Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cheap and quick, but healthy eats - minute steaks with mushrooms in tomato sauce

copyright Durhamonthecheap - stewed tomatoes with steak, mushrooms and sauce! 

Beef is rarely on the table in the house because it is so expensive. Even if you go to Aldi for most of your groceries or select the Manager's Special at Kroger, beef is just so expensive these days. So whenever I buy beef, especially for steaks, I stretch out the meat into several dinners by adding plenty of vegetables in the preparation or grilling it in a way that a little goes a long way, such as using London Broil grilled and later on sliced to make steak sandwiches.

Some time ago, I had picked up minute steaks on sale. They had a price I was willing to pay and I figured I could always use them grilled in a dish that would combine the steak flavor with some other flavors to make family-size meals from tiny amounts of beef. Last week I thawed out the steaks, added salt and pepper for flavor, chopped a little bit of yellow onion and added the onions and steaks finely sliced to a pan with some oil. After searing the meat on both sides to retain flavor and juices, it was time to add the vegetables.  I had bought some baby Portobello mushrooms from Aldi as well as found one leftover Roma tomato from Aldi in the fridge that was not fresh enough anymore to use in salads. I decided to add the beef to some homemade mushroom-tomato sauce.

copyright Durhamonthecheap - the finished product. Stretching a little beef into a couple of family-sized meals!
I sliced the mushrooms and tomato, then opened a can of stewed whole Roma tomatoes and let the mix cook down until all the liquid was gone. This increased the flavor tremendously and then I added a little of water back to the mix to lift the baked-on bits off the pan and make a nice dark sauce for the dish.

As you can see from the photo above, the eventual meal is a lot of veggies and some flavor from the minute steaks. Because of all the tomatoes and mushrooms, the dish is loaded with vitamins and still high in carbohydrates and protein because of the Portobello mushrooms. I like to use these mushrooms to boost the protein content of meals in a healthy way and substitute them in lieu of adding real meat. Since I did not add any spices, other than the little salt and pepper initially used to fry the steaks, the you can still taste the steaks and that is enough to please the meat-eaters in my household.

So next time, Aldi has some Portobello mushrooms on sale, pick up an extra package or two and start using these mushrooms instead of or in combination with the more expensive meat to add protein to your dishes in a budget friendly way.

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