How to Lighten Up Your Favorite Recipe

WP_20130516_018One of my favorite things to do is to make comfort foods that are notoriously unhealthy and try to re-create the same thing with much fewer calories (of course I still want it to taste amazing). I love the recipes on Marcus's site and I saw a recipe that at first glance doesn't fit into any healthy eating plan: La Mitraillette (Belgian Machine Gun) Sandwich. The original sandwich called for 2 beef patties on a baguette with a cup of french fries, caramelized onions and ketchup. Needless to say it's not the lightest dish out there.

I immediately got to work. You can buy a baguette at your local grocery store, but I decided to make my own. (Using this standard Better Homes and Gardens Recipe)

For the burger, I used ground sirloin, 97% fat free. Since the original recipe called for grilled onions on top, I decided to chop up onions and caramelize them and add them to the beef patty before cooking to keep the meat moist. I added the ketchup to the burger meat too.

For the bread: This makes 4 loaves, but I just made a small individual baguette - baked it was 3.5 oz.

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For the onions: Dice 1/4 of a white onion and saute in a skillet until it starts to brown and caramelize (about 15 minutes). I added a little Pam cooking spray. Once done, set aside onions.

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For the burger: Add the ground sirloin (4.5 oz. uncooked), 1 tablespoon onions, 1 tablespoon ketchup and mix well. In the same skillet I cooked the onions, spray a little more Pam cooking spray and cook on each side for 4-5 minutes until desired doneness.

The original recipe used deep fried french fries. I like to bake my fries - which is super easy!

Take 1 russet potato, skin on, sliced into french fry sticks. The trick is to soak the potatoes in water for about 15 minutes. Completely dry the potatoes and in a large bowl add the potatoes, 1 tsp. chili powder and a dash of salt and pepper. Spray a cookie sheet with Pam cooking spray and spread the potatoes on a single layer. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. They will be all browned and delicious!

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To assemble: Open the baguette, place the cooked burger on top and place 1.5 oz. of fries on top.

The original version was almost 600 calories, my version: 365!

I am not going to lie, this was the best burger I've ever made. I don't know if it was the onions in the burger meat that pushed it over the top or what, but I will be making this dish again!

What recipe do you want to see made with less calories? Tweet your suggestion to @MarcusCooks

Jennifer von Ebers is a food blogger at