Apr 25, 2012

Skinny Buffalo Burger Quesadilla



100% grass-fed buffalo burgers with melted cheddar jack cheese and pico de gallo wedged in between two whole wheat tortillas.

This was inspired by a lunch I had at Applebee's, although this sandwich is far leaner! Sure, you can make this with lean beef, turkey or even use veggie burgers, but I wanted a fun way to introduce my first buffalo recipe on Skinnytaste.

Did you know that 100% grass-fed meat is leaner than grain-fed meat? The benefits of eating wild buffalo are that it's hormone-free and antibiotic-free, it tastes just like beef only sweeter and it's much leaner. Because the meat is so lean, you have to cook it for less time than you would a fattier ground beef burger or it will become dry and overcooked.

You can make the pico de gallo yourself, but I cheated and used a pre-made organic brand for convenience. Look for small fajita sized whole wheat tortillas, I used La Banderita which were 2 points plus for two tortillas and I actually took a scissor and trimmed it a bit smaller to fit my burger better, but that's totally optional!



Skinny Buffalo Burger Quesadilla
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4 • Size: 1 grass fed burger • Old Points: 7 pts • Points+: 8 pt*
Calories: 316.3 • Fat: 13.8 g • Carb: 16.9 g • Fiber: 1 g • Protein: 33.8 g • Sugar: 0 g
Sodium: 525.4 mg (without salt)


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb 100% lean grass-fed ground buffalo
  • 1 cup pico de gallo
  • 1 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar jack cheese (Sargento)
  • 8 small whole wheat flour tortillas, cut smaller if desired (La Banderita)
  • spray oil
  • salt and fresh pepper

Directions:

Form 4 flat patties, as thin as you can. Season with salt and pepper. Heat a pan to medium-high heat; when hot, lightly spray the pan with oil and add the burgers. Cook burgers about 2 minutes on each side or to your liking. Set aside.


Clean the pan and heat on medium heat. Lightly spray with oil and place 4 tortillas on the pan (if your pan is small, you can do one at a time). Place 2 tbsp cheese on each tortilla, then 2 tbsp pico de gallo.


Top with buffalo burger, then remaining 2 tbsp pico de gallo and 2 tbsp cheese on each. Place the other tortilla on top; flip and cook until the cheese melts on the other side.

*Nutritional info for the buffalo is based on 4 oz raw 100% grass fed buffalo from the SDSU Analytical Labs and USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory. Calories: 146.2, Fat: 5.2 g, Protein: 23.7 g, Carbs: 0.9 g, Sodium: 75.4 mg

93 comments :

  1. I definitely plan to make a vegetarian version - looks delicious!

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    1. I made this with a spicy black bean burger last night. Sooooo good.

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  2. This looks and sounds absolutely delicious! I have just recently been getting into Bison meat - so your timing is perfect! I was planning to do a whole Cinco de Mayo week next week - and this might just have to be in the lineup - Thanks!

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  3. this is pretty much my favorite dish at applebee's, but your version looks so much more real. i can't wait to make it!

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  4. Sounds delicious! Will have to try to find some sources for buffalo, but will substitute low fat ground beef for now.

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    1. I agree. I was thinking the same thing. I just wonder is the point value will be the same.

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  5. This looks awsome! I love tricking my boyfriend into eating healthier dinners that he doesn't realize are healthy :)

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  6. You are my hero! I love this burger at Applebees! How do you think the points value will change is I use lean ground beef instead? I have never used Buffalo and wouldn't know where to buy it. I would rather use beef. Thanks for the great recipes!

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    1. If you can find it, GET IT. Buffalo is so delicious - so much better-tasting than beef, and the texture is amazing. I would suggest trying it at least once before totally writing it off. Really.

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    2. Okay, I will then. I will look for it and see if I cn find it. Thanks for the recommendation! :-)

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    3. I would love to try Buffalo, but at our local store it is more than twice the price of lean hamburger. Just can't justify the cost, but it looks really good and will try it with lean ground beef.

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  7. Can salsa be used instead of the pica.... Forget the name lol

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    1. Sure, just be sure it's not to wet, you don't want the tortilla to get soggy.

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  8. We have been eating buffalo for 4-5 years now (no cow for us). It's leaner and higher in iron, not to mention no hormones or drugs. The best thing is it tastes better...my kids won't touch hamburger anymore. It's very versatile & delicious!

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  9. ALL I CAN SAY IS WOW GINA!!!!!q

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  10. Hi ....well I am new to buffalo meat. Our grocery stores here in PA are not selling anything but beef. I will have to hunt some down to try. I do love the idea of lean meat in any dish.
    Thanks for all your hard work on your blog...
    hugs

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  11. Ahhh! I secretly (and shamefully) LOVE Applebee's Quesadilla burger! I cannot wait to make this, homina homina. :D

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    1. I know! I thought it would be fun to make-over!

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  12. These look awesome! I've been meaning to try buffalo but haven't known what to do with it. I'm also glad to know the taste isn't that different. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. I'm originally from Oklahoma & we have a wildlife refuge that has buffalo and places around sell buffalo burgers and they are good. I now live in VA & haven't had one in years. I'll have to find some & try yours. Wonder where I can find the meat??!! Hmmm... happy hunting for me :-)

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    1. If you have a Kroger near you most of them have buffalo meat. It's over by the meat counter with the organic meats.

      If you live in the SW region there is actually a place on the way to Floyd County that specializes in Buffalo burgers. They make em' HUGE though. This is going to be a great alternative for me.

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  14. My family loves buffalo. These look really good. :)

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  15. This looks amazing! I love your recipes and I'm really excited to try this. I've never had buffalo but have heard a lot of good things, but ill probably try it first with ground beef since I have that in the fridge haha.

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  16. Just a note on your "pink slime" comment...while it is certainly each person's decision whether they want to eat ground beef that might contain "lean finely textured beef", it is still 100% beef and absolutely safe to eat. LFTB is simply the trimmings from a larger cut of beef. For example, think about trimming a beef roast. It is nearly impossible to trim away all the fat without sacrificing some of the meat. By using a special heating process you can basically liquefy and remove the fat from the actual meat leaving you with beef that is practically 100% lean. The news media is reporting that the meat is treated with dangerous chemicals and that because the meat contains additives, it is not 100% beef and should be labeled as such. In reality, nothing is added to the meat. Instead, during the processing, the meat is treated with a “puff” of ammonia for about a second. The reason for doing this is to kill bacteria. The ammonia combines with naturally occurring moisture in the meat to create ammonium hydroxide. Ammonia controls certain pathogens in meat that cause E.coli; thus making it safer for consumers. Ammonium hydroxide was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1974 as safe for use in food processing. In 2001, the Food Safety and Inspection Service approved it as a way to increase food safety specifically in beef. Ammonia is a naturally occurring compound found in numerous foods (like baked goods, cheese, chocolate, and puddings) as well as our own bodies. In fact, ammonium hydroxide is even used on fresh foods (like fruits and vegetables!) to kill bacteria. The simple reason is to make our food safer to eat. I love your blog and just saw a "teachable moment."

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    1. Hm, this seems like some fishy PR work to me....

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    2. Id rather NOT have the slime ... explanation or not..

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    3. For some reason, I still don't want even a "puff" of ammonia in my food. If its a "naturally occurring compound" why does it need to be added? Also, the FDA approves a lot of items I'd rather not put in my body.

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    4. No offense, but your explanation of LFTB makes me feel like not eating meat at all, TMI in my opinion. Clearly "pink slime" is not high-quality beef, which is off putting to many. I rarely eat beef, but when I do, I'll go to a reputable market such as Whole Foods and buy a little. It's more expensive, but at least I know that I am getting what I'm paying for.

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    5. Ammonia in the body actually causes damage to organs and altered mental status. all meat digested in the body turns into ammonia, which your body gets rid of to prevent toxicity. please holds the pink slime and ammonia in my food, thanks.

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    6. It took a full paragraph to describe all of the processing involved in the meat you're advocating for. Sheds some light onto the reasons why people are searching for alternatives. Just saying.

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    7. Me thinks they doth protest too much..use venison or turkey...

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    8. I agree with all your comments, I'd rather grind the meat myself than buy meat with a puff of ammonia. In fact, I may buy a meat grinder, my mom used to grind her own meat when I was a kid and it only took a few minutes.

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    9. you can "grind" your meat with a food processor- its more like mincing it but it works just fine for burgers to bolognese. cube the meat to about 1/2-1 inch cunks and pulse it till its as small as you want it --just work in small batches and dont put too much at once.

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    10. Just some thoughts... I refuse to eat beef that isnt organic/grass fed because of the ammonia (who wants to eat that!!) and the entire process of how that meat got to a plate. Sorry to say, I disagree 100% (to the original comment) and everyone should educate themselves on where their food is coming from. Also, the FDA, has approved a lot of things that are not good for us...Oh and keep in mind that those people we let make decisions about food, are the people who used to run the company.

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    11. I agree with the original poster- and no, I don't work for a meat production company as a PR person. I want to add to his/her explanation that LFTB is also saving the lives of hundreds of thousands of cows. If 5lbs of meat are left over in the trimmings of one animal, and 1000 animals go through that single slaughter plant in one day, that's 5000lbs of potential meat (that would be WASTED if "pink slime" was eliminated). LFTB is an excellent tool that allows us to use every part of the animal that is slaughtered. And I am sure you all agree that if we are going to take an animal's life for our consumption, we shouldn't waste any of it. If the average steer is 800lbs, that's at least 6 animals saved a day for that ONE slaughter plant. And there are a lot of slaughter plants. It's fine if you don't want to eat LFTB, but don't shout so loud that you ruin it for the rest of us. We respect it's role in food production and don't want to slaughter thousands of extra cattle simply because people don't like a naturally occurring compound in their food. Respect the animals that provide you with food, and respect the industry that works so hard to provide you healthy and clean meat. The lack of understanding of our food industry is sad. Understand where your food comes from and who takes care of our animals. People like Michael Pollen and Eric Schlosser visiting a factory here and there don't make them experts.

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    12. Thank you for your knowledgeable posts on this subject. The blind hysteria propagated by the media on this subject, and so many others is putting the public at risk. Food prices are skyrocketing, as we burn up corn for fuel, now this. There are literally people starving in other nations because of ethanol, let's not make things worse because of misinformation. If you can afford buffalo that's great, but many people can't. My guess is they'll take their chances with "pink slime," rather than starve.

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  17. lol grass fed buffalo. I am clearly in the wrong income bracket for this blog.

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    1. Then don't use it and substitute something else. She just wanted to introduce a different meat for a change.

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    2. I think she mentions about four other meat and non-meat options you can substitute.

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    3. It's very easy to switch out a different meat. I think many of us would never be adventurous is someone didn't tell us about other options! I think the point is to make the recipe your own :)

      I can't find a place that does buffalo, but I'm making a turkey burger version tonigh!

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    4. The beauty of cooking is you can make any recipe your own with what you have on hand, or what you can afford. I agree, eating organic, grass fed meat is more expensive and not always something we can afford. I think it's sad that we have to pay more for natural, you would think all the extra work of processing food would cost more.

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  18. Oh wow, Gina, these look so good. I have never had buffalo. I'm trying to expand my culinary tastes, so this might be on the agenda soon!

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  19. I loved buffalo when a friend brought some from her family's ranch...we made burgers and chili. I will have to give your buffalo burgers a try, they look so delicious!

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    1. I how I wish I lived near a ranch (happy thoughts!)

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  20. This looks great! I think I may try it with elk instead of buffalo, it'd probably be great with any venison actually! Thanks!

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  21. I did this with ground turkey tonight, seasoned with some worcesteshire (not spelled right), buffalo sauce, etc etc and it was delicious. What a great, lower carb idea!

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  22. Gina, I am SO HAPPY i found your site. In the last week I've made four of your recipes - and they are fabulous. You have showed me how healthy cooking can actually taste good. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  23. FYI, I'm in central Ohio, and my local Krogers is now selling buffalo meat. I think it's becoming much more available nationwide now. Haven't tried it yet, as I tend towards meatless meals, but this sounds like it would work well with a veggie burger patty too!

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  24. I will be making these tomorrow night for dinner....super excited!!!! I have a local buffalo ranch near me that I found sells bison. Ive had buffalo before but this will be the first time doing it myself with a recipe... Ive lost 100 pounds with Weight Watchers and using these recipes....Thank you so much!!!
    Kelly

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  25. Yum!! Your pictures look amazing!! I want a quesadilla, right now!!!!!

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  26. For those that have Kroger's, I see Buffalo meat there:)

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  27. Why did you cut the tortillas?

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    1. So that they would be smaller, closer to the shape of my burger.

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  28. Thought ammonia was used for cleaning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  29. Wow, they sell this at Applebee's but of course not as healthy. I love this burger.

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  30. I have recently found your website and I love it!! I have lost 30 lbs and your website has been a huge help to me. I have never tried buffalo, and would love to. I really appreciate all of your hard work with keeping up on new ideas, and excellent tasting food. I look forward to more wonderful meals. Thanks

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  31. CanadianGirl4/26/12, 5:41 PM

    I am making these tonight. Can't wait! I am in Canada (Manitoba) and Safeway carries frozen ground bison - brand is Carmen Creek, 100% vegetable fed and anti-biotic free.

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  32. Made this last night, but used ground beef instead. I made my burger on my George Foreman grill since it was a little fattier than I usually buy.

    But I LOVE the idea of the quesadilla! Super versatile recipe.

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  33. I can't tell you how excited I am to try this recipe! We have been eating bison for a few years now and can't go back to beef. Bison is so lean and tasty. We have been lucky though, as we know some people who own bison and buy their feed from my folks farm (which is all organic) and we get the 'family' rate. Sadly this is their last year, though. Can't wait to try this!

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  34. I made this for lunch today and it was excellent! I live in central Virginia and our local Kroger has buffalo. It is more expensive than ground beef, but so worth it! It is still cheaper than going out to lunch!

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  35. I used 90/10 bison and 1/6 cup shredded mild cheddar, and didn't use the tortillas. YUMMY. I was surprised how tasty the bison was!

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  36. This looks amazing! I seriously am going to make this tomorrow night and I will let you know how it is when I see you on Wednesday at the Dole Salad Summit in California! SO excited to meet you there.
    Hope you had a great weekend!

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  37. My husband will LOVE this! I've had buffalo out, maybe once or twice, but have never cooked with it at home. Need to get on this. My husband has lost 15lbs on WW and it's helped me too :)

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  38. These burgers were amazing!! I added more pico...I love the spice and I also used low carb tortillas which for WW members it's less points. Amazing Gina:)

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  39. Wow! Those look delicious! Definitely pinning this to make in the future

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  40. Hi,

    tried these last night - gorgeous!!
    Im in the UK and havent seen any buffalo in out local supermarket, but used venison burgers instead - delicious!!

    Totally agree with the pink slime issue - i actually grind my own beef mince, i use organic beef steak, very quick and easy and i then use to make burgers etc, and know exactly what i have put in. If you can get a grinder i recommend it 100%

    Thanks for posting - i love your recipes!!

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  41. Hi Gina!!!

    This is my ABSOLUTELY favorite meal at applebee's, and I do admit to ordering it EVERYTIME..yes EVERYTIME, I go to applebee's. but I also love the mexi-ranch sauce thats on it. Can you make a low point recipe for the mexi-ranch like the one from AppleBee's???
    Please and Thank you!

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  42. Made this for lunch - soooooooo awesomely delicious! I used very lean ground beef and drained salsa. Will make this often!

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  43. We love buffalo, but we did make these with low fat beef. In any event, they were incredible! Loved them!! Tried to save the recipe for May 5, but couldn't wait. : ) Served with low fat refried beans and was amazing! Will be making again, and again!

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  44. Definately will try this but I'll use venison. Sounds yummy!

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  45. Love this site! How would low fat beef affect the points?

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  46. This looks amazing!I'm going to have to find a place near me that sells buffalo. I can't wait to try this!!

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  47. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe and the Buffalo producer, I ordered my sample pack and appreciated the discount!!!!

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  48. Hey thanks for the buffalo recipe and I hope you keep them coming! I also used the code to order some meat-it is so worth the extra cost! I'd encourage anyone to TRY IT! :)

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  49. Love, love, love this recipe! Have made it several times. Soooo delish!

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  50. I made this on Sunday and it was DELISH!!! Even my healthy food abhorring husband loved it. The only thing I would wake sure to do next time is to drain the pico more. I made my own and scooped it straight from the bown. They dripped when we picked them up, be we ate too quickly for the tortilla to get soggy! Thanks for this recipe!

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  51. I literally just made these an hour ago.....and they were AMAZING! I added a 1/4 tsp each of garlic, onion, and chili powder and cumin to the buffalo then used a pico de gallo with guacamole mixed in. WOW, it was just a party in our mouths. Thank you for a great recipe!

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  52. i dont like pico but i am making this tonight and i am gonna use chunky rotel :) i hope it turns out good cause the pic sure does look good lol a friend gave me the link to this site and i love it!

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  53. Unfortunatly I couldn't find ground buffalo so I bought ground beef that was 98% lean, I will just have to Keep an eye on it so it doesn't get soggy. Looks delicious and can't wait to make it tonight. It is one of the few recipes of yours I can find that lOoks good and doesn't contain zucchini (I'm allergic) :(

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  54. I made these last night and they were delicious!!! I've never had bison but it was great! My husband was wary so had regular beef but after taking a bite of my burger wished he had one for himself.

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  55. Will use our deer "burger" meat on this one tonight. Looks good!

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  56. Gina! Somebody might have already put this on... but I did this with a little bit of a twist today. I don't really care for the pico. Instead, I cooked some onions and bell peppers. Followed the recipe with using these instead of the pico and used whole wheat tortillas... It was so YUM! The hubby loved it! Thanks for your wonderful creations! They inspire me, and I usually end up twisting them a little since I am the picky eater of the family (: I've lost 8 lbs just by watching calories and exercise, so your website is a lifesaver!!!

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    1. oh... and I added avocados! I love avocados (:

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  57. My friend was giving me a hard time saying that there isn't much difference in taste between grass fed meats and conventional meats. I had him over and gave him pastured raised grass fed ham and he was impressed. I don't understand why more people don't eat grass fed meats. For one it tastes way better and it's way better for you. It's a total win win.

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  58. Hi Gina, this looks delicious.. but I was wondering if you think I can mix Frank's hot sauce with the meat to make the patties.. Also I don't have pico de gallo so I'm going to make it from scratch..

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  59. this buffalo burger is veg or non veg..It look great but i am strictly veg

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  60. This tastes so good. Haven't made a recipe I didn't like from this website.

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  61. What is the point value for the buffalo alone? I'm wanting to use lean ground beef instead and need to swap out the points. Thanks!!!!

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  62. I have made this with two tortillas ILO pita. Very good!

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  63. Delicious! Thanks for the recipe :)

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