Skinny Macs – Devin Alexander’s McDonald’s Big Mac

So here I am – since 2006 making this recipe that I tore out of a magazine once a year every year for my kids.  It is a fast, flavor filled favorite at our house.  I had decided early on that I wanted to feature this recipe on the website and show the way we like to make these little sandwiches which is different than the way the magazine page outlined how to make them.
If you have been reading my site then you know I aim to bring unique content to my readers.  So anyway, you know how most magazines will list their name, issue, year – something next to the page number?  This magazine page does not.  So with the little clues I had I took to Google to research what I could find out about this recipe.

That search led me to Devin Alexander, Celebrity Chef and author of several cookbooks all aimed toward creating healthy versions of American cuisine and fast food classics.  Not only did I find out she was the original creator but I was able to connect directly with her office!

To my surprise – I found that all these years I’ve only had half the recipe.  The other half includes two items in the ingredient list that I had been omitting all this time.  As well, she suggests making them the way I have been making them all these years.  Those two ingredients and the additional instructions must still be in that mystery magazine!  Her office was very helpful and they were kind enough to send me a copy of the full recipe to share with you.  So I am very proud to share – Devin Alexander’s McDonald’s Big Mac – or as we have been calling them all these years – Skinny Macs!  This recipe is featured in her cookbook Fast Food Fix.  Click here to order Fast Food Fix: 75+ Amazing Recipe Makeovers of Your Fast Food Restaurant Favorites through Amazon.

So – now that you know this, the video we made at home will make much more sense.  I hope you will give these a try.   They are fast and family friendly.  Plus I feel so much better giving my kids their “fast food fix” knowing these are healthier.  Just as Devin suggests at the end, making these as one burger and omitting the extra bun makes them healthier.  I can share it makes them come together faster in the kitchen too – which is good when you have two teenage boys circling the kitchen!  And I feel better not having all those extra tops around.


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McDonald’s: Big Mac courtesy Devin Alexander as featured in Fast Food Fix
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, but the clever folks at McDonald’s deserve much more credit for this masterpiece we crave.
In order 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 neon, 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% lean ground beef (about 1⁄3 cup)
2 pinches of salt
1 sesame seed hamburger bun + 1 bun bottom
1 slice (1⁄2 ounce) 2% milk yellow American cheese
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon McDonald’s Big Mac Sauce
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″ 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-sides 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-Thru: It’s easy to throw together a Big Mac–like 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 1-1/2 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

Reprinted from Fast Food Fix by Devin Alexander (c) 2006 by Devin Alexander. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735.
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