Freezer Nesting: The Mother-in-Law’s Stroganoff Recipe

Aromatic cues are some of the sweetest nostalgic reminders out there, if you ask me. And this recipe is one that trips up aromatic cues for both my husband and son.

Coming to you from my husband’s childhood comfort food repertoire – while it is called “Beef Stroganoff” on the recipe card, it’s probably more of a stroganoff-inspired casserole. But it’s one that he loves, and when he went to the trouble of calling his mother a few years back and writing down the recipe on a couple of index cards for our household, I felt morally obligated to make it according to directions.

Even steeling myself and gritting my teeth through some of the steps that went against all cooking logic for me. It was a good lesson in just following the directions as they’re given. Because the results were exactly what he remembered and loved.

It’s still a dish that is loved across generations, which I learned as I made this batch for our freezer and our son drifted into the kitchen, using his most hopeful voice to ask if that was what we were having for dinner that evening. He was a little bummed that it wouldn’t be dinner that night, but was also looking forward to reheating a package sometime this winter for a comfort food evening.

Beef Stroganoff (casserole)

(From my Mother-in-Law. Don’t know what her original recipe resource may have been.)

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  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 pound ground beef (the notes my husband wrote said “the good stuff.” When asked for clarification, he said lean; aim for 93% if you can get it.)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 4-ounce cans sliced mushrooms, with juice
  • 2 cans cream of chicken soup
  • 1 pound or 4 cups wide egg noodles (can decrease to 12 ounces of noodles for a creamier casserole.)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley (optional)

Brown the onion, garlic, and ground beef with the butter in a 12-inch skillet. Sprinkle the flour over the browned mixture, stir together, adding salt, pepper, and mushrooms. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the cans of soup, mix, and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, prepare egg noodles according to package directions. Drain and place in large mixing bowl.

IMG_2987At this point, methodologies diverge. The instructions show to blend the sour cream with parsley, incorporate into the simmering meat mixture, and then pour over and combine with the noodles.

IMG_2988My preference is to mix the sour cream with the cooling noodles, so the risk of curdling is diminished, and then mixing in the meat concoction.

IMG_2989In the end, we arrive at the same place: a completely mixed casserole.

IMG_2990There’s an oven-bake option here as well, where you grease a casserole dish and bake. But that was all the notes said, so I called my mother-in-law to ask about baking temperature and time. It turns out that you could heat the dish further at 350 degrees, but in all honesty, this recipe is as cooked as it’s going to get by the time everything is mixed in the bowl. So while I’ve never done the baking aspect, just know it’s an option available to you.

IMG_2991To prepare this for the freezer, I let the bowl sit on the counter for about 30 minutes before dividing it into three pouches to seal and freeze. With the vacuum seal, I’m not too worried about ice crystals forming to dry out the thawed blend. The good thing is that this dish can be thawed in the microwave directly from the freezer, so when the impulse strikes, it’s easy to put this on the table in a snap.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. cherie says:

    I have really been enjoying reading your blog and the freezer recipes are just what I was looking for. I pray that all is well with you.

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