Thankfully, when I opened the freezer I found inspiration in the form of stew meat from the local grocery. I think in the future I should have a smaller package of stew meat frozen up, but for this I had a one pound package and I found a can of corn in the cupboard, that's about all the incentive I needed to make a quick dish.
We have the medium size crock pot. I found with the large size there was too much waste with left overs that turned out to be too plentiful, and then the small one is for dips!
|Delicious beef stew. Fabulous as leftovers for lunch, too.|
Crockpot liner (yes, I use these, my sense of preserving the environment and not adding to pollution is ruled out in favor of easy clean up after a long day at work).
1 can of corn, drained
1 can no salt diced petite tomatoes
Diced/sliced carrots. I diced up about fifteen of the thicker snack size ones.
1/2 to 1 diced onion
Schar Anellini pasta, about 1/4 cup
3/4 to 1 quart of beef broth. I used Kitchen Basics by McCormick's.
2 bay leaves
ground fresh pepper
1 Tablespoon or more of Worcestershire. I use Lea and Perrins as the USA version is gluten free
Small diced red potatoes. I used about five of these which were 'golf ball' size
Diced/sliced celery for your taste. I added about 1/3 cup.
By this time I was worried it was all going to fit in the crockpot! I put the meat in first, then diced the celery and onions and added that directly around the meat, and two bay leaves. Next I sliced the carrots and potatoes and added those around as well, then cracked some pepper, added the drained corn and the undrained tomatoes and stirred that together a little bit to mix it up some. I added the dried pasta into a "well" I made in the veggies, I wanted it underneath the broth for sure. I then added the cracked pepper and the broth. I added just enough broth that it came to about 1 1/2 inches from the top of the pan. I didn't want to add too much, since the veggies would breakdown and more liquid would come from that too. Then I added the Lea & Perrin's to the top, put the lid on , made sure the crock pot was on to low and I headed to work.
I'm "lucky" enough to own one of the crockpots that tends to run a little hot, so even on low everything was going to come together quite nicely. When The Mike got home, he turned it to "warm" and it was still plenty hot by 8:30. A little bit of cracked pepper on top and a bit of kosher salt added and it was fabulous.
I used the Anellini knowing that any GF pasta was going to basically dissolve/melt over twelve hours in the crock pot and that it wouldn't matter what was really used. Since this is a smaller 'soup' pasta to me, I used it.--Plus, my sisters and I scored about a dozen boxes half price this spring in D.C. at Safeway. I think I brought a lot of food back from that trip. I only have managed to use up my first box! We tend not to have too much grain/pasta at our house, so a little bit can go a long way.
Happy winter cooking!