Nothing says summer like a grilled burger. But just because a food is a classic doesn't mean it can't be reinvented for kids.
Burgers made with ground turkey are leaner than their beefy cousins, but sometimes they can be dry. Using all dark-meat turkey keeps the burgers juicy and flavorful.
For the Burgers
1 pound ground dark-meat turkey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons ketchup
Olive oil, for brushing
8 mini burger buns
For the Toppings (Optional)
Soft lettuce, such as Boston or Bibb
Cheese, such as Swiss, American, or cheddar
Ketchup and mustard
Grill or grill pan
Dishes for toppings
Makes 8 mini burgers (2 ounces each); serves 4
Work time: 15 minutes; cook time: 12 minutes; total time: 27 minutes
1. An adult should oil the grill, and heat until hot. (Or oil a grill pan, and heat over medium-high heat until hot.) Meanwhile, kids can flavor the ground turkey by adding the salt, pepper, and ketchup. In addition to making the meat tasty, the ketchup will help keep it moist so that it won't dry out on the grill. Mix everything together with your hands.
2. Roll the ground meat into 8 equal-size balls (one for each burger). Gently press down to make 1/2-inch-thick patties. Make sure they're all about the same size. (If adults want bigger burgers, double the size of their patties.) If the burgers aren't being grilled right away, cover them with waxed or parchment paper and put them in the refrigerator.
3. Rinse the tomatoes and lettuce in cold water, and gently dry them with paper towels. An adult should cut the tomatoes into slices. Kids can separate the lettuce into leaves.
4. A little olive oil makes toasted burger buns delicious. Use a pastry brush (it's like a paintbrush just for food) to lightly cover the insides of mini buns with oil. If you don't have mini buns, you can create them from regular ones by cutting out rounds with a 2 1/2-inch-diameter cookie cutter.
5. An adult should handle the grilling: Cook burgers for 6 minutes, then turn them over with tongs. If you'd like, put cheese slices on top. Grill about 6 minutes more, until burgers are cooked through and an instant-read thermometer inserted into center registers 165 degrees. For crisp buns, place them face down on the grill just before burgers are done.
6. An adult should remove burgers from grill and transfer them to a clean plate. (Don't use the same plate that held the raw patties.) Let burgers sit for 2 to 3 minutes; they'll reabsorb flavorful juices. Arrange burgers on buns, and add toppings.
Remember: Clean hands are a must. Before and after you handle meat, always wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water.