I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the whole Pasta & Meat sauce workflow. With the dishes I’ve made so far, I think of the process as having 5 major parts:
- Boil the water and add the pasta after 10 minutes
- Prepare the ingredients (chop the onion/garlic)
- Cook the onion/garlic until they’re soft (add salt & pepper)
- Cook the ground meat until it turns brown (add salt & pepper)
- Drain the oil and add the sauce. (add salt & pepper, plus any additional spices)
I’ve gotten good results with this formula so far, and I decided to modify the dish yet again. This time I tackled the recipe that traumatized me in college (jk, kinda)… Beef/Turkey Stroganoff.
This time, I was the winner.. creating a pot of beef stroganoff in 36 minutes, spending only $4.48 per serving! Here’s a rewritten version of recipe I used (from Simply Recipes):
- Ground beef (or turkey), 1 pound (450g)
- Pasta, 1 pound (450g)
- Yellow Onion, chopped
- Salt, 1 teaspoon
- Pepper, 1 teaspoon
- Paprika, 1 teaspoon
- 1-1/4 cup of Sour Cream
- Lemon Juice, 1 teaspoon
- Put a pot of salted water (1 teaspoon salt for every quart of water) on to heat, for the pasta.
- Prepare your vegetables (wash the vegetables, chop the onion, and slice the mushrooms)
- Heat a large sauté pan on medium high heat. Cook the onions until soft. Sprinkle with salt as it cooks.
- Add the ground beef/turkey to the pan and break it up with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with salt as it cooks.
- Once the meat is brown remove everything from the pan and place aside for now.
- This is likely a good time to add the pasta to the (should be now) boiling, salted water.
- While the pasta is cooking, add a tablespoon of butter to the pan, increase the heat to medium high, and add the sliced mushrooms. Sauté until nicely browned (about 4 minutes). Add the sherry (or dry white wine or water) to the pan to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Let the sherry reduce by at least a half, then lower the heat to low.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Mix in the sour cream and paprika until smooth. Return the pan to very low heat, and not let the sour cream boil (or it may curdle). You may add a few tablespoons of water to the mixture to thin it out a bit at any time. Stir in the lemon juice, and about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of salt (taste). Stir in the meat and onions. Stir in the chopped parsley. Add more salt, pepper, and/or paprika to taste.
- Keep the stroganoff on warm heat until the noodles are done cooking. When the noodles are ready (al dente) drain. Serve the stroganoff on top of egg noodles.
Incorporating “Lessons Learned” from Day 21
LOSE: I forgot to use a garbage bowl this time :/
WIN: But… I did start boiling the water right away, which is why I was able to complete the dish relatively quickly (36 minutes).
WIN: I remembered to peel enough layers off my onion!
BIG WIN: I remembered to taste the food as I was cooking! I ended up adding some extra salt in there because I could tell that something was missing. I Read somewhere that “if it seems like something is missing, it’s probably salt!”
New Lessons Learned
I made note of one things to keep in mind for next time:
- While I remembered to peel enough layers off my onion, I didn’t cook them enough so they ended up tough again. DOH. Adding the beef before the onions kind of messed me up, so I’m going to stick with cooking the onions first. I don’t think it really makes a difference which one you cook first (correct me if I’m wrong though!).
This dish turned out good enough for me to try making again. If the onions were softer, I would’ve given it a solid A. You learn something new everyday! Til next time…
OTHER POSTS IN THE 100-DAY CHALLENGE SERIES
Day 1: Intro to Me & My Goal
Day 4: “Why Learn?” and My Cooking Background
Day 7: What Should I Learn to Cook FIRST?
Day 10: Pasta + Meat Sauce (Tomato Bolognese)
Day 21: Pasta + Meat Sauce (less Tomato)
Day 28: Pasta + Meat Sauce (Beef Stroganoff)
Day 35: Oven Roasted Chicken Thighs
Day 42: Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs
Day 49: Pan Roasted Chicken Thighs (coated with flour)
Day 56: Pan Roasted Chicken Breasts
Day 63: Miso Glazed Baked Salmon
Day 70: Miso Glazed Baked Salmon II
Day 77: Miso Glazed Baked Salmon III
Day 84: Final Exam
Day 95: What’s Next?
Day 100: Final Thoughts