Calorie Savers: 4 Ways to Stretch the Beef

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Love meat? Read on to learn how to keep the flavor, cut the fat, all while stretching a buck!

Love Italian sausage? Instead of serving up 4 giant links of sausage alongside your pasta meal, why not use one link to flavor 3/4 pound of lean ground turkey? Remove the casing and brown the meats together, making sure to drain and blot the meats when cooked. Add additional Italian seasoning if desired.

Compare the calories:
Italian sausage (4-ounce link):
391 calories, 35.4 g fat, 12.7 g saturated fat
With sausage and lean ground beef (4 ounces):
322 calories, 26.4 g fat, 10.3 g saturated fat
With lean ground turkey and Italian sausage:
242 calories, 16.9 g fat, 5.3 g saturated fat

Serving sausage sandwiches? Try turkey Italian sausage topped with plenty of grilled onions, peppers and tomatoes. And don't forget the whole-wheat buns.

Turkey Italian sausage (4 ounces)
160 calories, 10 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat

Want to keep the beef but make it go a little further? Here are three ways to extend your meat.

1. Finely chop a cup and a half of mushrooms for every four ounces of meat. If you've got one pound of beef and want to double it, add 6 cups of mushrooms. Use the food processor to create a crumbled meat texture. You're still getting protein, along with the valuable minerals contained in mushrooms.
Per serving comparison:
Ground beef (4 ounces):
300 calories, 23.4 g fat, 9.4 saturated fat
Ground turkey (4 ounces):
192 calories, 10.8 g fat, 2.8 g saturated fat
Mushrooms and ground beef (4 ounces):
161 calories, 11.9 g fat, 4.7 g saturated fat

Mushrooms and ground turkey (4 ounces):
54 calories, 2.8 g fat, 0.7 g saturated fat

2. Add black or pinto beans to beef (equal parts). Brown beef, drain and blot grease, then add beans and seasonings and heat.
Beef and beans (4 ounces):
206 calories, 12 g fat, 4.8 saturated fat
Turkey and beans (4 ounces):
153 calories, 5.6 g fat, 1.4 g saturated fat

3. Add soy crumbles to beef or turkey. Brown meat, blot and drain grease, then add seasonings and add soy crumbles to heat through.
Soy crumbles with beef (4 ounces):
206 calories,14.9 g fat, 5.5 g saturated fat
Soy crumbles with turkey (4 ounces):
154 calories, 8.6 g fat, 2.2 g saturated fat

Experiment with ratios to suit your tastes!

Tip: It's also good karma to cut back on beef from time to time: A pound of grain uses less than 1% of the water needed to produce a pound of beef.

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Thanks for the tips! I am the only female in my house and my hubby and boys are all meat eaters.....big meat eaters! I can't wait to start incorporating these ideas into my meals! Report
You can also add other vegetables like a can of diced tomatoes or frozen spinach that has been thawed and drained and a soy alternative to add is reconstituted TVP. Report
Thanks for the info. This is a great help! Report
Spicy Italian sausage is my favourite!
Hone made turkey burgers are THE best! Report
Thank you so much for all of the info !! Report
I loved the tips, and I can not wait to try them, I am going to do ground turkey and mushrooms it sounds great.. Report
We cut the beef frequently both by having chicken or turkey and by having the occasional veggie meal. My son and I love a variety of veggies and sometimes he will suggest that we just have 3-5 different veggies instead of meat, veggies, and potatoes or rice. We also do occasional soup or egg meals during the week instead of meat meals. Report
What a fabulous idea! I just made lasagna and felt that the Italian sausage was overwhelming. Next time I'll cut the sausage down and add ground turkey. Report
My family, except myself, hates mushrooms but I tried your tip about crumbling it, and added it with hamburger to a dish of goulash and they never even knew the difference. Thanks Alot, Great Tip! Report
Sounds great
Fantastic Idea!! I am definitley going to do this! Report
Great idea! Report
Thanks! Report
Great advice! Report
Thanks for the great information. Report
Thanks for the great ideas! Report
Love the ideas Sparkers!! Report
love the ideas Report
Exellent! Good for our health and it is saving money too. Report
Great idea!!!! Report
Thanks!! Very good ideas and my family will like these also!! Report
We love Italian sausage but also know it's not the best choice. My mother suggested mixing it with ground turkey. We add mushrooms to everything but haven't tried to use beans to much. I'll check a few changes. THANKS. Report
Love the ideas! Thanks..;-)
Thank you for this article! I love Italian Sausage, pepper & onion sandwiches. Report
Great Ideas!!! THANKS Report
Not only are these tips health concious they are also budge concious. Thanks for posting it. Report
This is really good advice but some of use have dietary restrictions so they aren't really helpful for me. I can't tolerate ground turkey or soy, and since I have IBS, i really can't do beans. But thanks for the suggestion about adding mushrooms to ground meat. That I can definitely try. Report
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