April 27, 2006 -- Americans love fast food, but unfortunately, it's one of the reasons that as a nation we are getting fatter and fatter. To satisfy the fast food cravings of those who are trying lose weight, Los Angeles food writer, chef and caterer Devin Alexander compiled her healthy alternatives to fast food favorites in her new book, "Fast Food Fix:75+ Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites."
Read the recipe below:
McDonald's: Big Mac
Save: 174 calories, 19 g fat, 7 g sat. fat
The key to re-creating the Big Mac is obviously perfecting the sauce. Some say it's simply Thousand Island dressing, but the clever folks at McDonald's deserve much more credit for this masterpiece we crave.To re-create the sauce, I had to ensure that I had a supply that I could taste on its own -- away from the other great flavors this burger stacks. So I requested "extra on the side." The friendly woman behind the counter didn't flinch. She quickly produced a sundae cup half filled with the salmon-colored sauce. When I took a big sniff, all I could smell was a chemicalesque aroma. Tasting, on the other hand, yielded that wonderful flavor. Several tastings and I was convinced. The secret ingredient? Mustard. Simple yellow mustard. Add that and a pinch of sugar to a Thousand Island-style sauce, and you'll be surprised how closely it resembles the real deal.
3 ounces 96? of lean ground beef (about 1/3 cup)
2 pinches of salt
1 sesame seed hamburger bun plus 1 bun bottom
1 slice (½ ounce) 2 percent milk yellow American cheese
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon McDonald's Big Mac sauce (opposite page)
1 teaspoon finely chopped white onion
1/3 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
2 rounds dill pickle
Divide the beef in half. On a sheet of waxed paper, shape each half into a 4-inch patty. Season both sides with salt. Transfer the waxed paper to a plate. Place, uncovered, in the freezer for 5 minutes.
Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until drops of water sizzle when splashed on the pan. Place the patties in the pan. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until no longer pink. Meanwhile, place the bun top and bottoms, cut-side down, in the pan. Cook for about 1 minute, or until toasted. (If the pan is not large enough to hold the patties and the buns, first cook 1 patty with the bottom bun and then start assembling the sandwich while the others cook.) Just before the patties are cooked, place the cheese on 1 patty.
Place 1 bun bottom on a plate. Spread on 1 tablespoon sauce. Place the cheeseburger, cheese-side down, on the bun. Spread 1 teaspoon sauce on the second bun bottom and place, sauce-side down, on the cheeseburger. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon sauce, the onion, lettuce, pickles, the remaining burger, and the bun top.Makes 1 serving
386 calories, 26 g protein, 44 g carbohydrates, 11 g fat, 3 g sat. fat, 2 g fiber
Original McDonald's Big Mac: 560 calories, 25 g protein, 47 g carbohydrates,30 g fat, 10 g sat. fat, 3 g fiber
Drive-Through: It's easy to throw together a Big Mac–style burger in minutes once you have the sauce made. So to save time, make a big batch of the sauce, omitting the onions (they are the only ingredient that will spoil quickly). Refrigerate the sauce in a plastic container for up to 1 month. When you're ready to enjoy a burger, simply add the correct quantity of onion to the amount of sauce you're using.
Even Better Save time and calories by omitting the second bun bottom and simply making 1 patty instead of 2 with the 3 ounces of beef. This way, you'll need only 1½ tablespoons of sauce. You'll be left with a more nutritionally balanced burger. Plus, you'll still have room for some fries or a side salad, all the while still enjoying that great Big Mac flavor ... in minutes.
The revised version will have 310 calories, 24 g protein, 31 g carbohydrates, 9 g fat, 1 g sat. fat, and 1 g fiber. You'll save 250 calories, 21 g fat, and 9 g sat. fat over the original.
McDonald's Big Mac Sauce
1/3 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dill pickle relish
2 teaspoons ketchup
2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons yellow mustard
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon finely chopped white onion
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, relish, ketchup, sugar and mustard. Stir to blend well. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Stir in the onion just before serving.
Makes about 2/3 cup, enough for 4 servings
Each serving: 49 calories, trace protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, trace sat. fat, trace fiber