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Slow Cooking Some Stew

Tonight’s dinner has been cooking all day and it smells terrific. Beef stew is one of those meals that you can make all day in the slow cooker or all day on the stove, and it makes the whole house smell great. You don’t need a lot of ingredients to make it and you can always add other vegetables to it if you want.

Beef Stew with Bacon

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt, plus more, to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste

2 pounds boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into chunks (I am actually using a london broil instead this time)

3/4 cup fresh mushrooms, halved if large

1/2 pound baby carrots

4 to 5 small red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

1/2 pound frozen pearl onions (you can use 1 large yellow onion, chopped, instead)

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup dry red wine

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

In a large fry pan over medium heat, cook the bacon, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain. Pour off the drippings into a small heatproof bowl, leaving about 1 tablespoon drippings in the pan. Set the pan, reserved drippings and bacon aside.

In a sealable plastic bag, combine the flour, the 1 teaspoon of salt and the 1/2 teaspoon of pepper. Add the beef chunks and shake to coat evenly with the flour mixture. Return the fry pan to medium-high heat. When the drippings are hot, add half the beef chunks and cook, turning once, until well browned, about 5 minutes on each side. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining beef chunks, adding the reserved drippings if needed. Scatter the mushrooms, carrots, potatoes, onions, and garlic on top.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the wine, broth and tomato paste. Mix well, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, stirring to scrape up any browned bits on the pan bottom. Pour the  contents of the pan over the vegetables and beef. Cover and cook on the high-heat setting for 4 to 5 hours or the low-heat setting for 8 to 9 hours. The beef should be very tender. Stir in the reserved bacon. Cook, uncovered, on the high-heat setting for 10 minutes more to thicken the sauce slightly. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Of course, the stew is great served with some crunchy bread, rolls or biscuits. If you would like to see a simple biscuit recipe, just check here for a previous blog entry that included the biscuits. You can always freeze any leftovers to save to be re-heated on a later day or use it for lunches during the week.

This was a pretty simple slow cooker meal, which is ideal for a Monday night. Tomorrow night, I’ll be making Bacon Chicken Ranch Quesadillas and we’ll be having the leftover black beans and rice and mango pineapple salsa, both from Sunday’s dinner. If you have any questions or there are any recipes that you might like to see or if you have some ideas for the blog, please feel free to leave a comment. Until tomorrow, have a great evening and enjoy your meal!

 
 

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Saturday’s Leftovers and Next Week’s Plan

Today is a day we had marked to use for leftovers and we do have some things left from the week. Tonight for dinner, we are going to have hot open-faced pot roast sandwiches on some bread from Rockland Bakery with some mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s all left over from last night’s meal. We’ve done a good job with any other leftovers this week, with Michelle bringing stuff for lunch all week, so there really isn’t too much left to anything with tonight other than what we had yesterday.

So that leads me up to next week’s meal plan. We’ve decided to go with all one pot meals this week to try to make things easy for clean up, and we’re also going to use the slow cooker twice this week to try to ease things as far as time for cooking. I am going to try to start using the slow cooker on Monday’s meal, since this seems to be the busiest day of the week for me with everything that goes on around here. This week, however, I will be utilizing leftovers from Sunday’s meal to make Monday’s meal. So, here’s the plan for this week:

Sunday: Roast Leg of Lamb, Baked Potatoes, Cauliflower, and Turnips

Monday – Shepherd’s Pie

Tuesday – Chicken Marsala (this one is done in the slow cooker)

Wednesday – Black Bean Stew (our meat-free meal of the week)

Thursday – Jambalaya

Friday – Beef Stew (also done in the slow cooker)

Saturday – We are marking as a leftovers day. Saturdays, for us anyway, often seem ideal as a leftover day since we usually try to just relax all day long, or we’ve done chores all day long and no one feels like thinking about meals or cooking.

The Shepherd’s Pie on Monday will use any leftover lamb from Sunday as well as the leftover turnips. The Chicken Marsala on Tuesday is a slow cooker recipe that I’ll be using, but you can also make it traditionally. I thought it would be fun to try it in the slow cooker and see how it comes out. The other meals are great one pot meals to make, even if the Jambalaya requires quite a bit of prep work as far as cutting and chopping. Thursdays also seem to lend themselves well to our seafood meal of the week since I often have the time to get fresh seafood on Thursday mornings. Some of the ingredients I am using this week are a little out of the norm for what you may have around the house, such as the lamb for the shepherd’s pie (if we weren’t having it on Sunday, I wouldn’t be making it at all), Marsala wine for the Chicken Marsala, andouille sausage for the Jambalaya, and black beans for the Black Bean Stew. Other than those items, I didn’t have to shop for anything that we didn’t already have around the house, really bringing the shopping bill down for this week, which is great. If you want to use the same meal plan layout that I follow, you can get it here:family_meal_planner

That’s about all I have to post for today. It’s been a pretty lazy day for me other than the shopping I did, so I think I’ll get back to lounging for the rest of the day :). If you have any questions, comments or recipes that you might like to see, please let me know. Any and all input is appreciated. I hope everyone is enjoying their long weekend so far and have a great Saturday night!

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2012 in Meal Plan Menu

 

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Jennifer Probst

a little bit naughty a little bit nice

Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

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