Making mince go further

(14 Posts)
ItMustBeALime Tue 05-Aug-14 08:03:12

After a massive slight overspend on groceries last month I'm trying to do better. Yesterday I bulked out my bolognese with veg and made 4 meals when usually I'd have made 2 (and no one even noticed it was less meaty). Now I'm wondering if I could achieve similar with beef chilli - if I added 2 cans of kidney beans rather than 1 and 2 peppers rather than the usual 1, would this work, or would it be more noticeable than bulking out bolognese?

beccajoh Tue 05-Aug-14 08:06:48

You could add a handful or two of red lentils. They'll mush down into the sauce and not really be noticeable but will fill people up.

JamForTea Tue 05-Aug-14 08:08:44

No I do this all the time with chilli. I also add very finely chopped carrot and sliced mushroom. I add 1 of kidney beans and 1 of chick peas just for a bit of variety. I've heard of bulking mince out with lentils although I've never tried it. My sister uses quorn mince (cheaper) with normal mince to make it go further.

I was also going to say lentils, I use them all the time. The other day I made a shepherds pie and threw in some leftover couscous with veg- you couldn't really tell the couscous was in it, but it bulked it out. I also use baked beans in some meals with mince and often swap beef mince for Turkey.

ItMustBeALime Tue 05-Aug-14 08:23:52

So to expose my ignorance... do you precook lentils? Or just throw them in?

And jamfortea I like the finely chopped carrot idea, I'm forever trying to sneak veg into my husband (the children are fine...)

ItMustBeALime Tue 05-Aug-14 08:24:13

How much carrot can I sneak in do you think?

SixImpossible Tue 05-Aug-14 08:29:08

Lentils, beans, veg (especially finely chopped), soya mince and quorn mince are all good for bulking out mince, but you have to bear in mind that the balance of flavours may change. I find that I often need an extra meat stock cube or more of the robust flavours like black pepper, chilli, curry or paprika. Rarely need more of the gentle, herby flavours. Sometimes, especially when bulking out with veg, the sauce gets a bit watery and you may need to thicken it with cornflour. You can eke the meat out a little further without much tweaking, but if you tweak the flavours and thicken the sauce, you can halve the amount of mince in a dish.

My favourite 'bulker' for texture is soya mince (but it gives me dreadful wind, so I rarely use it). My favourite 'bulker' for flavour, speed and nutrition is tinned green lentils (but dc1 won't touch beans or lentils that aren't liquidised, so I rarely use them). I don't like quorn. My dc eat a lot of vegetables grin!

gutted2014 Tue 05-Aug-14 08:30:19

If you grate 'hard' veg such as carrot, swede etc you can get a fair amount in. Mushrooms also go in nicely & a tin or two of tomatoes (not sure about chilli, though, as we don't eat that)

Theas18 Tue 05-Aug-14 08:31:22

Lentils in all mince dishes is fine. Just bung in at start of cooking. My mince dishes are 400g to 8 portions or more as a rule, with plenty of veg ( now sliced in processor as people don't mind, when kids were fussy I'd blast carrots/celery/courgette and onion to tiny fragments in the food processor before cooking!).

The other " invisible" bulking/thickening agent I use is porridge oats ( not ready brek!) . A good couple of handfuls at the start of cooking. It makes a lovely sauce that sticks to your pasta better too.

DwellsUndertheSink Tue 05-Aug-14 08:38:07

when we were growing up (poor), my mum used to put breadcrumbs into the mince. It absorbs all the flavours and adds some bulk to the sauce too.

Footle Tue 05-Aug-14 08:38:36

Leave out the mince ?

SixImpossible Tue 05-Aug-14 08:49:09

Ooo I like the oats idea! I shall try that today.

FishWithABicycle Tue 05-Aug-14 08:57:48

lentils, as other people have said.

I also bung in grated broccoli stalk as no-one likes the stalk and only eat the "flowery" bit but I hate throwing away the stalk.

Finely chopped mushrooms.

MadMonkeys Tue 05-Aug-14 13:26:43

Oats are great for stretching mince further and thickening sauces - in bolognaise, chilli, shepherds pie etc. Grated carrot too and I rather like green lentils - I buy the dented tins for 10p whenever I spot them.

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