Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

I think we all know that I love a creamy, decadent comfort food. Stroganoff certainly fits that bill. It is pretty easy to cook and it makes a lot – so lots of leftovers (another thing I love). I suppose you could use whatever pasta you like, but I chose egg noodles.

I started by finely dicing 1 shallot. If you don’t have a shallot, you could substitute an onion – maybe 1/2 of a small onion.

Then I sauteed the shallot and garlic for about 5 minutes.

After sauteing the shallot and garlic, I added in the mushrooms and cook them until they were starting to get soft (these mushroom slices were pretty big, so it was about 10 minutes).

The next thing was to add in the beef. I just cooked the beef until it was browned on all sides and added in my seasonings.

Then I added in the liquids, starting with the beef stock (you could use chicken stock or vegetable stock, but the beef stock will give you a richer flavor). I love the stocks from Trader Joe’s.

After the beef stock, I added the heavy cream and worcestershire sauce and brought everything up to a boil. I allowed the mixture to cook for approximately 20-30 minutes. The sauce will reduce and thicken.

At the end, add in the sour cream and mix through well.

Toss in the egg noodles and mix through.

Beef and Mushroom Stroganoff

1 lb egg noodles
1 lb cubed beef
8 oz sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 shallot, diced finely
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 cups beef stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/8 cup worchestershire sauce
8 oz sour cream
1 tsp umami seasoning
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp salt

  • Boil egg noodles to al dente, set aside
  • In large skillet, melt butter over medium high heat
  • Add in shallots and garlic, cook for about 5 minutes
  • Add in mushrooms and olive oil, cook for another 5-10 minutes (until mushrooms start to get tender)
  • Add beef to pan and brown
  • Season with umami and salt and mix through
  • Add in beef stock, heavy cream and worchestershire sauce and bring up to a boil
  • Reduce heat and allow sauce to reduce, about 20-30 minutes – with about 10 minutes left, add in the sour cream
  • Toss in egg noodles and stir through

Easy Baked Hand Pies

Refrigerated pie dough is so useful – chicken pot pies (my family loves them – you can check out my recipe here), regular pies and even small hand pies. It seems like I always have some in my refrigerator.

This is the pie crust that I used. Honestly, I really prefer the Great Value (Wal-Mart brand) pie crust, but this one was expiring before the Great Value one I had – so I used this one. You need to let it sit out a while, so that it is easier to work with.

Once the dough was a little less cold, I was able to unroll it and it was ready to use. I just used a cup to cut circles of dough (they were about 3 inch rounds). Using a pastry roller, I rolled them out a little bit.

I decided to make a fruit pie (using the Peach Jam that I’ve used before – you can see where I used it to make a Peach and Apple Tart, here). In addition to that, I decided to do a peanut butter and chocolate one (one of my daughters doesn’t care for fruit pies).

For the peach, I used maybe 1 tsp of the jam. And, for the peanut butter and chocolate – I just used a little (maybe 1 tsp, as well) creamy peanut butter and a few chocolate chips.

I just folded over the dough and crimped them edges with a fork. I sprayed a little bit of avocado oil over the top of each pie.

I baked them in a 450 degree oven, for about 15 minutes. For the second batch, I reduced it to 10 minutes as I think that 15 minutes was a little too long and they pie crust got a little too crisp for my tastes.

After they came out of the oven, I just sifted some powdered sugar over them. An easy little dessert or snack!

Spicy Asian Noodles with Mushrooms (for one)

As happens sometimes, I was alone and needing to cook just for myself. I decided that I wanted a vegetarian dish, and Asian seemed nice. That’s something that my family doesn’t tend to enjoy as much as I do. They like Asian food – but, I really like Asian food.

The key to this dish is the sauce. I like spicy – and this is definitely a bit spicy – so feel free to adjust to your tastes.

The sauce consists of soy sauce, sesame oil, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar, green onion and for spice some red pepper flakes and sriracha. The pepper flakes and sriracha didn’t make it into this first picture, but they made it into the sauce at the end.

I started by cooking the noodles. While the noodles were cooking I heated my wok. You want a hot wok and I find it works best when I preheat it. My wok is a cast iron wok, but any wok (or even a pan that can handle a high temperature) will do.

To start the stir fun, I added the oil into the wok. I used grapeseed oil because it can handle high heat. Peanut oil would work well too. Once the oil was hot, I added in the garlic and cooked it for a minute.

After the garlic was cooked (this doesn’t take long – and you want to work fast, as with most stir fry recipes), I added in the mushrooms and cooked them for about 5 minutes. The wok is very hot – so keep stirring so that things don’t stick and don’t burn.

After the mushrooms were finished, I tossed in the noodles and the sauce. It only takes a minute or two to stir fry everything.

I topped the noodles with some sesame seeds and few more green onions. A perfect, very fast, and delicious vegetarian meal for one!

Spicy Asian Noodles with Mushrooms for One

Linguine (or similar) pasta – 1/4 of a box, give or take
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (you want an oil that can handle a high heat)

Sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp green onions
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp sriracha

Garnishments
Sesame seeds
Green Onions

Instant Pot Whole Chicken

This was after putting it in the oven, under the broiler for a few minutes.

Ever since I got my instant pot, I’ve wondered if I could cook a whole chicken – yes, yes, I can!

It isn’t a recipe, really, you can season your chicken however you want to – but, I used a couple bay leaves, butter, salt, pepper and garlic powder on mine. My chicken was 6 pounds, give or take. I added 1.5 cups of water in the bottom of the instant pot insert, then placed the trivet in – finally adding the chicken and the seasonings.

I set the pot to ‘poultry’, high pressure and 1 hour. When it was done, I allowed it to do natural release.

The chicken was just pulling away from the bone!

I also ended up with a little over 5 cups of broth from the cooking process. This came in handy for me, since I was making chicken and dumplins from this!

To crisp up the skin, I put it in my oven, on broil for just a few minutes. I was actually just going to pull the chicken off and make dumplins, so that was totally unnecessary, but certainly a step worth taking to make your chicken ‘prettier’. You should probably also tie up the legs, as it gets VERY tender in the instant pot.

I can honestly say, I’ve never had a store bought rotisserie chicken that tasted any better. Looked better, yeah, my chicken isn’t winning any beauty contests – but I think it would hold it’s own in a taste contest!

Cubed Steak Casserole, with Rice

We eat a lot of chicken. We love chicken, so that isn’t a problem – in and of itself – but, sometimes I want to mix it up. Out of that desire, came this cubed steak casserole.

I decided that I would lightly dredge the cubed steak in a flour, salt and pepper mixture and lightly brown them, prior to putting them in the casserole.

The other items for this dish were: onion, rice, a packet of brown gravy mix, a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of green beans.

Once the cubed steaks were all browned (no need to cook through, as it will finish in the oven), I layered them in the bottom of my dutch oven.

In the skillet that I browned the cubed steak, I added in my chopped onions and rice. I stirred the rice and onions around to toast the rice a bit and to start to soften the onion – and, perhaps more importantly, to get any of the deliciousness that was left behind from pan frying the cubed steaks.

After the rice was toasted and the onions were starting to soften, I added in the cream of mushroom soup, 2 1/2 cans of water (use your soup can to measure), the brown gravy mix, salt and pepper and then the green beans. I just made sure to stir it for a bit, to get it all mixed well.

Then I just poured the rice mixture over the cubed steak that was already in the dutch oven. And added some extra salt and pepper to the top.

I covered the dutch oven (with the lid, but foil would work, if you cover it tightly) and put it into a preheated 375 degree oven. I let it cook for 1 hour, covered the entire time.

A couple of Notes / Thoughts about this recipe:

  • Getting an appropriate portion of meat to rice mixture was difficult with using my dutch oven (because some of the steaks overlapped) – so use a dish that will allow for the cubed steak to form a single layer.
  • Along those lines – cut your cubed steak to a serving size (if the steaks are more than you’d normal eat at one serving) prior to browning – this will make it easier to serve.
  • While I added salt to this recipe (both in the flour mixture on the steak and in the rice mixture), it needed more salt. I’m not sure why, because the broth from the rice mixture tasted delicious. This said, I’m writing the recipe up to use more salt than I used when I initially made this recipe. Adjust to your taste.
  • I added the green beans to make it a ‘one pot’ dish, with veggies included. I didn’t think so, but one of my family mentioned that they felt the green beans ‘overwhelmed’ the taste – feel free to leave out and serve on the side.

Cubed Steak Casserole

4-6 cubed steaks
1/2 cup flour (for dredging cubed steak)
1 tbsp salt (for dredging cubed steak)
1 tsp pepper (for dredging cubed steak)
2 tbsp olive oil

2 1/2 cups rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup (+ 2 1/2 cans water)
1 packet of brown gravy mix
1 onion, chopped
1 can green beans (drained)
1 tbsp salt (I added 1/2, but it needed more – adjust as you see fit)
1 tsp black pepper

  • Combine flour, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp pepper in a large bowl
  • Dredge the steaks in the flour mixture
  • In a hot pan, add olive oil
  • Brown the steaks on both side (no need to cook through)
  • Layer cubed steak on bottom of baking dish
  • In same skillet, add onions and rice – allow to cook until onion starts to soften
  • Add in soup, water, gravy mix, green beans, salt and pepper
  • Pour rice mixture over steaks
  • Cover baking dish and cook for 1 hour in 375 degree oven

Three Cheese Chicken and Pasta Bake

I found myself with no protein thawed out, so I tried to think of things to make with shredded chicken (since it is so easy to do, from frozen, in the instant pot!). And, I do love a casserole – so this is what I came up with!

I decided I wanted to use pasta – I chose penne (but, any pasta would do). I also had an unused container of ricotta cheese on hand, some mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

I decided to boil my pasta separate. I boiled it to al dente. Be sure not to overboil it, or it will be too chewy in the casserole. While the pasta was boiling, I started to work on the sauce (I guess that is the appropriate term when you’re going to add it to something and make a casserole? I will call it that). I started by grating 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.

Then I cooked some garlic in a large skillet, with a little bit of butter.

Once the garlic was done, I added in a little bit of water and the milk. I only had skim milk on hand, but certainly, this would be so much better with a whole milk or even a bit of heavy cream! I brought the liquids up to a boil. I added in my seasonings at this time.

I then started adding in the cheeses. I started with the ricotta first and let it get mostly melted. I then added in the mozzarella and parmesan. I brought the cheese sauce up to a boil.

I then added in the shredded chicken and stirred through.

In a greased dutch oven, I poured in the al dente pasta.

Then I poured the sauce over top and stirred everything together. ** Note, I had forgotten to add my spinach to the sauce, so I just stirred it in at this point.

I, then, topped it with the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese, as well as the panko bread crumbs.

The casserole was cooked in a 400 degree oven (I think I’ve mentioned this before, but my oven tends to run a little cooler – that said, feel free to drop the temperature if 400 seems a little high) for 30 minutes. I did turn the broiler on for a couple min, at the end just to brown the top a little more.

Three Cheese Chicken and Pasta Bake

1 box pasta of choice
2 chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup water or chicken stock
2 cups milk
1- 15 oz container of Ricotta cheese
2 cups grated mozzarella (reserve 1 cup)
1 cup grated parmesan (reserve 1/4 cup)
2 tbsp garlic
1/2 tbsp butter
4 cups fresh spinach
1/2 to 1 tsp salt, depending on your tastes
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs

  • Boil pasta to al dente (do not overcook)
  • In large skillet, saute garlic in butter
  • Add in water or chicken stock and then milk
  • Bring up to a boil
  • Add in pepper, basil and pepper flakes
  • Add in cheese – ricotta, mozarella and parmesan
  • Pour pasta into a greased dutch oven or casserole dish
  • Pour the cheese sauce over top and add in spinach, stir everything through
  • Top with remaining mozarella, paremesan cheese and bread crumbs
  • Cook, uncovered, in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes
  • Put under broiler for 1-2 minutes if your cheese ins’t browned after 30 minutes

Chocolate Puff Pastry

I was looking for something sweet, but not too sweet – chocolate was preferable. I had some chocolate chips in the pantry and some puff pastry in the freezer – it was a perfect marriage!

I used some of the flour to roll out the pastry

After letting the puff pastry thaw (it takes about 30-40 minutes at room temperature), I rolled it out a bit and cut it into rectangles.

For each rectangle, I added a few chocolate chips and rolled the pastry up.

I placed the rolled pastries on parchment paper on a sheet pan. I put a simple egg wash on the pastries and baked them in a 400 degree oven for 40 minutes.

After taking them out of oven, I sifted some powdered sugar over top. They were very similar to a chocolate croissant.

This couldn’t be an easier, or more tasty, quick dessert or snack!