I stretch meat when I can, since I’m feeding meat eaters here…But I do it for two reasons: get more meat for our hard-earned buck, and to boost flavour and nutrition.
Ground beef is an easy option to stretch. It’s versatile, everyone likes it, and whether you’re making meat loaf, burgers, meat balls, chili or sauce, you can add all sorts of interesting ingredients to your beef.
Yesterday, I made Bolognese sauce. Typically on a Tuesday, when the kids are both booked for evening activities, I make a pasta dish. It’s easy, quick and Spaghetti is a favorite.
Here’s what I did:
I used my electric little chopper and shredded celery, carrots, mushrooms, onion, swish chard with stems and fresh garlic.
Next, I added this mixture into the hot olive oil in my ceramic pot and sprinkled it with sea salt, cracked pepper and oregano.
Then I let it simmer for a bit as I unwrapped a large pack of grass-fed ground beef.
As I browned the beef with the veg and mushroom mixture until fully cooked, I seasoned with more salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, onion flakes and mustard powder.
Finally came a tin of crushed tomatoes plus a squirt or two of tomato paste from a tube.
It smelled delicious and I may or may not have tasted my sauce several times.
For pasta options, the family announced they only want long noodles with this type of sauce. Not Penne or Rigatoni or whatever. I checked what I had.
Spaghetti, Spaghettini, Capellini and Linguine.
But some packs were less than half full. Since they require different cooking times I opened a new pack. The started packs can go into soup.
For myself, trying to stay off gluten products for both weight management and digestive discomforts, I cut up some eggplant, brushed with oil, and baked in the oven. I poured sauce over that instead of the pasta.
Fresh shaved (not grated) Parmesan cheese is of course a must.
Bonus: I made enough sauce to be able to freeze an entire portion for another day.
Other options I use to stretch meat are beans or chickpeas (cooked until soft and mushed with a blender), kale, and occasionally quinoa (mostly for Mexican inspired dishes).
Do you do this too? Care to share?
See you in the comments.