Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Yummy Stew

Yummy Stew
I have recipe for beef stew to share today. It's winter, and I find it challenging to cook healthy meals. I can easily cook satisfying meals, but often they are high calorie, high fat or very heavy meals. So, I've started my annual quest for some easy recipes that will help me to eat better (ie- more veggies and whole grains). This one comes courtesy of Rachael Ray and my mother-in-law (who saw it before me, tried it and let me taste it). I'm a fan of her recipes, because they are great for during the week cooking.

For those who don't know me, I have a passion for cooking and I like to be a creative cook. But, I hate to cook under pressure (ie - after work). Also, my husband is picky. He's a meat and potatoes guy, so I can't go too far off the traditional path. He doesn't want to cook either. So, up until now (the past 12 years) we have been eating out and eating a lot of quick prepackaged foods during the week. This has been very unhealthy and expensive. So, I'm always excited to find a recipe that is inexpensive, satisfying, good for us, and he likes it. Not only that, this one even contains vegetables that I have never cooked before and he claims taste like potatoes (there are no potatoes in the stew). I did make a few substitutions (remember the creative part?) - I used pre-cut chuck roast (which was cheaper than the sirloin) and I used a mixture of parsnips and turnips.

Parsnips are interesting. They taste like lemony carrots. Turnips seem to taste like unsweetened carrots. Both of them came off like potatoes to my hubby, so I think I'll start sneaking them into foods. I need to learn exactly when they are in season, and if they can be frozen.

One word of warning. In my original source of the recipe it says to cook the stew for only 45 minutes on 425. The Rachael Ray site says to cook it for 1 hr to 1-1/2 hrs on 375. I would imagine that would make the meat a bit more tender. Also, I didn't make the cheddar smashed potatoes. The stew was filling enough. Although, I am being prodded to make some mashies when we eat the leftover stew tomorrow. Also, Rachael's site calls for 1/2 cup of beef consomme and the other site calls for a 15 oz can of beef stock. Finally, one recipe calls for 4 tbsp of flour and the other calls for 6 tbsp. Not sure what affect that has. I have noticed that a lot of online recipes have these discrepancies. Not sure what to make of it. I guess it doesn't matter since I'm going to alter the recipe anyway. Not sure why I notice these things anyway. I didn't measure anything. One of those things about me. Of course, don't try that with baking...

Enjoy the recipe. I think I will be using any leftover beef to make this stew in the future.

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