Wednesday, March 11, 2009

my crockpot is a treasure

Had a gig on Monday morning.
Threw off our homeschooling a bit, so we had a ton of work to make up.
So I needed a quick, simple meal for Tuesday.
I made my favorite lazy day stew. In my crockpot.
Ten minutes of prep. Six hours of cooking. And sooooo yummy.

My stew is incredibly frugal and takes minimal planning. Here's how I do it:

1) Save vegetable scraps in freezer. Like when you have green beans and there are leftovers but not really enough to save for lunches. Or when you make too much corn one night. I just pile mine into Cool Whip containers. When the containers are full, I make soup or stew.

2) When you have leftover steak (which in my meat-eatin' house is a rarity), you cut up the extras and store them in the freezer. This steak was from last week and its flavor was a bit weak so it was GREAT to add to stew. You can also ask your Meat Guy for the cheapest cut of beef on sale. This recipe works MUCH better with cheap meats.

3) The only ingredients that I had to open were a can of beef broth and a can of tomato sauce. Everything else was from previous meal leftovers. Makes more room in my freezer AND saves money. And man, it tastes so good to eat dinner that I didn't have to stand and fuss over. Whole meal costs about $2.00 (for about 6-8 servings). {price assumes use of leftovers}

4) I serve this with my homemade dinner rolls.

Lazy Day Stew

2# beef, cubed and browned
2 cups of diced carrots (I use whole baby carrots so they don't turn to mush)
2 cups of diced potatoes (i use big chunks, again, to avoid the mush factor)
1 medium onion (I don't use that much)
1 cup chopped celery (Greg is anti-celery so I don't use this at all)
1 cup of green beans
2 teaspoons quick-cooking tapioca
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 oz. tomato sauce
1 cup of water ( I use a can of low-salt beef broth with GREAT results!)
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. Place browned beef in crockpot. Surround with potatoes and veggies.
2. Sprinkle tapioca, salt and pepper over ingredients.
3. Mix tomato sauce with water (or beef broth) and pour over top.
4. Sprinkle brown sugar (and a little dusting of course ground black pepper) over the top.
5. Cover. Cook for 6 hours on low.

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