We've got a guest in our kitchen today! We're thrilled to welcome back the fabulous Jenny of The Brunette Baker! Jenny is used to feeding a busy family of four and is here to share how she uses the Blend & Extend concept in her own home.
Casseroles were the way to go in my house growing up.
Most weekends, my Mom would gather up odds and ends leftover in the fridge from the week, add a little of this and a little of that and suddenly, there was a whole other masterpiece waiting for us on the table. She was pretty crafty like that.
Not to discredit my Mom in any way, but this seemed to be a way of life for most families. Budgets were tight; frugality was the name of the game. Casseroles are a fantastic way to feed a hungry family of four or serve at a potluck to feed a group of twenty, especially when one uses the Blend and Extend method.
Blend and Extend is a brilliant method that incorporates finely chopped mushrooms seamlessly into ground beef, adding volume to dishes and extending the serving portions. It also boosts one's vitamin and mineral intake, such as Vitamin D, iron, and zinc.
This super tasty dish is oddly enough adapted and slightly modified from a long ago ex-boyfriend's mom of mine. They were a family of NINE, originally from New England where this dish was, and still is, quite popular around the dinner table. It's still one of my favourites to this day.
I guess the saying, "It wasn't a waste of time if you learned something" rings quite true here, don't you think?
AMERICAN CHOP SUEY
1 pound lean ground beef
1 punnet white or crimini mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
1 tablespoon chili powder (Add more or less, depending on your heat tolerance)
1 pound cooked elbow macaroni
In a large saucepan, add olive oil and sauté onions and peppers for about 5 minutes. Add in ground beef, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until ground beef is thoroughly cooked.
Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and sugar; stir well. Allow sauce to boil for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat and simmer.
Add cooked macaroni to meat and mushroom sauce and stir to combine. Adjust salt and pepper and add in chill powder. Give a good stir to ensure all flavours have come together.
Serve hot. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread.
Casseroles really are the perfect choice for a busy family life! I still make my childhood favourites to this day and am certainly adding this one to the list. This recipe makes it too easy to Blend & Extend to make sure your family is eating right. Many thanks to The Brunette Baker for such a delicious idea!
Check out Jenny online at her Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!