Hey ya’ll!! Remember back in the 90s, when some of us used to make this infamous boxed pasta and hamburger meal for dinner? And they had all the flavors and stuff (shout out to cheeseburger!!)? And the best part was that it was all made in one pan? Well, I do and I really liked it. As I got older and started to be more concerned with what I put in my body, I realized I couldn’t, in good conscious, enjoy that any longer. Combine that with the fact that I LOVE Swedish meatballs…even the TV dinner kind! No, really, see my IG post. I also love strogranoff, beef and just plain mushroom. So, I decided to take all 3 of those things and make it into one dish. That’s right, Swedish Meatball Strogranoff Helper! This dish is so good and so simple, I used a total of 5 dishes to make this. Yes, 5 and 2 of those were for the meatballs!
I love that this dish is made in one pan. It make it so much more approachable for those of you who are intimidated by recipes that call for a lot of steps to be happening at once. Well, fear not. I am here to tell you that you can only do about 1 thing at a time because you have to use the same pan for it all. The key here is to build and develop flavor so that everything doesn’t taste the same since it is being all cooked together, but that’s a simple fix. It really all starts with the meatball. The meatball should be viewed as a mini meatloaf rather than a mini burger. You have to make sure you have enough fat, a binder and a filler/texture builder in there. If you’re following the #ketolife, you want to make sure you use something like pork rinds or almond meal in place of breadcrumbs (although in using breadcrumbs, you will only have 4.5g carbs/serving!). I prefer finely milled almond mill as I feel it feels better in the mouth when eating the final product. Following that mix with browning the meatballs before you put them in the sauce to finish cooking is another MAJOR KEY! When you brown meat, it gives the meat a flavor it cannot otherwise obtain. Some people call it caramelizing, but it’s a different process. It’s actually the Maillard effect, which is basically an amino acid reaction. It gives the meat a more umami/savory flavor and is why most cooking techniques like the crockpot cooking suggest browning meat first.
The next big flavor boost comes from the mushrooms. You really want to coax out the flavor of those mushrooms by getting good color/caramelization on them and then adding the seasonings and cook just a bit more. Once that’s done, we make a roux and be sure to cook out that raw flour taste. Again, if you’re keto, skip this step and add a cornstarch slurry at the end, or just let the sauce reduce a bit before adding in your meatballs to finish cooking. This will keep the extra carbs out and you keto compliant. In the final steps, we add back in our meatballs to finish cooking, along with the noodles and fresh herbs to add freshness back into the dish and separate the boxed from the real! This will give you a finished dish that will take you right back to 1995 on a Saturday night watching “All You Afraid Of The Dark”! Oh…that was just me? Ok! If you’re a non-meat eater, follow the recipe notes for a vegetarian version that has just as much flavor and is still Keto AF!