Of course, in those days, I used smaller amounts since it was just the 2 of us, but with the teenage boys in our household, I had to learn to cook in larger quantities to satisfy their enormous appetites. This version of the recipe reflects those quantities. Feel free to cut the proportions in half if you are a smaller household. Or you can cook it as it is here, and freeze any leftovers to have for a dinner a few weeks down the line.
Another thing - this recipe is extremely versatile. So, quantities can easily be adjusted for more people, more or less meat, more/different vegetables, or more or less rice, etc.
You can also sometimes save time and money by using canned mushrooms when they are a cheaper option than fresh mushrooms. That happens more often than you’d think, so be sure to check your store flyer or the aisle where they are located. You want mushrooms with a dry weight (check the side of the can) of 4 ounces or more. I add them undrained to the mix at the end, and just heat them through.
And as always, I only buy meat when it’s on sale. I’ll stock up on an extra pound or two when that happens and freeze the extra. In any event, I will not pay more than $2 per pound for any meat, and usually wait until I can find it for less.
Just a word about the cooking and prep time for this recipe. First let me say that it's much easier to cook this in a large capacity pot rather than a frying pan -- even a very large one. It's just hard to mix everything together without making a mess when you use a shallow pan. Particularly if you're new to cooking. I do it both ways, but I recommend using a large pot if you have that option.
But you can also use the cooking time to get your salad ready and set your table. That’s a good habit to establish whenever you are cooking anyway, since it will save you time and a mad scramble as you're trying to get the meal on the table.
Here's the recipe:
Makes 8-10 hearty servings
Prep time – Approx. 30-35 minutes
Start to finish time – Approx. 45 minutes
Total recipe cost – Approx. $12.00
Total per person meal cost with tossed salad – Approx. $1.75
3-5 cups of cooked brown rice
1½ cups of uncooked brown rice (or as much or as little as you want)
2 pounds of ground turkey (or meat of your choice)
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 medium onion
4 large stalks of celery
1 pound carrots (approximately)
1 pound broccoli (approximately) or zucchini
(or any combination of 1- 1½ pounds of a vegetable of your choice)
¼ pound fresh mushrooms
8-16-ounce can of mushroom pieces
1 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
¼ cup soy sauce, preferably low-sodium (or to taste)
(Recipe continues after photos)
- If using uncooked rice, then add 1½ cups of rice to 3¼ cups of water and bring to a boil, covered, over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 35 minutes. Remove from direct heat when it is done and set aside, covered.
- In the meantime, continue with the meal preparations by peeling and dicing the medium onion. Set it aside on a large plate.
- Wash and dice the 4 stalks of celery and set aside with the onion.
- Wash, scrub, and cut the pound of carrots in half rounds or other pieces, about ¼-inch in thickness.
- If you’re using broccoli or any other vegetable, cut it up to make about 3 cups. A little more or less if perfectly fine, too.
- If you are using fresh mushrooms, wash ¼ pound of them in a bowl of water, slice them, and set them aside with the other vegetables.
- Peel and chop or mince the 3 cloves of garlic and set aside, separate from the other vegetables.
- Heat the oil in a large pot or frying pan over medium heat for about 1-2 minutes. Stir in all the cut vegetables, except the garlic, and stir to coat with the oil. Cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until the celery and onions are translucent.
- Add the chopped or minced garlic and cook for about 30 seconds longer.
- Add the 2 pounds of ground meat to the vegetable mix, chopping and breaking it up with a metal spatula. Mix it into the vegetable mix carefully and thoroughly. Cook the meat for about 10-15 minutes, stirring and mixing frequently until all the pink is gone, and it is cooked through.
- Using a clean spatula or spoon in order to avoid cross contamination, add the soy sauce and the black pepper to the meat, mixing well.
- If you are using canned mushrooms, add them now, with their liquid. Cover and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
- While the meat is simmering, if you are using leftover rice, then put it into a covered microwavable dish with about ¼ cup of water and heat it on high for about 2 minutes.
- Add the desired amount of hot rice from the pot or the microwave to the meat, mixing thoroughly and carefully.
- Adjust seasonings to taste and remove the pan from direct heat. Keep it covered until you are ready to serve.
- Serve with a tossed salad for a very nice meal.