Lighter Beef Stroganoff

Beef stroganoff, how I love thee…but alas, the scale reminds me just how much I love thee.

How to make a lighter version?  And make it gluten free?

This recipe is both!  At around 550 for a serving including the noodles, this will make you feel pretty dern good about still getting to eat what you love!

Move over, fatty beef stroganoff and glutinous Hamburger Helper!

Lighter Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 pound 93/7 (or 90/10) ground beef
  •    (or top round, cubed or sliced beef, if you prefer)
  • 1 cup sliced baby portabella mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard (or 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) Greek yogurt, plain yogurt, or sour cream
  • 3-4 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (or chicken will work fine too)
  • 2 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounce box of gluten free pasta (or mashed potatoes or rice)

In a large skillet, cook beef, onion and garlic until beef is cooked through.  Do not drain fat from meat.

Add broth, sliced mushrooms, mustard, Greek yogurt, cubed cream cheese, parsley, salt and pepper.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until sauce is formed and thickened.

Stir in parsley before serving.  Spoon over pasta, mashed potatoes, or rice.  Enjoy!


Gluten Free Macaroni & Cheese

What is there to say about homemade mac and cheese that hasn’t already been said?  It’s the ultimate family-friendly comfort food!

Many versions include flour in the cheese mix – you could always substitute gluten free flour.  But not everyone has gluten free flour in their pantry, and it is expensive.  But eggs – everyone has those.  Here I make a classic recipe gluten free by using eggs instead of flour (and gluten free pasta, of course).

The result is creamy and cheesy, and you won’t even be able to tell it is gluten free!  It isn’t my healthiest recipe, but indulging every once in a while makes me really happy.

I use a blend of 4 cheeses: Cheddar, Mozzarella, Parmesan and Velveeta.

Ok, ok, so that’s really like…3 1/2 cheeses.  But the Velveeta adds a delicious creaminess.  Don’t leave it out!


So delicious!!!  Make this now!

Macaroni & Cheese

Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

  • 1/2 pound (8 ounces) gluten free elbow macaroni
  •      (I like brown rice pasta)
  • 2 cups whole milk (or one cup whole milk
  •      and one cup lowfat milk)
  • 4 ounces Velveeta, cubed
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) medium Cheddar cheese, grated
  •      (plus more for topping)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) Mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Cook pasta to al dente according to package directions.  In a large pan, heat 1 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until just bubbling; remove from heat and allow to cool 5 minutes.

Beat an egg in a small bowl; add cooled milk 1/4 cup at a time, whisking to prevent egg from scrambling.  Add another 1/4 cup milk to egg; add egg mixture back to pan and return pan to medium heat.

Add in cheeses, and stir.  Add dry mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Stir constantly until cheese is mostly melted (this can take 10 minutes; be patient and don’t let the mixture boil).

When cheese is melted, add in drained pasta and stir to combine.  Transfer mixture to a 2 1/2 quart casserole dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes, until edges bubble.

Top with more Cheddar cheese, and broil on high 5 minutes or until top begins to brown.

Let dish rest 10-15 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Easy Pasta Salad

Here’s a super easy pasta salad recipe.  This is usually what I bring to summer parties when I’m asked to bring a side dish.  I make it all the time and use whatever vegetables I have in my fridge and pantry.

Use gluten free pasta (for the photos I used Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta) and check the label of whatever dressing you choose for MSG.

While Roma tomatoes aren’t essential, they hold up better when chopped.  Smaller ones will be less watery, too.

Making the pasta the day before and letting the dressing absorb overnight makes for a more flavorful final dish, but if you don’t have time, everything can be put together same day. If the pasta absorbs all the dressing, add a little more right before serving.

Easy Pasta Salad

  • 1 box (8-12 ounces) gluten free pasta (try Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta)
  • 1 bottle Italian dressing, plus more if needed (try Ken’s Light Northern Italian or Kraft Viva Italian)
  • 1 cup chopped black olives
  • 1 can (14 ounces) salad cut hearts of palm, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/2 cup cubed cheese, such as Cheddar or Mozzarella (you can even use cheese sticks!)
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 cup sliced mini salad bell peppers (or use regular bell peppers)

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a bowl with a tight fitting lid, add pasta and half the bottle of dressing.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.  (You can make this same day if necessary)

A few hours before serving, add the veggies, cheese and the rest of the dressing.  Refrigerate until chilled.  If pasta absorbs the dressing, add a little more and toss before serving.  Enjoy!


Creamy Lemon Basil Shrimp with Kale

I’ve been completely enamored with the winter Olympics this year.  There have been so many exciting moments!

Maybe it’s always this way.  This year I’m roped in, for some reason.

So as not to distract me from the games, what can I make for dinner that’s quick and tasty?  And not a huge cleanup endeavor.

The Olympian gods were smiling down on me today.  Shrimp – already peeled, already deveined – tails already removed! – was on sale.  Yes!

So here’s my shrimp pasta.  You could use spinach instead of kale, I just like kale’s crunch.  Or try broccoli or asparagus!

A little lemon zest adds brightness and brings out the basil!

Serve it over rice instead of pasta.  Add some bread (Udi’s makes delicious gluten free dinner rolls!) smothered in butter or basil pesto, and I’d say you’ve got a win.

Gold for sure. [end Olympic references.]

Creamy Lemon Basil Shrimp with Kale

1/2 box (4 servings) pasta of your choice

  • 1 pound medium shrimp, peeled, deveined, tails removed
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cups fresh kale, chopped (or use spinach if you like)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) whipped cream cheese (regular or Neufchatel will also work)
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • torn fresh basil leaves

Boil pasta according to package directions.  Drain, toss with a little olive oil to prevent sticking, and set aside.

Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add 1 clove of minced garlic, the chicken broth and kale, along with a touch of salt.  Cover and cook until wilted, 5 minutes or so.

Turn heat up to medium-high.  Add rest of garlic and butter, and add shrimp to the pan, cooking until pink.

Turn heat back down to medium.  Add tomatoes, cream cheese, and lemon zest.  Stir; cover until cream cheese is melted.

Add salt and pepper to taste.  Continue to simmer uncovered over medium-low heat until a smooth sauce forms.  Serve over pasta and sprinkle with torn basil.  Enjoy!