This past Mother’s Day, I spent two hours cleaning and organizing my fridge. While not your typical “special day” request, it was a rewarding one for me.  I find gratification in opening up a fridge where you can quickly find what you are looking for, can safely eat a food without having to perform the “sniff test,” and are subconsciously influenced to eat fruits and veggies because they are prepped and prominently placed. Organized food storage results in simplified meal planning, healthier food choices, and less food waste.

As our family continues to grow (baby 3 due in December), I know that life runs more smoothly when the home is organized. I wish this came naturally for me (please never look in my clothes drawer), but I am trying to establish more organized habits. A habit, like brushing your teeth, requires little energy. Most mothers I know welcome energy savers. To learn more about setting and maintaining healthy habits for a happier life, I picked up the book “Better than Before” by Gretchen Rubin.  One of the many self-assessment questions she asks in the book is “Are you an opener or finisher?” For example, would you find pleasure in opening a new bottle of salad dressing even though you had several bottles open? Or would you prefer to finish one before opening another? I gravitate towards the finisher description, which works in my favor for kitchen organization.  For example, I find immense delight in repurposing a leftover ingredient into a fresh new recipe.  Aligning habits with your personality supports habits that stick.

This week’s recipe repurposing, “Cilantro and Baked Bean Burgers” was inspired by the leftover baked beans from my son’s 4th birthday party.  Baked beans basted in BBQ sauce, mustard, onions and celery, offered up the ideal base for a savory and sweet veggie burger recipe.

Cilantro & Baked Bean Burgers


  • 2 cups baked beans
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic cloves, peeled
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup packed cilantro leaves
  • 1 T. cumin powder
  • 2 T. chili powder
  • 1 T. garlic powder
  • 1 T. Dijon mustard
  • 1 t. liquid smoke (optional)
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup cooked brown rice
  • Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor, coursley chop & combine baked beans through egg. Transer bean mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add cooked and cooled brown rice. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. With your hands, shape bean mixture into ½-inch patties and place on baking sheet. Bake burgers for 10 minutes, remove from oven, flip and bake for another 10 minutes. Burgers should be fairly firm, but if burgers still feel “mushy” in the middle, continue to bake for an additional five minutes.

We topped our party burgers with smoked mozzarella, mustard, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and onion.

Jennifer McDaniel

Jennifer McDaniel is a Registered Dietitian, Media Spokesperson, and co-author of Prevention's Mediterranean Table Cookbook. She and her team of Registered Dietitians aim to help their clients go further, make change last, and unlock their potential. She lives in St. Louis, MO with her husband, and three young sons. If you are interested in working with Jennifer, please visit our contact page.