Wednesday, August 18, 2010

All Stewed Up

A few of my friends here are recently married as well and a couple of them have had some cooking dilemas.
This post is dedicated to Aly and Sara, with my hopes that this no fail recipe full of possibilities helps them out! I reccomend getting it going first thing in the morning to have everything good to go by dinnertime!
Start out with your crockpot. We got this beauty as a wedding gift! Many people have them sitting around in their garages/ pantries as well going madly underused. I put mine on high and start filling it up.

The best base to any crock pot stew or roast is potatoes! A nice solid filler especially when you have a husband who eats as much as mine does. Plus theyre a good newlywed food because theyre cheap!
So are carrots. Put lots of those in too. I put the carrots and potatoes on the bottom because they take the longest to cook!

When I peel them I peel into the sink but the scoup it out and put it into the trash. Garbage disposals are good for little bits but you dont want the horrible lesson of having to replace one of those suckers.

Then I toss in one of these no fail flavor packets. This one had kind of a kick. Another good one is a Liptons French Onion Soup packet! Its sort of like cheating, but the flovor is worth it, especially if your intimidated by seasoning your own food. I also added almost four spoons of Worchestershire sauce. That stuff is good in almost anything! Then if you're making stew I fill it about two thirds of the way with water, or until all the veggies are covered.
Then brown the stew meat (that means cook it on high so the outside gets nice and cooked looking and the inside is less cooked.) Meat that goes into stew doesnt have to be as tender as your favorite steak because the long cook time of the crock pot should tenderize your meat making it softer and fall apart as you eat it.
Luke prefers more meat in his meals. I used a pound here, but had put half of it in the crock pot before I remembered to take a picture.
Your stew should look about like this:
Leave it for 4-5 hours and it should look like this:
This is when I like to toss in some frozen veggies. (Theyre less expensive, you can buy them in bulk, and they dont go bad as quickly.)
Serve with some fabulous sour dough garlic bread and youre good to go!  Yum!
You can change this recipe up however you want! Add other vegitables, use a beef base instead of a packet. Mix it up! Let me know how it goes!

I also am seeking your advice!
Luke looooooves his Costco muffins, but you leave one muffin out here, and it's rock hard in 20 min! Which means even the smallest crack in the wrapper leads to crusty muffins. Do you have any advice or tips on the storage of these beasts? Is there a product that you find especially helpful for this? I feel wastful putting each into it's own ziplock bag. Especially since we know this is a product we'll continue to purchase for a long time to come.


by George! said...

Mmmm. Where'd you learn crockpot cooking like that?

The Luedtke Family said...

1. Used dried onions instead of the Lipton Onion Soup Mix - you get the awesome onion flavor without too much sodium. This way you control the salt. Check the packet for other spices, and add those yourself.

2. Barley is good to add.

3. Sometimes I take out some broth, add a thickener (water mixed with flour or cornstarch) boil for a minute or so. Then pour it back into the stew to thicken it up.

4. Freeze your Costco muffins. The freezer keeps items fresher than the fridge. Then pull out the amount needed when you need it. Thaw in a ziplock bag on the counter.

5. I love my crockpot and use it as much as I can. Try this one - put frozen chicken breasts and a jar of salsa in crock pot. Cook until tender. Shred for chicken tacos. Easy and yummy! Add extras if desired - can of chilies, cumin, cilantro, red pepper, etc.

6. Look in the cashier racks during the fall/winter for those "magazine" cookbooks. I picked some up in my early married days and continue to use and love them, some recipies have become weekly staples. Find the Fall cooking/baking ones, soups/stews, and crockpot recipie books. Great and cheap resources.

John Schlesselman said...

I agree with number four above regarding freezing the Costco muffins. That's what we do and it works perfect. You can either let it thaw on the counter, or defrost on a low power in the microwave. I love my chocolate-chocolate chip Costco muffins!! =)

Tanya said...

that stew looks fantastic! You should try it with this bread:

Also, you can use ziplock bags for your costco muffins and freeze them, but save all the bags so that when you get a new package you don't have to use all new bags. If you keep a "bag bag" in the freezer you don't have to worry about them getting lost or gross.

Jon and Jolie said...

I was going to say that you can freeze them. I have started to flash freeze my scones and then bake them as needed for my husband's breakfasts. It makes for a quick easy meal on the go (that's not rock hard or soggy). Let me know how it works! :)

Neola said...

Your stew looks amazing :)

I suggest wrapping each muffin individually in plastic wrap. Quick and easy for a guy on the go. I refrigerate bread/muffins rather than freeze in the summer so they don't get moldy.