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A Savory Solution to Stretch Your Grocery Budget

(Family Features)

September 29, 2022

In today's world, grocery shopping can seem more like a burden than an opportunity to gather supplies for your family's favorite meals. With prices of everyday ingredients fluctuating almost daily, it's important for many families to make their dollars go further at the store.

Easy ways to stretch your grocery budget, like using versatile ingredients, can make the checkout experience a little less impactful on your household's finances. Consider the benefits of mushrooms, which provide a delicious option to enhance flavor in favorite recipes while extending portions in an affordable way.

Save Money
Stretch your dollars by stretching your meals using a process called "The Blend." Blending finely chopped mushrooms with ground meat can extend portion sizes of your favorite meaty recipes and help your bottom line. Chop your favorite mushroom variety to match the consistency of ground meat, blend the chopped mushrooms and meat together then cook to complete the recipe. For burgers, use a blend of 25% finely chopped mushrooms and 75% ground meat. For tacos or chili, use 50% mushrooms and 50% meat or an even higher mushroom-to-meat ratio.

Savor the Flavor
The savory umami taste of mushrooms means a flavorful experience in blended recipes like burgers, where the chopped mushrooms help hold in the juiciness. Or you can chop, quarter, slice or enjoy them whole in recipes like Garlic-Rosemary Butter Roasted Chicken Thighs and Veggies with Mushroom Orzo Risotto, Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Lasagna Soup or Blended Pasta Sauce paired with your favorite pasta.

One Carton, Multiple Dishes
Thanks to mushrooms' versatility, you can buy one large carton of mushrooms to chop up then bulk up multiple dishes, from a morning omelet to hearty soups to blended burgers.

Serve Up Nutrition
Low-calorie, low-sodium, fat-free and cholesterol-free, mushrooms are nutrient rich and can play a starring role in a variety of meals. With an array of fresh varieties and nearly endless ways to prepare them, they can be your powerhouse from the produce department.

Find more recipe ideas and ways to make the most of your grocery store dollars at:

Garlic-Rosemary Butter Roasted Chicken Thighs and Veggies with Mushroom Orzo Risotto, recipe courtesy of Emily Weeks, MS, RD, on behalf of the Mushroom Council.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4

• 8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• 6 Tablespoons of unsalted butter
• 16 Ounces mushrooms, such as white button, crimini or portabella, quartered
• 3 Zucchinis, sliced in half moons
• 3 Large thinly sliced carrots
• 4 Sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves removed and roughly chopped
• 4 Minced cloves of garlic

• 4 Cups of Chicken or Vegetable Broth
• 1 Tablespoon of unsalted butter
• 1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 Small diced yellow onion
• 2 Minced garlic cloves
• 16 Ounces of mushrooms, such as white button, crimini or portabella, finely chopped
• 1 Cup of uncooked orzo pasta
• 1/8 Teaspoon of black pepper
• 1/3 Cups of white wine
• 1/3 Cups of shredded Parmesan cheese

To make the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 450 F.

Pat the chicken dry. Season them with salt and pepper, to taste. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Sear the Chicken until it is brown on both sides, 4-5 minutes on each side.

In a large bowl, toss the mushrooms, the zucchini and the carrots with rosemary and garlic.

On a large baking sheet, spread the vegetables. Nestle the Chicken into the vegetables. Drizzle them with butter and juices from the pan.

Bake them for 20 minutes until the Chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.

To make the orzo: In a small pot over medium-low heat, warm the broth.

Using a skillet from the Chicken over medium heat, add the butter and the olive oil. Add the onions, the garlic and the mushrooms. Cook, stirring them occasionally, until the onions soften, 3-4 minutes.

Add the orzo and the black pepper. Stir and cook the orzo for 2 minutes. Add the white wine and cook it until it has evaporated, about 1 minute.

Add the broth to the orzo, 2/3 cup at a time, stirring until the liquid is absorbed. Repeat with the remaining broth, waiting until the last batch is absorbed before adding the next one. Remove them from heat and stir in the Parmesan.

Serve in individual bowls with Chicken and roasted vegetables atop mushroom orzo risotto.

Blended Pasta Sauce
Recipe courtesy of the Mushroom Council

• 2 Tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
• 1 Medium finely chopped yellow onion
• 3 Minced garlic cloves
• 1 Pound of mushrooms (such as white button, crimini or portabella), finely chopped
• 1 Pound of 80% Lean Ground Beef
• 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning
• 1 Teaspoon of Kosher salt
• 1 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce

• Cooked pasta
• Salt to taste
• Pepper to taste
• Grated Parmesan cheese

In a large pot over medium heat, add the oil and cook the onions, stirring them occasionally, until they are just soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook them for 1 minute.

Add the mushrooms and cook them for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and reduced in size.

Add the Ground Beef, the Italian seasoning and the salt; cook them until they are browned throughout, about 6 minutes, stirring and breaking up the lumps. Skim off the fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons.

Stir in the marinara sauce and reduce the heat to low. Cook them for 10 minutes.

Serve over the cooked pasta, season them with salt and pepper to taste and top it with grated Parmesan.

Creamy Spinach, Mushroom and Lasagna Soup, recipe courtesy of Emily Weeks, MS, RD, on behalf of the Mushroom Council.

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

• 1 Tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 Minced cloves of garlic
• 1 Small diced medium onion
• 8 Ounces of mushrooms, such as white button, crimini or portabella, sliced
• 1 24 ounce jar of marinara sauce
• 1 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
• 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste
• 2 Teaspoons of balsamic vinegar
• 1 Teaspoon of granulated sugar
• 1 Tablespoon of dried basil
• 1/2 Teaspoon of salt
• 1 Teaspoon of oregano
• 1/2 Teaspoon of black pepper
• 1 Bay leaf
• 3 Cups of Vegetable Broth
• 6 Lasagna noodles, broken into pieces
• 1/2 Cup of heavy cream
• 5 Ounces of fresh baby spinach
• 1 Cup of whole milk ricotta
• 1/2 Cup of shredded mozzarella cheese, for topping

Heat a large pot over medium heat. Add the olive oil, the garlic, the onion and the mushrooms. Cook them, stirring them occasionally, until the onions and the mushrooms soften, about 4-5 minutes.

Add the marinara, the diced tomatoes, the tomato paste, the vinegar, the sugar, the basil, the salt, the oregano, the pepper, the bay leaf and the broth. Bring it to a boil over the high heat then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer. Add the lasagna noodles and cook them, stirring them often, until they are softened, about 15 minutes.

Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf. Stir in the heavy cream and the spinach until it is wilted, about 2-3 minutes.

Divide between the bowls and top each one with a dollop of ricotta and a sprinkle of mozzarella.

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