School Night Dinner: Slow Cooker Stew

I am SOOOO proud of myself. I actually planned ahead for dinner tonight!

Here's my usual weeknight cooking method... leave school around 3:00, drive to the grocery store and wander back and forth through the meat department muttering to myself that nothing sounds good, grab a few random things for lunch tomorrow, hop back in the car and end up at Boston Market/Panera/Subway OR go home and cook some really lame breakfast-for-dinner meal. Not that I don't really enjoy breakfast at dinnertime but come on...

We need a real meal sometimes! So yesterday, we finally got some cold weather and I got to wear my coat to school. Then, when I hit Publix for my usual fruitless browse, I actually came up with a real dinner idea... beef stew!

Yeah, perfect for chilly weather, right? Chili would be great too, but no one at my house will eat it (crazy people!). So I quickly whipped out my ridiculously oversized iPhone (will tell more about that later) and pulled up a delicious recipe from The Pioneer Woman. She is totally awesome! The ingredients are pretty basic - stew meat, tomato paste, onion, garlic, carrots, turnips, beef stock, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, and some seasoning. Turnips? Yes, and if you think you don't like them, you haven't cooked them right. Luckily, my dad just gave me a few out of his garden the other day. The Pioneer Woman cooks her stew on the stove and I've always just followed her directions. But this time I wanted to use the crock pot. (I do love coming home to an already cooked meal.) Turns out that this is the perfect crock pot stew! Just look...

Doesn't it look like the perfect bowl of comfort food? This stew is so delicious! The only thing I had to do differently was add a little cornstarch-water mix at the end to thicken it up. That could be because I used less meat than the recipe called for but kept everything else the same. The only thing I might add next time is some nice crusty bread to dip in the gravy. YUM! If you want to try this recipe out yourself, you can get it here: Sunday Night Stew. (I think she should rename it "School Night Stew".)

To make it in the crockpot instead, follow all of her steps for browning the meat, onion, and garlic up to where you add the Worcestershire sauce. After you do that, just dump it all in your crockpot and cook all day on low. I turned mine on at 7am and it was perfectly done by 4pm. I just turned the pot off and it stayed warm until we ate at around 5:30.


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