Sausage Vegetable Bake (EASY!)

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I am not even joking about how easy this recipe is, and how yummy it is…and its good FOR YOU. Well, its not fried, or cooked in oil, or a pan on the stove…its all roasted and 1/2 of the meal is veggies. ūüôā The only hassle at all¬†with this recipe is chopping vegetables, but if you hate that part – buy them pre-chopped at your grocery store and you’ll fly through this. I only took like 3 pictures because this is such a fast/easy recipe. My son even ate it and he never eats veggies OR meat! #WINNING mom move. I hope you like it as much as my family did.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package rope sausage (or you can use a package of links). I used Johnsonville – love that brand. Slice the sausage, about 1/4 inch thick.
  • 1.5 cups small new potatoes or other small potato variety – cut into halves or quarters (want them to be the size of a quarter or smaller)
  • 1.5 cups asparagus chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 2 cups broccoli chopped small
  • 1 cup canned corn – drain liquid
  • 1 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  2. In large mixing bowl, add sausage, broccoli, red pepper, asparagus, oregano, thyme, sage, garlic powder 1 tsp pepper, 2 pinches salt and 2 tbsp EVOO. Mix well and place onto foil-lined baking sheet
  3. In same bowl, add 1 tbsp EVOO, potatoes, pinch of salt and pinch of black pepper. Mix well to coat and place on separate foil-lined baking sheet.
  4. Place both baking sheets into the oven. Turn timer on for 10 minutes.
  5. At 10 min flip over the veggie/sausage mix Рturning all vegetables & sausage over
  6. At the same 10 min mark, flip the potatoes as well…and then sprinkle the cup of corn onto the potatoes
  7. Turn on timer for 3 more minutes. Then remove veggies/sausage. (total cooking time about 13 min)
  8. Check potatoes for tenderness, if not easy to pierce with fork – return to oven for 3 more minutes at a time until done.
  9. Mix both trays into large serving bowl – potatoes/corn and sausage/veggie mix
  10. Serve!
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the little potatoes I use

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potatoes tossed in oil, salt, pepper ready for oven

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veggie and sausage mixed with herbs & olive oil – ready for oven

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final product!

Salad w/ Chicken,Asparagus & Potato

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I get tired of the same old salads. We have a great garden full of fresh salad fixins – lettuce, spinach, herbs, tomatoes, etc.¬†(thank you husband), but I don’t just want lettuce/carrots/tomatoes/cucumbers over and over – that shiz gets OLD. I go to restaurants and always see yummy salad combinations, so I tried¬†to think of ways to make a healthy salad with some new ingredients. Pretty easy process here and quite yummy. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce mix of your preference
  • 1.5 cup small potatoes – cut into halves. You can use red potatoes and just cut them into quarters
  • One medium sized chicken breast
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1¬†tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Approx 10 stalks of asparagus – ends removed and chopped into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella or parmesan cheese – your choice!
  • 3 tablespoons EVOO
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 cup Lemon Rosemary Salad Dressing

Directions

  1. Place chicken in tupperware container, lid off.
  2. Sprinkle chicken breast w/ salt and pepper. Add in 1 tbsp EVOO and rosemary, sage and garlic powder. Put lid on and shake well to coat chicken. Let marinate at least 1 hour.
  3. Before beginning rest of process, remove chicken from fridge and let warm up a bit, will cook faster if not ice cold from fridge
  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees
  5. Turn on grill (for chicken)
  6. In  bowl mix 1 tbsp EVOO and chopped asparagus, Add a small pinch of salt and pepper. Lay onto foil lined baking sheet.
  7. Repeat step 3, but this time do this with the potatoes and put on separate foil lined baking sheet.
  8. Put asparagus and potato trays into oven for 10 minutes.
  9. Cook your chicken on the grill. You can cook in a pan on stove top, but I prefer the grill. Usually takes about 10 min (5 min each side) on a hot grill.
  10. When oven timer goes off, test asparagus with fork. Should be easy to pierce with fork but not mushy at all. Usually asparagus are good at 10 minutes but continue to cook to your liking. I usually test one out to see how I like the texture. Snack! If asparagus done – pull from oven. Set aside.
  11. Turn potatoes and place back in oven for 5 more minutes. At end of 5 min test potatoes, should be soft, if not put in for 3 more minutes at a time to ensure you don’t over cook them. When potatoes are done, pull from oven. Set aside.
  12. To assemble salad, use large mixing bowl (can use same one used to toss veggies in olive oil).
  13. Place lettuce mix in bowl, add asparagus, add potatoes. Add 1/4 cup dressing and toss to coat. Add more dressing as you wish.
  14. Place salad mix into bowls for serving
  15. Slice chicken and place chicken on top of lettuce.
  16. Sprinkle with cheese.
  17. Serve!
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Lettuce and herbs from my garden

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chicken marinating

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asparagus and potatoes roasting in oven

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mixing all salad ingredients (step 13)

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salads topped with chicken and cheese!

 

Simple Caprese Salad (avocado optional)

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IMG_3466I like to spend money, especially on beauty items, beauty treatments and clothing/shoes/accessories. Such odd behavior for a female right? I work to trim my part of the household budget by not eating breakfast or lunch out. This is also a great way to cut calories during the day and allows me to eat dinners that may be slightly higher in calories. Sometimes after a long day a girl just wants CREAM SAUCE for dinner!!!!

Since I bring lunch to work, I have to choose food items that do well with the kitchen tools I have at work: fridge, microwave, basic silverware and toaster oven. This caprese salad is a little unorthodox since I use cherry tomatoes vs. slicing vine ripened tomatoes. As I usually take a double or triple batch of salad for the whole week, the cherry tomatoes hold up a little better once they are halved and placed in the fridge.

If avocados are in season, I will chop one at the office and add it to the salad. This is freaking yummy and if you really want to replace calories w/ better calories, the avocado can replace the cheese but keeps the creaminess. I sometimes will take ciabatta bread or even a bagel thin to eat with the salad for a firm texture and to get a few carbs. I highly recommend this for lunch, for a quick snack or even for an appetizer that will impress friends with its freshness!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 carton cherubs (about 1.5 cups of cherry tomatoes)
  • 1/2 ball fresh mozzarella (sliced into rings, then sliced into strips, then cut into small cubes about 1/2 inch by 1/2 inch)
  • 2 -3 tbsp chopped fresh basil (I use 3 but I looove basil)
  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste (I use a good pinch of salt and about 1 tsp pepper)
  • Chopped avocado (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  • Slice all cherry tomatoes in half (check THIS out – its a great hack on cutting cherry tomatoes)
  • Place tomatoes, cubed cheese, basil, evoo, balsamic, salt, & pepper into small bowl with tight-fitting lid.
  • Roll bowl around slowly and gently to mix the ingredients without puncturing or damaging the tomatoes. Do this for about 1 minute – turning on its head, sides, etc. – just rolling gently to mix.
  • Taste – then add in more salt, pepper, olive or balsamic. Everyone likes a bit more of one ingredient.
  • Remove lid and stir in avocado if using
  • Serve with bread if using
  • ENJOY!
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Tomatoes halved and cheese cubes in small bowl

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Chopped basil

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All ingredients (minus avocado) in bowl

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All ingredients slowly tossed in bowl with lid on

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Final product – take to work or enjoy immediately!

 

Salmon Salad w/ Creamy Avocado Dressing

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DSC_0025 Salmon might be my favorite fish. I am a BIG fan of sea-bass too…but salmon is more affordable and easier to find and is full of health benefits. My husband likes it, but not as much as I do — so when he is out of town I do a lot of salmon cooking for one.¬†This salad is delicious, fresh, and healthy! Again, key here is fresh and ripe ingredients. Especially the AVOCADO. INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 ripe avocado – peeled and chopped into small chunks
  • 3/4¬†cup¬†packed fresh cilantro
  • 1/2¬†cup light sour cream
  • 1 tbsp shallot chopped
  • 1 clove¬†garlic,¬†quartered
  • 1 tablespoon¬†lime¬†juice
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon¬†sugar
  • 1/2¬†teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1 filet of fresh salmon – 4-6 ounces
  • 2 cups mixed field greens
  • 1 small vine ripened tomato – seeded and chopped
  • 2 tbsp of light shredded cheese
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil with a high smoke point
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place 1/2 of the avocado, cilantro, sour cream or yogurt, shallots, garlic, lime juice, sugar, and salt in a blender or food processor; blend until smooth. Set aside
  3. Pat dry salmon with paper towel. Sprinkle w/ salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil to medium heat in a saute pan.
  5. Place salmon in pan, skin side up.
  6. Saute for 4-5 minutes and flip to skin side down.
  7. Keep skin-side down for another 2-3 minutes.
  8. Place saute pan in oven for about 7-10 minutes. If pan is not oven save, line baking sheet with foil and place salmon skin side down on pan.
  9. While salmon is cooking, mix lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and the remaining avocado into a bowl. Toss with about 1-2 tbsp of the dressing- depending on how much dressing you like.
  10. Salmon should register a 145 degrees internally when done.
  11. Pull from oven and let rest while you prepare to plate.
  12. Pull skin from bottom of salmon – due to the searing skin side down it should peel off easily.
  13. To plate: place salmon on plate or in bowl, lay salmon on salad, and top salmon with a dollop of dressing.
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All ingredients in food processor

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Dressing is complete!

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Salmon is done!

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Pulling skin off the salmon

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Mixing the salad while salmon cooks

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Salad complete!

Baked Salmon, Dill Cream Sauce & Zucchini/Potato Hash

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Before we get started — I apologize for the tablet photos. I left my fancy camera at work. WEAK!!!

I love salmon. Its one of my favorite fishes in the sea. I think most people are in a love or hate relationship with salmon. It does have more of a fishy flavor, but depending on how you prepare it, you can turn this flavor profile up or down. So if you’ve never really liked salmon, I think you should give it another chance!!

Salmon is called a fatty fish, which¬†may sound unappealing, but actually these are the tastiest and healthiest foods from the sea. Oily fish like salmon are full of omega-3 fatty acids — which are good fats unlike the bad saturated fat you find in most meats. The oiliness ensures it stays moist when cooking.¬†I recommend wild salmon since farmed salmon is on many environmental groups ‘no no’ list. I also recommend fresh, not frozen.

This recipe is delicious. The salmon is moist and delicious with the tart flavor of lemon and slight kick of pepper. Pair that with the dill cream sauce and the warm comforting hash – it was a true winner. This would impress anyone sitting down to dinner. Bon Apetit!

Dill Cream Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup light mayo
  • 1/3 cup light sour cream
  • 1 tbsp minced shallot
  • 1 tsp horseradish
  • 1.5 tbsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp skim milk
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Salmon Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon filets (approx 7-8 ounces)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt – divided
  • 2 tbsp butter

Hash ingredients:

  • 4 small Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1/2 zucchini squash
  • 1/2 yellow squash
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil –¬†high smoke temperature
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Dill Cream Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

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Salmon Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350  degrees.
  2. Line a glass baking dish with tin foil (enough to eventually wrap the fist in a tight pocket).
  3. Grease/oil the bottom of the tin foil slightly. I use a teenie bit of olive oil.
  4. Place salmon skin side down on the foil.
  5. Salt salmon – about 1/4 tsp on each filet.
  6. Mix pepper and lemon juice in a small bowl. Brush over salmon.
  7. Sprinkle with onion powder and top with two lemon slices each.
  8. Cut the 2 tablespoons of butter into 4 small pieces and place in/around salmon on the foil.
  9. Wrap up the salmon into a small packet – very tightly.
  10. Bake salmon for 20 minutes.
  11. Open salmon packet carefully, let steam escape, and turn oven to broil.
  12. Place pan back in oven about 6 inches from broiler for about 8 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven, cover back w/ foil slightly until ready to serve.
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Salmon filets

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Salmon filets w/ salt, pepper, lemon juice and onion powder

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Adding lemon slices to top of salmon and butter around salmon

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Salmon cooked, packet opened, and set to broil

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Salmon done – after broiling

Hash Directions:

  1. Wash and dry potatoes. Make sure they are very dry so do night before or at least 1 hour before prepping.
  2. Slice into 1/2 inch slices and slice again to make small cubes approximately 1/2 by 1/2 inch.
  3. Mix potatoes, garlic, salt & pepper in a medium sized bowl and set aside until ready to cook.
  4. Chop zucchini and squash into small cubes about the same size as potatoes.
  5. Pour 1 tbsp oil into a sauté pan on high heat Рabout 8 out of 10.
  6. Put potatoes into pan and let sit still for about 4 – 5 minutes until they start to simmer and cook.
  7. Begin to gently stir potatoes in the pan until they start to brown on all sides and are crispy on outside and soft on inside. Probably another 10-12 minutes. You will not need to add oil as the potatoes can cook once the skillet dries out.
  8. Once done, pour potatoes back into mixing bowl and set aside.
  9. Pour other 1 tbsp of oil into pan – same high heat. Pour in zucchini and squash and begin to cook until they brown, but check often to ensure they are not getting soft or squishy. You want them to be soft but still with a bit of crunch.
  10. Season w/ salt & pepper.
  11. Add in cooked potatoes to the pan. Mix. Pour back into bowl.
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Chopping zucchini & squash

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Chopping potatoes into small cubes like other vegetables

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Cooking potatoes until crispy on outside and soft inside

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Cooking zucchini & squash until golden brown

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Adding potatoes back to pan w/ zucchini & squash to warm it all up

Plating the whole situation:

– Place potato/zucchini hash on the plate. Top with salmon filet (if possible lift from pan and leave skin behind on foil). On top of salmon, dollop/spread the dill cream spread

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FINAL PRODUCT!

Roasted Salmon & Creamed Spinach w/ Mushrooms (light recipe)

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For the past 7 years, since we met, my dear friend JulieAnn and I have a standing agreement to get together once a week for dinner at either her house or mine. We usually make it at least 2 weeks a month and we do a good job making it a priority no matter how busy our lives get. I really enjoy the chance to decompress from a crazy work day, have a glass of wine, catch up with each other, watch extremely bad TV (holy Housewives!), and eat yummy food. Here’s the test of a super close gal pal: you spend the evening in workout clothes and don’t even attempt to tidy up your house when they come over. I hope after we both have our own kids and battle busier days, we’ll still be able to make this happen.

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JulieAnn (not wanting a face image on the blog) and her step-son

Since most of my recent recipe posts haven’t been exactly healthy, we are getting into lighter dishes – especially since many of us are on the verge of prepping for swimsuit season. UGH. Yes. I said it. I am sorry but if any of you are feeling ‘large and in charge’ after this winter, I am right there w/ ya! Look forward to lighter versions of recipes you love, more salads, and more veggies coming soon – especially once we can fire up the grill!

JulieAnn cooked up oven-roasted salmon, creamed spinach w/ mushrooms, and red potatoes. We found the base recipes that we tweaked just a bit at Cooking Light.com. GREAT resource for light recipes. I love salmon, and this was a very delicious recipe that was moist, tangy and flavorful. The creamed spinach didn’t taste light at all, it was REALLY yummy. I was surprised. Easy healthy recipes any woman on the go would love. (note potato recipe not included).

Ingredients: Salmon

  • 2 six oz. salmon filets
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
  • Cooking spray

Ingredients: Creamed Spinach/Mushrooms

  • 4 teaspoons¬†canola oil, divided
  • 8 ounces¬†sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 10-ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1/3 cup¬†finely chopped shallots
  • 2 teaspoons¬†minced fresh garlic
  • 3/4 cup¬†fat-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon¬†all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon¬†black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 ounces¬†1/3-less-fat cream cheese

Directions Salmon:

  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine honey, mustard, vinegar, pepper & salt in small bowl.
  3. Brush over fish.
  4. Coat cooking pan with cooking spray. Place salmon on pan.
  5. Cook for 11-13 minutes until cooked through. Internal temperature at 145 degrees.

Directions Creamed Spinach/Mushrooms:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil; turn pan to coat with oil.
  3. Add mushrooms; cook 7 or so minutes or until liquid evaporates.
  4. Remove mushrooms from pan.
  5. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; turn to coat pan with oil.
  6. Add spinach; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts. Remove from heat and set aside.
  7. Heat a small dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.
  8. Add remaining 1 teaspoon oil; turn to coat with oil.
  9. Add shallots and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  10. Combine milk and flour, stirring with a whisk.
  11. Add milk mixture, salt, pepper, and nutmeg to pan; bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  12. Cook 4 or so minutes or until thickened, stirring constantly. Add cheese; stir until cheese melts and the mixture is smooth.
  13. Add mushrooms and spinach to milk mixture, and toss gently to coat.

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Beef Stroganoff (light)

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One of my husbands favorite meals is beef stroganoff. He’s be working a lot and had to travel to Canada for work, in February, where they plug in their non-electric automobiles just to keep them from freezing. I needed to do something nice for him fo’ sho’. I never knew that this dish hailed from ‘Mother Russia’ until I started doing some basic research. Fun fact: Beef Stroganoff was created by a chef during his service to Count Stroganoff and his family. After this meal won first place in a culinary competition, it became quite the popular dish. The 3 main delicious ingredients are still in today’s versions of the dish: beef, mushrooms, and sour cream. BUT, in this version we lightened it up just a bit to cut the calories and the guilt.

I’d never put dill in stroganoff before, and I will never make that mistake again. Its delicious. Just do it. Sometimes this dish can be too heavy, in actual texture and in taste. The fresh flavor of the dill cuts through that heaviness. If you want a super creamy stroganoff, you’ll need to add cream or half/half to this recipe instead of skim milk. This version does have some cream texture to it, but not a lot. Since we needed to lighten this up, we started with our dairy choices. To quote Truvy from Steel Magnolias: “Calories Calories’.

This dish is perfect for the cold nights we have right now in KC. Warm, delicious, savory and lower calorie than most recipes. I hope you love it as much as I do (and as my husband did). ūüôā

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. wide egg noodles
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, stems removed, thinly sliced
  • 1.5 lb. top sirloin beef, sliced into 1/8 inch slices (salt and peppered)
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup light sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4-5 tablespoons skim milk
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)
  • chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt, to taste
  • coarse ground pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring large pot of water to boil.
  2. Salt water and pour in egg noodles. Cook until soft and drain. I leave in strainer so I can run hot water over the noodles again to get them heated back up just a little while before serving.
  3. While pasta is cooking, heat saute pan over medium heat with olive oil.
  4. Sauté onions and garlic until they start to soften, about 3 minutes.
  5. Stir in mushrooms and sliced beef.
  6. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  7. After about 5 minutes, beef should be fully cooked and vegetables tender.
  8. Stir in spices (thyme, dill, red pepper flakes – if using), mustard & beef broth. Simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  9. Stir in sour cream.
  10. In a small bowl, whisk flour and half and half together to create a slurry. Ensure there are no lumps. Pour this into the hot pot, stir and cook 5 minutes to thicken sauce.
  11. Add 1 tbsp of butter (optional)
  12. Taste, adjust seasonings to your liking (I added more pepper and a dash of salt)
  13. Spoon noodles onto plate or bowl and top with stroganoff.
  14. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.
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Chopped mushrooms and onions

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Steak – cut into 1/4 & 1/8 inch strips (salted & peppered)

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Step 5 РSautéing onion & garlic

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Step 6 – Adding in mushrooms and beef to saute pan

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Step 6 again (just proof that its ME actually cooking). ūüôā

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Step 8 – Sauteeing until beef is cooked through

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Noodles boiling!

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Lulu stopping by for a quick sniff

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Step 9- Adding spices and beef broth

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Hi!

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Steps 10/11/12 – Adding sour cream, butter, and slurry

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Close up of final sauce

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Finished noodles!

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Final product (served with roasted asparagus)