Enchiladas. Turkey Pesto Meatballs. Lasagna Roll Ups. Caccia Pepe. Stuffed Peppers. Chana Masala. Pulled Pork. Bouillabaisse. Corn Chowder. Pho. Stuffed Delicata Squash. Black Bean Burgers. Me oh my there is just SO much I want to make! Where to begin?
Throughout the week I am constantly building my ‘things I want to cook’ list. Then, starting around Thursdays, I begin to think more formally about the plans for the upcoming week so that our Sunday grocery shop is productive and we can head straight home after work to settle in, make something yummy, and relax! However, the process of making the final selections involves oh so many variables….
What is happening this week at work? Do we have evening events? How much time will we have for meal prep? Are we hosting Wednesday friend dinner? Which allergy needs must we remember? How many lunches do we need? What do we have in the pantry that we can use up? Do we have any space in the freezer? What is fresh this time of year? How is our budget? Do we have any cravings or anti-cravings?
This process is insane and I just LOVE it. As I head off to think more about these questions for the upcoming week, I am also curious to learn how others prepare. Where do you get your inspiration? Do you keep a list of ideas somewhere? Now, onto the beef stew from this evening….
Steps & Notes:
- Chop the veggies
- 1 medium onion – chopped (about 1.5 cups)
- 3 celery stalks – chopped (1 cup)
- 2 large carrots – chopped (1.5 cups)
- Cut the stew beef into 1 inch pieces
- I bought stew beef from the store and cut about 70% of the pieces
- Brown the beef in batches & add 1 teaspoon each of salt, pepper, and creole seasoning as it cooks
- Creole seasoning = paprika, garlic, onion, cayenne, oregano, thyme
- Set the meat aside after browned
- Saute the veggies in the same pot for about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
- I poured the meat juice into the veggies for some extra liquid and flavor
- Add 3 tablespoons of flour to the veggies and saute for 3 minutes
- Add 4 cups of beef stock, 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, and the meat back into the pot. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. (partially covered)
- You want the soup to reduce down a bit, so the partially covered element is important
- Add the potatoes (about 2.5 – 3 cups) and cook for another 45 minutes.
- Note: The soup was ready at this point. I’ll admit it, I had a small bowl. No one else was home though, so I cooked it for another 1.5 hours. When we ate it later in the evening, it was even better!
- Season with more of the spices above.
This made enough for 2 dinners and 2 lunches the next day.
Thoughts for next time:
- There seems to be a debate about beef stock vs. chicken stock. The Kitchn leans away from beef stock as it can taste ‘tinny.’ I’ll try my homemade stock next time.
- Add barley and/or mushrooms
- Make an irish stew variation with a dark beer like Guinness
- Try sweet potatoes instead of white (I’ve done this in the past and it’s delicious… even my husband who doesn’t like sweet potatoes enjoyed it.)
- Add frozen peas at the end before serving
- Deglaze the pan (between steps 6 and 7) with some red wine. Yum.
- Add pearl onions
- Add some worcestershire sauce