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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Stroganoff pinches pennies, not flavor

Thursday, October 08, 1998

Betsy Kline, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Lynne Walsh, of Rochester, Pa., adapted today's featured entree, Ground Beef Stroganoff, from a recipe handed down from her mother, Dorothy O' Neill of Ambridge.

Walsh, who commutes 30 miles each way to her Downtown office where she's an appeals coordinator for Gateway Health Plan in Chatham Center, appreciates time-saving recipes and Ground Beef Stroganoff is a definite keeper.

"Actually, it's my husband's favorite. I can come home from work, throw it together and have a meal ready in less than 30 minutes. It's one of my dad's favorites too. For some reason, green beans must always accompany this dish."

Walsh adapted her mom's recipe, using lower fat ingredients. Low-fat soup and low-fat sour cream can easily be substituted. And it reheats well for a second-night encore.

Which is fine with husband Bryan and son Brannon, who Walsh says is the unfussiest of 2-year-old eaters. Bryan Walsh sometimes pitches in with the cooking on his days off from his job as kitchen manager of Boots restaurant in Bridgewater.

We liked Walsh's stroganoff. It came together in 30 minutes exactly, from cutting the onions to switching off the stove burner. We used three parts fat-free sour cream to one part regular sour cream because that's what we had in the fridge. The sauce was the consistency of cream soup. We also like the economy of the dish. Add up $3 for the ground beef, 82 cents for a can of cream of mushroom soup, 99 cents for noodles, $1.09 for sour cream, supplemented with onions and Worcestershire sauce from the pantry, and you can't beat it: $5.90 for a dinner for four to six.

Ground Beef Stroganoff

1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 ounces sour cream
8 to 10 ounces pasta (egg noodles work best and make athicker sauce)
Shot of Worcestershire sauce

Brown ground beef and chopped onion over medium heat.

Season with salt and pepper.

Add the soup, sour cream and Worcestershire.

Stir in 3 soup cans of water.

Add pasta and mix to cover with liquid.

Cook on low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until pasta is tender.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Note: Walsh adds: "The reduced-fat and/or low-sodium version of cream of mushroom soup can be used with no noticeable difference. You can also use the light or fat-free sour cream, but the fat-free makes for a thinner sauce. Light is better." (We used fat-free and the sauce was the consistency of cream soup and suited us fine.)

Do you have an entree, salad or vegetable side dish recipe (no desserts, please!) that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer(not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

The PG tests all recipes and if we select your recipe for publication, you'll receive a free selection from our cookbook grab bag of current releases.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@Post-Gazette.com. Questions? Call 412-263-1760.

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