It seems everything has been affected by this virus and we are constantly changing something about the way we used to live. It started with a run on toilet paper (I know I’ll read this in a few years and still be scratching my head over that one!) to wearing masks in public to being limited to how much meat you can buy at the grocery store. Not to mention the economic and health impacts for so many of our families, friends, and neighbors.
I can’t help with much of this but I do have a way to get more out of your ground beef! I came across this trick a few years ago and was intrigued. It’s called “The Blend(TM)”.
What is The Blend
The Blend is a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms mixed with ground beef. It adds extra bulk to your ground beef, stretching it so you get just a bit more out of it.
8 oz of chopped mushrooms add an extra 1/4 pound to my 1 pound of meat. That may not seem like a lot, but it gives me 1 extra hamburger or it stretches my meatloaf or taco meat by that much more. It would stretch two pounds of ground beef to 2-1/2 pounds – ok, now you’re talking!
Benefits of The Blend
Now, I love sauteed mushrooms on a burger, but how would they taste IN a burger?
I hear you – “mushrooms in my meat, no…no, that’s not going to taste good”. It’s actually quite the opposite!
Mushrooms have a delicious, savory flavor, that is called umami. Umami has recently been labeled the fifth flavor, alongside sweet, salty, bitter, and sour. Umami is what gives that earthy, savory flavor, and mushrooms are the perfect example of that flavor. A side note – umami helps balance and bring out the flavors of the meat and lessens the need for salt!
While adding an extra layer of flavor to your meat, there are a lot of pluses from a nutritional standpoint as well.
- They are low in fat, saturated fat and contain no cholesterol
- Adding a blend of mushrooms to ground beef helps lower the amount of fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol you are eating. All positive moves to support your heart health.
- They are low in calories and high in fiber
- Along with reducing the number of calories in your burger, the fiber in the mushrooms adds a satiating effect – so you get full faster.
- They are a great source of potassium and selenium
- Potassium is a mineral that helps with blood pressure management and helps our heart beat properly.
- Selenium is an antioxidant that helps protect our body’s cells from damage. Think of it like putting a protective coat on an iron railing to prevent rust – that is kind of how an antioxidant works in your body!
- They are one of only a few food sources of Vitamin D
- You’ve probably heard Vitamin D called the sunshine vitamin. While you can get some from the sun most of us also need to get it from food. Mushrooms, fatty fish, and fortified dairy products are the best sources. Vitamin D is essential for bone health but we are learning so much more about its role in supporting our immune system, and respiratory system.
How to make The Blend
The Blend is promoted by the Mushroom Council as a way to add some flavor, nutrition, and bulk to your ground beef. I love this trick and honestly, your family doesn’t need to know you’ve done this. They will only be complimenting you on the best burgers ever! (Remember, mushrooms add a ton of flavor!)
First, finely chop 8 oz. of mushrooms. I use Crimini or baby bella mushrooms but white, button mushrooms would work too.
Chop them with a sharp knife or pulse them in your food processor.
Cook them in a frying pan to release the water. You don’t have to do this step but mushrooms release a fair amount of water when cooked. So I cook them until they are dry.
Now, let them cool and then mix them into your ground beef along with salt and pepper and other seasonings. I have found that I don’t need a lot of salt in these. Thanks, umami!
That’s pretty much it. You can play with the proportions of meat to mushrooms but this is the level that works for me. Use this mixture in your burgers, meatballs, taco mix, or meatloaf. How would you use The Blend? Let me know if you try it and how it turned out!
Beef and Mushroom Burger
- 8 oz. crimini mushrooms
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp oregano
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup red onion
- 1 tbsp. chopped parsley fresh
- 5 hamburger buns
- 5 slices Provolone cheese
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
- Saute chopped mushrooms in frying pan for ~ 10 minutes or until all the moisture is out and the mixture is dry.
- Place ground beef in a bowl. Add mushrooms, onions, parsley, oregano, garlic powder and salt and pepper. Mix until well combined.
- Form into 5 patties. Grill over medium heat for 5 – 8 minutes on each side.
- Place 1 slice provolone cheese on burger for the last minute of cooking.
- Remove and place on a bun and top with roasted red peppers.