There was a virus making it's way around our neighborhood. My son was sniffling, my husband was sneezing, and I was feeling the first twinges of a scratchy throat.
I needed to get some concentrated nutrition into our bodies, and I needed to cloak it in tasty-goodness. Enter the crockpot and a left-over beef roast.
This is a very simple recipe, made even more encouraging by the fact that it does NOT need all day to cook. Mine was on the table in about four hours.
I am making some assumptions (yes, yes, I know...) about the state of leftovers and prequels in your fridge/freezer. Make do with what you have. The secret weapon here is the pastured chicken stock made with lots of chicken feet. In my house, chicken feet are considered 'icky' by the men, so I have to hide them as best I am able...
The meats in this recipe are from grass fed, pastured animals. The veggies are homegrown or organic. Please try to find a high-quality beef base without lots of additives or chemicals. It's just better for you. If you have beef stock, use that, but still make some chicken feet stock for at least 1/2 the liquid.
A Side Note: If you are using local and organic (please, do!) veggies, save your peels and end pieces in a bag in the freezer. Next time you make stock, add these peels and pieces to your stock - they will add nutrition and flavor.
Recipe: Crockpot Beef Stew with Dumplings
2 quarts homemade chicken stock, brought to boiling point
2 1/2 lbs leftover beef roast, cubed
2 cups frozen string beans
1 large stalk celery, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
6 cups potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp beef base (adjust for taste)
Turn crockpot on high. Bring the stock to a boil on the stove, then add to the crockpot. Add all the ingredients, then cover and let cook for 3 1/2 hours. Do NOT take the lid off. (I read that when you lift the lid, it takes the crockpot 20 minutes to come back up to temperature.)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp butter
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
Combine the dry ingredients, then cut in the butter. Mix the egg and milk together, then add it to the dry ingredients. You want this mixture to look and feel like biscuit dough, so add more flour if you need to.
When well-incorporated, form dough into golf-ball sizes and place in the simmering stew. They will expand, so don't put them too close together. Close lid and leave to cook for 35 minutes. Open lid and cook another 10 minutes.
This recipe makes enough for about 12 servings. I took my leftovers and stashed them away in the freezer. Next week, I will make pie crust, and add some mushrooms and onions and peas, thicken the broth, and turn it into a meat pie. Yum!
Ready to make some money? What if I told you that you can make some money just by taking stock of your pantry?
You've heard it all before:
Great deals from the local scratch and dent Amish store
I know you know all that. You're a savvy shopper.
So what can I share with you that will really challenge what you already know?
Then I wondered: am I the only one that uses grocery shopping as a way to get out of the house, enjoy the feeling of spending money, and getting good deals?
If I am, I'm going to feel a bit silly.
Here's the way my food shopping looks - I'm all about good deals. But because I shop at local scratch and dent grocery stores (and save up to 95% off the regular chain/specialty-store prices), I'm at the mercy of whatever is at the store that week. Instead of shopping for a menu, I shop first and cook from what I have on hand. But because I'm constantly shopping, I lose track of what's on my shelves.
So, where's the pantry payday, you ask? It's right there, on our shelves. What if we limited our grocery shopping to just staples? How much money could we save?
By my calculations, if I only purchased my staples of raw dairy. I could save about $100.00 in two weeks.
Ready for payday? Join me this month, as we eat local. Really local. As in, your pantry local. Your 'pantry local' won't look exactly like mine, but here's the challenge: shop the pantry FIRST. Make menus from what you already have, supplementing as needed to round out a nutritious meal.
And here's an unexpected bonus - you'll quickly notice how your shopping may not include certain necessary items for well-rounded meals. Knowing THAT, you'll be able to save even more in the months ahead as you purchase in bulk and either can or freeze or dehydrate to meet that need.
And don't forget - get your kids in on the fun. end them into the pantry with a mission to build a meal from what they can find in the house. Include them in the cooking.
Enjoy lunch out with the girls or a latte on the way to soccer, and stash the rest... Then see where you're at. I'm excited to see how it goes!
Fresh vegetables - we love them!
The first dozen or so.
After that, I mean really, how many summer squash can we actually eat in a three month period, right?
Summer Squash Relish is the solution to the age old question: "What do I DO with it?!"
My first attempt at canning, this recipe is easy, inexpensive, and absolutely stunning to serve or gift. Come February, when I need to put some color on my dinner table, I'll put out a jar of this relish and brighten things up. I try to make at least three dozen pints of this a year - mostly because this relish is the most requested 'gift' from our pantry.
I inherited this recipe from Mom English, who has taught me everything I know about canning. I've added my own little money saving know-how to create an even more affordable version.
Tip #1 - Buy Cheap, Grow Cheap.
Italian roasting sweet peppers are smaller, thinner-walled, and less expensive than your traditional sweet bell pepper, but they will flavor and color the relish just as well. I can buy them for about 75% less than the cost of sweet bell peppers. You can also buy blemished peppers, just cut out the bad spot before using.