Lite Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff

With the encouragement of a
friend who is a personal trainer and a firm believe in Calories In Calories Out when trying to drop a few pounds, I decided to re-activate my Lose-It app which keeps track of calories and exercise.  Overall I am happy with most of my food choices.  I try to limit high calorie foods, but allow small indulgences here and there to keep me from throwing in the towel. Somewhere in the mix each week, I need a lovely piece of fabulous artisan toast with butter. If I plan carefully, I can work it in. 

Using an app to help with calorie counting makes it so much easier.  You can scan about 70-80% of the bar codes on standard products to add that item.  This one also keeps track of common foods you eat making them easy to add and has a recipe section that allows you to put in ones you make that generates the calories per serving for you.  Each week you use it, the process gets faster and easier.  

Lose-It lets you choose between a goal of 1/2, 1, 1-1/2 or 2 pounds of weight loss a week, then assigns a daily caloric limit to meet each day.  If you chose 2 pounds per week, then the calories you can consume will be lower. Remember 1/2 pound loss a week is 26 pounds over the course of a year. Slow and steady pays off. It also helps you make the connection between exercise and weight lose. Each time you record doing exercise during the day, it raises the total calories allows that day.  Want more on your plate - take a 60 minute walk.  

No matter how much you THINK you know about the calories in your food, there are always small things that need adjusting.  For me it was servings of rice?  Who knew they added so many calories. A simple change from 3/4 cup to 3/8 cup took a meal from over the limit to bang on.  Want to eat more in volume and still lose weight, choose lower caloric options.

Last night I craved something a little more decadent than meat and veggies, so decided to try to lighten the calories on Beef Stroganoff.  This was not my best effort to be honest, but I wanted to share it as an example of how you can take a super high calorie dish and trim it down.  I will be playing with this recipe again in the future as the sauce needs tweaking - a bit too much liquid and a little short on the full flavour I prefer.  It did satisfy my craving though, and as a bonus was chock full of veggies.

The main changes were to sub plain Greek yogurt for the sour cream and to replace about 70% of traditional linguini pasta with Zoodles. I did a mix of yellow and green zucchini, but you could use one or the other. I could pile a bunch of the zoodle/noodles mix on my plate without guilt and there was just enough pasta in there for the dish to be both decadent and filling. If you don't have a spiralizer, I really suggest it. I bought a StarFrit with 3 blades at Canadian Tire a few years ago and it's been all I needed.

Lastly I served the stroganoff with a side of simple cooked beets.  I pressure cooked them for 20 minutes in my Duo Crisp Instant Pot and let them set in the pot until the pressure was gone to finish cooking them to perfection. All I had to do was rub the skin off with a dry paper towel and dice. Voila!

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Lite Beef & Mushroom Stroganoff
2-3 servings depending on size

Ingredients - 

3/4 lb.                  Stir Fry Beef Strips
1 C                      Sweet Onion, diced
1 clove                Garlic, minced
1T                        Olive Oil
2 C                       Mushrooms, sliced or diced
2-1/2 C                Water (will be changing this so please check back)
1 pkg                   Knorr Dry Mushroom Soup Mix
1/2 C                    Plain Greek Yogurt
4 oz                      Pasta - egg noodles, spaghetti, Linguine
2                          Small Zucchini - green, or one yellow and one green, Spiralized
                            Note - visually looked like about 3 to 3-1/2 cups.

Instructions - 

Heat a large non-stick frying pan. Add olive oil and swirl to coat.  Fry the beef strips until just done.  Remove and set aside.  Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms to the pan and saute until done.  

Add the cooked beef strips and water to the pan. Stir while slowly adding the dry mushroom soup mix. Keep stirring while heating just to a boil, then lower to simmer and let simmer 15 minutes uncovered. Keep and eye on to make sure the heat is low enough and the sauce doesn't get too dry.  

Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions.  I like mine a little softer. You might like yours a little more al dente. 

Spiralize your zucchini and place them in the bottom of a the strainer you will be draining your pasta in.  When the pasta is done to your preference, pour the water and noodles over the zoodles in the strainer and toss. This will warm the zoodles and soften them without making them mushy.  

To serve, stir the greek yogurt into the beef and mushroom mixture. Place a mound of the pasta/zoodle mix on your plate. Top with the beef and mushroom sauce. If you want you could sprinkle some parsley on top. Enjoy!