In my daily activities I come across many contests and challenges out there for food bloggers. What you learn along the way is you have to be picky and choosy with what you take on as recipe testing, buying ingredients, making notes, testing again until you get it right, photographing and the like all takes a tremendous amount of time. Which is why I admittedly do not enter as many as I used to. Although I still love a challenge which is where this Thai Beef in Toast Cups with Mango Salsa recipe comes in.
Weeks ago I caught wind of a contest featuring ground beef and mushrooms encouraging us Food Bloggers to Blend & Extend these two special ingredients to show you can get more vegetables (in this case mushrooms) into your meals without the family knowing. We are fortunate in that our kids love almost all vegetables fresh with mushrooms being one of them. My daughter actually eats them whole and peels them like a banana (there’s one in every crowd)!
When I started recipe testing for this challenge I made three separate beef and mushroom dishes over the course of a couple of days. Each recipe had it’s own unique flavour profile and was inspired by recipes I already make. The caveat, they needed to be bite size.
To each recipe I added just over a cup of minced fresh white button mushrooms. I was pleasantly surprised you couldn’t even tell there were mushrooms mixed in with the beef. The kids, not any wiser, enjoyed each recipe for different reasons. As such new recipes have been born and at least one will be entered into the contest.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from two I currently make which are both very popular on the blog. Cesar Salad in Toast Cups and a Pork Thai Salad with Jalapeno & Mint. I took the flavour profile from the Pork Thai Salad and infused it into the beef, mixing in mushrooms, and topping it with a delicious mango salsa. I make varieties of the Salad Toast Cups so using the toast cup itself as the vessel to hold the beef and mushroom mixture worked perfectly. I knew I wanted to top it with something fresh so a minced mango salsa was prepared to top the beef. The flavour combination worked well. Out of six taste testers (young and old) I’d say only 1 gave it a thumbs down.
Here is how I made Thai Beef in Toast Cups with Mango Salsa.
- 1½ lbs ground beef
- 1 cup white button mushrooms, finely diced
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tbsp soya sauce
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup mango, diced small
- 2 tbsp red onion, small dice
- 1 jalapeno pepper, remove seeds, small dice
- 2 tbsp cilantro, chopped
- ½ lime, juiced
- 6 pieces of normal size bread (like wonderbread) with all 4 sides/crusts removed
- Cooking spray or melted butter
- Mini muffin tins
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Add beef and break it up into smaller crumbles. Cook a few more minutes and add in your mushrooms. Continue to cook until you get a good brown on the beef. Brown = flavour.
- In a bowl or cup mix together ½ cup water, fish sauce, sugar, sesame oil, soya sauce and stir. Pour into beef mixture, cook until almost all liquid is gone and flavours combined. Set aside to cool a bit.
- To make the salsa, in a bowl mix together mango, red onion, jalapeno, cilantro, pinch of salt and lime juice. Set aside.
- To make toast cups, preheat your oven to 350F
- Cut the crusts off each piece of bread. Cut each piece into four equal squares.
- Spray mini muffin tins with cooking spray or brush with melted butter.
- Flatten each piece of bread a little with your hand or a rolling pin. Gently press each bread square into a mini muffin cup. Give another quick spray or brush of melted butter. Continue until you have filled all 12 mini muffin cups or if you have two pans, 24. If you do not have two pans, you will need to do this two times.
- Place in oven and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the bread has turned lightly brown. Remove from pan, place on platter and begin assembling.
- Scoop a little beef mixture into each toast cup. Top with a small amount of the mango salsa. If you have juice in the salsa sprinkle a little on top. You can either top with a cilantro leaf or serve as is. Serve immediately.