Cook Once, Eat Twice

With most of us preparing more meals at home these days, the idea of cooking once and eating it twice can save time and money. It’s really as simple as it sounds. Cook a base dish that can be enjoyed today and used for an entirely different meal tomorrow. For example, bake some fish for tonight’s dinner, and enjoy fish tacos for tomorrow’s lunch.

Whether you love cooking or are just trying to get by with as less work and stress as possible in meal planning and preparation, keep these things in mind in order to cook once and eat twice:

Stock up on staples. Before heading to the store (or placing your order for delivery), develop a list of ingredients that can be used for multiple dishes. Canned goods, such as black beans and corn, are great items to have on hand for a variety of favorite family recipes. Other basics like corn tortillas can be used in multiple ways, such as tacos, casseroles and even salads.

Don’t forget produce. To increase flavor and nutrition, adding produce is key in your planning. For example, mushrooms can be used in a variety of ways, are filling, healthy and versatile. Crimini and portabella are excellent sources of the antioxidant selenium (four crimini mushrooms provide 38% of your daily recommended value). Eating a variety of mushrooms can also provide vitamins B, D and riboflavin.

To make meat go further, use a three-step cooking technique called “The Blend,” which combines finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat to create dishes that are more nutritious and taste delicious. You can use the process to create multiple dishes such as tacos, pasta sauce and burgers. Mushrooms’ ability to mimic the texture of meat makes them easy to incorporate, and the addition of finely chopped mushrooms to meat dishes stretches portions, allowing the family to enjoy a meat-mushroom base two days in a row in two different ways in dishes like Mexican Lasagna and Blended Tacos, both of which include a Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend.

For more simple and delicious recipes, visit MushroomCouncil.com.

Blended Tacos

Makes: 8 tacos

            1          cup sour cream

            6          tablespoons cilantro, chopped

            2          tablespoons lime juice

            8          yellow corn tortillas

            2          cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend

                        diced avocado (optional)

                        shredded lettuce (optional)

                        shredded cheese (optional)

                        salsa (optional)

In small bowl, mix sour cream, cilantro and lime juice. Cover and refrigerate.

Warm tortillas in microwave or on stovetop according to package directions. Spoon 1/4 cup Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend into each tortilla. Top with sour cream mixture and avocado, lettuce and cheese as desired.

Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend

Makes: 8 cups

            1          medium yellow onion

            8          ounces fresh button or crimini mushrooms

            1          pound lean ground beef

            1          tablespoon olive oil

            2          cans (15 ounces each) black beans, drained

            1          package (1 ounce) reduced-sodium taco seasoning mix

            1          can (15 ounces) crushed tomatoes

1               can (11 ounces) yellow kernel corn, drained

In food processor, pulse onion and mushrooms to coarse texture. Set aside. In large frying pan, brown ground beef. Drain fat. Set aside. In same frying pan, heat oil. Add mushroom mixture and saute 3-4 minutes, or until most moisture has been released. Add black beans and mix. Add beef, taco seasoning, tomatoes and corn to black bean and mushroom blend. Mix and cook until heated through.

Mexican Lasagna

Servings: 6-8

                        Nonstick cooking spray

            16        yellow corn tortillas

            6          cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend

            1          cup shredded, low-fat Mexican cheese blend

                        sour cream (optional)

                        chopped cilantro (optional)

                        salsa (optional)

Heat oven to 350 F. Spray bottom of 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Place four corn tortillas on bottom of dish and layer 2 cups Mexican Mushroom-Beef Blend on top. Repeat layers, ending with tortillas as top layer. Top with cheese. Bake uncovered 25 minutes, or until cheese melts and lasagna is heated through. Top with dollops of sour cream, cilantro and salsa as desired.

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