Monday, January 25, 2010

week of soups -beef stew

I'm noticing a trend with the soups this week, they are all easy and very little actual hands on time. The most hands on time spent is chopping. Today is no different because your crock pot does all the work.
Just chop everything, add it to the crock pot in the morning and let it cook all day.
There are so many variations to beef stew. I got this wonderful book from my sister with many pages of stew variations.

Here is a quick easy basic beef stew recipe that is not in the book that can be made in a hurry. One good thing about stew is that you can adjust the amounts to your liking.

Beef Stew
1-2 lbs stewing meet, cubed (beef or pork)
1 cup carrots, sliced
3-4 potatoes, cubed (peeled or not)
1 onion, chopped
2-3 celery ribs, sliced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 can stewed or diced tomatoes
1 can tomato soup
1/2 cup water
salt to taste
cracked black pepper to taste
1 Tbs vinegar (or Worcestershire sauce)

Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Crock pots seem to make ground spices loose their flavoring so adding the black pepper at the end or seasoning to taste individual servings is a good idea.

I discovered these crock pot bags from Reynolds, they are a life saver. I used to use my crock pot and sadly it would sit on the counter for days until I finally got around to cleaning it (or had the desire). Then I would put it in the sink to soak because the sides were all crusty where it sat another day soaking. This was a pain, but it's just the way it was, I kept putting off cleaning it. After I saw these bags I debated for a while if it was worth the cost, there were after all only 4 bags included. Then finally I got them to try and haven't gone back. It makes life so much easier! Mr.E even agrees buying them is better than the crock pot sitting for days on our valuable counter space.

Just pop a bag in the crock pot before you ever add any food and it lines the crock pot. You drape the open sides up over the top of the crock pot and the lid sits perfectly over it and the food cooks in the bag. When all is done, food removed, and juices cooled, you can just lift the bag out and toss it, leaving you with a clean crock pot to put away in the cupboard.

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