CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In another time and place, for most of your mothers and grandmothers, and possibly you yourself, beef stroganoff was the go-to, company's-coming-to-dinner entrée.
Today's recipe is a poultry version that I adapted for my daughter-in-law, who doesn't eat beef. It comes together as a quick and easy stir-fry and was just as tasty as with beef.
The original beef recipe, a healthier version of any other at the time, was given to me several years ago by a dietitian when we were doing demonstrations for the Culinary Hearts Courses as volunteers with the American Heart Association.
This stroganoff has reduced-fat sour cream and no canned cream soup. Expect the sauce to be a little thin at first, but it will thicken as the dish cools, especially if mixed with noodles.
If candy has become like a member of your family, you might be craving a sugar-free version this season. The two candies below are repeats from my old Recipe Connection column.
Back then, I had been asked to come up with an Almond Joy for a diabetic with a sweet tooth for coconut. Today's recipe is the result, reported to be the "real thing."
But maybe not as real as what University of Charleston's master chocolatier, executive chef Paul Smith, could concoct.
I never knew we had a true chocolatier in our midst until Smith recently showcased his exceptional chocolate talents in an open-to-the-public holiday event at the campus, one that would be possible for those even watching their diets to attend.
Remember, we do live in a real world, exposed to chocolate and all manner of food that somehow wrongly gets lumped into "bad for us," "good for us" and "feeling guilty" about consuming.
There really isn't any food that isn't acceptable when approached with moderation and selectivity.
Smith's one-bite-size treats ranged from expected flavors to a partnering of ingredients for the adventuresome, such as chocolate truffles of curry to slivers of crisp bacon to be dipped into melted chocolate.
By the way, the majority of the offerings were antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and one or two thoughtful selections were all that was needed to satisfy. Something to watch for is the notice that UC and Smith will repeat their chocolate-themed open house for Valentine's Day.
For homemade Almond Joys, the filling is traditionally bound with corn syrup, so a substitute had to be found.
I turned to Pat Burchett, owner of Celebrations, Etc. Sugar-free fondant was suggested as the sweetener, replacing corn syrup, and I worked out the rest. As a bonus, Burchett shared her directions for sugar-free peanut butter cups.
Celebrations, Etc. is at 518 D St. in South Charleston. Phone 304-744-8854. It carries all the specialty items, including plastic molds and papers you will need for the candy recipes.
Chicken Stroganoff Stir-fry
Makes 8 servings.
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound chicken breast tenderloin, cut bite-size for stir fry
McCormick reduced-sodium Montreal Chicken seasoning
1 tablespoon peanut or canola oil
4 to 6 green onions, thinly sliced on diagonal
8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms
Hot cooked whole-wheat or whole-grain noodles or favorite pasta -- optional (may mix cooked noodles or pasta with a little butter or buttery spread and fresh chopped parsley)