Lately, I’ve been looking for easy meals that I can make quickly or ahead of time so I can spend as much time as possible with my family. Can you blame me? Look how cute my little man is! Lucky me, he “helps” me in the kitchen by taking dishes out of the dishwasher (which eventually end up on the floor and right back into the dishwasher) and measuring (chewing on a measuring cup). Oh, and he helps with laundry too. Life is so good!
Anyway, back to the food. I like to make one or two meals on the weekend that we can eat all week. Sometimes I prepare a slow cooker meal I can just plug in before going to work one morning. I love the idea of using my slow cooker, but I have to say not all recipes I’ve tried are created equal. Sometimes the food all ends up tasting the same, or it gets mushy, or there isn’t enough flavor. But this one is a definite winner, so I’m sharing it with you. It reminds me of the beef vegetable stew my grandma used to make when I was a kid. I don’t have her stew recipe (no one does, she just winged it), but now that I have this crock pot recipe, I really feel like I can replicate Grandma’s delicious, hearty stew.
This is also pretty healthy, as there are tons of vegetables. You can customize which vegetables you’d like to include, but I pretty much kitchen sinked it because we love veggies, and now that Wes is eating table food, I like to get him as many vegetables as possible. I even added parsnips, but you could leave them out if you can’t find them or don’t want to use them. There is a little bit of chopping to be done for prep work, but it’s not too fussy because things just need to be cut into big chunks. If you don’t mind that, it’s a piece of cake! This also makes a big batch, so you can either feed a crowd or freeze half for some day when you don’t have time or don’t feel like cooking. All around, this is a winner!
The Best Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- 1.5-2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 parsnips, cut into 1 inch pieces (optional)
- 2 ribs of celery, cut into slices
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 6 oz. can of tomato paste
- 32 oz. beef broth
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 Tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn
- 1 ½ cups frozen green beans
- 1 ½ cups frozen lima beans
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup water
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and sear until browned on each side but not cooked through, a couple of minutes. You want to get a nice brown crust on the meat but not cook it all the way. (The searing adds a nice depth of flavor, but if you’re really in a hurry you can skip it.)
To the crock pot, add seared meat, onions, carrots, parsnips, celery, sweet potatoes, garlic, parsley, oregano, Worcestershire sauce, beef broth, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6-7 hours.
An hour before serving, add in the frozen peas, corn, green beans, and lima beans. (If you like your green beans and lima beans really tender, you can add them in the beginning.) Mix together the flour and water and stir into the stew until well combined. Continue cooking for another hour.