Stretching Ingredients into a Meal

Did you know that a good way to stretch ingredients is to make them into a topping for something like smashed potatoes, baked potatoes, salad, pizza, or even nachos? If you haven’t noticed, meat has been more scarce and pricey thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. When all the shelter in place directives first came down, it was very hard to find meat in many grocery stores. (If you were smart enough to go to smaller, locally owned shops, you probably faired a bit better than fighting the hording in the large chain stores…) I literally bought frozen hamburger patties for the first time ever to take them apart in order to have ground beef.

So, in order to feed myself and four hungry teens this evening, I stretched out a pound of thinly sliced beef into a smashed potato topping for loaded smashed potatoes. Sautéing it with sliced onion, mushrooms, garlic, and seasonings bulked it up a bit. Although I’m not as fond of processed cheese slices, they do melt well. Putting a processed cheese single on the smashed potato mound before adding the beef topping adds flavor and dimension.

I like to add another layer of flavor when I boil potatoes by either boiling them in some type of stock or broth. I didn’t really have either on hand, so I added some of the powdered cubito de pollo/bullion to the water along with salt, pepper, and a bit of turmeric. Sometimes I throw in a smashed garlic clove.

Did you also know that you don’t really have to have butter, milk, cream, or sour cream to make smashed mashed potatoes? If you have a creamy salad dressing in the fridge, add enough of it to your boiled (or baked) potatoes to get the consistency you like. It adds flavor and does the trick. I’ve used ranch dressing before, but I used a mix of Caesar and bleu cheese this evening. I also like to add some chives. I prefer fresh, but I had to use dried this evening.

Loaded Smashed Potatoes…with a side of fresh garden salsa. #whatsfordinner #smashedpotatoes #mashedpotatoes #potatoes #shavedbeef #stretchingingredients #tastesofsouthernillinois #asliceofsouthernillinois #mushrooms

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