Tag Archives: mushrooms

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.

 

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

 

Beef and mushroom burger topped with tomato on plate with salad.

Juicy, delicious beef and mushroom burgers use less meat and more vegetables.

 

You’ve probably seen the news about a possible shortage of meat on supermarket shelves, but even if you can’t buy all the beef you’d like, you can still enjoy juicy, delicious burgers.  Beef and mushroom burgers are better for you and are a great way to stretch the meat you have on hand.

Why mushrooms are good for you, your food budget, and the planet 

Mushrooms are tan or white, and are often disregarded for their lack of deep color, which is taken to mean that they’re not worth much nutritionally. Wrong!

Mushrooms supply B vitamins, selenium and other protective compounds, and when producers expose them to ultraviolet rays, mushrooms are an excellent source of vitamin D. In fact, mushrooms are the only source of vitamin D found in the produce aisle.

Here are some facts you probably didn’t know about mushrooms’ sustainability: it’s possible to grow up to one million pounds of mushrooms on a single acre of land, and producing a pound of mushrooms requires less than two gallons of water. That’s good news for the environment.

Mushrooms are better for you than you may think! 

How to use less meat and not miss it 

Mushrooms have a meaty texture and a savory taste called umami which pairs well with meat.   I also use mushrooms to replace meat in marinara sauce and pizza, too.

Beef and Mushroom Stew forgoes some meat for mushrooms.

Substituting mushrooms for some meat, no matter what type, increases vegetable intake, which is always a good idea. It addition, combining mushrooms and meat naturally decreases the calories, fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol in a typical beef burger.

Mushrooms provide a savory taste and meaty texture.

How to make meat go further using mushrooms

In my beef and mushroom burger recipe, each burger uses just two ounces of lean beef.  I serve the burgers on whole wheat hamburger buns, along with a large green salad topped with olive oil and pepitas (pumpkin seeds) for extra crunch and nutrition.  I like to garnish my burger with a horseradish/mayonnaise mixture, sliced tomato, and lettuce.

Processing cooked mushrooms makes for a consistency that’s closer to ground beef. 

 

Beef and Mushroom Burgers

Delicious, juicy beef burgers that use less meat and more vegetables.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beefburgers, healthierburgers, mushrooms, umami
Servings: 4
Author: ewardrd

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces baby bella mushrooms or white button mushrooms
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 8 ounces 93% lean ground beef
  • fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup seaonsed breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 2-ounce whole wheat buns, toasted or grilled, if desired

Instructions

  • Chop mushrooms into 1/4-inch pieces.
  • Add oil to medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from pan, place in medium mixing bowl, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Place mushrooms in a food processor or blender and pulse until they take on a paste-like consistency, about 10-15 seconds.
  • Add the mushrooms back to the mixing bowl and add beef, black pepper, eggs, breadcrumbs, basil, and Worcestershire sauce. Combine thoroughly.  Form mixture into 4 patties of equal size.
  • Preheat grill or grill pan to medium-high heat.
  • Cook burgers for 5 to 7 minutes on each side or until they reach an internal temperature of 160˚F.
  • To serve, place patties on buns with desired toppings

Notes

Per serving (burger and bun): 
360 calories; 11 grams fat (3 grams saturated fat); 141 milligrams cholesterol; 771 milligrams sodium; 40 grams carbohydrate; 5 grams fiber; 27 grams protein

Slow-Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew

The episode of This Is Us where Jack dies because of a fire caused by a slow cooker has not scared me off this handy appliance, especially because I use it to make Slow-Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew, one of 60 recipes included in Expect the Best, Your Guide to Healthy Eating Before, During, and After Pregnancy.

I love knowing this stew is ready to eat for dinner on a chilly evening, and for lunch the next day.

Whole grain cornbread is delicious with the stew. 

You don’t need to give up meat to eat a plant-based diet, and this recipe proves it, as one portion supplies a full serving of vegetables, along with protein, iron, and about 25% of your daily requirement for choline, a nutrient every cell in your body requires, and is especially necessary for developing brains during pregnancy and early life.

This burger recipe is a beef and mushroom blend

The stew is rich in mushrooms, which take the place of some of the beef. Mushrooms are the only product in the fruit and vegetable section with vitamin D, and they have many other beneficial properties, too.

Mushrooms provide umami, a taste sensation that brings a savory flavor to dishes.

Vary this recipe with a mixture of mushrooms, such as white button and shiitake, if you like.

Slow Cooker Beef and Mushroom Stew

Makes 6 servings.

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups baby carrots

16 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms

1 can (15-ounce) no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained

11/2 cups reduced-sodium beef broth

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon dried marjoram

1 pound stew meat, such as chuck, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 cup fresh or frozen peas

Freshly ground black pepper to taste (optional)

Place all the ingredients except the beef, peas, and pepper in a slow cooker. Combine well. Add the beef. Cover and cook on the low setting for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours. Just before serving, add the peas and season with pepper, if desired. Stir well. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes.

Per serving: 

Calories: 238

Protein: 27 grams

Total fat: 5 grams

Saturated fat: 2 grams

Cholesterol: 54 milligrams

Sodium: 470 milligrams

Carbohydrate: 22 grams

Dietary fiber: 4 grams

Calcium: 39 milligrams

Iron: 3 milligrams

Choline: 111 milligrams

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