New Year's Pantry Challenge, Beef Strogonoff Made Simple: Fancy doesn't have to be extravagant, Day 9

Today's Menu:

Granola and milk
Trader Joe's Peanut Butter and Crackers

Potato-Corn Chowder
Cornbread Muffins
Kiwi slices
Cupcakes (made by Amy)

Hard-boiled eggs

Butter Lettuce Salad with raisins, pumpkin seeds and feta cheese
Beef Strogonoff
Brown Rice
Chocolate Truffle Peppermint Cookies

People have the misconception that a "fancy" meal has to be expensive to make. I would like to argue today that a special meal doesn't have to cost the big bucks. I learned this from my friend Brandy who makes Beef Strogonoff with ground beef. According to my "Children's World Cookbook," Beef Strogonoff originates in Russia. This delicious recipe was created in the 1700s for Count Alexander Strogonoff. The recipe uses expensive steak like fillet or rump steak. But it doesn't have to be expensive.

A good meal doesn't have to take all day to make either. Don't get me wrong; I love intense cooking. I savor our Christmas Day tradition of rolling homemade raviolis or the occasional inspiration I get to make homemade Wonton Soup. These meals are fancy and time intensive. We all know that just isn't a reality every day of the week. I like to look for meals with an ethnic flair that are different, healthy and take a reasonable amount of time to make on a busy weeknight. Beef Strogonoff can be one of those quick meals. This Russian inspiration great for a quick comfort food for your family or decadent enough for company. I used what I had in the pantry for this version.

Beef Strogonoff

2 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon dijon mustard

1 pound grass-fed organic ground beef
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour
2 tablespoons sherry (or some other sweet wine)
2 cups milk
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt

1. Saute onions in butter until translucent. Add the mushrooms to the pan.
2. Stir in dijon mustard.
3. Add ground beef and cook until brown.
4. Sprinkle flour on top of beef. Do not stir but let cook for 2-3 minutes.Then stir in with beef-onion mixture.
5. Add milk and sherry to skillet and gently stir. Lower heat when sauce begins to bubble and thicken.
6. Add black pepper, paprika and salt. (I didn't have it but you can add 1/2 cup sour cream at this point to make the sauce more creamy. You can also add milk or cream back into the sauce to adjust if it seems to thick.)

Serve over rice or egg noodle pasta.

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