Busy Schedules, Simple Solution: Protein + Pasta + Seasonings = Dinner Tonight
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Busy Schedules, Simple Solution: Protein + Pasta + Seasonings = Dinner Tonight

Short Rib Stroganoff
We have had a very busy few weeks and it has definitely taking a chunk of time out of my time to blog.  However, I have some quiet time to write today so I want to catch you up one way that I have been managing dinner tonight at my home during this summer season.

I am generally not a fan of packaged, just add protein boxed meals. They contain so many add ingredients….fillers, preservatives, MSG, etc. and they really don’t have much flavor, just a lot of sodium.

As a Wildtree product consultant, I have been experimenting with several of the convenience products to create some recipes to show my customers that these boxed meals can be a delicious solution for a quick and easy weeknight meal.  Wildtree products are natural and organic and do not contain preservatives or MSG.

This week I was living that busy, no time to cook life and decided that the Wildtree’s Stroganoff Skillet Meal was going to be my inspiration and my time saver.

The Theory:  Protein + Pasta + Seasoning can be the basic formula solution for a busy schedule.  These essential ingredients plus a slow cooker and a large skillet can have a delicious dinner on the table in less 30 minutes.  And, by adding just a few additional ingredients you can have a dinner that would be great for entertaining as well.

Stroganoff, you may say, isn’t that just kind of boring and out dated?  To that I say well, that depends…I think you’ll find my version is a nice twist on the classic. By adding wine, garlic, creme fraiche and a bit of cheese, just four simple ingredients along with changing the traditional meat from ground beef to short ribs, you can elevate this classic dish.

Short Rib Stroganoff

Short RibsIn the morning, before you head off anywhere, get the short ribs started in your slow cooker. Start with at least 4 large beef short ribs.  I love the Angus dry aged short ribs I can get at my local butcher shop; they are so tender and flavorful when cook in my slow cooker.  You could also use pork short ribs if you’d like or even a small beef or pork roast.

Place the ribs in a slow cooker, season them with salt and cracked pepper. Add 1 cup of a dry white wine, chardonnay or pinto gris, 1 cup of beef stock and 2 cloves to the slow cooker.

Cook the ribs on low for 6-8 hours or until you arrive home and are ready to complete the meal.  Remove the ribs from your slow cooker. Discard the fat and shredded the rib meat.  It should just fall a part as it is so tender. Drain the cooking liquid from the pan into a large measuring cup.  Ladle off the excess fat and discard.

In your large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add 2 cups of the reserved cooking liquid, adding additional wine or stock to reach enough for 2 cups if necessary, add the stroganoff seasoning package and whisk to combine.  This replaces the water in the recipe on the skillet meal package.

Add 1 cup of milk and stir to combine.  Add 3 cups of egg noodles to the skillet.  Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the noodles are cooked to your liking. Adjust the consistency of the sauce as needed with stock or wine.  Add the reserved short rib meat and stir to combine.  

Then stir 1 container of creme fraiche or sour cream.  Stir to combine. 

Top with 1/2 cup of shredded cheese of your choice: mozzarella, smoked Gouda or something similar. Broil in the oven for 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.  

Serve with your favorite green vegetable or a side salad to add some color to the plate and dinner is served!  

If you want to dress up your presentation, just keep the short rib meat warm while you make the pasta and sauce in the skillet and plate the pasta with the veggies and then add the short rib meat on top. Or go for the more rustic presentation as I did.

You can definitely play with this recipe to adjust it to your favorite protein and pasta. Check out some of these other variations…..

Slow Cooker Meals:
Chicken Thighs + Bow Ties + Seasoning Blend = Chicken Strognaff

Lamb Shanks + Spirali Pasta + Seasoning Blend (and maybe a touch of greek seasoning) = Lamb Strognaff 
For the lamb stroganoff, I would skip broiling the cheese on top and just plate the dish with a few dabs of goat cheese on top.

One Pot Meals:
These variation skip the slow cooker and just use one pot.  Just brown the meat your large nonstick skillet and then follow remaining steps above.

Ground Beef + Elbow Noodles + Seasoning Blend = Hamburger “Helper”

Spicy Pork Sausage + Fusilli + Seasoning Blend (and maybe touch of Italian seasoning) = Italian Strognaff

Ground Turkey + Penne + Seasoning Blend = Healthier Stroganoff Helper

I hope that this inspires you to include this easy classic dish in your weeknight menu options.

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