My Meal Saving Secret

Raising four kids is a tough job for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is my grocery bill. Feeding six people is expensive any way you dice it, but feeding six people healthy foods can put a serious drain on your wallet. Our family has a not-so-secret weapon that adds flavor and health benefits, reduces calories and cholesterol, and makes meals go farther without breaking the bank:

Mushrooms.

There are many types of mushrooms, from your basic button to meaty portabella to exotic shiitake, and so many more! They all have unique flavor profiles, but generally speaking, mushrooms are pretty easy to work with and incorporate into just about any dish. They are low in calories, fat free, cholesterol free, gluten free, have very low sodium and no carbs. They also provide important nutrients like potassium, niacin, fiber, essential B vitamins, hard-to-get natural vitamin D, and more. While most grocery stores place this fungus in the vegetable category, they are so nutritionally rich, they can also substitute or enhance many meats, beans, and grains. 

For my family, I use white button mushrooms and portabellas most often, and they’re on my grocery list every week. We add them to just about everything to amp up flavor and nutrition. Saut√© them with some spinach and garlic to mix with scrambled eggs — top with goat cheese crumbles for some extra creamy yum factor! Add mushrooms to your brown gravy or meat marinade, toss them in a pan with some butter, fresh rosemary, and pressed garlic for a delicious steak, or chop them up for your spaghetti sauce. My mom makes the BEST portabella burgers by marinating the whole mushroom cap in Italian vinaigrette dressing then placing on the grill for five minutes per side, or until tender. Place it on a bun just like a hamburger and prepare to be amazed that you are not eating a thick, juicy hunk of meat. 

Blending chopped mushrooms with meat is a simple technique to make dishes healthier while inexpensively increasing quantity. Anytime I use ground beef, turkey, or chicken, I chop an 8 oz. container of mushrooms and add to the mix for the last five minutes of cooking. This instantly doubles the quantity of the meat mixture without sacrificing a bit of flavor, and for less than $2! Tacos, chili, burgers, meatloaf…they’re all better blended with mushrooms! 

Here are a few of our family’s favorite mushroom recipes that make it in our rotation every couple of weeks:

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Mushrooms – I like to use spinach instead of broccoli sometimes, and the kids love it with sliced turkey kielbasa.

Spinach, Mushroom, and Feta Crustless Quiche – Not gonna lie, I make this with a crust because I just love carbohydrates. Add some crispy crumbled bacon and it’s no longer healthy, but it is oh so delicious!

Grilled Mushroom Kabobs – you can’t go wrong with this simple but delicious summertime favorite!

Check out The Mushroom Council for more amazing recipes and ways mushrooms are saving the world (seriously)!

What are your favorite ways to use mushrooms? Share all your deliciousness in the comments!

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One Response to My Meal Saving Secret

  1. Leslie Gallaher September 17, 2018 at 6:28 pm #

    I always loved the mushroom program your parents did at school. The smell of those mushrooms frying made fans of kids who would never touch one before.

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