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Recipe Challenge: Father’s Day Edition

Father’s Day will be Sunday, June 16

Father’s Day is almost here! That means it’s time to prepare to make that day a special one for all of the father figures in your life.

Now that grilling season is underway, have you considered making Dad the guest of honor at a family cookout? You can celebrate him – while still making nutritious choices – by taking this recipe challenge!

Recipe Challenge Guidelines

  1. We share either a meal solution from Thinking Outside The Box on the Healthy Living section of our website or another recipe that DeCA’s Dietitian has created.
  2. We challenge you to comment on the post to share how you would tweak the recipe to make it your own within the dietitian-approved nutritional parameters we describe.

Believe it or not, this recipe challenge will help you to transform an American favorite – burgers – into a dish that could be the mainstay of any healthy eating style! Principles that DeCA’s Dietitian recommends for accomplishing this include:

  • Preparing burgers at home! Get creative to amplify their flavor and juiciness and to minimize their sodium and unhealthy fats.
  • Substituting chopped or minced mushrooms for 20-25% of the ground meat in recipes for burgers, chili, tacos, etc. This will help you stretch your food budget, increase your intake of vegetables, increase the Vitamin D in your diet and decrease your calories and saturated fat… all without sacrificing flavor!

Mushroom Turkey Burger

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 8 oz. button mushrooms
  • 2 garlic gloves
  • 1½ lbs. ground turkey
  • 3 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 pineapple or can of pineapples
  • 8 oz. BBQ sauce
  • 8 whole wheat buns
  • Lettuce and tomato (optional)

Mushroom Turkey Burger on a plate


  1. Use a food processor to chop the mushrooms and garlic cloves to resemble the ground turkey. (This may be done by hand instead.)
  2. Place the ground turkey, mushrooms and garlic in a large bowl and add the chives. Mix until the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  3. Divide the mixture into 8 equal pieces, and then form each piece into a ¾-inch burger patty.
  4. Brush the grate of a grill with olive oil, and then heat the grill to medium high.
  5. Sprinkle both sides of the burgers with salt and pepper and place the burgers on the grate. Grill the burgers until they are seared on both sides. When the meat reaches 165°F, the burgers are done. Remove the burgers from the grill and place onto a clean plate.
  6. While the burgers are cooking, prepare the pineapple slices as follows:
    1. Drain the juice from the can
    2. Gently pat dry each slice with a clean towel
    3. Brush one side of each slice lightly with BBQ sauce
  7. Once the burgers have been removed from the grill, turn the grill off and quickly place the pineapple slices on the grill with the sauce-covered sides facing down. Brush the tops with BBQ sauce and grill each side for about 1-2 minutes.
  8. Assemble each burger by placing a patty on a whole wheat bun, and then top the patty with a slice of grilled pineapple. If desired, add lettuce, tomato and a little more BBQ sauce.
  9. For each plate, serve one burger with a big wedge of watermelon or an ear of cooked corn-on-the-cob.


  • The burgers and pineapple can be prepared over high heat using the stove and frying pan. Heat the pan and add the burgers to the dry pan. Cook until the patties reach a temperature of 165°F. (Cook 2 batches of 4.)
  • The leftover burgers warm quickly in the microwave, so you can use them for a meal later in the week or for an office lunch.
  • The next time you make a meatloaf or spaghetti sauce, don’t forget the mushrooms. (Just remember to keep the ratio of mushrooms and meat 1 to 4.)

Nutritional Parameters

  • Grill lean meat/poultry or seafood
  • Top with at least one fruit or vegetable
  • Use herbs and spices other than salt to enhance the flavor

Go Lean with Protein

Consider these tips from MyPlate for choosing lean protein options:

  • The leanest beef cuts include round steaks and roasts (eye of round, top round, bottom round, round tip), as well as top loin, top sirloin and chuck shoulder and arm roasts.
  • The leanest pork choices include pork loin, tenderloin, center loin and ham.
  • Choose lean ground beef! To be considered “lean,” the product must be at least 92% lean/8% fat.
  • Buy skinless chicken parts or take off the skin before cooking.
  • Boneless skinless chicken breasts and turkey cutlets are the leanest poultry choices.
  • Choose lean turkey, roast beef, ham or low-fat luncheon meats for sandwiches instead of luncheon/deli meats with more fat, such as regular bologna or salami.

Ready… Set… Cook!

Please share your creation in the comments below, and feel free to include pictures of the final product or comment on the recipes that others share.

We hope this recipe challenge will add an extra personal touch to Dad’s special day. Happy Father’s Day in advance to all the dads out there!

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