Can I tell you one of my top-secret frugal dietitian tricks? It’s one of my favorite tips to save money, add nutritional variety, and still please the carnivores in your family. Are you ready? Here it is:
Cook with half ground meat and half ground mushrooms.
I love doing this! It packs a little more nutrient variety into your dish, with added vitamin D, potassium, selenium, and more from the mushrooms (1). Using half mushrooms decreases the overall amount of saturated fat and cholesterol compared to using all ground meat. Plus the taste isn’t compromised, because honestly? When you process the mushrooms into a ground meat texture and cook them down, you would never know the difference.
I actually have some of this sauce saved in the freezer for my sister to try. Now, she’s not normally a mushroom fan, but I am so convinced she wouldn’t even bat an eye at this sauce! And she’s a great sport and willing to give it a try. 😉
What you need:
- Ground meat (a local, grass-fed, lean beef is pictured here, but you can also use chicken, turkey, venison, bison, etc.)
- Mushrooms (pulsed in a food processor until resembling a coarse, ground texture, like shown below)
- Olive oil
- Sweet yellow onion
- Minced garlic (you can use fresh, but I totally cheat and keep a jar of minced garlic in my fridge)
- Bay leaves (1 if it’s large, 2 if small)
- Tomato sauce (I used my Freezer Tomato Sauce, but you can use your favorite jarred sauce – I like to look for one without added sugar)
- Red wine
And yes, there is red wine in this Meaty Mushroom Bolognese, but don’t worry, it’s still family friendly. 😉 The alcohol totally cooks out. You certainly can omit it, but I’d encourage you to try cooking with wine if you haven’t before. A little goes a long way with cooking and gives your dish such depth of flavor! I’ve never really been that interested in drinking alcohol, but I like keeping inexpensive white and red wines on hand for cooking.
I know this isn’t a super quick recipe from start to finish, but it’s
still pretty low-fuss. The hands-on time required in preparing ingredients and getting the sauce going doesn’t take very long at all. Then once the sauce is simmering, you’re good to go hang out with your kids, read a book, workout, or any of those thousand things you always need to do but never seem to find the time for. 😉
Bonus? After a few hours you are left with a big batch of sauce for dinner tonight and plenty of leftovers for another meal later in the week (or for the freezer, for a future speedy weeknight meal). Enjoy, and be well!
Meaty Mushroom BolognesePrint
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground meat can use beef, venison, chicken, turkey, etc.
- 1 lb mushrooms I used baby bella, or crimini mushrooms
- 1 sweet onion diced
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 4.5 c. tomato sauce (can use a homemade
- 1-2 bay leaves 1 if large, 2 if small
- 1/4 c. red wine
- Using a food processor, pulse the mushrooms until they resemble a ground meat consistency.
- Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add meat and mushrooms and brown 5-6 minutes. Add onion and garlic and cook another 2-3 minutes. Add sauce, bay leaves, and wine. Stir, and allow to simmer uncovered on medium-low heat at least two hours (can go longer, as it will result in a richer sauce!).
- Serve immediately.
- Leftovers can be stored in a covered, air-tight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or in the freezer for 4-6 months.