QUICK FIX: Hungarian beef ‘stew’ creates a warming, welcome dish

Hungarian Beef “Stew.” (Linda Gassenheimer/TNS)

This time of year is perfect for a warming stew. Here's one that takes about 15 minutes to make. Hungarian paprika lends a sweet pepper flavor to the stew. It can be found in the spice section of the supermarket. Regular paprika or smoked paprika will also work well. Be sure your paprika is fresh. Spices will keep only about six months.

The meat is cooked for only a few minutes. It will stay juicy this way. If you prefer, boneless chicken thighs or pork tenderloin can be used instead.

Helpful hints:

If Hungarian paprika is not available, use smoked paprika instead.

Or crushed garlic cloves can be used instead of minced garlic.

Any type of noodles can be used.

Hungarian beef "stew"

4 teaspoons canola oil, divide use

2 cups sliced onion

1 cup sliced celery

¾ pound grass fed beef tenderloin, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon Hungarian paprika

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

1 cup canned reduced sodium diced tomatoes with the juice

¼ pound egg noodles

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons reduced fat sour cream for garnish

Place a large saucepan filled with water on to boil for the noodles. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and celery. Saute three minutes. Add the beef and brown on all sides for about three minutes. Add the garlic, paprika, caraway seeds and diced tomatoes. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for three to four minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. When water comes to a boil, add the noodles and boil for eight to 10 minutes. Remove 2 tablespoons pasta water to a large bowl. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil. Drain the noodles and add to the bowl. Toss well and add salt and pepper to taste. Divide the noodles in half and place on two dinner plates. Divide the stew in half and spoon over the noodles. Add 1 tablespoon sour cream on top of each stew.

Yields two servings.

Per serving: 650 calories (35 percent from fat), 25.1 g fat (7.3 g saturated, 11.4 g monounsaturated), 138 mg cholesterol, 47.9 g protein, 62.2 g carbohydrates, 8.8 g fiber, 194 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of more than 30 cookbooks, including her newest, "The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook." Email her at [email protected].