(Family Features) Cook once, eat twice. It’s a kitchen practice as simple as it sounds. Cook a base dish that can be enjoyed today and used for an entirely different meal tomorrow. For example, bake some fish for tonight’s dinner, and enjoy fish tacos for tomorrow’s lunch.
With so many Americans preparing meals at home, the practice of cooking once and eating twice can extend your grocery budget while also making meal planning less stressful and more comforting.
Cooking meals that feed the entire family is essential and even better if they give you a jump on a second meal. Whether your love for cooking runs deep or is being newly discovered, keep the following in mind when planning to cook once and eat twice:
Stock up on staples. Before heading out to the store, develop a list of ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes. Canned goods, such as black beans and corn, are great items to store in the pantry and have on hand for a variety of favorite family recipes. Other basics like corn tortillas can be used in multiple ways, such as tacos, casseroles and even salads.
Don’t forget produce. To increase flavor and nutrition, adding produce is key in your planning. Mushrooms are a favorite among chefs and home cooks alike for many reasons. Traditionally known for their inherent umami flavor, mushrooms are filling, healthy and versatile. Crimini and portabella are excellent sources of selenium, an antioxidant that protects cells from damage that may lead to serious chronic diseases. For example, four crimini mushrooms provide 38% of your daily recommended value. Also, the variety of mushrooms contain essential vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamins B and D and riboflavin.
Make meat go further. A three-step cooking technique called “The Blend” combines finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat to create dishes that are more nutritious while still tasting delicious. You can use the process to create multiple dishes such as tacos, pasta sauce and burgers. Mushrooms’ ability to mimic the texture of meat makes them easy to incorporate, and the addition of finely chopped mushrooms to meat dishes stretches portions, allowing the family to enjoy a meat-mushroom base two days in a row in two different ways in dishes like Mexican Lasagna and Blended Tacos, both of which include a Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend.
Makes: 8 tacos
- 1 cup sour cream
- 6 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 8 yellow corn tortillas
- 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
- diced avocado (optional)
- shredded lettuce (optional)
- shredded cheese (optional)
- salsa (optional)
- In small bowl, mix sour cream, cilantro and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.
- Warm tortillas in microwave or on stovetop according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend into each tortilla. Top with sour cream mixture and avocado, lettuce and cheese as desired.
Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
Makes: 8 cups
- 1 medium yellow onion
- 8 ounces fresh button or crimini mushrooms
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained
- 1 package (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix
- 1 can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes
- 1 can (11 ounces) yellow kernel corn, drained
- In food processor, pulse onion and mushrooms to coarse texture. Set aside.
- In large frying pan, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Set aside.
- In same frying pan, heat oil. Add mushroom mixture and saute 3-4 minutes, or until most moisture has been released. Add black beans and mix.
- Add beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes and corn to black bean and mushroom blend. Mix and cook until heated through.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 16 yellow corn tortillas
- 6 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend
- 1 cup shredded, low-fat Mexican cheese blend
- sour cream (optional)
- chopped cilantro (optional)
- salsa (optional)
- Heat oven to 350° F. Spray bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place four corn tortillas on bottom of dish and layer 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend on top. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas as top layer. Top with cheese.
- Bake uncovered 25 minutes, or until cheese melts and lasagna is heated through. Top with dollops of sour cream, cilantro and salsa as desired.
Source: Mushroom Council