Some background first: On September 7, 2010, the USDA launched the Recipes for Healthy Kids competition in support of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move initiative.
The USDA challenged teams of chefs, school nutrition professionals, parents, students, and community members to develop creative, nutritious, tasty and kid-approved recipes that schools can easily incorporate into National School Lunch menus.
The purpose of the recipe competition was to increase student’s intake of dark green and orange vegetables; whole grains; and dry beans and peas.
The Grand Prize recipe was created by Intermediate District 287/South Education Center Alternative Recipes for Healthy Kids Team from Richfield, Minnesota. The recipe will appear with other recipes in a Recipes for Healthy Kids Cookbook that is being produced this year.
Porcupine Burger I made.
The original recipe is downloadable in either PDF or MS Word formats. The image of the Porcupine Slider is photographed much better than my version.
However, don't let the lack of skill in food photography food you. These are packed full of flavor and surprisingly good despite some of the unusual ingredients - like cranberries and spinach.
The prep time for these is a bit labor-intensive. Yet, the meal was well worth the effort. The recipe makes enough for 6 people (one burger per person).
1/8 cup uncooked, long grain brown rice
1 ½ tablespoon chopped onion (1/3 of a small onion)
¼ cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
1 ½ tsp minced garlic (1 whole clove)
1 tsp canola oil
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 egg, beaten
2 ½ tablespoon chopped dried cranberries (about ¼ of a 5 oz bag)
¾ cup chopped, fresh baby spinach (1/3 of a 6 oz bag)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper (I added about 3/4 teaspoon of black pepper)
1 dash white pepper (I didn't include this)
6 (1 oz.) whole grain rolls (small dinner roll size)
Begin by cooking rice first. In small pot combine rice with ½ cup of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat down to low and simmer uncovered until water is completely absorbed, usually 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork. A rice cooker may be used with the same water-to-rice ratio. Cool to a temperature of 40 degrees. Set aside ¼ cup cooked rice for recipe. (I used 1/2 cup of rice since the mixture was very sticky.)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Meanwhile, dice onions and celery into ¼-inch pieces. In medium skillet, sauté onions and celery until they become soft. Remove from heat and refrigerate to cool to a temperature of 40°F. While onions and celery are cooling prepare remaining ingredients.
In a bowl mix garlic, oil, ground turkey, egg, dried cranberries, Worcestershire sauce, chopped spinach, salt, peppers, rice, and sautéed vegetables. Mix well.
Shape in to 6 patties. Place on baking sheet that has been sprayed with a non-stick spray. Refrigerate at a temperature of 40°F if you are not going to bake immediately.
Bake burgers for 18 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F. (I baked them for 18 minutes and then turned them so they would brown on the other side. I put them in the oven for about 3 more minutes.) Remove from oven and serve on a mini whole grain roll.
Garnish with onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, ketchup, and mustard.