Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Creamy Beef & Mushrooms with Noodles

Recipe modified by Gretchen Wilson – December 13, 2010
For a commentary-free and printer-friendly version of it, please click here.

Recipe originally published in Kraft Food & Family – Holiday 2010.

Back when winter was hitting us smack in the face for the first time this year, I had a craving.  This craving was for all things stroganoff-like.  Without even realizing it, I made 3 or 4 dishes in a month that were very similar.  This dish read like a quickie-stroganoff with an Italian zing.  The writers seemed to really care about the nutritional information – they lightened up the ingredients and made sure the sodium levels were in check.  I also liked the seemingly short prep and cooking time.

My finished product:

Picture published with recipe:

© Kraft Recipes

Admittedly, mine looks a little runnier.  I poured on the sauce when I plated it, and for some reason, I clustered my peas like I grabbed a handful and plopped them on there.  The sauce may be a little runny because I love olive oil, and can be heavy-handed at times.  (Oops!  I splashed a little over the teaspoon.  My bad.  Oops!  I did it again!)  Most of the time, it doesn’t make a difference, but clearly here it did – well at least in presentation.  It certainly didn’t mess with the taste.  Last, I didn’t spend the time I should have chopping the tomato to make them in pretty little pieces.  Instead I have big chunks.

for more details about what my ratings mean, go to Gretchen’s Rating System

MessSIGH – Lots of equipment and cutting raw meat and tomatoes.  I’m frowning just thinking about it.  And I made it 2 months ago.  Seriously.  If you want to keep your sanity, I’d suggest buying pre-sliced mushrooms.

Start-to-Finish Time: UNDER AN HOUR – Kraft states the total time 40 minutes.  If you buy pre-sliced mushrooms and start the water boiling prior to beginning the recipe, an hour should be plenty of time for you to finish.

Prep Work: LOSS OF FINGER POSSIBLE – There’s a lot of chopping to do and if you want it to be pretty, it should be precise.  If you have to chop the mushrooms, it will be even more annoying.  Then we have to cut up the meat which is never pleasant.  The whole process is messy and time consuming.

Ease of Recipe: THE BASICS – Sure, this recipe isn’t difficult, but if you’re inexperienced in chopping tomatoes, you will have to go slow and steady.  The rest is cooking pasta, browning meat and cooking vegetables.

OverallYUMMY – This was a very good recipe that was easy to make.  I must admit that there were other stroganoff recipes that I enjoyed more, but if I’m looking for something I can make in a pinch, this will be it.

Recipe Information:
Time estimates are from the original publisher of the recipe, not the length of time it took me to create it.  Look for my comments below.  Nutritional Information is based on original recipe.  Any changes I make to reduce the caloric, fat, cholesterol or sodium content are not reflected in the Nutritional Information.

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4

Nutritional Information
  • Calories 400
  • Total Fat 14g (Saturated Fat 4.5g)
  • Cholesterol 75mg
  • Sodium 440mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 43g
  • Fiber 9g
  • Sugar 10g
  • Protein 32g
  • Vitamin A 80%DV
  • Vitamin C 35%DV
  • Calcium 10%DV
  • Iron 30%DV

Kraft states the entire recipe can be completed in 40 minutes.  It is possible, but you will have to start the water to cook the pasta first.  You should be able to be done within an hour for certain.  You definitely can get 4 servings out of the recipe, possibly even more if you serve it with salad and crusty bread.

In terms of nutritional information, the numbers weren’t bad, but there was room for improvement.  I used olive oil instead of canola and made sure the fat was trimmed from the steak before slicing.  Remember, the olive oil may add a little bit of calories and fat, but it is “good fat” that helps lower cholesterol.

Changes denoted by red text

1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 pound boneless beef sirloin steak (¾" thick), cut into strips
½ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups yolk-free whole wheat egg noodles, uncooked
¼ cup KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Dressing
2 onions, chopped
½ pound fresh white mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon paprika
¾ cup low-sodium reduced-fat beef broth
1 cup frozen peas
½ cup reduced fat sour cream
1 small tomato, chopped

Ingredient Notes:
Olive Oil – should you use your really expensive extra-virgin olive oil or not.  Since it is not the focus of the dish and is used as a cooking medium, don’t waste your good olive oil stash.  The cheap(er) stuff works just fine.

Beef Sirloin Steak
  • Make sure you trim all of the fat prior to cooking.  Nothing bad will happen, but it will affect the calorie and fat counts.  According to Cook’s Thesaurus you don’t want to overcook or the steak will lose its flavor.
  • Sometimes you can find stir-fry beef which is already cut into strips.  It will come with some vegetables, but if you want to save some time and mess, this is a great way to do it.
  • You can substitute round steak or flank steak if you don’t want to use beef sirloin.

Whole Wheat Egg Noodles
  • If you can’t find whole wheat, you can use the traditional egg noodles.  It will affect the nutritional information, but not the taste.  Look towards the bottom and outer edges of the noodle section for them.
  • If you don’t want to use egg noodles, you can substitute linguine or fettuccine, although I would break them into smaller pieces.

KRAFT Light Zesty Italian Dressing – I kept it brand specific since it was from Kraft’s web site.  Of course, if you can’t find the Light version, there is a regular version that you can use.  It looks like the main components of Zesty Italian are garlic, onions and red bell peppers, so if you can find something comparable, it should be okay to use.

White Mushrooms – the recipe didn’t specify the type of mushrooms to use, so after inspecting the picture, I decided to use white.  You can use brown or portabella mushrooms too, but don’t do any fragrant mushrooms, such as shitake.

Minced Garlic – I used pre-minced garlic that you can find in the produce department.  Since it isn’t the focus of the dish, it worked well.

Peas – the recipe didn’t say any particular size to use, but the picture appears to use regular green peas.  Of course, if you have petite peas on hand, you can use them; just watch the cooking time to avoid them getting mushy.

Fat Free Sour Cream – the recipe listed a brand name for the sour cream, but you can use whatever kind you want.

Equipment Needed:
Raw meat cutting board
Cutting board
(2) Sharp knives
Large skillet or Dutch oven
Large spoon
Slotted spoon
Large pot or Pasta pot
Wooden spoon

Equipment Notes:
Raw Meat Cutting Board / Cutting Board – to avoid contamination, make sure you use two separate cutting boards to prepare your vegetables and raw meat.  Remember, it is not advised to use a wooden cutting board to cut up raw meat.  The wood can absorb the raw meat juices and contaminate it.

Sharp Knives – Just as with the cutting boards, I chose to use two separate knives.  Of course, you can get away with one knife, but do not use the same knife to cut the raw meat and then vegetables unless it has been properly washed first.

Large Skillet / Dutch Oven – If you have a large skillet, make sure it is also deep.  You will be cooking broth and large amount of vegetables at the same time with the beef.  If you don’t have a large skillet that is also deep, use your Dutch oven.

(1)  Start the pasta water boiling and prep the rest of the ingredients.

Ordinarily, I suggest preparing all of the ingredients (chopping, mincing, slicing, etc…) prior to cooking, but since the water has to boil to cook the noodles, start the water first.

(2)  Heat 1½ teaspoons oil in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat.

(3)  Sprinkle meat with pepper.

(4)  Add half the meat to skillet; cook and stir 1 to 2 minutes or until evenly browned. Transfer to bowl with the slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining oil and meat.

Transfer the meat with the slotted spoon to keep as much of the oil in the pan after browning it.  The oil will have a flavor to it and you won’t have to add more to cook with the Italian dressing and vegetables.

(5)  Cook noodles as directed on package, omitting salt.

(6)  Meanwhile, heat Italian dressing in same skillet on medium heat.

(7)  Add onions, mushrooms, garlic and paprika; cook 12 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender, stirring occasionally.

There isn’t much of a change to this step.  I just listed the ingredients instead of saying “next 4 ingredients”.  I don’t know why, but it always bothers me when they do that.  The exception is “all the ingredients”.

(8)  Stir in broth and peas; simmer 2 minutes or just until peas are tender.

(9)  Add meat, with any juices that have accumulated in the bowl, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

(10)  Stir in sour cream until well blended.

(11)  Drain noodles. Serve topped with meat mixture and tomatoes.

This dish was quite good, but I probably would be a little more careful when measuring the oil into the skillet.  I think I may have been too heavy-handed and my sauce could have been too runny.

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