Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Crock pot classic: beef stew

Given that winter has set in here in the PNW, I've had the crockpot in heavy rotation. I was in the mood for beef stew over the weekend and after searching through dozens of recipes for this crock pot classic I opted to make it off the top of my head based on what I'd seen

Ingredients

1 pound beef, cubed
2 cups water
4 cups vegetable stock
2 stalks celery, sliced
6 carrots, sliced
4 russet potatoes, cubed
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
1 packet Lipton onion soup mix
salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Throw everything into crockpot. Cook on low for 8 hours. Eat it.

Depending on how stew-y you like it, add more or less veggies and meat.

Bacon mac and cheese

True story:

Mr. Snowgoose and I were driving home from the gym Monday night when I said, "I'm craving bacon mac and cheese. Mind you, I've never even had it, but I was craving some comfort food during our rcent windstorm. Mr. Snowgoose was like, "make it!" But I was tired and had already planned for us to eat leftover beef stew. I promised that if I had a recipe readily available and all the ingredients I would make it and only if it took less than 30 minutes.

Guess what? All the stars alligned and I found a recipe from a September 2009 issue of Cooking Light. Here is the recipe complete with our modifications.

Ingredients
3 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
12 ounces penne pasta
4 teaspoons whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups skim milk, divided
2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1/4 cup sliced green onions (we used some from our garden)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled

Preparation
1. Preheat broiler.

2. Bring 6 quarts water and 1 tablespoon salt to a boil. Add pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente; drain.

3. Combine flour and 1/2 cup milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Gradually add 1 cup milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes or until it cools to 155°. Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, garlic, onions, pepper, and bacon; stir. Add pasta; toss. Spoon into a 2-quart broiler-safe dish coated with cooking spray; top with 1/2 cup cheese (optional).

4. Broil 7 minutes.

Cook's note: The longest part of the recipe was cooking the bacon. Short on time? Use that weird already cooked Bacon.

Because this was a Cooking Light recipe, it's a little short on cheese and bacon. Mr. Snowgoose would have been happier if I'd added at least two more pieces of bacon (or the whole pack) and added more cheese.

But it was wicked good and we ate all six servings that night. It may become a comfort food staple in the Snowgoose household. I'm curious to add some pancetta instead of bacon and maybe some spinach next time.