Because there were so many mouths to feed when I was growing up, my mom was adept at “stretching” meals. I’m sure she wasn’t the only single parent, or married parents for that matter, who learned to enlarge meals by adding fiber, like oatmeal, or veggies. I was reminded of this when I tried a new meatloaf recipe the other night.
It wasn’t so much that the recipe made more, there were just added ingredients that I wasn’t accustomed to using, like grated potatoes, grated carrots and white rice. The recipe was entitled “Juicy Meatloaf.” Well it really wasn’t juicy. It was more like our dried out Thanksgiving turkey. What really struck me though, was the denseness of the meatloaf. Unlike the one I normally cook for our family, there was no “give” to this meatloaf. Each slice stood firm, and solid. And that’s how it tasted, firm and solid, not moist and juicy. It did last a few days, showing up as left-overs, alongside something else I’d cooked. So I guess the additional ingredients did “stretch” out the meatloaf. It was so dense that half-a-slice went a long way in filling my belly.
A favorite meal I serve my family is steak and onions. This dish can definitely be increased to serve more by adding items like sliced mushrooms, corn niblets, red pepper slices, and I guess anything else that’s to your liking. I’ll often look through the refrig for leftovers, which can be added. Of course everything has to be sliced thin, so they can blend while stirring. Just pour a little oil, perhaps a mixture of a couple pats of butter and canola, into a fry pan over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and saute. Toss in the thinly sliced steak pieces. It’s best to use the best cut you can afford, so cooking is quick. When the meat and onions brown, toss in the remaining ingredients, if any. Saute all, stirring every so often. Season with salt, pepper, and soy sauce to taste. Cover, and lower heat, cooking for another 15 minutes or so. It’s delicious served over rice, white or brown.
The same thing can be done with ground beef. I’ve never tried it with ground turkey, but it might work just as well. Serving a simple salad alongside either entrée, makes a nice meal. In these economic times, foods prepared simply can still satisfy the gourmand in all of us. By the way, one-and-a-half pounds of either meat will serve 3 adults. The more extras added, the further the entrée will “stretch.”