I’m always game for trying something new to make our diet healthier or to help us save money. So, I was intrigued by the idea of adding cooked wheat to our browned hamburger to make it stretch farther. I gave it a try for dinner tonight, and I thought you might like a report.
I started with whole wheat kernels (hard white for you afficianados), which I originally purchased for grinding. I boiled 1/2 cup of wheat and one cup of water in my rice maker. After one cycle, it was still too firm, so I added a second cup of water and ran it a second cycle.
When it was time to cook the meat, I added 1/2 an onion, the cup of cooked wheat, and 1lb. of ground beef to a skillet. I cooked this mixture, stirring frequently, until the hamburger was brown and the onion was soft. I drained the beef and then added taco seasoning. I added the seasoned meat to Mexican lasagna (think layered tortillas, meat, and cheese) and put it in the oven.
I did not tell my family what I was up to, but it didn’t take my 12 year old son long to ask, “Is there any meat in this stuff?” So I fessed up to what I had done. What did my crew think:
12 yr. old son: The wheat was a little too chewy (I would tend to agree)
Everyone else: Couldn’t really tell a big difference. This is perfectly acceptable to them.
My verdict: This was okay, and I may try it as a stretcher for some other ground meat dishes. For Mexican dishes, I think it is yummier to stretch the meat with a can of beans that have been drained (easier, too). We often use bulgur in grilled hamburgers. I think I may try that next time.
Note: You do not have to fake your family out with “wheat meat” to save money on groceries. You will hear me say often, frugality is practically a sport for me. It’s all in good fun.