Monthly Archives: January 2014

beef stroganoff


Beef Stroganoff is such a comfort food for me. I have fond memories of my mom making it for us growing up, but I also remember it somehow originating from a can or two of condensed soup. I try to steer clear of the canned soups due to their sodium content, but I did decide to whip this recipe up using conveniently pre-made meatballs.┬áIf I wasn’t so rushed, I probably would have used a nice piece of beef tenderloin to make this, but by using the meatballs, I had dinner on the table in less than a half hour. You just can’t beat the convenience in this case.

To come up with this recipe, I read through a few others and mixed and matched various ingredients that sounded like they’d be yummy together. The end result was delicious! The flavours were just right, the perfect balance of rich without being heavy. I even witnessed one of the boys licking their plate clean!

Beef (meatball) Stroganoff
1 package frozen meatballs, prepared as per the cooking instructions
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped (the next time I make this I may use shallots instead! I think they would be an excellent alternate ingredient)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1 lb white button mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp dry sherry
1 cup low-sodium beef broth
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
Salt & pepper to taste
Cooked, large egg noodles
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish

In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion & garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle with paprika and cook another minute or so.

Add mushrooms and saute until browned and the liquid has evaporated, about 8-10 minutes.

Add sherry and deglaze your pan. Keep cooking until slightly reduced. Add broth & and stir. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce just covers the mushroom & onion mixture.

Stir in sour cream and add meatballs. Simmer until everything is heated through. Serve over cooked egg noodles and sprinkle with parsley. Enjoy!

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I realize you can’t really *see* the mushrooms in this picture, but they’re there. I promise.

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simple bolognese sauce


Pasta bolognese. The meal that will ensure that everyone in the household eats a good hearty meal. It’s all about the basics, isn’t it? I sometimes wonder why I bother with the fancy, complicated stuff sometimes when something as simple as a bowl of pasta with a rich meat sauce makes everyone happy.

I whipped up this lovely version of a simplified bolognese recipe from Giada De Laurentiis – simplified because it uses only ground beef and leaves out the pork, pancetta and wine that usually goes into a bolognese. Although simplified, the taste is still full and rich. We served the pasta on rotini which I find holds the sauce really well.

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Simple Bolognese Sauce
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 celery stalk, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 pound ground chuck beef
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes – I used a 28 oz can of whole San Marzano tomatoes which I crushed in my hands
1/4 cup flat-leaf Italian parsley, chiffonade
8 fresh basil leaves, chiffonade
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil until almost smoking. Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions become very soft, about 8 minutes.

Add the celery and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

Turn up heat to high and add the ground beef. Saute, stirring frequently and breaking up any large lumps and cook until meat is no longer pink, about 8 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, parsley and basil and cook over medium low heat until the sauce thickens, about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes. Season to taste and top with parmigiano.

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beef with snow peas


This is, without a doubt, one of my husband’s favourite recipes and, because Mr. Difficult loves this recipe, so do I. Don’t get me wrong, it isn’t that he’s difficult and won’t eat my cooking, but he rarely raves about a recipe, or goes back for seconds. As he once explained it to me, he eats to satisfy hunger, not for the pleasure of eating (what on earth is wrong with him??? although, my thighs might benefit from that mentality…) I love it because flank steak is probably one of my favourite cuts of meat and the salty & tangy flavours are just plain awesomesauce (yes. I did just say awesomesauce.) Bonus – it only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish!

The Pioneer Woman deserves all the credit for this recipe http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2010/10/beef-with-snow-peas/ I discovered it a few years ago, made it frequently and then it appeared to have slipped from my radar. Snow peas were on sale this week, and I absolutely had to try out my brand-spanking new cast iron skillet this weekend. Going through my recipe binder, I spotted this gem. I had some flank steak in the freezer and all the other required ingredients. Beef & snow peas it was! I made a boatload of food, expecting a few lunches out of the meal. It turns out there was only one pretty average-sized portion left over: an overall success!

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Beef with Snow Peas
1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced very thin and against the grain
1/2 cup soy sauce
3 tbsp sherry or cooking sherry
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tbsp minced ginger
8 oz (about 2 cups worth) snow peas, ends trimmed
5 green onions, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
3 tbsp peanut oil
Rice

In a medium-sized bowl, mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Pour about half the liquid over the meat in a separate bowl and toss. Reserve the other half of the liquid.

In a heavy skillet (iron or wok), heat oil over high heat. You want that skillet as hot as possible. Throw in the snow peas and cook, stirring frequently for 45 seconds. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Let your pan get screaming hot again. Add about half your meat mixture to the skillet. Toss in about half of the green onions. Try not to touch or stir your meat for about a minute. Let it get brown and slightly crispy. Turn the meat over and cook for another 30 seconds. Remove your meat to a clean plate.

Add some oil to your pan and allow it to get very hot. Repeat the above with the rest of your meat. After you’ve turned it, add the first batch of meat, the rest of the marinade and the snow peas. Stir and cook for another 30 seconds and turn off the heat. Your sauce will thicken as it sits.

Serve right away over rice and enjoy!

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