Not all “hospital food” is bad

20 May

Squeee! I’m going home! My hometown, I mean.

I’m looking forward to both homemade meals from Mom as well as food from local or Southern chains, like Sonic and Steak n’ Shake or Publix subs and Tijuana Flats’ burritos. Yes, I realize how unhealthy all of that sounds. I DON’T CARE. 🙂

I have good memories of Sonic and Steak n’ Shake, by the way. My friend Lan and I used to have Sonic dates when were UF students in Gainesville. We’d hop in one of our cars and make the 15-minute-or-so drive to the only Sonic I knew about in the area. Bonding over burgers. Loved it. Steak n’ Shake was a common after-school hangout in Orlando because it was close to my high school. And it was one of the default spots for post-clubbing grub in college (that is if we didn’t get the cheapo $5 pizzas that pizza guys would sell right outside the clubs). To this day, those are two of the select few chains that I purposely make time to visit when I’m back home.

Greasy chains won’t be the only places I’ll be noshing at though, there are a few spots I have in mind that I haven’t visited before, so hopefully I’ll have enough time to visit at least 1 or 2. And of course, I’ll be sure to tell you all about them.

Funny enough I have a recipe for you guys that’s not so much on the greasy side.  Turkey burgers! And guess where I learned how to make a turkey burger.

The Mayo Clinic! Yes, a non-profit chain of hospitals and medical researchers  taught me how to make a turkey burger. Well, actually, what happened is that I had a package of ground turkey thawed in the fridge and the intent of making turkey burgers. Through a short Google search I came across this recipe, which ended up including a perfectly short list of ingredients, all of which I had on hand. It was healthy, easy, and quick, exactly what I look for and need on a weeknight. I didn’t even know the Mayo Clinic develops recipes, but it suppose it makes sense. If you’re going to tell people to eat right, you might as well show them how.

Funny though, when I told The Bf where I got the recipe from, he thought I was talking about the Betty Ford Clinic. Recipes from a drug rehab center. I suppose if you’re going to get addicts to eat something instead of shoot up, these burgers would be a good start because they were damn good.

And juicy, if you can believe that! Turkey burgers are notorious for being on the dry side, since it’s such a lean meat. I think the Worcestershire sauce helped with the juiciness. And although this includes Tabasco, I could barely taste it. So for a spicier burger, I’ll add more next time. Because of what I had on hand, and because I wasn’t concerned with sticking to 244-calories-per-complete-burger, I tweaked things a bit. But if you’re trying to be more health-conscious, I would definitely recommend checking out the recipe on Mayo Clinic’s site, as it was a very good base for basic turkey burgers. Just don’t tell them I indulged myself a little.

Turkey Burgers (from the Mayo Clinic)


  • 1 pound ground turkey breast
  • 1/4 cup dried Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco (hot) sauce
  • whole-grain buns
  • tomato slices
  • red onion slices
  • Fresh spinach
  • Provolone cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • Condiments: ketchup, light mayo, or whatever you like


Combine the ground turkey breast, bread crumbs, chopped onion, parsley, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce in a large bowl. Mix well and season with salt and pepper. Divide turkey mixture into equal-sized patties (I managed to get 5 thick ones out of this).

Using a skillet or a grill pan (I used a grill pan – you can also do this on a charcoal grill/gas grill/broiler). Lightly coat the pan with cooking spray.

Grill burgers until nicely browned on both sides and heated through, about 7 minutes a side. If adding cheese, I like to melt it by putting it on top of the patties at the last 30 seconds of grilling the second side. Place on buns and top with spinach, tomato, red onion and condiments of choice.

Are there any restaurants or even restaurants chains that bring back special memories to you? 


2 Responses to “Not all “hospital food” is bad”

  1. Jenny May 20, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    That turkey burger looks delicious, I love the provolone cheese on top 🙂

  2. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide May 22, 2011 at 2:09 am #

    I gotta admit that does sound like a good burger. The one from the Mayo Clinic, not the one that’ll send you there. Oh couldn’t resist. Have fun.

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