“What’s for dinner?” No matter what time of year or how big or small your family, answering the “dinner question” can be a real pain in the neck. So with kids heading back to school I thought I’d dedicate some extra time during the month of September to help out!
As a veteran food marketer I’ve seen most of the “solutions” big food companies have to offer. In fact when I ran General Mills’ Hamburger Helper brand the issue stared me down square in my face every day. To help understand Hamburger Helper’s consumers I committed to making at least one highly processed boxed dinners once a month. What an experience! And even though this was well before my real food journey had started, my family always preferred a homemade alternative like my Creamy Beef Stroganoff with Peas!
Although I’ve modified my recipe some over the years (mainly by choosing humanely raised, grass-fed beef) it’s always been heavy on the veggies and lighter on the meat and pasta. And despite the fact that my son would always pick out the mushrooms (he’s just not a fan 🙁 ), I kept adding them in because I liked them.
Nevertheless, you can tailor this recipe to your family’s tastes—if they don’t like peas, perhaps you try asparagus, broccoli, or green beans instead. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, there’s no reason chicken, pork, or even tofu won’t taste wonderful in this dish. But regardless of how you make it, try to stay true to “hiding” as many veggies as possible and cutting back on the pasta. That’s what makes this dinner a real hit in my book!
- 1 pound beef sirloin steak, trimmed of any extra fat
- 6 to 8 ounces dried whole-wheat pasta (about 2½ to 3 cups)
- 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- 8-10 ounces of mushrooms, sliced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1+ teaspoon onion powder/granules
- ⅔ cup milk
- 2 tablespoons whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- ⅔ cup sour cream
- ¼ - ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese (reserve some for garnish)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut meat into thin strips by slicing diagonally across the grain. Set aside.
- Cook pasta as directed. Drain and set aside.
- Whisk together milk and flour in a small bowl or cup. Set aside.
- While pasta is cooking heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onions, garlic, and onion powder/granules. Cook until mushrooms and onions start to soften.
- Add steak and stir frequently, cooking until mushrooms are tender and steak is no longer pink, about 7 minutes.
- Add the milk mixture to the skillet. Bring to a simmer. Stir gently until sauce thickens, about 1 to 2 minutes.
- Fold in sour cream and peas and return to a simmer. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve in bowls or on a plate over pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
We usually use whole-wheat, farfalle pasta when making this dish but most types of whole wheat pasta will work.
You can substitute greek yogurt for the sour cream although I think sour cream yields a smoother, creamier texture.
Do you have a favorite weeknight, family dinner that’s part of your routine? Feel free to share in the comments below or via our contact form. We’d love to hear from you and feature some reader recipes in the coming months!
Kitchen Tips and Resources:
- A great, non-slip cutting board is an invaluable kitchen asset when cutting up the steak and onions. I upgraded to these Epicurean non-slip boards last summer, and I’ve been really pleased with them.
- A high quality set of cutting knives can make a huge difference, especially when you’re cooking REAL food. My local knife shop advised me to invest in the higher quality Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Signature brand (much higher quality than the J.A. Henckels International brand) and time has proven them right. (To make sure you know which Henckels knives are better, here’s a tip — look for the “twins” on the knives vs. the single guy sporting the trident.) While you can buy these knives online, if you’ve got a local knife/cutlery store, support them instead. I love my local cutlery store and bring my knives in every six months or so to get them maintained with a nice, sharp edge!
- A great, multipurpose colander is a must for every kitchen, especially when you’re making pasta! I bought this OXO Good Grips colander as a replacement for a really old plastic one that I had bought at a dollar store in the 90’s. Who knows what kind of weird plastics and hormone-disrupting chemicals were in that old one. Yikes! Maybe it’s time you invest in a new colander as well.