Last night, I made Ground Beef Stroganoff for dinner that was very loosely based on a menagerie of different Stroganoff Recipes that I have seen floating around online. Because I did not use any one specific recipe, I cannot credit anyone else and, to be fair, while I had planned to make stroganoff, it was because I knew that I already had the ingredients and needed to use them up! It really was quite a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of night. I served it over egg noodles with fresh green beans with bacon on the side and it was a big hit. Even the bacon was “just something I had to use up” because it was leftover from breakfast the morning before.
The green beans got flash steamed in a covered saute pan with a little butter, salt, and pepper. The bacon was chopped and tossed in towards the very end so that it wouldn’t get soggy.
An “off the cuff” Stroganoff can be treated much like a Stew, in that you slowly build the flavor of the sauce until it suits your liking. I started by chopping up about 8 ounces of mushrooms and a leftover zucchini (skinned). In a saute pan, I added butter, the mushrooms, and zucchini and cooked them for about 8 minutes or so until they were soft but not mushy. Once they were finished, I removed them from the pan and added (to the same pan) the ground beef and chopped onion. I used about 2 pounds of ground beef and that fed my family of 4 plus leftovers for lunch the next day. I then added paprika and a little bit of beef broth. When the meat was close to done, I added the mushrooms and zucchini back into the pan with it. That was the point that the sauce was about to take shape. I added some sour cream, lemon juice, some dijon mustard, and Worcestershire sauce to mine. You could also try adding balsamic vinegar. I just added a dash of this and a touch of that, and continually tasted until I felt it was right. I threw in a little salt at the end, and dinner was ready!
Sometimes I get really caught up on following directions in a recipe down to the letter and forget to taste it before serving. This has led to a few “less than stellar” dinner moments. I have slowly been better at modifying recipes to suit my family, and, in this case, I basically took a “recipe concept” and just did my own thing with it. Luckily, this kitchen experiment turned out splendidly and my family loved it!