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Secret ground beef extender–shhh! | Mostly Organized Mom

Secret ground beef extender–shhh!

I’m excited to share this little kitchen trick with you!  This week, mushrooms were on sale for an eye-popping $0.69/8 oz!  While My Favorite Guy and I love mushroom omelets, our teen isn’t at all keen about eating “fungus”.  While I never hide this trick from him, I also never tell if he doesn’t notice or ask.  And no one notices–they just notice nice, moist meat.

They don’t notice that up to half of the meat isn’t meat!  And so they don’t notice that I’m saving some serious cash (which obviously only works if you got the mushrooms for a serious good price!!) AND adding wonderful nutrients. With lean ground beef often around $4-5 lbs a pound, extending it by half a pound for $0.69 is a sweet deal.  🙂   I use this trick for hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, and the ground beef in spaghetti sauce.   Here’s is the basic process it:

Start with a package of each of these.

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First chop the mushrooms finely (aka mince).  You can do it by hand, but a food processor makes the job super fast and easy.  (My blender trick makes it too wet and mush-like, so probably skip it for this.)

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Next, mix the ground beef and minced mushrooms.

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Again, you can do it by hand, but a mixer makes it faster and easier.   It looks like little flecks of onion might be in the meat, but it’s the mushroom bits.

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For this post, I decided to make spaghetti sauce and hamburgers with the meat.   To make things a little easier, I went ahead and added the onion and garlic while the meat-mushroom mix was still in the mixing bowl.  After mixing, I scooped out about half of the meat and started cooking it for the spaghetti sauce.

 

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For hamburgers:    I added a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce, some pepper and an egg and mixed it well. Then just shape into patties and grill or cook in a skillet.    The egg helps bind the meat and mushroom mixture, but it still is a little bit delicate, so take extra care if cooking it on a grill.  The end result is a nicely browned, wonderfully moist burger.  You can’t even see any sign of mushrooms.

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A little side trip–If you love mushrooms, and would like to SEE some on your burger,  brown some sliced mushrooms in butter with maybe a little green onion and top your yummy burger with them.  Oooh!  and put some havarti or provolone cheese on top of the sliced, cooked mushrooms and melt it.  Serve on a toasted kaiser roll. Yummy!   

Back to the topic at hand.  When making hamburgers, meatloaf or meatballs, it’s best to not have more than about 1/3 of the mix be minced mushrooms as the meat has a harder time holding together with more than that.  A little less mushroom works a little better.  Make sure that your recipe includes about an egg per pound of meat mix to help it hold together.

When you’re cooking the meat so that it is crumbly after cooking (like for spaghetti or tacos), you can do the same trick using any combination of finely minced mushroom, onion, celery and/or carrot for up to half the meat.  The carrot flavor is a little strong and sometimes is more noticeable in the meat, so you’ll want to use a good bit of spice or sauce.  Enjoy!

 

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