~Slow Cooked Beef Stew~

Thanksgiving is over, time to get ready for Christmas. Has anyone else noticed just how quickly the year has flown on by? Insane! Feels like it should still be June or July right now, at least to me anyway. Time has certainly gotten away from me. In a couple of weeks we will be out of school (again) and enjoying a three week Christmas vacation, much needed! Not that our one week of of Thanksgiving time off wasn’t nice, it was just busy yet rewarding!

I’ve not forgotten about this lovely blog or my interested readers, every time I get dinged at with another update it warms my heart that someone else is following or reading my content! You all keep me going on here, I may not post all the time but I am encouraged to keep collecting content to share and when I get the chance I know there are plenty of interested folks out there who are waiting to “gobble” it up 😉 So thank you for that!

Alright, you’ve already gotten a glimpse of what today’s post is about(hence the title), but what makes my recipe stand out? What’s so different that will make you all want to try it as soon as possible? Beef stew is one of those classic American stews that just about everyone was raised up on, I personally was never a fan of it because the meat was always tough and I’m not a huge fan of cooked carrots. I used to eat around the meat and just spoon gravy and potatoes over a biscuit. So the week before Thanksgiving I decided I was going to make beef stew for the family, but I was going to do it different from my Mom and put it in the crock pot. The only type of beef I had was a grass fed arm roast. I personally love the grass fed beef, has more flavor and the texture is different. It can take some getting used to when all you’ve been raised on was commercial beef. How to combat that? Put it in for an all day low and slow cooking!

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Slow Cooked Beef Stew

(Yields 7 quart crock pot of stew)

3 pounds grass fed arm roast(the bone will add extra flavor)

3 large carrots, sliced

1 large onion, chopped

5 large red potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 cans beef broth

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp basil

4 bay leaves

1-2 cups boiling water

flour for slurry

1 can peas, drained

Biscuits, optional

 

Turn on crock pot to start warming up. Add in 1 1/2 cans of beef broth(you’ll need the other half to deglaze the pan), carrots and onions.
On the stove top, get a large searing pan(or saute pan) hot, add a little oil. Salt and pepper the roast on both sides and sear it in hot pan for a few minutes on each side. You want a nice brown crust on each side. I placed it in the pan and walked away from it for about 3–4 minutes. I’m always too tempted to mess with the meat and turn it too soon. Once both sides are nicely browned, place it on the veggies in the crock pot. Add about 1/2 tsp of basil on the meat and cook on low for 8 hours.

About two hours before serving, remove the bone from the arm roast and tear the meat up with either forks or tongs. Peel and chop up your potatoes in bite size pieces(or what I call poppable pieces, a size you can pop into your mouth easily). Place into the crock pot and add enough boiling water to just cover the potatoes. Continue cooking until the potatoes are tender, adjust salt and pepper, and gently stir in the slurry. This will help thicken up the liquid to a rich gravy.

Lastly, add in drained peas and serve with hot biscuits. This easily feeds 8–10 and the leftovers are perfect for lunch the next day!

 

NOK’s Kitchen Notes::

A slurry is simply taking flour and water, whisking it together and pouring it into a liquid to thicken up. It’s the quick version of a traditional roux(or rue) which is the melting of butter and whisking in flour before adding stock or cream for the base of a gravy or soup.

If you want a quick quick version of making a gravy, you can skip the slurry step altogether and just add in a couple of packages of your favorite gravy mix or country style gravy. It will slightly alter the flavor of the stew but it won’t be a terrible thing. Beef gravy mixes will add another layer of flavor. Those are shortcuts for when you absolutely have no time to wait and need to get dinner served up pronto!

Hope you enjoy this slow cooked favorite(btw there were barely any leftovers to freeze, it was THAT good and yes, I ate a small bowl of it and actually enjoyed it…the meat was uber tender and very yummy)!! It’s tasty, tried and true!

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Slow Cooked Beef Stew by Night Owl Kitchen Blog

What a crock…

🙂 Evening lovelies, my house is quiet except for Owl City playing in the background and a very sleepy dog trying to catch a squirrel in his sleep *wink* To be honest I’m new to listening to Owl City, I’ve heard some songs before but had no idea that that’s who sang them. Adam Young is a talented music artist, with fun songs, no questionable lyrics or suggestive content. Any Owl City fans out there? Give a whooooo if you are 😉

I am so proud of G–Man, he actually ate lasagna for the first time! He is out pickiest eat in the family, the child only has a few items that he will eat with any regularity. So last night was a mini victory 😀 The recipe I used, and monkeyed with, was very tasty! The noodles came out perfectly tender, nothing was burned or stuck to the sides. Just a nice meal that didn’t heat up the kitchen…oh, I didn’t tell you…yeah it cooked itself in the crock pot 🙂 My nephew loved it, of course, but I still contend that my Mom’s lasagna is the best. Nothing can ever replace mama’s lasagna! But the one I made last night is a lovely substitute.

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This recipe was quite simple to put together and I serve it up with garlic parmesan crescent rolls, which were a great addition to this meal!

Crock Pot Four Cheese Lasagna

(This was made a 7 qt crock pot, adjust ingredients and directions according to the size of your crock pot)

1 pound ground beef, cooked

1 onion, chopped

1 cup sliced mushrooms

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp oregano

1 tsp sweet basil

A light sprinkle of Sweet Summer Savory

32 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce

1 can tomato sauce

Cheese Filling

24 ounces cottage cheese

3 cups mozzarella cheese, divided

milk or heavy cream(enough to thin out cottage cheese filling)

1 tblsp dried parsley, optional

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

11 slices white American cheese slices

12 uncooked lasagna noodles

Directions

Turn crock pot on low with lid on top to start heating it up.

On the stove in a dutch oven pan, brown the hamburger with onions and mushrooms. Add garlic and cook until onions are transparent. Add in salt, pepper, and seasonings. Stir to combine, pour in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Let simmer for a 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl combine the cottage cheese, 2 cups of mozzarella cheese, milk or cream, dried parsley and parmesan cheese. Thin out this mixture just enough so that it’s spreadable but not soupy. Set aside.

Ladle a spoonful of the meaty sauce into the bottom of the crock pot; spread out to cover. Place three uncooked lasagna noodles side by side and break the fourth noodle in half placing each half at either end to cover the open edges. Spread 1/3 of the cottage cheese mixture over the noodles. Top with 6 slices of white American cheese slices and more sauce.

Repeat noodles, cottage cheese, and meaty sauce for two more layers. After spreading out the meaty sauce take the remaining 5 slices of white American cheese and fold each one from one corner to the other to make two triangles. Place them however you like over the top of the sauce. Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese over it and finish with a light dusting of parmesan cheese. Cover with lid and cook on low for 4–6 hours. Serves 8–10

It doesn’t get much easier than that, plus you’ll definitely want to serve it with my garlic parmesan crescent rolls!

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Garlic Parmesan Crescent Rolls

1–2 cans crescent dough

Night Owl Kitchen’s Homemade Garlic Butter Recipe

Parmesan cheese

Directions

Open can(s) of crescent dough and separate the triangles. Lightly spread the prepared garlic butter on each piece and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Roll into crescent shape and bake on a release foil lined pan for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Let cool before serving and enjoy! Yields 8–16 crescent rolls

A quick note about the garlic butter, my recipe makes a pound of garlic butter. If you have no desire to make that much for the crescent roll recipe, just use half a stick of butter(melted), 1–2 garlic cloves (minced) and adjust black pepper, basil and parmesan cheese accordingly. Any leftovers can be brushed on the tops of the rolls before or after baking.

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See?! No joke, the child was going bonkers over those rolls!

 

Let me know what you think, I love hearing from you all 🙂 And as always…

Happy Eating!!

Beef Tips and Rice

Good morning!! Hope everyone is staying dry, cool, and enjoying this break. Though with these temps it feels like it’s already summer in some places. I would just like for all this rain to stop, starting to feel waterlogged 😉

I finally broke out the smaller crock pot since my nephew is away. It’s been quite a while since I’ve used that one 🙂 Since Dad and I have been on a salad binge lately I’m trying to figure out how to keep our nightly salads interesting. I remembered I had some previously cooked grass fed cubed steak (from another meal) languishing in the freezer. I pulled that and some grass fed stew meat out to thaw overnight in the fridge knowing ahead of time I was going to put it all in the crock pot the next morning. We’re not cube steak fans around here, but after it cooked all day in the crock pot even the cube steak was tender. So let that stand, you can use a cheaper cut of meat, slow cook it all day, and get a delicious tender meal that really everyone will enjoy! And yes even my pickiest eater gobbled it up!

 

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Beef Tips and Rice with Peppers and Onions

Beef Tips and Rice

1–1 1/2 Lbs stew meat or meat of your choice

salt, pepper, and onion powder

1 TBLSP peanut oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can beef broth

Rice, to serve with

Instructions

Go ahead and plug in your crock pot and get it warmed up. Add in chopped onions and bell pepper. Since the cubed steak was already cooked, I went ahead and added it to to the pot. For the stew meat, my pieces were actually really big, too big to just pop in your mouth. So be sure to cut down any large pieces, at least in half since it will render down in cooking process. Season each piece with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of onion powder. Sear in batches in a hot pan with peanut oil on both sides, then add each batch to the pot. After the last stew meat batch, pour the diced tomatoes on top, add about half a can of beef broth and the minced garlic. Cook on low for 8–9 hours. Give the mixture a quick stir to see if you need to thicken up the gravy. If you do, take 2 TBLSP flour and enough of the leftover beef broth and make a quick roux. Pour over mixture and stir in. It’ll tighten up quickly so don’t use too much! Serve over rice, potatoes, or buttery noodles.

A Night Owl’s Quick Rice for Six

 

Now I can only take so much credit for how I fixed up the 5 minute rice. What you choose to add to this makes it your own, the fact that I reduced the water a bit and replaced it with the leftover beef broth helps to tie in the flavor of the beef tips. The recipe for the ratio of water and rice is on the side of the box, so you can make as little or as much rice as your family needs. I just like having extra to mix in with leftovers, which I did and froze it all in a gallon size bag as another family size meal. So, very simply add to a medium pan the following…

2 3/4 cups water

1/4 beef broth, that’s leftover

2 tsp dehydrated minced garlic or 1 clove minced

1 tsp of onion powder

Bring it all to a boil and add 3 cups of 5 minute rice. Stir it in, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Do not mess with it. Just set your timer for 5 minutes and let the rice absorb all that liquid. Fluff with a fork and it’s ready to serve! It really is THAT simple!

 

Now, you can serve this with your favorite side veggie, ours tends to be green beans. You can skip the rice all together and just eat the beef tips over a salad as my Dad did. It’s a very versatile, quick, and easy meal! Minimal dishes which is so nice for a change 🙂 Hope you all enjoy and have a very blessed day!

 

Handy NOK Kitchen Tips:

  • It’s important to keep the lid on your crock pot while it’s warming so as to keep the heat inside the crock pot. Each time you add something else to it be sure to place the lid back on.
  • If you have leftover beef broth and you don’t want to pour it down the sink, grab a clean ice cube tray, doling out the beef broth to each section and freeze. Pop them out once frozen and store in a freezer safe container or bag. They come in handy when you want to add a beef flavor to noodles, rice, and soups.

Food Storage 101: Food Storage Recipe–Catalina Chicken

Food Storage 101: Food Storage Recipe–Catalina Chicken

Food Storage Recipes: Catalina Chicken

Found this recipe today while looking for some yummy chicken recipes! I love that it has only three ingredients, can be cooked in either a pressure cooker or crock pot, and served over rice. Doesn’t get much easier than that! Looking forward to trying it soon!!

 

Meal Planning

I know we’re all busy, we like to have things quick and on the go. The hardest thing that I’ve discovered is to figure out which meal plan will work best for each person. Let’s face it, each family is not the same and one method isn’t going to work everyone one. Here I plan to lay out an array of tips, methods, and share the one that works best for my family! Get a pen/pencil, paper, and get ready to take some notes.

My Meal Plan for a Family of 5:

We are a family of three adults and two kids, we buy our food in bulk and do a lot of food saving. That has helped us to cut down on our grocery bill considerably. Every Saturday I sit down with our grocery lists (there are two because we shop at both Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club), I go through cookbooks and online recipes I’ve saved up, decide what sounds good for the week and write everything down, including back up meals. I then base the grocery lists off of what we are eating for that week and only put those ingredients on the lists. If it’s a pay week I’ll add a few more items to the Sam’s Club list to help restock our surplus. My Mom and I use the weekends to cook up the bulk meats and prep fresh veggies for the freezer. I like to preseason chicken thighs and pork loins before freezing. This cuts down on having to take time to marinade, I like to add these meats to the crock pot and let them slow cook all day. We also like to buy boneless skinless chicken breasts in bulk, I like to boil these up (as I’ve shared in a previous post), chop up the meat and place two cups of chopped chicken per freezer bag. But what if the family wants fried chicken? That’s where the menu comes in handy, I can set aside the amount I’d need for fried chicken and boil up the rest.

Beef roasts is my family’s favorite, served along with veggies, potatoes, and salad. Here’s a quick crock pot recipe that has three ingredients:

2 beef roasts (2–3 pounds each)

2 envelopes of lipton onion soup mix

1/2 cup water

In a large crock pot add the water and 1 packet of soup mix. Place both beef roasts in the crock pot and sprinkle the remaining packet of soup mix over the roasts. Slow cook on low for 8–10 hours or until fall apart tender.

This creates it’s own au jus sauce which can be thickened to make a gravy or served as is over the meat. You can serve one pot roast with boiled potatoes, a vegetable, salad and rolls if you like. With the remaining roast, let it cool to room temp and play in a freezer safe bag with 1 cup of au jus. Freeze flat and keep it for next month, which all you’ll have to do is take out the frozen cooked roast to let it thaw and reheat on the stove. Serve with rice or egg noodles, asparagus spears topped with feta cheese, and crisp romaine salad.

It doesn’t get much easier than that!

Another quick fix is bbq meats in the crock pot. You heard me 🙂 I’ve done this with country style ribs, chicken, and beef ribs. Rub down your meat ahead of time, line your crock pot with Reynolds Wrap Release Foil, and put the meat in the crock pot for 6-8 hours on low. You can either pick up sides from the store on your way home from work or make them up the night before. Here’s what I’ve done for country style pork ribs.

1-2 pounds country ribs

favorite rub seasoning

foil

favorite bbq sauce

The night before rub down meat or place if your favorite marinade. In the morning line crock pot with foil, place ribs in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. Serve up with your favorite sauce, potato salad, pasta salad, deviled eggs, garden salad or your family’s favorite sides!

Pork loin is another favorite, simple and quick to throw together.

1 (2 pound loin)*

salt and pepper on both sides

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can chicken broth

2 carrots chopped

1 onion chopped

1 large celery stalk chopped

1 garlic clove minced

Combine chicken broth and mushroom soup together in crock pot. Season pork loin on both sides with salt and pepper, place in crock pot. Add chopped vegetables and minced garlic around the pork loin. Cover and cook on low for 8–10 hours. Serve with boiled rice or egg noodles, buttery peas, and salad.

The idea is to cook up enough food to make multiple meals. Some find it helpful to do all their cooking for a month, others like planning some meals based off of one common ingredient such as beef, chicken, or turkey. The two things I go by are: what’s for dinner this week and what will I need to make it? That’s how I create my grocery lists and not miss anything for the week.

I know of many folks who enjoy using eMeals. You can pick the meal plan that suits you(low carb, paleo, slow cooker, etc.), have meal plans delivered to your inbox, and you’ll receive a grocery list that fall in line with weekly sales at selected stores. There is also the OAMC (Once A Month Cooking), where you must plan one having everything ready (recipes, vegetables, seasonings, meats, etc.) in order to put every meal together that you plan to have for a month. It’s actually a great way to stock up your freezer(s), if you have the room of course.

I have found that free printable menu lists are a handy tool to keep on hand in a folder. I like to keep one as a master copy so I can reprint when needed. Here are a few I have found…

Printable Menu Planner #1

Printable Menu Planner #2

Printable Menu Planner #3

Printable Menu Planner #4

Printable Menu Planner #5

Printable Menu Planner #6

Printable Menu Planner #7

Printable Menu Planner #8

Printable Menu Planner #9

Printable Menu Planner #10

These lists are great from the beginner all the way to busy mom and highly organized and detailed shopper. Find what will work best for you, start a binder with your favorite recipes, keep a legal pad handy with pens, pencils, and high lighters. Keep track of what you run out of during the week so you’ll know what to put on your grocery list. Keep your coupons in a handy coupon folder/binder and ready for your next trip to the store.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a plethora of information out on the web that can get down into the nitty gritty. But if you’re just starting out, keep your menu planning simple until you get the hang of it, don’t try to keep up with any Joneses 🙂

Have a great Wednesday!!

Amanda Gayle