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I heart mushrooms. I always have. Whether it’s a giant portabella on the grill, mixed into a pasta sauce for spaghetti night, or just having it topped on a juicy burger, I love it any way I can get it. I could never figure out why I loved them so much when I was younger, until I started studying food and it’s make up. Needless to say, Mushrooms are pretty kick ass.
Besides being able to adapt their taste to whatever meal you are making, Italian, Asian or what-have-you, they provide a great amount of vitamins for the body.
-Did you know that mushrooms are the only produce that actually has Vitamin D in it? Most of us know to get it from the Sun, dairy, or in pill form, but a good amount of ‘shrooms on your plate can do the trick. It’s also a great source of Calcium, Selenium, Potassium, Riboflavin and Niacin. Talk about dietary overload!
-They also provide a great source of protein. I know lots of vegetarians and vegans love to use mushrooms to get that protein punch they need to stay healthy, so why not base a meal or two around it a few times a month? Also, not only is a great source of protein, it’s a FAT FREE source of protein.
-Did you also know that mushrooms actually aren’t too hard to grow? They’re found in the wild quite a bit, so I think we frugal mavens can have such a good time growing them. Not into growing your edible buttons? Get them from the store for a low price. I personally can’t wait to go to the farmers’ markets this summer and stock up on some of the more interesting varieties of mushrooms. Ever had a blue or purple mushroom? They exist! I’ve seen it!
The mushroom concoction pictured above included, baby bells sliced with an egg slicer, sliced, multicolored peppers and onions sliced thin. I cooked it all in my wok and we had it as a side dish that night. There was so much that I split the leftovers in 3, placed in freezer bags and they are saved in the freezer for future meals, like stir fry, burrito or burger night.
This soup was made with the mushroom stems and a few sliced ‘shrooms I reserved on the side. I heated up some turkey stock I had in the freezer, added in half a ramen packet of chicken flavor, and let it boil. Once I could smell the broth, I turned it to a simmer, added in chopped onion and the mushrooms. I let it cook for about 2 minutes, added in a splash of soy for flavor and called it Chinese mushroom soup. We had it along with my recipe for fried rice. It was divine and so easy.
So, here’s the challenge: create at least one meal this month featuring(or hiding) mushrooms. This will be a great way to start stretching those frugal meals you have to put on the table every night. Since they are so inexpensive, you can try out a new recipe and have it not effect the budget. The goal is to find at least one new recipe that you can go to that is meatless but provides lots of nutrients. Need inspiration? The Mushroom Channel has great information on mushrooms and even greater recipes.
Any of you love mushrooms like I do? Anyone loathe them?