Turkey Burgers Take Center Stage

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - November 07, 2007
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Feeling a little nostalgic for the good old days? There’s something about the 1950s that gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling. The music of that era is filled with innocence and good cheer, and Andrew Sakaguchi, the 30-something director and choreographer of the upcoming musical Plaid Tidings, proves you don’t have to be older to appreciate it!

Under his guidance, the charming Christmas extravaganza will deck the halls at Manoa Valley Theatre this season Nov. 7-25.

Francis, Sparky, Jinx and Smudge - the endearing (and dearly departed) plaid-clad quartet from the mega-hit Forever Plaid - are transported back from the heavens to stage a holiday spectacular for world-weary mortals on Earth.

This column is dedicated to Sakaguchi, who not only directs and choreographs (with help from musical director Melina Lillios), but also plays Smudge.

Sakaguchi’s brothers-in-plaid (Mike Dupre as Jinx, Aaron Komo as Sparky and Sean Jones as Francis), are all under 20 themselves - but seeing them on stage, you’d never know they weren’t raised in an earlier era!

Here’s a nostalgic recipe for hamburgers, but with a healthier alternative to beef.

There is a difference between ground “lean” turkey and ground turkey breast. Ground turkey breast has only about 1.5 grams of fat per serving where the “lean” has about 7 grams per serving. This makes a big difference as the package usually contains about four to five servings. You do the math! The cost is not much more, and you are saving lots of fat grams by purchasing the turkey breast. These burgers can be mixed the night before and refrigerated. In fact, I think they taste better the next day as the flavors meld.

These are good served on fresh, whole wheat hamburger buns spread with your choice of ketchup, mustard or both and topped with lettuce, tomato and onion. Oven fries and a hot vegetable complete the meal.


* 3 pounds ground turkey breast
* 3 egg whites, beaten until frothy
* 1/3 cup Italian-style bread crumbs
* 1 tablespoon chopped pimientos
* 1 teaspoon parsley flakes
* 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
* 1/8 teaspoon salt, or to taste
* 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper, or to taste

In a large bowl, mix ground turkey, egg whites and bread crumbs until combined. Add pimientos, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper, and mix well until evenly combined. Form into 12 burgers.

Coat a large saute pan with cooking spray and cook burgers until thoroughly cooked and middle is well-done.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Serving (without buns)

Calories: 175
Fat: 3.2 grams
Cholesterol: 75 milligrams
Sodium: (based on 1/8 teaspoon salt added) 330 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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