Guest Post: Creamy Stroganoff Meatball Skillet by Crumb: A Food Blog

We're excited to have a familiar face back in our kitchen! Isabelle of Crumb: A Food Blog is at it again, sharing mouthwatering mushroom recipes! This time, she's used the Blend & Extend method to make weeknight meals tasty and affordable. 

There are many lessons I learned from my mother: how to do a load of laundry, how to balance a chequebook, how to dig up a dandelion, how to stitch a button back on a shirt, how to bake a cake, but most important of all, she taught me how to eat well on a budget.

So when it came time to come up with a recipe using the Blend and Extend method of combining ground beef with finely chopped mushrooms, it only seemed appropriate that I should use her recipe for Stroganoff Meatballs from my beloved binder of family recipes as a starting point.


Her version of the comfort food classic was already pretty thrifty, since it replaces the more expensive cuts of beef in the traditional stroganoff with relatively cheaper ground beef, but adding finely chopped mushrooms to the meatballs helps to stretch that pound of beef even further. Not to mention that the mushrooms do a great job of keeping the meatballs juicy and tender, while boosting the earthy mushroom flavour in the dish (which, let’s face it, is really the best part of a stroganoff).

While I was at it, I decided to convert it into a one-pan meal by simmering the noodles together with the meatballs and sauce, so that they’re infused all the way through with delicious beef-and-mushroom flavour.

The end result is some serious comfort food goodness - a big bowl of hearty beefy meatballs and tender noodles smothered in a creamy mushroom sauce made all the more comforting by the knowledge that you’ve only got one pan to wash up at the end of the night. Because if there’s one more thing I learned from my mother, it’s that you should never pass up an opportunity to do less dishes.


Creamy Stroganoff Meatball Skillet
by Crumb: A Food Blog

Ingredients
Meatballs:
½ lb sliced cremini mushrooms
1 lb lean ground beef
¼ cup finely diced onion
2 tbsp finely chopped parsley
½ tsp salt
½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
Stroganoff Sauce and Noodles:
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
3 cups uncooked broad egg noodles
¼ cup sour cream
¼ cup parsley (plus more for garnish, if desired)

Method
Make the Meatballs:
1. Using a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process the mushrooms until very finely chopped.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the chopped mushrooms with ground beef, onion, parsley, salt and pepper. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. 
Make the Sauce and Noodles:
3. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium-high, cook the bacon in olive oil until browned and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate, leaving the fat in the pan.
4. Add the meatballs to the hot pan, and cook for 3-5 minutes or until well browned all over. (They are quite fragile at this stage, so be gentle when turning them over!) Transfer the meatballs the same plate as the bacon, and pour off all but 1 tablespoon fat from pan.
5. Add the onion to the pan and saute for 6 to 8 minutes, or until soft and lightly golden. Add the mushrooms and garlic and saute for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms start to soften. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.
6. Whisk in the broth, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Stir in the noodles, along with the bacon and meatballs, and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and let simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the noodles are soft and the meatballs are cooked all the way through. 
7. Remove from heat, and stir in the sour cream and parsley. Serve immediately.


~~~~~

This is a creamy and delicious weeknight meal that is easy to prepare and easy on your budget! This Blend & Extend recipe is sure to get two thumbs up from mom and kids alike. 

Follow along with Isabelle online at Crumb: A Food Blog, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!

After School Snacking Made Easy With Mushrooms

How's everyone settling back into their school year routine?

With such a mild summer, the cooler weather wasn't the shock it typically is when the school year rolls back around. For me, I think this has made the September transition that much easier, though it seems very obvious that fall is nearly here.

Now that we've all had a couple of weeks to adjust, we can get a little more creative with our time when we get home. Pulled from The Cap Crew recipe library, I'm sharing a tasty snack that will have the kids ready to sit down and chat about their day.



Walrus Tusks
A thick chili con carne with cubes of melting cheese is enclosed in tortillas to form a burrito. See other variations to serve it in a bowl or on top of baked potatoes or cooked pasta.

Preparation Time: 12 minutes | Cooking Time: 33 minutes

Ingredients
8 oz pre-sliced fresh Mushrooms
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil, divided
8 oz lean ground chicken
1 clove garlic
1 can (213 mL) tomato sauce
1 can (398 mL) beans in tomato sauce
1- 1 ½ tbsp chili powder
½  tsp cumin powder
Pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)
6 large (10 “25 cm) tortillas
½  (200g) block cheddar cheese

Dipping Sauce:
½ cup low fat sour cream
½ cup mild, medium or hot salsa

Method
1. On cutting board stack 2 mushrooms slices one on top of the other; with sharp
knife slice crosswise into narrow short strips; repeat with remaining mushrooms; set side. With sharp knife cut onion in half on cutting board, place flat side down and cut in both directions to coarsely chop.

2. Add 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil to skillet and place on burner; turn to medium high heat. Add ground chicken and with large spoon stir while cooking (about 3 minutes) to break up into small pieces. Stir in onion and mushrooms; crush garlic into pan and continue cooking and stirring until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in beans with sauce, tomato sauce,1 tbsp(15 mL) chili powder, cumin and hot red pepper flakes if desired. Lower heat to medium-low and cook stirring occasionally 8-10 minutes or until very thick. Turn off burner and move skillet to a cold burner. Taste and add more chili powder if desired.

3. Preheat oven to 400ºF. On cutting board cut cheese into 30 (½”/1cm) cubes.

4. Lay tortillas on counter; spoon ½ cup (125 mL) filling on to the bottom third of each tortilla, leaving a 1”(2.5 cm) border; arrange 5 cubes of cheese on top each one. Fold the bottom of tortilla over filling and fold the sides in to seal filling. Roll up tightly from bottom to enclose completely.

5. Using pastry brush lightly coat baking pan with 1 tsp (5 mL) oil and place rolled tortillas, seam side down on the pan. Brush remaining oil on tops and sides of filled tortillas.

6. Place baking pan in middle of oven; bake for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom. If desired turn on broiler for 2-3 minutes to crisp and brown the tops.

7. Cool 4-5 minutes; mix sour cream and salsa in small serving dish. Using serrated knife cut tortilla rolls in half diagonally. Serve with dipping sauce.

Makes 6 servings

~~~~~

What's your favourite dish to serve up after school?

Guest Post: Shroomy Beef Keftedes by The Yum Yum Factor

We've got a guest in our kitchen! We're excited to welcome Carole of The Yum Yum Factor as a first-time guest, sharing a tasty Blend & Extend recipe. She'll be back with another mushroom dish later this month, but in the meantime, let's dig in to her Greek-inspired Keftedes!

I was a bit of a late bloomer in the kitchen but I have always been a bit of a professional eater since I was a kid, choosing my friends based on what I thought their mothers could offer me in way of snacks. The last thing I needed was another manga cake friend named Andrea who had a mom serving up Kraft Dinner for lunch when I could befriend young Rui who’s mom was slinging bacalhau fritters . After years spent travelling and exploring, I gradually gained some kitchen skills and by 2010 I started my blog, The Yum Yum Factor, originally as a way to catalogue the dishes that I cooked for friends and family who were constantly pestering me for recipes. I consider myself a solid home cook with an adventurous palette, a high tolerance for burns and cuts and a desire to eat the world.


I have been on a meatball making mission lately so when Mushrooms Canada asked me to come up with a new Blend and Extend recipe, I was thrilled because it just so happened that I was already working on adapting one of my favourite meatballs. I was so happy with my Middle Eastern Meatballs and was almost finished perfecting this recipe for keftedes.

I have never met a mushroom I didn't like, although I don’t think I actually tasted a real mushroom until I moved to Toronto at 19. Growing up, we only ate canned and I was not fan but I really thought that was all there was until I left home.  From my first taste of dried shiitakes in some Chinese restaurant upon my arrival in Toronto at 19, I was hooked. After that, as I travelled more and more, my love affair with these versatile little babies grew and expanded to include more exotic varieties over time.

Everything was hunky dory until I became a mother and BAM, I was cursed with a child who hated mushrooms. For a decade I could only cook with them when he was away on a sleep over and my husband and I would take that opportunity to feast on mushroom risottos, bisques and tarts, knowing that it might be months before we could do that again. Happily, The Kid grew and his palette expanded and we eventually got to a place where he still didn't like the texture, but he admitted to liking the flavour and mushrooms were back on the table. Fast forward to today, and mushrooms are, once again, a regular staple in my kitchen and all is right with the world.

My recipe for keftedes had been cobbled together after years of watching my share of friend’s Yiayias (Greek Grandmas) make these things so the result is a mishmash of my favourite versions.


Shroomy Beef Keftedes by The Yum Yum Factor
These are usually served warm or room temperature as part of a mezes platter, with some tzatziki on the side.

For the Keftedes:
350 g ground beef
100g button mushrooms
1 tbls red wine vinegar
1 small onion, minced or grated
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large plum or roma tomato, seeded and finely chopped (just half and squeeze out the seeds)
1 small egg beaten 
1/3 cup panko 
1 tsp dried oregano
1 heaping  tbls fresh parsley
1 heaping tbls fresh mint
1 tsp kosher salt
4 or 5 grinds freshly ground pepper
about 1/4 cup flour
Olive oil and vegetable oil for frying

*optional- about 1/4 cup ouzo

Grind the mushrooms in the food processor and remove to a big bowl along with the ground beef. Sprinkle the vinegar over the mixture and then add in the onion, garlic, tomato, herbs, bread crumbs, salt and pepper and egg and, using your hands, mix well until everything is combined. Put the mix in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to firm up.

*If you really hate the feeling of using your hands, you can mix it in a stand mixer with a dough hook on low for a minute.

Put the flour in a shallow bowl or dish.

*If you are using the ouzo, put it in a shallow bowl and dip one of your palms into it so you get a bit of ouzo on it and then pat your hands together before you roll out the meatballs. Do this every two or three meatballs.

Start rolling the meatballs, making them golf ball sized and sit them in the flour. Toss the meatballs around so that they are lightly coated and remove to plate or platter. If the meatball mixture feels damp, I just give it a light squeeze as I am forming the meatballs and it will release a bit of liquid as you do that, letting it drip through your fingers.

Heat a pan over med to med high heat and coat the bottom with a generous layer of 1/2 olive oil and 1/2 vegetable oil (canola works well). The oil should be about 1/2” deep. Without overcrowding the pan, start frying the meatballs. Get them nice and brown on all sides, leaving room in the pan to roll them around, for about 7 to 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Do this in batches until they are all done.

Serve them warm or room temperature with Tzatziki.

Tzatziki:
1/2 English cucumber, grated coarse
1 cup Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 tbls olive oil
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Grate the cucumber on a coarse grater, put in a strainer or sieve, sprinkle a small pinch of kosher salt and let sit for at least 30 minutes and up to a couple of hours. 

Mix the yogurt, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and the strained cucumber in a bowl. Before you add the cucumber, give it a good press to force out any remaining liquid ( I use a piece of paper towel to press it down). Keep in the fridge until you are ready to eat. 


~~~~~

These are a lovely snack, appetizer or dinner side! They're also a fun treat and healthy treat for the kids. Thanks Carole for sharing these Greek-inspired treats. 

Follow along with Carole online at The Yum Yum Factor, on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!