Sunday, April 03, 2016

Mushrooms and Meatballs and Silver Cars

Seems like a lot and hardly anything has been going on lately. Let me explain. The hardly anything refers to cooking and baking, at least the creative sort. Dinners have been simple things like roast chicken, stir fry deliciousness, and salads for the most part and baking has been non-existent. Sweetie has been successfully losing weight and asked me to curtail baking plus I have been trying to once again get a handle on my gut health so have had little energy to bake, either.

The lot going on mostly refers to buying and selling cars and all the stuff that surrounds those activities. I have enjoyed driving a silver PT Cruiser for many years. PTs are cute cars and we've had ours since 2001. Sweetie has been ready to switch out to another car for a couple of years, so I have had the dubious pleasure of learning about all the other likely replacement choices for the same amount of time. Any time we were out and about together he was likely at least once during the trip to point out a potential auto and to let me know why it should be considered. This often happened in parking lots, particularly when we were at the hardware store or grocery store. We would wander the lot and discuss the pros and cons of different makes and models. I'm sure we looked pretty strange.

Finally I told Sweetie that I would make a choice, since we agreed that I should choose, and that it would be between March and June 2016. In late February I began my research on the Internet and narrowed my list to four cars to test drive. I could always go back to the drawing board if those turned out to be duds. Then one morning about a week and a half ago I just woke up knowing that it was the day to car shop. We test drove two cars and I fell in love with the second one, a silver, low-miles, 2015 Suburu Outback. I love the way it handles, the comfortable ride, the back-up camera and touch screen controls and more. Sold the silver PT Cruiser on Friday, so into the new silver car era we go.

So what about mushrooms and meatballs? Turns out that the box of large size Reynolds Oven Bags had a great sounding recipe included with the instructions. Meatball Stroganoff uses frozen meatballs, fresh mushrooms and onions, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and broth to make an oven baked dish that is finished with sour cream (or yogurt in my case) and dill (or parsley in my case) and served over cooked noodles. Since the part of beef stroganoff that I never enjoyed was cooking the cubed beef, I decided this was a recipe to try.

Because the latter part of the recipe uses a large bowl for the final mixing, I decided to mix together part of the flour, the sauce, mustard and broth in the bowl instead of the bag. It takes a few extra minutes to wash out the bowl once the broth mixture is added to the meatballs, but it allows for whisking the mixture together and eliminates the odd flour glob. I also increased the flour in my write up because the gravy was way too thin.

This is a great, easy dish and there is very little clean-up needed. I suspect you could skip the Oven Bag and bake it in a casserole...but then you would need to scrub out the casserole pan when you were done. If you do go that route, cover the pan with foil for the first half of the baking, then uncover to let the meatballs brown. You could also use chicken broth instead of beef broth if you prefer.

Meatball Stroganoff with Mushrooms
A variation of a Reynolds recipe

 1 Reynolds Oven Bag, large
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour – divided
1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon Dijon style mustard
1 lb. frozen meatballs, 1-inch in diameter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cups sliced mushrooms, preferably Baby Bella
¾ cup sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (I used fresh parsley)
½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 package (8 oz.) egg noodles, cooked according to package directions

 Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place 1 tablespoon flour in the Oven Bag and shake. Place bag in a 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking pan.

 In a large bowl whisk together the remaining three tablespoons flour, the Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard and broth. Set aside.

 Place the meatballs, onion and mushrooms in the bag, close with your hand, and shake to combine. Carefully pour in the broth mixture and shake closed bag to coat contents. Replace bag in the baking pan, put the nylon tie that comes with the Oven Bag around the end of the bag to close, then tuck ends under. Pat contents of bag into an even layer. Cut six ½-inch slits in top of bag.

 Wash out the bowl that held the broth mixture and set aside.

 Bake in preheated oven 25 – 30 minutes. Meatballs will be browned on top. Carefully cut end and pour contents of bag into clean large bowl. Contents will be HOT! Slowly stir sour cream or yogurt into bowl, then salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Add dill or parsley and stir. Serve over hot, cooked, drained noodles.

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