Tag Archives: cottagecheese

How to Make Meat Go Further (Easy, Delicious Tips and Recipes)

We’ve all heard about meat shortages at the grocery store. The lack of beef, poultry, and pork is due to a processing backlog, and it’s temporary. Still, if you have a family to feed every day, you’re probably wondering how to stretch the meat you have on hand to make satisfying meals. Though you may not be able to purchase all the meat you’d like, or readily find your favorite cuts, it’s possible to extend meat with these easy, delicious recipes from my foodie friends, and simple tips for how to make meat go further.

 Mexican Chicken & Rice Soup from The Nutrition Adventure

 

How to Use Beans to Extend Meat

Beans (legumes) bulk up meat dishes. They are a relatively low-cost alternative to some of the meat in your favorite recipes and a welcome, healthy addition even when meat is readily available.

You probably won’t even notice you’re eating less meat with beans in the mix. Legumes, such as black beans, garbanzos, and lentils, add interest and texture to meat-based dishes, and they provide eating satisfaction, too. Beans are rich in a variety of nutrients, and their protein and fiber help you feel fuller for longer. As plants, they contain phytonutrients, which help protect cells from damage.

Easy Beef and Bean Chili uses just 8 ounces of ground beef to make 6 servings!

You don’t have to prepare beans from dried. It’s perfectly fine to use canned beans and lentils for the sake of convenience, but it’s less expensive to cook the dried versions.  Here are some delicious recipes that pair beans with meat or poultry:

Spanish Brown Rice and Beans from Juggling with Julia

One Pot Taco Soup from The Cheesy RD

Chicken Dhansak

Chicken Dhansak from Desilicious RD

 

Spiced Chicken Stuffed Zucchini with Brown Rice and Lentils from Tasty Balance Nutrition

How to Use Mushrooms to Make Meat Go Further

Though mushrooms don’t supply as much protein and fiber as beans, they can be an excellent or good source of certain minerals, such selenium and copper, and vitamins, including B vitamins and vitamin D, a nutrient that is often in short supply in our diets and may play a role in supporting the immune system. Like beans, mushrooms supply phytonutrients, and are a lower-cost filler that adds interest to meat dishes while contributing zero cholesterol or saturated fat.

whole mushrooms

Some brands of mushrooms are excellent sources of vitamin D, which helps support the immune system.

 

Mushrooms that have been exposed to ultraviolet light are richest in vitamin D. It’s the same for humans: strong summer sunlight, in the form of ultraviolet rays, prompts vitamin D production in the body.  However, not all mushrooms are high in vitamin D, so check package labels to make sure.

Mushrooms have a firm, meat-like texture that pairs particularly well with ground meat. A beef and mushroom blend lends itself to burger, taco, meatloaf, lasagna, pasta sauce, and meatball recipes.

I typically use 1 cup cooked, diced mushrooms per pound of ground meat (although sometimes I add even more mushrooms!)  So, if you’re working with 8 ounces of lean ground beef, add 1/2 cup of cooked mushrooms. For 1/2 cup cooked mushrooms, start with 4 ounces raw.

Try these delicious, juicy Beef and Mushroom Burgers!

It’s easy enough to buy fresh mushrooms, but you are probably limiting trips to the store right now. In that case, considered dried mushrooms, which can be reconstituted and used like fresh on a moment’s notice.

In addition to ground beef, mushrooms go well with chicken, pork, and shrimp, too! Here are some easy, delicious recipes that pair mushrooms with high-protein foods:

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls from Snacking in Sneakers

 

Creamy Mushroom and Shrimp Pasta from Fad Free Nutrition 

 

Ground Beef and Mushroom Lettuce-Wrap Tacos from Craving Something Healthy

Blended Al Pastor Tacos with Pineapple Jalapeño Slaw from the Mushroom Council

Other vegetables help you go further with meat, too. Here’s an example of how to “beef up” pasta sauce:

 

bowl of pasta sauce with carrots and tomatoes

Hidden Vegetable Pasta Sauce from It’s a Veg World After All

How to Use Cottage Cheese to Make Meat Go Further

Cottage cheese may not come to mind as a meat extender, but it’s rich in protein and offers calcium, too. In fact, one cup of low-fat cottage cheese has more protein than the same amount of plain, fat-free Greek yogurt. (However, the cottage cheese has about 25% less calcium.)

You may be put off by the curds in cottage cheese. I have a solution for that!

Place as much cottage cheese as you need at the time in a small food processor or blender and blend for about 45 seconds to 1 minute to produce creamy cottage cheese.

Don’t like the curds? Blend cottage cheese for a creamy consistency.

 

I use creamy cottage cheese in meatballs or burgers made with lean ground beef or 100% ground turkey breast. Cottage cheese extends the ground meat, and it also produces lighter and juicier meatballs and burgers.

What to Eat When You Can’t Find Meat

Almost Lasagna is one of my favorite recipes that pairs meat with cottage cheese. If you don’t want to bother with a recipe, simply stir creamy cottage cheese into warm marinara sauce or mix cottage cheese with warm pesto sauce and serve over cooked pasta.  If you have some cooked chicken, beef, or other meat, add that, too.

Almost Lasagna

This deconstructed lasagna uses cottage cheese for some of the meat in traditional recipes.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: cottagecheese
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces long fusilli pasta, linguine or other pasta  Or any type of pasta you have, including whole wheat.
  • 8 ounces 95% lean ground beef or 100% ground turkey breast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup low-sodium beef broth or stock
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed no salt-added tomatoes, not drained Diced tomatoes work well, too.
  • 3 fresh basil leaves, torn into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup plain lowfat cottage cheese

Instructions

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the beef, breaking it into large pieces and continuing to break into small bits. Cook until lightly browned, about 4 to 5  minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer meat to a medium bowl, and set aside.
  • Return the skillet to the burner, add the olive oil, and heat over medium heat.  Add the carrot, onion, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes. Season with fresh ground black pepper.
  • Add the meat back to the pan.  Stir in the beef broth, tomatoes and their juices, and basil, and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.  
  • In a small bowl, mix the cottage cheese and parsley.  
  • Toss the pasta with the butter, transfer to the skillet and combine with the meat sauce. To serve, place equal amounts of the cottage cheese/parsley mixture in shallow soup bowls, and top with the pasta mixture. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.    

Notes

Per serving (with ground beef): 504 calories; 67 grams carbohydrate; 4 grams fiber; 13 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 27 grams protein; 239 milligrams sodium; 41 milligrams cholesterol; 97 milligrams calcium.

 

Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Cottage Cheese

 

Pasta salad with cottage cheese and chickpeas.

Whole wheat pasta and chickpeas provide fiber and other nutrients that support health.

 

Macaroni salad is a staple at summertime picnics and BBQs across America. While this perennial favorite gets gobbled up by the ton every year, I can’t say that I’m a fan of the typical recipe. Pasta salad with chickpeas and cottage cheese is a better, more satisfying twist on this American favorite.

 


Read: Dozens of recipes for pasta salad with all kinds of interesting ingredients.


Meat and vegetables on skewers on a charcoal grill.

Pasta salad can be served as a side dish with meat or fish.

Pasta Salad is Good for You

Pasta salad with chickpeas and cottage cheese isn’t only for the warmer months; it can be a healthy option year-round, too. Here’s why.

Cooked and cooled pasta (any kind) is a source of resistant starch, a type of fiber that feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut that help prevent colon cancer and support overall health. Legumes, such as chickpeas, and cooked and cooled potatoes, also provide resistant starch. Foods rich in fiber can help prevent, and manage, prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Meatless Vegetarian Pasta Salad Recipe

I like a hearty pasta salad that’s more than a side dish.  Here’s how I build a better pasta salad to enjoy as a meatless meal or as a side dish.

Whole wheat pasta. Whole wheat pasta is a great way to include whole grains. I like the slightly nutty taste of whole wheat pasta, which is higher in fiber than the regular kind. I favor shapes such as rotini because the ridges hold onto the dressing.

Overhead shot of uncooked whole wheat pasta.

Whole wheat pasta is brimming with manganese, a mineral you need for strong bones and cartilage, and for many other bodily functions.


Read: Why carbohydrates are good for you


Legumes. Chickpeas, a type of legume, and pasta are a satisfying combo that you can really sink your teeth into.  Legumes provide protein, and fiber, which helps to better regulate your energy levels, and they supply iron, folate, and phytonutrients, which are plant compounds that protect cells from damage.

Cottage cheese. I like cheese in my pasta salad for the taste, as well as the protein and calcium. Using low fat cottage cheese in place of some of the feta cheese cuts down on calories and saturated fat.

Bowl of cottage cheese with a wooden spoon.

Low fat cottage cheese has 11 times less saturated fat than feta cheese, but is lower in calcium.

 

Plate of Pasta Salad with Cottage Cheese and Chickpeas.

Pasta Salad with Cottage Cheese and Chickpeas can be a side dish or a main meal.

 

Pasta Salad with Chickpeas and Cottage Cheese

Delicious pasta salad that's good for you, too!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Salad
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chickpeas, cottagecheese, cottagecheeserecipe, macaronisalad, pastasalad
Servings: 12

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta, uncooked
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 2 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
  • 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook pasta until just about done (al dente). Drain well and place pasta in a large serving bowl.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, parsley, onion, cottage cheese, and feta cheese. Combine well.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Add the dressing to the pasta mixture and toss until well combined. Serve chilled.

Notes

Per serving: 253 calories; 10 grams protein; 40 grams carbohydrate; 6 grams fiber; 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated fat); 6 milligrams cholesterol; 284 milligrams sodium; 80 milligrams calcium.

Pasta salad with chickpeas and cottage cheese

 

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