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Topic: Ways to stretch entrees? + a recipe

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Subject: Ways to stretch entrees? + a recipe
Date Posted: 1/31/2009 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,558
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Anyone have any tips to share in ways to stretch a basic recipe?

I thought it might be helpful to post ideas on how to stretch out meals so they last longer.  DH and I both work and we don't like having to prepare a new meal each night after work.  We tend to use the crock pots or make a few different entrees which we can reheat after work.  DH is a big eater (but thin, darn the man!) and meals that would last others for 3-4 days tend to disappear in a 2 days. 

We made this tonight and will use it in taco shells and tortillas or as the base for taco salad.   We'll serve it with spanish rice, cornbread and  lettuce, sour cream and salsa for toppings.The addition of beans and rice will really help to make this entree last a little longer or at least fill up DH a little quicker, I think.

Taco Filling

2 pds ground turkey or hamburger
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, diced
2-3 cloves minced garlic (we used more)
2 pkgs taco seasoning
2 15 oz cans no fat refried beans
1 15 oz can tomato sauce
2 boil in bags minute rice, cooked
Low fat shredded cheddar cheese

Brown the ground turkey or burger with the chopped onion, bell pepper and garlic. Drain, if needed. Set aside.

Mix a little of the tomato sauce with the refried beans until they're of spreading consistency (reserve the rest of the tomato sauce).

Spread the refried bean mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Top with the cooked rice.  Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the rice.  Top with shredded cheese.  Top with the ground turkey or beef. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees 45 minutes or until bubbly.


I also sometimes add sliced, boiled potatoes to chicken noodle soup and cooked macaroni to chili (a throwback to my younger days when feeding unexpected hungry Marines!).


Last Edited on: 1/31/09 6:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2009 7:24 AM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2006
Posts: 1,069
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We have pot roast one meal with carrots, potatoes and onions and then I make beef stew out of the leftovers for the next day. If there is any left of the stew, I serve it over thick noodles for a third meal. Or you can take the stew, put it in a pie shell and cover with crust  and have beef pot pie.

Macoroni can be added to chili to stretch it or serve leftover chili over a baked potato. Yummy!

I also plan my meals so that any leftover veggies will be used. Serve carrots one day and peas the next. The leftovers from those get tossed together for the third day. In the same way, I serve corn one day and green lima beans the next. The third day, it's succotash. Or sometimes I add the leftover veggies to a container in the freezer. When I get enough, I make vegetable beef soup.

Last Edited on: 2/1/09 7:28 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/1/2009 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,367
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I find adding side dishes helps as well.  My parents always had a bowl of fruit or applesauce in the fridge that went on the table, a can of veggies, a loaf of bread.

Date Posted: 2/2/2009 8:20 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 112
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I use TVP (textured vegetable protein) for a lot of meals like this.  Its soy protein, so is a good meat stretcher, and it takes on the flavor of whatever you put it in.    I can provide more info if people are interested in it and what/how to cook with it.   But I use it as about 1/2 and 1/2 with ground beef or ground turkey, for chili, goulash, taco mix like the recipe above, lasagna, etc. 

My husband says he can't tell any difference in the taste, but he doesn't like the light color of it because it looks 'different' than the rest of the meat.  So I add a few drops of red and green food coloring to it and it turns it into 'hamburger' color...  lol, whatever works, right?