We eat quite a bit of ground beef here. Spaghetti, lasagna, nachos, enchiladas, hamburgers, beef skillet (a homemade version of hamburger helper), meatloaf, meatballs, shepherds pie, pastits, etc. Anyway, I have been working on ways to increase the bulk of the ground beef while using less beef, decreasing fat and calories, not greatly changing flavor and not going the soy route. Here is what I have come up with and how it works for us:
carrots: My preference with these is ground (if you have a meat grinder handy), but shredded works fine too, works best with Mexican and Italian flavors, decrease the amount in things like meatloaf and burgers
onions: I use this in pretty much all of my beef mixes, grind or finely chop
brown rice or steel cut oats: these give the chew texture that is similar too beef, dont go overboard with it though or it will give a 'fake chewuy' texture that I just cannot describe
mushrooms: these have a naturally earthy full flavor of their own that works well with beef. I would not buy them primarily as a meat stretcher, but it is a great way to use up extra mushrooms before they spoil, these go over well in burgers and meatloaf
breadcrumbs: use any type of leftover bread heels or whatnot for this, a little goes a long way, hels uwith binding for burgers, meatloaves, meatballs, etc
Anyone have any other 'dirty little secrets' for stretching and (dare I say) fortifying their beef?