As a young child, my mom made everything we ate from scratch. Bread, sauces, soups, salad dressing. You name it. She made it all.
Growing up on a farm in Indiana, it was what she knew. And, with my dad in graduate school, it was likely just about all they could afford.
But Mom also was mindful of the kind of food she fed her growing family. I remember her checking labels or commenting on a product's ingredients. Of course, when my sister came along and my mom opened a home daycare, she started buying loaves of bread and a few other convenience items. Most of our meals, however, were still homemade.
That's what I know. And that's how I'm trying to raise my kids now. I use more convenience items than my mom ever did. But, for the most part, when I'm making dinner for my family, I try to use the simplest ingredients.
And this recipe for slow cooker beef stew, which I found on allrecipes.com, is a great reminder that it really doesn't take much to create a flavorful meal. No cans of soup, spice packets, frozen mixes or other items are needed here. It's just basic ingredients.
This stew makes for a delicious, hearty meal, perfect for these cold winter days. I love that all you really have to do here is chop, dump and turn on the pot. I chop and measure everything the night before so the morning only requires the dumping and turning on bit.
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups beef broth
3 potatoes, diced (I recommend the creamy Yukon Gold variety)
4 carrots, sliced
1 stalk celery, chopped
Put the meat in a slow cooker. Mix together the flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Coat the meat with the flour mixture. Stir in the garlic, bay leaf, paprika, Worcestershire sauce, onion, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, and celery.
Cover and cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours, or on high setting for 4 to 6 hours. Toward the end, with about 15 or 20 minutes to go, I like to add in about a cup of peas for a little extra color.
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