Don’t Mess with the Classics: Beef Stroganoff

Certain chilly winter days call for rich, comforting dinners. Usually I try to mix it up and make funky new recipes, but sometimes resorting to the classics just feels right. This is where one of my personal home cookin’ favorites, stroganoff, comes in.


I don’t have any grand introduction for this dish. Really, what more can you say about beef cooked in a rich, creamy mushroom gravy?

Just a few pointers: Don’t skip the addition of the peas. I guess it’s an individual preference, but I LOVE the sweet pop they add to this dish. Also, I know you can serve this over any type of noodle or even rice, I guess, but I can’t imagine my stroganoff smothering anything other than egg noodles. Like I said, this is a classic, and that’s how my family has always made it! Finally—this is a no-brainer—don’t skimp on the sour cream. Nobody said you were cooking this to be especially healthy. Adding a splash of skim milk is not gonna cut it here. I always end up adding way more sour cream than other recipes recommend, and I’m okay with that.

(My) Classic Beef Stroganoff

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No Such Thing as Too Much Pumpkin…or Goat Cheese

Even though Thanksgiving feels like it was ages ago by this point, I”m still in the process of using up all the leftovers. Evidently I”m not alone; my ES sistas have been working through the same issue by creating their delicious Pumpkin Stuffed Shells and Turkey Parmesan recipes.

Anyway, I ended up with a lot of leftover canned pumpkin, which was great for me because I happen to loooove pumpkin in both sweet and savory dishes. Still riding my fried sage leaves craze, I dreamed up this savory and secretly quite healthy pasta dish, which combines spiced, roasted cauliflower, chicken breast chunks, and gobetti pasta as a base. That combo is then smothered in a creamy goat cheese pumpkin sauce, then topped with paprika, roasted pumpkin seeds, fried sage leaves, and yet more goat cheese. This pasta was a good way to use up leftover pumpkin, but stands on its own; you don”t need leftovers as an excuse to whip this up for dinner!

Roasted Cauliflower-Pumpkin Pasta with Goat Cheese, Pepitas, and Sage

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Sensational Soups: Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Sage Butter

As we move into these chilly fall and winter months, there’s nothing I love more than brewing up a big pot of homemade soup. The herby aroma wafting through the house, the steam warming up the kitchen, the inevitable leftovers…ah! It’s the best. So it’s no surprise I volunteered to review 300 Sensational Soups, a new cookbook by Carla Snyder and Meredith Deeds. If one pot of soup is good, 300 is excellent!

This extremely comprehensive book is full of winter cooking inspiration. While it would be easy to phone in some recipes in a cookbook this large, Sensational Soups os written with thoroughness and creativity. It starts out with a section on how to make your own stocks from scratch, then goes into chapters on a variety of soup categories such as chilled, garden vegetable, chowder, fish and shellfish, and cheese (a whole section purely about cheese-based soups?! I’m into!) The collection wraps up with a section on toppings and garnishes (which includes glorious ideas like grilled cheese croutons and maple cream). Truly something for everyone!

I had difficulty selecting just one recipe to review for this post, but I finally narrowed it down to chowder, one of my favorite soup subsets (soupsets?) I ended up going with the butternut squash chowder because it includes one of my favorite garnishes ever—fried sage leaves! My dining companions all agreed that drizzling the frying butter with the sage leaves on top was a major game changer. I also love how the recipe uses mashed squash to add thickness and texture instead of a massive amount of cream (although, don’t worry, there’s still a healthy amount of cream involved).

This soup was so comforting, so rich and velvety, and so flavorful! I will say that I made a few changes to the recipe—as with basically every soup, I doubled the recommended amount of spices, salt, and pepper. I also added an extra few squeezes of lemon. Oh, and clearly this chowder was begging for a sprinkle of cheese on top, so I grated up some nutty aged parmesan for garnish alongside the sage leaves and butter drizzle. I also highly condone serving with a hunk of crusty sourdough bread.

Roasted Butternut Squash Chowder with Sage Butter

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Top 5 Halloween Pinterest Recipes

Finally, Halloween is here! We’ve spent weeks dreaming about candy, cocktails, and all sorts of festive party snacks, but you know how it goes… the day hits and you realize you’re one recipe short, or you get invited to a last-minute shindig… never fear, we’ve got you covered. ES has been compiling the best, weirdest, and funniest Halloween ideas on our Endless Halloween Pinboard. Here are the top five most repinned discoveries we’ve posted (not counting our own amazing ideas and creations, which you can find collected here!).

5. Halloween Candy Bark
From Annie’s Eats

Butterfingers, Reeses Cups, M&Ms, honey-roasted peanuts, and toffee candy paired with both bittersweet and white chocolate? Sounds like a recipe for a massive amount of cavities… and a massive amount of Halloween happiness. Also good for post-Halloween when you need to use up all that leftover trick-or-treat candy.

4. White Chocolate Bones
From Inspire Co. / Spoonful

Here’s one that’s perfect for all the last-minute lazybones. (Get it? Sorry.) With only three ingredients, these bones manage to be sweet, salty, crunchy, and pretty cool looking.

3. Pretzel Spiderwebs
From Mom Endeavors

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Put It In a Jar: Peach Jam

Editor’s Note: Please welcome new contributor Jessica Alter, who joins ES as our resident canner/jammer/pickler/all-around put-it-in-a-jar-er.

Welcome to “Put it in Jar,” your go-to guide for must-make jams, plump pickles and anything else that can be stored in or served in…well, a jar. READERS BEWARE: I am not an expert in the field of canning or preserving. For the most part, I’m going down this rabbit hole because A) I enjoy topping my carbohydrates with sweet goodness in the form of gooey fruit and B) I love jars.

This past weekend I decided to start off by making a simple batch of peach jam. When looking for the perfect recipe, I wanted to make something so easy that I couldn’t possibly screw it up. (I’m encouraged by positive reinforcement. Failure makes me give up.) This recipe from Food & Wine was just the ticket. Peaches. Sugar. Lemon Juice. ‘Nuff said.

Begin by peeling and pitting the peaches into 1/2 inch wedges. So far, so good…

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Fast Food Fixation: Homemade Doritos Crunch Wrap

Have you ever made something amazing in the kitchen that made you literally do a happy dance? This is happy dance evoking.
I don’t really go to fast food places.  I know that might sound a little blasphemous…like one of those people who say they don’t own a TV.  Sorry, but it’s the truth.  I do, however, see commercials for fast food (because I own a TV).  Some of it catches my attention and I feel like I have to recreate it.
I’ve been making crunch wraps basically since they came out at Taco Smell Bell.  They are more awesome when you make them at home, I’m sure (I actually don’t have anything to compare it to…never actually tried them at Taco Bell…hmph).  Lately, though, I have been seeing the Doritos shell tacos commercials and I gotta say, “I wants it in mah belly.”  Food cravings clearly make me talk like a crazy person. So, I thought: why not marry the two ideas and make a homemade Doritos Crunch Wrap?! You’re welcome, world.
Ok, this is really super easy, and it is mostly about assembly.  So let’s do this.

Homemade Doritos Crunch Wrap

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Dear Bisquick: Suck On This

Pretty much all I think about is breakfast. Okay, I might think about more than that. However, I would call myself a breakfast freak. Flapjacks are among my favorite breakfast foods. On a quest for the “no foolin’, best pancake recipe ever,” I stumbled up this little gem that is too good not to share. It is pretty basic, but why fix a squeaky wheel if it isn’t broken…wait…

With a little tweak, I think this pretty much puts Bisquick in a corner for a permanent time out. Who uses Bisquick anyway? It contains solid hydrogenated oils which means it doesn’t need refrigeration and can keep on a shelf for ages. Anything that can keep on a shelf for ages kind of grosses me out. Mmmmm…trans fats. Delicious!


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