Hamburger Monterey


By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by The Mushroom Council and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.

Hamburger Monterey in Cast Iron Pan

When I started this blog, my sweet great-grandparents began sending me some of their favorite recipes.  One of their favorites, Hamburger Monterey, quickly became a favorite in our house as well and brought back fond memories of my mom also making this dish when I was young. It also seems to fit, as we are living in Monterey, California right now.

I really love making recipes that are passed down from generation to generation.  A couple months ago I posted some recipes from the hubby’s grandmother’s handwritten cookbook, and I am really happy to post this recipe from my side of the family.

Hamburger Monterey

Probably the biggest shock to me when I started eating and learning about real food is the cost of  local, humanely raised meat.  When you are used to paying a buck a pound for conventional ground beef, $4-$5 a pound (in California) is quite a jump!   For us, I think the extra cost is worth it in the long run.  I feel better about the meat because it was produced humanely and was fed good food, unlike conventional meat that was grown in close quarters, fed corn, and diseased.  If you haven’t seen it, you should check out the documentary, Food Inc. for a look into the meat industry.

There are ways to stretch out your budget and get more meals out of the same amount of meat.  One of these ways is to use some type of meat filler, like maltodextrin, cornstarch, or the infamous pink slime! Fast food is known for adding other stuff to their meat to make it go farther. We can do the same thing at home, but in a much healthier way. What about using mushrooms? Because mushrooms are way better for you than cornstarch and breadcrumbs, or fast food meat fillers.


Did you know you can finely chop mushrooms, sauté them, and mix them with ground beef?  It is called “blendability“, according to the Mushroom Council.

Using this technique can help save money. Plus, getting more veggies into your diet is always a good thing.

I’ve made Hamburger Monterey several times and decided to try it replacing half the meat with mushrooms.  Guess what… 1/2 pound of ground beef gave us five meals! Now $4-$5 a pound doesn’t sound so bad!  The other 1/2 pound of meat was used a couple nights later to make two burgers.  So that is a total of 7 servings on 1 pound of ground beef!

Speaking of burgers, the Mushroom Council is holding a Facebook Swap It or Top It Contest! If you have a great burger recipe that uses the blendability technique explained above, uses a portebella in place of the meat, or tops the burger with mushrooms, then you can enter.  The winner gets $5,000!

swap it or top it

This Hamburger Monterey dish makes great leftovers and freezes well.  I like to make it in my large cast iron skillet.  I seriously use that thing for everything!

5.0 from 1 reviews

Hamburger Monterey
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Cook time

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Use mushrooms in place of ½ the ground beef to save money and get an extra serving of vegetables. This dish is one of the hubby's favorites!
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4-6

  • 6 strips bacon
  • ½ pound ground beef
  • ½ pound cremini mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon arrowroot powder*
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ pound white or yellow sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup dry whole wheat elbow macaroni or penne

  1. Dice bacon and fry until crisp. Remove bacon and reserve bacon grease.
  2. Meanwhile, finely mince the mushrooms (I did this in my Vitamix). Saute in a little oil in a separate pan.
  3. Mix ground beef and sautéed mushrooms together in a bowl. Form into 1 inch balls and cook in the bacon grease until browned, a couple minutes each side.
  4. Remove and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the water and cook the pasta two minutes less than the package recommends.
  6. Dice onion and peppers and saute in the same pan until soft.
  7. Add kidney beans, tomato sauce, chili powder, arrowroot powder, salt and pepper, and bacon.
  8. Lower heat to medium-low. Add cheese and stir until it melts.
  9. Add pasta and meatballs, and simmer on low for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

*Arrowroot powder can be substituted with flour in this recipe.


Do you guys have any tips on saving money while eating real food?  I’d love to hear them!


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  1. Farah @ The Cooking Jar

    That’s one great looking dish. I have a HUGE weakness for meat shaped into balls and these are cooked in bacon grease, no less! I’ve been using the blendability technique in my spaghetti sauce for quite some time, it works so well! Didn’t know there was a name for it though 🙂

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      Thank you Farah. This dish is definitely a winner! I had never even though of mixing mushrooms and meat like this before, but I think I’ll start doing it more often. I’ll have to try it with spaghetti sauce next time 🙂

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