Since we're cooking at home so much right now, it can be hard to distinguish a "special" dinner in from last night's (and the night before that, and the night before that…). Lucky for me, my mother-in-law figured out a way to do just that, and it costs less than the rare cup of coffee I treat myself to that didn't come from my old Mr. Coffee.
Filets, quinoa, sautéed spinach, and red wine were on the menu for supper with the in-laws. A perfectly well-rounded meal that sounded delicious. But when I walked in their house, something in the kitchen smelled incredible, and it was decidedly not quinoa, spinach, or steak. Nope, it was a decadent mushroom sauce that looked truly gourmet.
Though it seemed like a fancy recipe that took hours to simmer on the stovetop with careful whisking and a watchful eye, it came from a packet of sauce mix that cost just a few dollars and clocked in with minutes of prep. She happened to pick it up at the store on a whim and boy, am I glad she did.
Simply Organic's Mushroom Sauce Mix instructs you to mix with water (or a mix of water and wine if you're feeling jazzy) in a saucepan and basically cook, stir, and simmer. It suggests you add black pepper and sliced mushrooms "for extra flavor and homemade look," and I agree. My mother-in-law used shiitakes, but any type of mushroom will blend beautifully with the sauce. A little garlic and some fresh herbs on top wouldn't hurt, either. As soon as we spooned it on our plates, the usual dinner immediately looked like it came straight from a restaurant—and it tasted like it, too. Not only was it delicious on the steak, but it played well with our starch and veggie, and I sopped every last bit of it up with a little crusty bread. As if my empty plate didn't speak for itself enough, I talked about my love for this sauce enough that she grabbed a packet for me on her next grocery run.
This packet of mix doesn't just taste amazing, but it's low on calories and sodium, which is rare for a store-bought sauce. For something that healthy to taste so indulgent might seem suspect, but it's true. If you don't eat steak, no worries. This organic mushroom sauce would be friends with just about any protein or vegetables you serve. Want to trick your family into believing you became a saucier behind their backs? Pop it in your cart right now.
The next time my parents come over for dinner, I know exactly what I'll be making to impress Mama.