Saturday, January 10, 2009

Old School Cooking

It has been cold here lately, as I have mentioned in previous posts, and trying to keep ourselves occupied inside tends to take place in the kitchen. Rather than standing back and watching or completely immersing myself in their activities, the kids do their stuff at the kitchen counter and I cook next to them.

This past weekend I decided to do some old school cooking. Yep, a pot roast and some stew. Beef stew. As a former vegetarian, I tend to do a lot of meatless cooking.... lots of beans, veggies, fruit and other carbs in every meal. But, there is a part of me that craves the classics like pot roast, stew, corned beef and more. As I was grocery shopping I noticed some sale packages of beef and decided to indulge my inner carnivore as well as to share the love. I bought enough beef to make stew to fill five casserole containers in my oven. A few friends are near the end of their pregnancies and tired of cooking, another is having her kitchen remodeled and is sick of eating sandwiches, my grandparents love my stew and it freezes well!

My recipe is one that has been passed down to me from my mom, but I believe that it was a classic '60s recipe. Pretty easy to do, not exact at all. Here it is:

Chop up some celery. Peel and chop some onions in big chunks. Chop up potatoes (no need to even peel them, just wash well.) Peel and chop carrots.

Buy the cheapest meat you can find... could be beef, chicken, pork, turkey even... and cut into chunks. Add a package or two of Lipton onion soup mix and stir with the meat, depending on the quantity.
Add the cut up vegetables until it looks like you have a nice ratio of veggies to meat. Stir together. Sprinkle with dried or fresh parsley. Add salt and pepper. Spread a can of cream soup on the top... celery, chicken, mushroom, it doesn't matter. Drizzle some wine (I save wine when we don't finish a bottle and keep it for cooking) along the edges, either red or white, about 1/2 cup. Or, use water. Cover and bake at 300 for 3 hours, or at 275 for 3 1/2 hours, or lower for longer. Or, put it in the crock pot on low for 8 hours. High for 5. That's the beauty of the recipe... it is extremely flexible and freezes well. I actually prefer to eat it on day two. The flavors meld quite nicely and the sauce thickens.

I dropped off the stew at my friends' houses with a fresh baked loaf of artisan 5 minute a day bread. So easy, so delicious. And you? What's your favorite easy meal to make for a friend who needs a meal?

1 comment:

noradawn said...

I usually bring my post-partum friends two meals in the first week or two after baby is born, or after their extended family help leaves. One is always baked ziti, and the other varies depending on their tastes- spanikopita (which isn't easy, but is such a yummy treat,) chili, quiche, enchiladas. I always include all the trimmings, and lots of dessert. Nursing mamas need those calories!

I've been wanting to talk with you for weeks, but just can't believe how quickly and busily the days are passing here. Hopefully soon.