Munchies with Moonkat: Week 1
Greetings! And welcome to the first installment of Munchies with Moonkat, with yours truly, the aforementioned Moonkat. In this weekly thingamabob, I’ll be sharing various recipes – both favorites and new ones that I’ve only recently made – with common ingredient substitutions for those picky eaters. This is something I’m quite familiar with, as my husband is among that number!
For this first installment I’ll be going with a classic staple that I’ve been fond of since I was young, a little something called Beef Stroganoff.
But before I get to the good stuff, let’s start off with a little history of this particular dish. Originating in Russia, this dish was first introduced in an official capacity via a cookbook entitled, A Gift To Young Housewives, in 1871. The original recipe called for floured beef cubes (rather than the strips most recipes use today), as well as mustard and bouillon, with no sign of the mushrooms or onions most recipes call for in the modern age. Another recipe (this one from 1912), calls for the addition of onions and tomato paste, and a side of potato straws, which are the traditional addition to this dish in the Motherland. Not quite sure how we got from that to the dish now popular in the U.S. (let alone the variants in other countries), but I’m not going to question something this tasty.
The recipe I’ll be sharing with you all today is a healthier one than most, because something doesn’t have to be ridiculously fattening to be delicious!
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 pound boneless beef round steak, cut 3/4-inch thick, all fat removed
- 4 cups uncooked yolkless egg noodles
- 1/2 can fat-free cream of mushroom soup (undiluted)
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
Some substitutions for those picky eaters:
1) For those who aren’t fond of mushrooms, using cream of broccoli soup works just as well! It doesn’t alter the taste a whole lot, and if you add in some steamed broccoli florets rather than the sliced mushrooms, it not only makes the whole thing look pretty, but adds that important vegetable element. If broccoli isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other options, such as lima beans, brussel sprouts, spinach, and asparagus. Or if none of those appeal to you, pair with a side salad with a light dressing – such as a yogurt-based ranch or a vinaigrette.
2) If you want to go even lighter and forego the sour cream, try using an equivalent amount of plain Greek yogurt – not vanilla, just plain. The taste is very similar, as is the consistency, but there’s less calories – usually. Be sure to compare calorie and nutritional content before just taking the word of some crazy lady on the internet.
3) If you can’t find yolkless egg noodles, look for whole wheat wide ribbons. They’re basically the same thing, albeit the calorie count is way different – an entire package of wheat ribbons will barely make a dent compared to half as much in egg noodles.
4) For those who don’t like pasta (you crazy people, you), this goes equally well on top of rice. If you’re trying to be more calorie conscious, look for wild grain or brown rice – they tend to be less calorie intensive, as well as having more of those things that are good for you nutrition-wise!
In a nonstick frying pan, saute the onions and mushrooms over medium heat until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. (Note: If not using mushrooms, be sure to steam your broccoli, or otherwise cook the vegetable of your choosing!) Add the beef and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until the beef is tender and browned throughout. Drain well and set aside.
Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook until al dente (tender), 10 to 12 minutes, or according to the package directions. Drain the pasta thoroughly. (Note: If using rice, cook rice according to directions. Using a rice steamer is a good way to get nice, fluffy rice!)
In a saucepan, whisk together the soup, water and flour over medium heat. Stir until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Add the soup mixture and paprika to the beef in the frying pan. Over medium heat, stir the mixture until warmed through. Remove from heat and add the sour cream. Stir until combined.
To serve, divide the pasta among the plates. Top with the beef mixture and serve immediately. If so desired, add an extra dollop of sour cream (or yogurt), mix in, and enjoy!