Sunday, February 24, 2013


It is the end of February and Oklahoma is expecting a winter storm to hit tonight or tomorrow. February in Oklahoma can be 80 degrees or it can be 8 degrees, you just never know. We never put away shorts and flip flops because sometimes we can wear them all year long.

There is nothing better on a cold winter day than the smell of good food simmering in a crockpot. I love crockpots. They are a working Mom's friend. Throw some meat & veggies in, go to work and when you get home dinner is ready. Today I've got vegetable beef stew simmering away. The house smells fantastic and all my guys are ready to dig in. My husband says that is the smell of love.

Beef stew is another one of those dishes that everyone makes different. Some people like a beef broth based stew, but I'm not a big fan of beef broth. I make a tomato sauce based stew and all of my family loves it. Remember to read your labels when purchasing tomato sauces and other canned tomato products. Most manufacturers sneak sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup in there and we don't need that extra sugar and chemicals. 

When using the crockpot, I use a lot of frozen veggies. They are fast and easy to throw in and a lot of frozen veggies actually have more vitamins than fresh. Veggies and fruit begin losing their nutritive value the moment they are picked, so if they sit around your grocery store for days or weeks, you are not going to get a lot of nutrients out of them. However, frozen veggies and fruits are usually frozen the same day they are picked so they retain most of their vitamins. 

You can use whatever veggies your family likes in this stew. I usually use okra instead of green beans because we like okra better and okra is more anti inflammatory, but my grocer was out of okra, so I used green beans today. I make a big pot full because we like to eat on it for a few days. It is one of those dishes that tastes better the next day. My family likes to eat it with cornbread or hoe cakes. If you don't know what a hoe cake is, it is cornbread batter fried in oil into the shape of pancakes. You spread butter all over the fried cornbread and then moan at how delicious it is. These days I fry them in coconut oil so at least they are a little healthier. 


4 pounds of stew meat or chuck roast cut into chunks
roast covered in worcestershire & garlic salt
Garlic salt
Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrins has no HFCS & fewer chemicals)

2 - 15 ounce cans tomato sauce (read your labels, no sugar or HFCS)
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 onion, sliced
2-4 potatoes, cut in chunks
1 bag frozen carrots
1 bag frozen cut okra or green beans
2 cups frozen corn

Coat meat in worcestershire sauce and sprinkle liberally with garlic salt. 

Option 1 - drizzle olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat. Get oil very hot. Add meat and sear 3-4 minutes on each side. Put meat into crockpot. You don't want to cook it, just get a good crust on it. This is not necessary, but it does add another layer of flavor. 

Option 2 - Put the meat in the crockpot without searing. It will still taste fine and cook thoroughly. I do this when I am in a hurry and don't have the time to sear it. 

Add veggies, Rotel and tomato sauce. You can add a couple of shots of hot sauce if you want. Fill your tomato sauce can with water and add to pot. You may need to add another can or two of water depending on how liquidy you want it. Just make sure you have enough liquid to keep everything moist. 

Cook on High 3-4 hours or on Low 6-8 hours. Of course, if you are cooking for one or two people, you can halve this recipe very easily. 

Stay safe and warm. And as always, try to eat more of the foods that God made and less of the "foods" that man made. 

Wishing you all good health, lots of love and happy eating!