I take full advantage of any time I have in the kitchen these days).  I also made a few extra burgers for Paige, without some of the added ingredients (ie: I simply used breadcrumbs, tuna, and just a little mayo to make the patties).  I gave them to her without a bun.  She enjoyed it, just like her mommy.

As a nursing mother, and someone who would like to have another baby in the future, I am fully aware that most women don’t get enough omega-3 during these precious times in their lives.  I took DHA supplements when I was pregnant, and for the first few months while breastfeeding.  Now? I aim for 1-2 servings (~4-5 ounces) of tuna or salmon a week and forget the supplements.  Going back to what I said about tuna and mercury; there has been a lot of controversy about whether women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should eat tuna and whether the benefits outweigh the risks.  The overall consensus, based on what I’ve seen, is that the benefits do outweigh the risks. If you want to read more check out this article.  If you’re going to have tuna it’s best to choose the “chunk light”, which is lower in mercury.  Sadly, however, the albacore has more omega-3. You can’t win, can you?!  It’s ok though, the light tuna is still providing a good source of omega-3, not to worry.  So, make these burgers.

Simple Tuna Burgers with Pimento Mayo


  • 2 5- to 6-ounce cans chunk light tuna in water, drained
  • ½ cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs **
  • ½ cup low-fat mayonnaise, divided
  • 1 4-ounce jar chopped pimientos, drained
  • ¼ cup finely chopped celery **
  • ¼ cup finely chopped onion **
  • ½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning, divided
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns or English muffins, toasted **
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices tomato


  1. Combine tuna, breadcrumbs, ¼ cup mayonnaise, half of the pimientos, celery, onion, and ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning in a medium bowl, breaking up any larger pieces of tuna until the mixture is uniform and holds together.
  2. Combine the remaining ¼ cup mayonnaise, the remaining pimientos, and ¼ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning in a bowl.
  3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using a generous ⅓ cup each, form the tuna mixture into four 3-inch burgers. Cook until heated through and golden brown, about 2 minutes per side.
  4. Spread the top half of each bun (or English muffin) with pimiento mayonnaise and place a burger, lettuce, and tomato on the bottom half.


** If you are following a low FODMAPs diet you could use gluten-free bread crumbs, or just use regular bread crumbs because really the amount in this recipe shouldn’t be enough to cause problems. I would recommend gluten-free buns or English Muffins if you are really sensitive to fructans (an Oligosaccharide), but like I said I can typically handle 2 slices of whole wheat bread and you may too. I omitted the onion and the celery (FODMAPs) and used a garlic-infused olive oil instead of regular olive oil.

I kept the Old Bay Seasoning in there because, wahoo, it’s low FODMAPs!  Do you know I just realized that not too long ago? It does contain celery seed, which may sound confusing since celery isn’t low FODMAPs, but the seed portion of celery isn’t where the FODMAPs lurk. If you want to use a gluten-free (therefore low FODMAPs) bread, you could, but I didn’t, as 1-2 slices of bread don’t affect me too much.  I rarely eat bread anyway.

As I mentioned above, these froze really well.  They were simply delicious, even when thawed.  Nick and I feasted on them for a few nights and enjoyed them each night, even as they became “leftovers”.  They were even good alone without the bread and mayo (ok, I may be biased since, as mentioned, I am a tuna freak).  Make them soon.  See you next week with a frittata recipe!

Sandwiches & Burgers

Carrot Cake Cookie Sandwiches

I was at the airport recently and decided to buy the Food Network’s magazine to peruse some good Spring recipes.  I was pleasantly surprised with all the great recipes I found.  I’m picky, after all. I need simple, and fairly low FODMAPs (or at least modifiable enough to be low FODMAPs).  I knew I was hosting a small Easter gathering on Easter Sunday so I had that in mind as I flew high above the clouds and turned the pages (sad, let me be honest, that the SkyMall magazine was no where in site).I came across these carrot cake cookie sandwiches and knew I had to make them.  Nick and I list carrot cake as our all-time favorite cake (although truthfully white wedding cake might be a notch higher on the list for me) and last Easter my cousin made a gluten free carrot cake that was, in a word, gross.  Don’t worry, she doesn’t read this blog and also she knew it wasn’t good.  It would have been better had she cooked it a bit longer.  So this year I knew I wasn’t going to make a carrot cake (who has time for that?!) but these cookie sandwiches sounded simple enough.  And, they were.The recipe can be found here.  I modified them to be gluten free (for my cousin) by using Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free oat flour instead of all-purpose flour.Because of this I cooked them for a total of sixteen minutes instead of twenty.  By using the gluten free flour these were also lower FODMAPs (since wheat flour contains wheat, which contains galactans). I also used gluten free oats (not necessary if you are following a low FODMAPs diet, but necessary if you have Celiac).   I made some without raisins since dried fruit, in general, aren’t low FODMAPs, but also because Nick “doesn’t like fruit in his carrot cake”.For those following a low FODMAPs diet, you could also just reduce the raisin amount by half and you should be fine (I personally like some raisins in my carrot cake!). This was my test batch, so I know our guests on Sunday will love these, as the second time I make them they will be perfection. Pure perfection.  Healthy? No, not at all, but delicious and a great way to celebrate Easter, and for some, the end of a long time without sugar (or whatever else people give up these days).Enjoy, my friends!  And to those who celebrate, have a Happy Easter.

Sandwiches & Burgers

Clean Eating’s Smoked Salmon Burgers

Last year I thought I had found my favorite salmon burger recipe.  I posted these gingery salmon burgers and truthfully stated they were so good that even salmon haters would love them (Nick, a salmon hater, actually ate and enjoyed the gingery salmon burgers).  Despite the fact that today’s salmon burger is not salmon-hater-approved (Nick refused to eat one), I still feel fine stripping the award from the previous burger, and handing it over to this one; The Smoked Salmon Burger.  Oh wow. That’s all I have to say.  Clean Eating’s Smoked Salmon Burgers


  • 10 oz. boneless, skinless wild salmon fillets, cut into chunks
  • 3 oz. wild smoked salmon, cut into chunks
  • 1 small yellow onion, grated **
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced, divided **
  • ½ cup whole-wheat panko bread crumbs **
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill, divided
  • 4 tsp. Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, divided
  • ½ tsp. fresh ground pepper, divided
  • Dash hot sauce **
  • ½ cup plain 0% Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp. capers, drained
  • Cooking oil (canola, grapeseed, olive, etc.)
  • 4 whole grain buns, split **
  • 2 cups spinach
  • 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced


  1. In a food processor, pulse together salmon, onion, 2 cloves garlic, panko, 1 Tbsp. dill, 2 tsp. Dijon, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, ¼ tsp. pepper and hot sauce until finely chopped; do not over-mix.  Shape mixture into 4½-inch-thick patties. Transfer to a large, parchment-lined baking sheet.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare aioli; In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, capers, remaining 1 clove garlic, 2 Tbsp. dill, 2 tsp. Dijon, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and ¼ tsp. pepper.  Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Heat an outdoor grill (or a grill pan) to medium-high and lightly oil grate with cooking oil.  Mist patties on both sides with cooking spray and grill for about 10 minutes, turning halfway, until a thermometer reads 145 degrees F when inserted into the center.  Just before the burgers are finished, grill the buns if you desire.
  4. Divide spinach, patties, aioli, and tomatoes evenly between buns. Enjoy!


**If you are following a low FODMAPS diet omit the garlic and onion and use a Tuscan or garlic-infused oil to cook your burgers.  Also, keep in mind wheat contains FODMAPs, but the ½ cup of whole wheat panko shouldn’t be

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 burger and bun

Nutrition Highlights:  Good source of fiber, excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium.  Also, this provides ~1100 mg EPA/DHA (long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids).I attempted to get Nick to try one, but the pink coloring really threw him off. Darn it, he knew it was salmon!  Ok, he’s no fool, they smelled like salmon (in the best way possible). I just froze these babies and enjoyed them for a couple weeks on my own. His loss.Don’t lie, my grill marks are perfection. Right? And I used a grill pan (actually I think that’s why my grill marks look so perfect.  The grill pan is a must-have kitchen gadget).

QUESTION:  Do you have a favorite recipe for salmon burgers? If you do, please share it!

In other news, my new job is off to a great start.  It’s definitely a huge change from being in the supermarket, but I still get to be around great people all day, and do what I love; educate people on how to enjoy healthy and delicious food.

Sandwiches & Burgers

Gouda Turkey Burgers on Portobello Buns

When I was young I never would have thought a) I’d ever be a huge fan of turkey burgers and b) I would ever steer clear of buns and opt for vegetables instead.  Of course, when I was young I never thought I’d ever love crunchy peanut butter, avocado, artichokes, and….well, the list goes on.  I also never thought I’d be obsessed with taking photos of my food (I wonder what I’ll do in the next twenty years that I never would expect at this moment in my life, do you ever think about that?).  I digress….

Let’s talk about turkey burgers.  It’s difficult to make a good turkey burger. The toughest part for me is cooking them to the appropriate temperature (165 Degrees F) without creating a dry and flavorless burger.  When you cook beef it’s generally ok for it to be a little on the rare side (I personally love my beef burgers medium-rare) but with poultry burgers, well…that’s another story.  The secret to a juicy turkey burger is to first consider using the broiler or baking in the oven, so they don’t get charred on both sides before reaching the appropriate temperature in the center.  Second, add some great mix-ins such as Worchestershire sauce and egg (both are in this recipe) or avocado or ground flax and, and third, use a juicy flavorful “bun” such as; mushrooms. Gouda Turkey Burgers on Portobello Buns


  • 5 portobello mushrooms **
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
  • ½ Tbsp. minced fresh garlic **
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 egg whites
  • ¼ tsp. ground mustard
  • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce **
  • 3 ounces diced Gouda cheese
  • Nonstick cooking spray


  1. Preheat broiler.  Place the mushrooms on a broiler pan and drizzle with olive oil.  Broil until just tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove from broiler and set aside.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In mixing bowl, mix together the turkey, garlic, salt, pepper, egg whites, mustard, and Worchestershire.  Form into 5 patties.  Spray a heavy ovenproof skillet with nonstick spray and heat on medium-high.  Add the patties and sear for 3 minutes on each side until brown and internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (or alternatively, broil the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, ~4 inches from the broiler).
  3. While still on the hot skillet top with Gouda and allow to melt by covering the skillet with a lid for about 1-minute (or alternatively, add cheese to the burgers and allow to broil for ~45 seconds).
  4. To serve, place each mushroom, top side down, on a serving dish.  Top each with a Gouda burger and chow down!


 If you are following a low FODMAPS diet omit the fresh garlic and and the flavor back by using garlic-infused olive oil.  Also be aware that there is typically garlic and onion in Worchestershire sauce.  That being said, the small amount in this recipe shouldn’t cause any problems.  The portobello buns, however, may cause problems, so you can use a giant piece of zucchini instead (see above), or grilled eggplant or your favorite soft and moist gluten-free bread.  Also, the gouda will have a small amount of lactose, but it shouldn’t be enough to cause any side-effects.  The amount used in this recipe is small, but just enough to add some delicious tastes, textures, and aromas.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 burger with “bun”

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 250 calories, good source of calcium and excellent source of protein.

The question is, do you eat these with your hands or a fork and knife? Nick ate his with a fork and knife, I ate mine with my hands.  Imagine juices flowing down my arm as I bit down. That’s exactly what happened, but no, I didn’t mind.

QUESTION:  Eating mushroom or zucchini “buns” was something I never would have imagined I’d enjoy when I was growing up.  What’s something you do now (or eat now), that as a child you never would have imagined you’d be doing (or eating)?!

Sandwiches & Burgers

Have Chicken? Clean Eating’s Buffalo Chicken Salad and My Own Spicy Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Who says dinner has to be a huge production? I grew up in a househouse where “frozen meal of your choice” was the dinner plan about two days out of seven.  I didn’t mind it at all, but I’d much prefer a very simple, homemade dinner, such as this one I came up with when we had leftover grilled chicken not too long ago.The price for this entire meal was under $2.50/person (including the frozen green beans and corn.  Frozen veggies, I love them.  They are healthy and often very cheap!).  Not only was the price right on par, but the time to prepare this meal was too; including steaming the vegetables, this took about 10 minutes to get on a plate and ready for some devouring.

Spicy Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Serves 1


4 ounces grilled chicken, seasoned with pepper

1.5 Tbsp. olive oil mayo

2 tsp. dijon mustard

More pepper, and a dash of cayenne

1 whole wheat English Muffin (or bread of your choice)**


Cut the grilled chicken into medium sized chunks.  Add the chicken to a medium bowl and mix in the mayo and dijon.  Mix well to combine and distribute sauces evenly.  Add cayenne and pepper (as much or as little as you’d like, I added 1 tsp. of each!  I like SPICE!)

**NOTE:  If you follow a low FODMAPs diet be sure to use a gluten-free English muffin.

Estimated Nutrition Facts, with the English Muffin

Nutrition Highlights: Good source of calcium and iron

So this next recipe is one of those that a good food blogger would have made again, just to make sure there was a decent picture to show her readers.  I guess I’m not a good food blogger because I’m using an old picture, and I’m not turning back. Last summer I was preparing dinners for my mom, dad, and brother, along with their neighbors who had three kids, about two days a week.  Both families really enjoyed this recipe (including all of the young kids!), so while the picture doesn’t do it and justice, I sitll wanted to provide you with the recipe. While it may not quality as food porn, and least you get an idea of what it’s supposed to look like (I’ve gotten better at making food look really tasty since last summer, right?!  Please say yes).

The total price per family (family of 4) for this meal was fifteen dollars.  That’s not bad considering I used organic chicken breasts and whole wheat tortillas to make the salad into a wrap!  Who said eating healthier has to be expensive?!  The total time to prepare and clean-up this meal was an hour. You can’t beat that.

Buffalo Chicken Salad Wraps

Source: Clean Eating Magazine, June 2012 Issue

(Serves 4)


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast

Olive oil cooking spray

1 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. chile powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 sweet onion, chopped **

1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt **

5 Tbsp. low-fat buttermilk **

1-1.5 Tbsp. hot sauce **

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

1 head red leaf lettuce, chopped

1 yellow or green bell pepper, sliced thinly

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1 cup peeled and shredded carrots

2 ounces crumbled blue cheese

4 whole wheat tortillas **


  1. Preheat broiler to high. Place chickenon a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Lightly mist chicken with cooking spray and sprinkle evenly on both sides with paprika, chile powder, and salt. Broil 6 to 8 inches from the heat until center of chicken is no longer pink, about 6 minute sper side.  Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest for 3 to 5 minutes before cutting into small chunks (~1/4 inches).
  2. In a blender, puree onion, buttermilk, greek yogurt,  and hot sauce.  Taste and add more hot sauce if you want.
  3. Heat tortillas in oven if you want them hot.  Place a hot tortilla on each plate and divide romaine and red leaf lettuces among 4 tortillas and top with bell pepper, tomatoes, carrots and chicken, dividing each evenly.  Serve yogurt mixture on the side and drizzle on top of wraps.  Sprinkle each with blue cheese and serve immediately!

    **NOTE: If you follow a low FODMAPs diet this is not the best recipe for you.  Two integral parts of the sauce are onion, hot sauce, and milk.  It’s hard to modify and still keep that buffalo flavor!

Note:  If you want to reduce the sodium, you can always reduce the amount of hot sauce or omit the added sea salt. Most of the sodium from this estimate came from the tortilla, the hot sauce, the obvious sea salt, and the blue cheese.  You do have control over all of these, so modify to your needs.

Nutrition Highlights: Excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and calcium, good source of iron.

I remember getting a call from the family for whom I made this recipe, the day after I had prepared it for them, and they said it was their favorite meal so far.  So, you know, considering it was a “Clean Eating” recipe, I was pretty happy about that.

I hope everyone has a lovely Tuesday.  I’ve got a big demo at work today and we’re making two different burgers (one turkey and one cod), plus grilled vegetables and a grilled peach and apricot dish with ricotta cheese.  Sound good???  Yeah, I know!

Thanks for reading.

The Candid Rd

Sandwiches & Burgers

Summer Turkey Burgers; Martha Stewart’s Pesto Burgers and Clean Eating’s Mediterranean Burgers

Every once in awhile Nick and I are in the mood for a juicy burger (ok, I’ll be honest, if I could eat a burger every day and it was healthy, I’d do it, in a heartbeat).  I do prefer beef burgers, but for less saturated fat and cholesterol (if you buy the extra lean breast meat) turkey burgers can be incredibly satisfying.  And since it’s grilling season you might be interested in the fact that poultry has less heme iron, which may be beneficial when it comes to nitrites and nitrates (apparently the heme iron interacts with nitrates and nitrites, even those found naturally in our food, to produce carcinogens….who knew!?  And, poultry produces less carcinogenic HCAs, which you can read more about here).

The key to a good turkey burger is to make sure it stays juicy.  You see, when you make a beef burger you can eat it medium or even medium-rare, and unless your immune system is slightly compromised, you aren’t really putting yourself at risk for food-borne illness. With poultry burgers, the story is a bit different, you have to cook it all the way to 165 degrees.  That’s what makes creating a juicy turkey burger very difficult.  The meat is already pretty lean with very little fat, especially if you are using the white meat, and then you have to cook it all the way and that can often mean dryness. Blah.

I’ve got some tricks up my sleeve for how to create a juicier turkey burger, do you?  I like to add ground flaxseed or smashed avocado to my turkey burgers (I add these when the turkey is raw, before I form the patties).  This adds some good fat to make the burgers moist (and when I say “good fat” I don’t just mean good for you, I mean tasty!).  This recipe below uses pesto with olive oil and other great flavors to add juiciness and moisture.


31Save Pesto Turkey Burgers

Serves: 4

Total Time: ~25 minutes

Modified from a recipe found on


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1 clove garlic **
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil (plus more for the grill)
  • Coarse salt and pepper
  • 1 pound ground white turkey breast meat
  • 2 large tomatoes, sliced
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella
  • 8 pieces hearty whole-grain bread **

** NOTE: If you are following a low FODMAPs diet, omit the garlic clove and use garlic-infused olive oil to impart the garlic flavor.  Also look for a gluten-free bread to use with the burgers.


  1. In a food processor puree the basil, spinach, garlic, walnuts, oil, and 1 Tbsp. water.  Season pesto with salt and pepper (I only added pepper).
  2. Heat a grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.  Combine 1 Tbsp. pesto, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper, and turkey and form into 4 patties.  Clean and lightly oil grill.  Brush tomatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper (I just used pepper).  Grill patties, covered, 4 minutes.  Flip patties and top with cheese.  Add tomatoes to grill and cook, flipping once, until tomatoes are lightly charred and burgers are opaque throughout 4 minutes.
  3. Assemble sandwiches on bread with pesto, burgers, and tomatoes.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 burger, with bread

Instagram!  Look at those grill marks.  Beauteous, no??

Nutrition Highlights: Excellent source of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium

In the words of Chef Ramsey “, this turkey burger is cooked PERFECTLY!”

Have you ever sent your husband or loved one to the store for groceries, only for them to come back with the wrong thing? I asked Nick to buy “Extra Lean Turkey Meat”, and he made the mistake than many people do; he assumed that all turkey meat is extra lean and that it’s all the same. This simply isn’t true. Some of the turkey meat uses different parts of the animal, such as the thigh, and therefore it contains more fat and calories.  There’s nothing wrong with it, but I prefer a leaner ground turkey burger because I don’t really notice a big enough difference in the taste to warrant such a jump in calories and fat.  So, Nick brought home the wrong turkey meat and I ended up making burgers that were half lean and half extra lean ground turkey. Check out how ugly it is!

So this is what your burgers will look like if you use half lean and half extra lean turkey meat.  Not pretty, but, still delicious.  And let’s be honest, that’s all that matters, right?  Check out the recipe below.

31Save Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

(Serves 4)

Source: Clean Eating Magazine (last summer’s issue)


  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 1/4 cup non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups loosely packed spinach
  • 2 ounces low-fat feta cheese
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce **
  • 12-ounces lean ground turkey (look for 1.5-4 grams fat per serving)
  • 1 small zucchini, sliced lengthwise into 4 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 4 medium portobello mushroom caps, quartered **
  • 4 whole-wheat rolls **

** NOTE:  low FODMAPs diet be aware that most hot sauce contains garlic and/or onion.  You may want to omit this from the recipe, or just useless.  Also, portobello mushrooms contain polyols, so you may not want to eat these (or just have a very small amount).  Lastly, look for gluten-free buns, and be careful if you’re lactose intolerant, as the feta and yogurt might upset your stomach, but most people will be able to handle the small amount of lactose in this recipe.


1)  Preheat broiler. Mist pepper with cooking spray. Place pepper directly on rack or baking sheet in oven. Broil 10 minutes per side.

2)  Meanwhile, in a food processor, place yogurt, spinach, feta and hot sauce and puree on high for 2 minutes, until smooth and creamy (THIS SAUCE WAS FANTASTIC!!!). Set aside.

3)  Remove pepper from oven and set aside until cool enough to handle. Peel, seed and quarter.

4)  Divide turkey patties, zucchini, and mushrooms among 2 separate baking sheets.  Spray the vegetables with olive oil (use garlic olive oil for more flavor!) and broil for 10 minutes, until patties are cooked through and vegetables are tender.  To serve, spread 1 Tbsp. spinach mixture onto each half of the whole wheat buns, add 1 patty, 2 slices zucchini, 1 piece pepper, a quarter of mushrooms, and serve!

Nutrition Facts for 1 burger, with bun and veggies

QUESTION:  What’s your favorite type of protein to use for burgers?? I’d like to start experimenting with bison soon.

Thanks for reading!

The Candid Rd

Sandwiches & Burgers

Chicken Sandwich with Yogurt Basil Pesto and Roasted Red Peppers

Just getting home from work? Not sure what to make for dinner? Grab that leftover chicken in your fridge and get to work on this sandwich recipe, it won’t take long I promise.  And, you’ll love it.  This was one of those sandwiches that Nick ate and then quickly replied with a “is there another one I can have?”.  I love to hear those words. To me that means, “Gina, that was so fantastic that I can’t imagine going on with the evening without having yet another one”.  Music to my ears. I especially love it when Nick eats an ingredient that he hates, and has no idea (Shhhh, don’t tell Nick he ate yogurt. He’ll FREAK!).

Chicken Sandwich with Yogurt Basil Pesto and Roasted Red Peppers

Modified from a recipe found in Substitute Yourself Skinny

Serves: 4


4 Tbsp. nonfat mayonnaise

1 Tbsp. nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves

1 Tbsp. grated parmesan

4 light 100-calorie English Muffins, lightly toasted **

4 (4-ounce) cooked chicken breasts

1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. chopped roasted red bell peppers (add more if you’d like!)


  1.  In a small mixing bowl, mix together the mayo, yogurt, basil and parmesan.
  2.  Assemble the sandwiches by spreading equal amounts of mayo mixture on each muffin half.  Top 4 of the muffin halves with a chicken breast, then top each with ~1 1/2 Tbsp. roasted peppers.  Finish with remaining muffin half.  Serve.

**NOTE:  If you are following a Low FODMAPs diet look for a wheat-free English muffin.  They do exist!  Another option would be to just have one-half of the English muffin, because you may be able to handle wheat in small amounts.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1-sandwich

Nutrition Highlights:  Under 400 calories, good source of calcium and vitamin C, excellent source of iron.  Want to increase your vitamin A? Add more roasted reds to this sandwich, or on the side.Serve this with a side of more vegetables, because that would make a perfect plate!  We served ours with steamed broccoli and spinach.  What will you serve yours this? Perhaps extra roasted red peppers? We may have done that too, on top of our greens (they are so good out of the jar, I’m obsessed!).

Sandwiches & Burgers

Shrimp Salad Sandwiches (Clean Eating)

Ok, you caught me, I used the refined non-whole grain buns for today’s recipe.  So what?!  They were leftover from Easter and my mom had them in the freezer and wanted to get rid of them.  So, I happily took them because even if they aren’t super healthy, I hate to see food go to waste!  Nick enjoys (and actually appreciates) a non whole-grain bun every once in a while….me on the other hand, well I don’t eat much wheat because of FODMAPs and to be honest I don’t even like the taste of “white bread” anymore.  The whole grain breads just have so much more flavor.  What do you think?? Do you agree?

Actually this shrimp salad was delicious on it’s own, without a bun.  Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself.

Shrimp Salad Sandwiches

Serves: 4

SourceClean Eating Magazine


12 ounces frozen cooked shrimp (peeled, deveined and tails removed), defrosted, drained, bloated dry, and roughly chopped

1 stalk celery, finely chopped**

1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

2 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Dash hot sauce, optional**

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste

2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 1/4th inch thick

2 lightly packed cups arugula or spinach

4 whole grain buns or split and toasted rolls**

** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet omit the celery.  Also, be careful with the hot sauce, as most of them contain garlic and/or onion.  I used a very small amount, and then added some cayenne pepper for extra heat!  IF you are sensitive to wheat, be sure to buy wheat-fre (or gluten-free) buns.


In a large bowl, combine shrimp (make sure it’s nice and dry), celery, yogurt, dill and dijon.  Season with hot sauce, if desired, and salt and pepper.  Divide shrimp mixture, tomatoes and arugula between rolls/buns.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 Sandwich, with bun

Nutrition Highlights: Under 300 calories (not bad for a full sandwich!), excellent source of protein, iron, and calcium (this calcium percentage might be a little too high, but there is calcium in the spinach, greek yogurt, and I believe also the shrimp!), and a good source of vitamin C.

After making this recipe I had leftover dill for about a week.  I added it to everything; spinach salads, eggs, pasta dishes, and even tomorrow’s recipe, which is a poached egg with a quinoa “hash”.  Yes, dill is my new obsession. It may even be listed above basil in my list of ingredient obsessions.  Maybe……

QUESTION: Have you ever used Greek yogurt as a dressing in your salads?  I use it for chicken and tuna salad too.  Who needs mayo anymore?!

Do you like dill??

I’m off today (wahoo!) and have a list a mile long of things to do.  This includes thinking of something to get my mom for Mother’s Day.  I was hoping just being a good daughter would be enough, but maybe not.  She’s hard to shop for but I think I might get her a good book to read about mindful eating. I actually think she’d really like it!  What do you get your mom on Mother’s Day? Any other ideas for me?

Thanks for reading.

The Candid Rd

Sandwiches & Burgers

Open-Faced Cheesesteak Sandwiches on Portobello “Buns”

You’ve read the latest news about meat and eggs, I’m sure.  If you’re wondering if you should give up meat and eggs, well, my answer is no. I’m one dietitian who is certainly not going to give up meat and eggs just because of one study.  Not to say that I don’t think the study is important to consider.  I mean, eat less, sure, but give up?  No way!  Instead, I’m going to continue doing what I’ve been doing; 1) telling people not to take unnecessary supplements, such as lecithin, which, while we know has some positive effects on our health, isn’t typically necessary to take as a dietary supplement, 2) telling people not to follow a diet such as Adkins, because it’s absurdly high in eggs and beef, and low in fruits and vegetables, and most importantly 3) consuming eggs and meat in moderation, which to me means 1-2 times a week (and small portions each time).  Nick and I typically eat beef once every other week, and eggs once a week, maybe twice (and I typically just eat the whites.  Keep in mind it’s the yolks that have the choline and cholesterol).  And you know what?  That’s what we’re going to continue to do.That being said, please enjoy today’s recipe, which provides you with a very reasonable and non-Western-Diet-Like portion of red meat (ie: not 10 ounce, but 4.  Perfect) as well as an abundance of fresh vegetables.

Open Faced Cheesesteak Sandwiches


  • 8 portobello mushrooms, stemmed**
  • 1/2 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and slices
  • 1 small yellow onion, sliced**
  • 1 lb. boneless top sirloin steak, 1.5 to 2 inches thick, trimmed
  • 1 tsp. unsalted garlic and herb seasoning **
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • 2 ounces reduced fat Swiss or cheddar cheese


  1.  Position oven rack to 6 to 8 inches from heat and preheat broiler to high.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil.  Arrange portobellos on foil upside down and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Broil for 7-10 minutes, turning halfway, until tender when pierced with a form.  Transfer to a paper towel and drain any liquid released.  Line sheet with a new pieces of foil and preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2.  Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof skillet on medium-high, heat oil.  Add bell peppers, onion, 1/8 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Cook for about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender.  Transfer to a medium bowl.
  3.  Pat steak dry and rub garlic seasoning, remaining 1/4th tsp. salt and remaining 1/2 tsp. black pepper all over steak.  Mist same ovenproof skillet with cooking spray and heat on medium-high.  Add steak and sear until browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute each, using tongs to hold steak in position if necessary. Transfer to oven and roast, 5 to 8 minutes for rare to medium-rare or 7 to 10 minutes for medium.  Transfer to a cutting board and rest for 5 minutes.  Switch oven back to broiler setting on high.
  4.  Arrange portobello upside down on prepared baking sheet.  Thinly slice steak against the grain and divide evenly among portobellos.  Top evenly with pepper-onion mixture and a piece of cheese.  Broil just until cheese is melted, about 1 minute.

** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet keep in mind mushrooms contain polyols.  I was able to handle one portobello cap, but you may be more sensitive.  Also, omit the garlic and herb seasoning, as garlic contains oligosaccharides (the “O” in FODMAPs).  I made these without the seasoning and they were still delicious with simply the salt and pepper.  Lastly, omit the onions, as they contains FODMAPs too.   Use extra peppers if you want!

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 2 open-faced sandwiches (1-serving)

Nutrition Highlights:  Good source of fiber and calcium, excellent source of protein, vitamins A and C, and iron.

So, this is how I respond to the latest news about red meat.  Basically, it’s a reasonable portion (~3-4 ounces), topped with and surrounded by lots of vegetables (and a beer….yeah, one drink a day for women is good for their hearts, come on now!).
Is it strange that I actually prefer vegetables as my “grain”?  I mean, offer me portobellos for a bun and I’ll say “heck yeah!”, offer me spaghetti squash for noodles and I’ll dive right in.  It’s two great things in one (great flavor and nutrition) so it’s a double win.

Will you be changing your intake of meat and/or eggs since the release of the latest research?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  And meanwhile, have a great Tuesday.  I’m off to teach a group of preschoolers about how to create a healthy plate.  Then tonight I’ll teach my last diabetes class of the season (so sad, I’ve been really enjoying this class).

Sandwiches & Burgers

Gingery Salmon Burgers (salmon-hater approved!)

Nick hates salmon.  When I told him I was making salmon burgers one night for dinner, he gave me this look like, “that’s fine, but what am going to eat?”.  “Eggs”, I told him.  That’s always the backup plan.  But of course, I was going to make him try the salmon burgers! MuahahaThankfully on this particular night I was amazing in the kitchen (and, by the way, it was really late when we ate so the photos aren’t so great….yeah, I need one of those nifty picture boxes or white screens.  One day). How do I know I was so amazing in the kitchen? Because Nick actually agreed to taste one of these salmon burgers, and even more amazing was that he actually ENJOYED them! Of course, when I asked him if he would eat them again he sort of gave me this look as if I was pushing my luck.  Oh well, I’ll definitely make them again for me, at least.

Gingery Salmon Burgers
(Source: Martha Stewart)
Serves 5


16 ounces salmon (wild salmon, if possible)
1/3 cup whole wheat panko bread crumbs, plus ~3 T **
3 T minced ginger
1 T Dijon mustard
1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped **
1/4 tsp. coarse salt
pepper to taste


1.  In a food processor, pulse the salmon (skin off) for about 10 seconds (be sure not to make a puree, ewww!).  You want the salmon to be coarsely chopped.  Transfer the salmon to a bowl and add 1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, ginger, mustard, chives, salt and pepper.  Stir to combine.  Form into patties and then coat each patty with additional panko (divide the 3 T by 5 patties).

  1.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat.  Spray the pan with a little oil and cook each patty for about 4 minutes on each side.  Serve the burgers on an English Muffin (or on yourfavorite bread/bun) and top with light mayo or any other condiment of your choice.

** NOTE:  If you are following a low FODMAPs diet try to find some gluten free bread crumbs that aren’t seasoned with garlic or onion.  Or, perhaps you’re like me and you can handle a small amount of wheat (I just used regular whole wheat panko and wasn’t bothered at all).  Also, use the green part of the chives instead of the white part.  The green part is free of FODMAPs.

Estimated Nutrition Facts for 1 burger (1/5th of recipe)

Nick had his with a 100-calorie english muffin:~300 calories total
And if you want a double decker on an english muffin:  ~500 calories total

Nutrition Highlights:  OMEGA-3!  Each burger contains approximately 1000 mg EPA/DHA (per 3 ounces raw wild salmon).

INSTAGRAM!This picture was taken very late, sorry about the color!

This is Nick’s double-decker salmon burger. Can you believe it? Double decker!!  Salmon that he will eat?  I gotta make these more often.

QUESTION:  Do you live with any salmon-haters?  Or, are you a salmon hater? Will you try this recipe?!