As much as I love our busy days, there’s nothing better than those cancellation emails that come pouring in once a snow day has been declared.
By Karen Schulz
As much as I love our busy days, there’s nothing better than those cancellation emails that come pouring in once a snow day has been declared. All those cancellations afford you the luxury of time. Time to braise, stew, or slow cook a yummy comforting meal to be enjoyed by the fire with family and perhaps some friends who come home from sledding with your kids.
The great thing about comfort food is that most recipes consist of ingredients already in your pantry or fridge. Ingredients like, onions, potatoes, canned tomatoes, beans, carrots, celery, garlic, and spices. I also always like to keep a few pounds of beef chuck (stew meat) on hand in the freezer, just in case opportunity knocks.
If you have a slow cooker, you can have comfort food in the middle of a busy week by simply being a little organized the day before. You can put all your ingredients in the cooker before work or after you drop the kids at school and come five-o-clock, dinner is ready! I like “Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook” for interesting easy recipes.
One of my favorite snow day or chilly night dinners is my mom’s Old- Fashioned Beef Stew. I remember how great the house smelled after coming in from a fun day in the cold and how it warmed me right up! It’s easy enough to pull off on a regular weeknight, but a no-brainer on a commitment-free day spent building igloos and playing in the snow. Double the recipe and have enough to host friends who may have lost power or feed hungry sledders who stop by for a nibble.
Mom’s Old-Fashioned Beef Stew
Makes 6-8 servings
2-3 pounds beef chuck cut in 1½” cubes
2 T. of butter
1 cup boiling water
1 cup red wine
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 or 3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 medium onion, sliced
1 or 2 bay leaves
1 T. salt
1 t. sugar
½ t. fresh ground pepper
½ t. paprika
Dash of allspice or cloves
6 carrots peeled, cut in 2” lengths and quartered
1 pound or 18-24 small pearl white onions
3 peeled and cubed white potatoes
In a large pot, thoroughly brown meat on all sides in butter turning often. Add boiling water, wine, Worcestershire, garlic, sliced onion, bay leaves, and seasonings. Cover. Simmer (don’t boil) for 1½ hours, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Remove bay leaves.
Add carrots, onions, and potatoes. Cover and cook 30 minutes more or until vegetables are done to your liking. Season to taste.
Serve over egg noodles or rice with a green salad.
NB: If the sauce needs thickening, remove meat and vegetables and set aside in a bowl. Thicken the liquid with flour or cornstarch and cold water.