Beef Stroganoff

So this is another favorite at our house. I know it’s not the *prettiest* of dishes, but it is so so tasty!

  • 1 pound stew meat (or other cheap meat cut into small chunks — you can buy the cheapest meat you can find and cut it yourself to save money)
  • olive oil
  • flour
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 packet onion soup mix
  • water
  • cooking sherry
  • sour cream
  • egg noodles
Heat some olive oil (just enough to coat bottom of pan) over medium heat. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a quart Ziploc, then add meat, seal and shake. When meat is well coated, brown it in the oil.

Add the can of soup, the onion soup mix, and enough water and cooking sherry to thin it out. Probably 1 cup water, and about half that in cooking sherry, but everyone likes it a different consistency, so just add and stir, add and stir. 😉

Cover and simmer. Go take a nap. The longer you simmer, the more tender the meat, so if you’re using a cheap meat, you’re going to want to simmer for a long time. But 30 minutes is ok too, if you’re in a hurry or have a more tender cut of meat.

Start your egg noodles. Uncover your meat and stir in about 3/4 cup or 1 cup sour cream. Drain noodles. Cover noodles with stroganoff on your plate. Enjoy!

Oh, for the picture I sprinkled parsley and a little paprika on top, just to make it a little prettier. My husband said it was tasty that way.

Thanks, Mom, for this recipe!


Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Basil

This is a most amazing recipe that I got from Jamie Oliver’s cookbook. We don’t usually eat vegetarian, since I don’t feel like I have had a meal if there isn’t meat in it (those are called “appetizers,” usually), but this really hit the spot, and it makes a SPECTACULAR leftover (since a pound of pasta is a bit much for two adults and one toddler just discovering that he loves noodahs (noodles).

  • 1 pound noodles (tagliatelle is what is called for, but I used fettucine because my local grocery store doesn’t seem to carry tagliatelle, and I think the only difference is a slight width difference)
  • a package of fresh basil (even if you have the dried stuff, do yourself a favor and buy the fresh at least this once. You won’t believe how awesome it smells and tastes…mostly how awesome it smells. Your hand will smell like a eucalyptus tree all night — and that’s good!)
  • 1 medium potato (trust me)
  • salt (preferably kosher or sea, but regular would work too)
  • 1/4 cup green pesto (you can buy it in a jar at the grocery store, or make your own. This time I bought it, but I plan on making my own next time, because now I know this dish is worth the extra effort.)
  • 3 ounces grated parmesan cheese (the stuff that comes in a bag, not a can, or you can buy a block and grate it yourself)
  • some broccoli (I’m going to leave this up to you — how much do you like broccoli? He calls for a head. I probably used 2/3 of a head, and I like broccoli)

Salt your water and put it on to boil, then cut up your broccoli, keeping stalk and florets separate. Wash and peel the potato, discarding the skin, then shave it with your potato peeler until you have a pile of nearly see-through potato shavings. When the water is boiling, put your noodles and broccoli stalks in and cook to package specifications (personally, I never cook my pasta to specs because that makes it over-cooked for me, so I compensated).

While this is cooking, chop your basil up (yummy smell!), discarding any stalks that might have been in the package. Two minutes before the pasta should be done, add the florets and potato. After 2 minutes, drain everything in the colander, but reserve a little cooking water just in case your sauce is too thick. Pour the pasta, broccoli and potato back into the pan and add the basil and pesto and half of the Parmesan cheese. At this point, if it’s too thick, add a splash of cooking water.

Sprinkle the rest of the Parmesan over the pasta once it’s been served up into separate bowls.

This may sound like it would take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s really very easy — most of it is just cutting stuff up.

OhMy Spaghetti

This pasta sauce is healthy, tasty, and pretty easy.   It will take a little bit of time, but you’ll be pleased with the results.  Plus, it’s a great way to hide extra veggies for those picky eaters you know and love, and it’s excellent either with meat or without. I’m going to post the vegetarian version, since that’s what is pictured here.

That is actually a picture of our stuffed manicotti, a joint effort at our house. The whole dish is a bit of a pain (although very worth it), so I’m not posting it here. But the sauce works fantastically in this, or spaghetti, or pizza…

  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (as always, sub regular diced tomatoes if you don’t like spicy)
  • 1 large can tomato sauce
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 carrots
  • 1 squash (yellow or zucchini — great either way)
  • 1 small can black olives
  • 1/2 an onion
  • garlic
  • dill
  • onion powder
  • butter

The only annoying part of this recipe is grating the carrots and squash. I use a potato peeler and just keep peeling until I can’t hold onto the vegetable anymore. You could also use a cheese grater. So, grate the carrots and the squash, whichever way works best for you.

Next, melt some butter in a saucepan over medium heat and briefly saute some minced garlic in it. Then add the carrots and squash and saute them for a few minutes while you dice the onion. Add the tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, olives and onion. Mix well, then add the dill and onion powder (you know I don’t measure seasonings! Just add however much looks right!) and mix well again. Keep stirring while you bring the sauce up to a bubble, then reduce heat to very low, cover, and simmer, stirring occasionally.

Here’s the thing about this sauce — the longer you simmer it, the better it’s going to be. When we made that manicotti, the sauce simmered for a couple of hours, and it was amazing. As always, if you’re in a hurry, you don’t HAVE to do it that long, but it’s not going to knock your socks off quite the same!

If you don’t want to go vegetarian with it (although you really don’t miss the meat), just brown 1 pound of ground beef, then add it to the sauce when you add everything else. If you don’t want meat, but do want a little more meaty texture, add some mushrooms.