Recipes are there to guide us, and are especially helpful for inexperienced cooks, but you can adapt them. The recipe police are not going to arrest you, if you forgot to pick up an onion, and have to omit it from a recipe. Likewise, when a menu plan has recipes that at first glance you know some of your household won’t touch, you can adapt them to keep everyone happy without making an entirely different dish. It just takes a little culinary imagination and remembering you control the ingredients.

I remained a carnivore even though Nick went vegetarian

I remained a carnivore even though Nick went vegetarian – photo courtesy of Norman Parkinson

My ex went vegetarian many years before I was willing to skip that big juicy steak. I learned I could keep the flavor profile of most recipes while just replacing the animal proteins with plant based ones. Personal Chef Approach™ members can always get advice in our forum on how to do this, but for the rest of you, take this menu for instance:

A PCA Weekly Menu Plan

PCA Menu Plan (members have access to recipes, grocery list, & heat to eat instructions).

Try marinating some tofu in the Citrus Chicken Marinade (in a separate dish from the chicken), then grill them off side by side. Use a vegan ground “meat” substitute or quorn for the burger. Or, how about doing Parmesan-Sage Crusted Chick’n Gardein instead of pork? In place of the lamb, sauté some onions in olive oil until softened and beginning to go golden, then add some chickpeas and a little of the lamb rub to intensify the flavor. If you can’t find vegan hot or sweet Italian sausage, substitute white beans for the protein and add a little extra garlic and chili flakes for flavor.

Hot Italian Vegan Sausage & Penne with Broccolini

Hot Italian Vegan Sausage & Penne with Broccolini

That menu adaptation goes for the rest of you too. Maybe you are sick of chicken? Try the citrus marinade on veal chops or turkey tenders. Perhaps your three year old won’t touch the Moroccan Lamb, then either grill it without the dry rub for everyone or buy a separate lamb chop to grill plain for him. Don’t like lamb? Use a beef tri-tip instead.

If you’re not keen on spicy, tone it down by leaving some or all of the spicy ingredients out. If you cook for someone who can only eat mild foods, and everyone else wants spicy, I suggest making the entire recipe mild, then adding more heat for those that want it at the table. Like salt, you can always add more, but you can’t take it out once it’s in there.

The possibilities are endless once you learn to let the menus open your mind and spark your taste buds into action. Watch the video above for more about how the Personal Chef Approach™ works, and enjoy the beef or vegetarian version of Teriyaki Burgers below.

Teriyaki Burgers

Teriyaki Burgers

A little teriyaki (homemade or store bought), ginger, green peppers, scallions, and water chestnuts add pizzaz and Asian flare to ordinary beef burgers topped with hoisin ketchup and grilled pineapple. These also make great sliders for parties too!

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


Teriyaki Burgers

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dry ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 4 ounces water chestnuts drained well and finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium green bell pepper seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 scallions thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 slices fresh pineapple 1/3 inch thick
  • 4 sesame seed buns toasted
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice optional


Teriyaki Burgers

  1. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil together; set the teriyaki mixture aside.
  2. Spray grates with nonstick spray, then prepare a hot grill on one side, and medium hot on the other.
  3. In a large bowl mix the ground beef, water chestnuts, green pepper, scallions, and teriyaki sauce mixture together. Mix well with clean hands, and form into patties. Cover with plastic wrap and chill 20 minutes, or until ready to grill (you can also freeze patties at this point to defrost and cook at a later date).
  4. Season patties with salt and pepper to taste, then sear 1-2 minutes per side, and carefully move to the medium hot side to cook a further 3-4 minutes per side depending on thickness and how well done you like your burgers.
  5. While patties are cooking over the medium hot side of grill, grill the pineapple rings 1-2 minutes per side or until you have nice grill marks on them; remove from grill and set aside.
  6. Mix ketchup, hoisin sauce, and five spice in a small bowl for condiment; set aside.
  7. To assemble the burgers: spread a little hoisin ketchup on both sides of the toasted buns, top with burger, and grilled pineapple ring, then top of bun.

Serving Suggestions

Serve hot with hoisin glazed zucchini, graffiti carrot salad, and/or five spice sweet potato oven fries.

Heat To Eat

Vent lid of container and heat the burgers on 50% power in the microwave 3-5 minutes, carefully turning once midway to distribute heat evenly; or heat a large skillet over medium-high heat with a little peanut oil to prevent sticking. Add burgers and heat 4-5 minutes per side. Heat the grilled pineapple ring on high in the microwave 1-2 minutes; or heat in the skillet you heat the burgers in.


It's just as easy to make a double batch as it is getting your hands dirty making one. I recommend making a double batch of these, wrap the extras individually in plastic wrap, then foil, and store in a Ziploc bag in the freezer until needed.

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