Thursday, November 10, 2011

Easy Weeknight Stroganoff

Something about me. I used to really really dislike mushrooms growing up. I wouldn't eat anything that had mushrooms in it. But as my palate has matured (ha, i don't really talk like that - but it sounded good huh?).... As I was saying, as I've grown up and tried a lot of new foods over the years, mushrooms have become one of my favorite foods. Luckily, I have passed my new-found love of mushrooms on to my son. He'll eat them raw, he'll eat them on pizza, in pasta, dipped in ranch, you name it!
As a vegetarian though, there have been quite a few dishes that I just thought I'd have to do without for the rest of my life and just deal with the sacrifice. While a whole plate of ribs or a slab of steak isn't on my menu plan anytime soon, there are quite a few meat-lover favorites that have been able to make their way into my mouth with just a few simple revisions. This "Hamburger" Stroganoff is one of those dishes. It is so super simple, and I was able to whip it up quickly last night after work.
on a side note, my hand is really bruised because I slammed in a drawer while putting clothes away... serves me right for actually DOING my laundry. I should've just stuck to leaving them all clean in baskets and living out of the baskets for the next week. Does anyone else struggle with putting away their clean laundry? I have no problem putting it in the washer, transferring it into the dryer, and sometimes I'll even get it folded and everything. But to actually PUT IT AWAY?! Nope, that I just can't do for some reasons. I think I have a problem. Anyway, my hand hurts.
so, where was I... right, your next family-pleasing delicious dinner coming up...

Easy Weeknight Stroganoff

1 16-oz package egg noodles
1 package soy crumbles (of course, you can substitute for a pound of lean ground beef)
1 packet dry brown gravy mix
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1 6-oz can chopped mushrooms, with liquid
1/2 cup milk
1 8-ox container sour cream
2 cans of cream of mushroom soup

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente, and then drain.
So I have a trick to share with you. Maybe everyone already knows this, but I didn't, and I'm thrilled! See that wooden spatula thingy there on my pot of boiling water? It's actually serving a purpose there. You know how your pasta water boils over just about every time unless you stand there blowing on it to prevent that? (is that just me??) Well, place a wooden spoon, spatula, tool of some sort over the top of your pot and it won't boil over! It will get awfully close though. Anyway, try it out!
In a skillet over medium heat, brown the soy crumbles until it's all thawed (or ground beef until no pink shows - drain). When I'm "browning" my soy crumbles, I just put it right into the hot pan still frozen. No oil or anything in the pan. But I do like to add a splash of water in there. This gets things moving, makes the larger frozen chunks easier to break up, and you just get a better meat-like feel to it. But really, just a splash - you don't want runny meat!
Mix your brown gravy mix, cream cheese, and mushrooms with the hamburger until cream cheese has given the mixture a whitish look. I get my gravy mix bulk, and just used about a 1/4 of a cup. As for the cream cheese, I used fat free, and the results turned out great! It may take a little bit longer to all melt down, but if you're looking for a bit of a healthier alternative, cutting corners everywhere you can really helps!

I would have also taken a picture of everything all mixed together, but you know what, it's really not all that pretty to photograph, and someone once said that you should only photograph things that are pretty. Just know that if it looks a little ewwie, you are on the right track! I promise it tastes SO much better than it looks at this point!
Anyway, now you'll add the milk, sour cream, and mushroom soup to the cooked pasta.
Then blend the hamburger mixture with the pasta and eat up!! This makes a lot! If you have a small family (3-4), I would consider halving it. We all had a bunch, we have plenty to take in lunches tomorrow... and possibly for the next week. Luckily for us, it's aMAZing, so I think I'm ok with that!

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