Good morning, all.
Plans for the day include bill-paying, and other paper work, tidying up the house before Amy, our wonderful housecleaner, comes tomorrow, and starting to sew up a “Princess Dress” for my nearly three-year-old granddaughter, Annabelle. Sometime in there I need to fix dinner.
I’m not a great fan of crockpots, slow cookers, whatever you want to call them. A few years ago I did buy one, falling for all the hype that it would save me so much time and provide great meals. I was working a lot at the library at the time and thought that I should try it. At the library we have hundred of cookbooks, some of which are about crock-pot cookery. I tried a few recipes with less than stellar results. I soon relegated the appliance to the back of the cupboard and later to the basement where it was retrieved for very occasional uses – cocktail meatballs for parties, mainly.
About 2 years ago, I saw a recipe that was promoted somewhere in a magazine or on-line recipe site and decided to give it a try. It was a winner. The beauty of the recipe is its versatility as well as its simplicity. I have prepared it with a variety of ingredients and accompaniments and never have been disappointed. It cooks solely in the crock-pot, no browning of the meat before plopping it in the crock-pot. Hence, no greasy skillet or Dutch oven to clean out, always a detriment to many recipes provided in slow cooker cookbooks. Who wants to save time by adding another time consuming step or two or three (heating the skillet, cooking in it, and cleaning it up) to what is supposed to be a one-pot meal? So, for tonight, it will be my crock-pot stew meal. The recipe follows at the end of today’s post.
Annabelle has been enjoying dressing up in costumes lately. Her brother Alexander has, also. He’s into Super Heroes; I made him a Batman cape last fall out of the skirt to a black cotton knit dress I had in my closet and hadn’t worn for years. Anna wanted a “Princess Dress”. I looked around in my stash of fabric leftovers for suitable fabric to use. I came up with enough of a large floral chintz, leftover from a window treatment for my mom’s apartment, pinkish plumflowers on a cream background. I had nothing for the bodice so a trip to the fabric store was in order for more fabric and a pattern. I bought plum polished cotton for the bodice and a yard of plum sheer fabric for an overskirt which I will bustle up on the sides like dresses in the Cinderella movie. It should be cute, and striking with the dark bodice and bold floral skirt. Best of all, it cost very little. I cut it out yesterday and read the pattern so I’m ready to start sewing. I must reintroduce myself to my Bernini. I have neglected it in favor of knitting the past 2 years or so. I tend to jump around in my avocations. (More on that later, I’m sure.) I should be able to get a lot done on it this afternoon.
Before anything, however, I will get the recipe started.
Crock-pot Beef Stew (Not a good title for it – sounds too ordinary)
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 green pepper, seeded and chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 lb. beef stew meat in 1″ cubes
1/2 t. pepper
24 oz. tomato-based sauce (spaghetti sauce, enchilada sauce, plain tomato sauce, whatever you have on hand)*
- Use a 4-6 qt. crock-pot.
- Layer ingredients.
- Cover and cook, low, 8 hours.
- Serve with pasta, noodles, rice, sliced polenta, rice, etc.
*I have played around with the types of sauce added and with the kinds and amounts of vegetables. I have added chopped celery, lots more onions, garlic, canned diced tomatoes instead of tomato sauce, beef gravy instead of tomato sauce (altho’ I use a tablespoon of tomato paste with the beef gravy). One of my favorite combinations is with enchilada sauce, more onions, about half of the green pepper, and serve it with yellow or Spanish rice.
Try it if you have a crock-pot but make it your own recipe by adapting it to fit your likes.
I don’t have a source noted for this recipe, sorry.
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