November Recipe of the Month: Portobello Mushroom Stroganoff

At the end of each month, I will take you with me as I embark on the adventure that is cooking the recipe of the month.  You may wonder after a few editions why I was chosen for this project because 1. I am a vegetarian and can’t eat all of the recipes, and 2. I am somewhat deficient when it comes to cooking.  Every time I hit the kitchen to wreak havoc in the practice of what I call “experimental cooking”, something always seems to go wrong.  For this reason, I will start blogging during the cooking process, putting my humiliation on the front lines of the internet… but hopefully we will all learn something. As for the first issue of me being a vegetarian, to be fair to all of our members and readers, I will not stick to just vegetarian recipes, but instead I will make my roommate (the fabulous State of Fitness trainer Jessica Stewart), and my poor significant other be my taste testers, both of whom are painfully honest people.  You are all in good hands!

So let us begin…

This month’s recipe was a vegetarian friendly version of a family favorite to many.  Beef stroganoff was a staple in my household growing up, and is one of the few recipes I have missed since becoming a vegetarian.  I was very excited to try out this version, especially since mushrooms are a low-calorie, fat-free food, as well as an impressive source of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure and maintain heart health.  Just 5 oz of mushrooms contain more potassium than a banana!

Again, still being fairly new to following a recipe, I am very unskilled in regards to what can be substituted for what, which spices add which flavor, and all of the little tips and tricks that people pick up on as they become more skilled in the kitchen.  So please excuse the growing pains that I will share with you during this month-to-month journey.

One such rookie mistake was made during this adventure.  Being a vegetarian, I decided to substitute beef stock for vegetable stock.  It wasn’t until the final product was tasted that I realized something was missing, and it was probably the one thing that was going to make this spin-off taste like the real thing…live and learn. *I should add that it still was very tasty, in a non-beefy way.

BUT, from start to finish this was a very simple recipe to pull off.  There is a lot of chopping involved with the mushroom, garlic and onion, so I give myself credit for thinking of doing ALL  of my vegetable chopping before any sort of cooking surface was turned on (I told you, I am new to all of this).  With tears rolling down my face from chopping the onions, I was excited to get those bad boys in the frying pan to caramelize them.  Oh my goodness does that smell awesome!  Don’t get me wrong, I have cooked onions before in plenty of dishes, but never bothered to “caramelize”them.  Hear me sing in a high-pitched yodel when I say, “Glorious!!!!”…. note to self: do this again!

Now this recipe calls for tofu, something that most people are not too used to using.  It is actually way easier to find at the grocery store than you may think; Meijer has it by the vegetables.  But it does come packed in water.  Most recipes call for you to drain or “press” your tofu to get the moisture out, but for this recipe, you can simply drain the excess liquid out of the package and plop it in a blender or food processor (I used the blender, which wasn’t all that “tofu-smoothing” friendly, this made me consider investing in a food processor.  I hope it lives up to my expectations of its abilities).

Once everything is chopped, caramelized and blended, you just put it all together in the pan!  So simple!  The only other issue I had with this recipe was the Cajun seasoning.  I couldn’t find it at Meijer, so I did without for the first round of the dish, but later found it at Kroger and used it on the left overs, it really does add that little something extra.

I would recommend that if you are a garlic lover, at least double the amount that is called for.  Also, don’t be afraid to add in more mushrooms for more “meatiness”, there is enough “sauce” to handle it.

Still maintaining the creamy-ness and richness of a “regular” stroganoff, it is shocking that this version weighs in at 140 calories per serving (1 cup), with 3.5 grams of total fat, only .5 grams being saturated.  All in all, an easy and enjoyable recipe!

For the complete recipe, visit www.mystateoffitness.com, or http://www.cleaneatingmag.com/Recipes/Recipe/Portobello-Mushroom-Stroganoff.aspx.

Be on the look out for December’s Recipe of the Month: Quinoa Turkey Chili!  I hope my tasters are ready!

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