Thursday, January 26, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

Not only had I never made beef stroganoff, I'm not entirely sure that I had ever even tasted it.

But husband loves beef stroganoff and I love husband, so when a recipe for "Reduced-Fat Beef Stroganoff" showed up in my email I decided to give it some thought.

Which I did.  For several weeks.

And then I found one of the less familiar to me ingredients (meat tenderizer) and I bought  it.

Finally, it seeme time to try it.  Last night was after all Date Night.

Here is the recipe (courtesy of Cooks Country):

Flank steak has a beefier flavor than mild tenderloin; a little meat tenderizer transformed the thin slices of tough flank steak in a matter of minutes.

Portobello mushrooms cut into slices and roasted with cooking spray provided a low-calorie substitute that allowed us to eliminate some of the meat in our Reduced-Fat Beef Stroganoff. To cut calories in the cream sauce, fat-free yogurt proved the best alternative to sour cream, but it curdled instantly when we added it to the base. Stirring egg white into the yogurt solved the problem.

Traditional recipes have 561 calories, 26 grams of fat, and 12 grams of saturated fat per serving (1 cup stroganoff and 1 cup cooked yolk-free egg noodles). Our changes brought the numbers down to 344 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 2 grams of saturated fat.

Serves 6

Serve stroganoff with 6 cups cooked yolk-free egg noodles (you'll need one 1-pound package of dried noodles).
  • 1 small flank steak (1 pound), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons meat tenderizer
  • 1 1/2 pounds portobello mushroom caps, gills removed, halved and sliced thin
  •   Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 4 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup fat-free plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1. PREPARE MEAT Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Following Step by Step photo at left, cut steak lengthwise into 3-inch-wide strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Toss meat and tenderizer together in medium bowl, cover, and refrigerate 15 to 30 minutes.
  • 2. ROAST MUSHROOMS Meanwhile, spray rimmed baking sheet lightly with cooking spray. Place mushrooms on prepared baking sheet, spray lightly with cooking spray, and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast, stirring once, until golden brown, about 15 minutes; set aside.
  • 3. SEAR STEAK Pat steak dry with paper towels. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Cook half of steak, without moving it, until browned around edges, 1 to 2 minutes. Toss steak and cook until no longer pink, about 30 seconds. Transfer to clean medium bowl. Repeat with additional 1 teaspoon oil and remaining steak.
  • 4. MAKE SAUCE Add onion, remaining oil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to now-empty skillet and cook over medium heat until browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in roasted mushrooms, flour, and tomato paste and cook until paste begins to darken, about 2 minutes. Add broth, wine, and mustard and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • 5. FINISH Whisk yogurt and egg white in small bowl until smooth. Stir steak into sauce, along with any accumulated juices, and cook until beef is heated through, about 1 minute. Off heat, add yogurt mixture and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.

Changes/mistakes I made:
  1. I'm not sure I had enough portobello mushroom.  I think it was okay in the end.  
  2. I inadvertently bought fat free VANILLA yogurt, not plain.  Thankfully I caught that before I added it to the sauce and had some reduced fat sour cream to us instead.  Danger averted!

All in all, I received an A on last night's dinner.  (Josh then modified the grade to an A-, but bumped it back to an A for all my effort.)

Cocktail was some thing called a Delmarva.
  • 2 oz Rye Whiskey
  • .5 oz Amaretto
  • .5 oz dry vermouth
  • .25 oz lime juice
This was an interesting choice because classically whiskey is paired with lemon juice (not lime) and sweet vermouth (not dry).  Again, it seemed to work.

Appetizers were Alexia cheddar bites and Alexia mushroom bites.  When do little fried nuggets of anything not please?

Dinner tonight is a frozen pizza.  Finally Digiorno made a pizza that was literally made for us:  half pepperoni, half cheese.  Woohoo!  I don't have to move the pepperonis from my portion to Josh's.

Our best friends are joining us for dinner and Chuck (the 2-hour series finale :-(  ) tomorrow.  I already have a pasta casserole made that we will eat for dinner along with a garden salad.  I also have a variety of "grazing foods" to serve.  My girlfriend LOVES stuffed mushrooms, so I will make this recipe:


  • 3 slices firm white sandwich bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 20 large (2 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter) white mushrooms (1 lb)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
  • 1 oz finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (1/2 cup)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
print a shopping list for this recipe view wine pairings


Preheat oven to 400°F.
Tear bread into pieces and pulse to coarse crumbs in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and toss with oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Spread in a shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven until golden, 6 to 8 minutes, then transfer to a bowl.
Pull stems from mushroom caps (to create space for stuffing) and finely chop stems. Put mushroom caps, stemmed sides down, in a lightly oiled large shallow baking pan and bake in middle of oven until mushrooms exude liquid, about 10 minutes, then remove from oven.
While mushroom caps are baking, melt butter in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté chopped stems, stirring, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add onion, celery, garlic, oregano, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, until onion is golden, about 5 minutes. Cool vegetables slightly, then add to bread crumbs along with cheese and parsley and toss well.
Turn mushroom caps over, then mound mushroom filling in mushroom caps, pressing gently (there will be some filling left over). Bake in middle of oven until mushrooms are tender and stuffing is golden brown, about 20 minutes.

I will also make chocolate pudding.

I have more cooking to do before the week is over, but I'll save that for another post.

happy cooking

Friday, January 20, 2012


Josh loves pudding.  I mean LOVES pudding.  I don't make it often.  Okay.  Ever.  I tried when we were first married and failed miserably. 

But then I saw this fool-proof recipe in my Real Simple magazine.

And Wednesday was date night.  And I really wanted to do a full date where I made everything.  And wore lots of sparkles, but that's a story for a different sort of blog.

Back to the pudding.  Here's the recipe:

Serves 4| Hands-On Time: 15m | Total Time: 2hr 15m



  1. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, cocoa, and salt. Gradually whisk in the milk, then the egg yolks.
  2. Cook the milk mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened to the consistency of mayonnaise, 7 to 8 minutes. Continue to cook, whisking, for 1 minute more. Remove from heat and pour through the sieve into the bowl, pushing the mixture through gently with a rubber spatula or spoon. Add the butter and chocolate and stir until melted. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days. Before serving, gently stir the pudding to loosen it. Serve with the whipped cream..
Best part?  Josh said it was as good as the pudding he orders from one of our favorite Chicago restaurants.  And he said it was better the next day.  Score for Kristen! 

This will definitely make future appearances.  I think probably on date night's like was all classic foods.  Filet Mignon, mashed potatoes, broccoli.  Started with Manhattans and shrimp cocktail.

Dinner tonight?  I don't know.  Likely to be a frozen pizza. I'm trying really hard to eat healthier and will be vegetarian all day long (lunch is a sweet potato, a grape fruit, and a pear).  I think a pizza splurge is probably okay. 

What are you making/having for dinner tonight?

happy cooking

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Crock Pot Cookery

So on Tuesdays Josh and I enjoy an hour of family worship together.  Before we eat.  By the end of our study session, we frequently are ready to eat the furniture. 

Thus it behooves us if I can have dinner ready for immediate consumption.  Alas, I have grown weary of meatloaf and pasta casserole as they have been my go to meals on Tuesday.

Not anymore!  In the same week that I got my Feb. Real Simple magazine featuring crock pot meals, I saw (and purchased) a "slim" crock pot recipe book in line at the grocery store.

Dinner tonight?

I shall tell you.  This came from RS.  Pulled pork open face sammies!

It's already on!  Dice an onion, mix with brown sugar, Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce,  a little vinegar, some Cajun seasoning and tomato paste.  Coat the pork shoulder with "sauce," place the meat on top and let her go.  8 hours on low or 4 on high.  10 minutes prep.  That's it.  Shred the meat with 2 forks before serving.

RS recommended serving this with a broccoli slaw.  Their recipe involved purchased slaw veggies and a mayo based dressing.

I didn't have those things.

I did have broccoli.  The florets are for our date night tomorrow, but the stem was up for grabs for tonight's dinner.

I had a carrot. Some green onions.  Celery.  What could be shredded, I did. The rest I sliced as finely as I could.  I mixed in some minced parsley to freshen it up and then started to work on the dressing.

Apple cider vinegar, olive oil, celery seed, a smashed clove of garlic, some Dijon, and sugar.  Shake, and voila! vinaigrette completed.  Dress you veggies and you have a nice "garbage" slaw.  I call it that because it was made up of the veggies I had on hand.