Tag Archives: Beef

Easy Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Stew.


Lesson one: No amount of processing can save a poorly lit photo. (Thanks for nothing, Standard Time.)

Lesson two: However it may look, this stew tastes incredible. And it’s easy. And clean, paleo, low-glycemic, dairy-free, soy-free, and kid-approved!

Browning the beef beforehand sounds like an extra step, but it is SO important to the full flavor of this dish. And it’s a quick way to get your kitchen already smelling delicious before you even turn on the crock pot! Put this one on your list for the cold, busy weeknights ahead. (Please send some of that cold down here to Florida!)

Paleo Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Original recipe here

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lbs stew beef (cubed)
  • 2 large parsnips, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 8 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 1 onion, cut into large chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 cups low-sodium beef broth
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme (or 1 Tbsp fresh, chopped)
  • optional, to thicken broth: 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan over high heat. Add the beef chunks, season with a little salt and pepper, and sear on all sides. Dump into your slow cooker and cover with the remaining ingredients, except tapioca starch.
  2. Cook on high 5-6 hours, or on low 8-9.
  3. Optional: if you want to thicken the broth, 30 minutes before the end of cooking time, whisk the tapioca starch with 2 Tbsp water. Pour the mixture into the stew, stirring gently, until distributed throughout, and allow it to resume cooking.
  4. Remove bay leaves and enjoy! In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, they reheat beautifully.

Paleo | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Clean Eating | Gluten-free | Nut-free

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Almost-Chili Taco Soup.

Now that Mini-Munchkin is nearly three months, I probably have to stop using the “I have a newborn” excuse & start posting a little more regularly.

With that, here’s the first of what will likely be many quick-prep meals for those nights when you have literally 5 minutes in the kitchen.

A friend of mine from my local chapter of the National MOMS Club brought this dish over after I had the Mini-Munchkin. This thick, hearty, almost-chili soup was an instant hit, so I asked her for the recipe. It was so easy she was actually embarrassed to give it to me! But I love easy, so I’m not embarrassed at all to share this with you.

  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 packet taco seasoning
  • 3/4 cup water*
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup
  • 2 cans black beans, undrained
  • 2 cans corn, drained
  • tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, etc., for serving

*or however much your particular taco seasoning calls for

  1. Brown the ground beef. Drain.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add taco seasoning & water. Stir.
  3. Add remaining ingredients. Stir.
  4. Cover; simmer until heated through or as long as you want.

That’s it! Yum!

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Beef with Broccoli (& Carrots).

I do my grocery shopping on Wednesdays. It’s the day before the new circular comes out, so the store is always empty. (Honestly though, I didn’t learn that until we’d been going for several weeks out of necessity because it was the only day we didn’t have something else scheduled; it’s a nice perk.) So this means that Tuesday night after The Munchkin goes to sleep I’m up racking my brain about what to make for dinner that week. I’d been in a rut for weeks — maybe months.

Then I read about one food blogger’s method for organizing recipes. Now, honestly, I’ve been looking everywhere & can’t find the post anymore, so I think it may have just been a Facebook post or something, otherwise I’d send you there in a millisecond. But the gist of it was that she has a Word document (or you could use an Excel spreadsheet) of all the dinner recipes she likes to use, with either the link (if it’s from a blog) or the title of the cookbook, so she can find it quickly. Keeping it on the computer makes it easy to add to & modify the list, & you could organize it by cuisine (Asian, Mexican, Italian, etc.) or food type (beef, chicken, vegetarian, etc.), & it’s so much quicker than my old method of printing off the recipe & sticking it in my overstuffed binder of recipes. So that’s my goal.

Another way to streamline weekly meal planning is to assign “theme nights.” I actually read in this month’s Parents magazine that theme nights can get kids excited about sitting down with the family for dinner & can help them assume a larger role in meal prep. But on the practical side, if I know that Thursday night is going to be Mexican night, I can go to my handy-dandy “Mexican” category & have fewer meals to have to choose from.

So why am I saying all this? Because I’m trying to expand my repertoire to include more international foods for said “theme nights.” For Asian night, meet Beef with Broccoli (original recipe here).

  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 lb.+ stir-fry beef
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cups broccoli florets
  • 2 large carrots, peeled & sliced on a diagonal
  • 1 small onion, cut into thin wedges
  • Sauce, below
  • hot cooked rice


  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  1. Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Set aside.
  2.  In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, water, soy sauce, & garlic powder; stir until smooth. Toss beef in mixture until well coated.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in wok on medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef until done. Remove & keep warm.
  4. Stir-fry vegetables in remaining oil 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. (I like to cover the wok to allow the veggies to steam.)
  5. Return beef to wok & add sauce. Cook 2 minutes.
  6. Serve over rice.

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Italian Steak with Zucchini & Pasta.

My Husband The Breadwinner doesn’t cook much anymore: 1) he doesn’t need to with me around, except when it comes to pancakes, & 2) he doesn’t get home from work in time anyway. But this meal is evidence that he can find his way around the kitchen if the occasion calls for it. It’s his mom’s recipe, but he made it for me for my birthday a couple years ago & it was delicious & memorable enough to have me craving it this week.

In my own carnivorous opinion, the steak is really the star of this meal, but if you’d rather go the vegetarian route, it’d taste great with marinated portobellos, or even just by itself! It also heats up fabulously for leftovers.

  • 1 lb. flank steak
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite house Italian dressing
  • 2 cloves garlic, divided
  • 1 lb. pasta
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 med. zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup (or to taste) diced onion
  • 2 cans (8 oz. each) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
  • salt, to taste
  • parmesan, to taste
  • chiffonade fresh basil, to taste
  1. Marinate the steak 6-8 hours or overnight in the dressing with one of the cloves of garlic, minced.
  2. Prepare the pasta as directed.
  3. Meanwhile, rub the pepper into both sides of the steak & cook it in a skillet on medium heat, 5-6 minutes a side or until desired doneness.
  4. Meanwhile meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium pot on medium heat & saute the other clove of garlic, minced, & the onion for a couple minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini, tomato sauce, & red pepper, then salt to taste. Cook another 2 minutes, then cover & let simmer on low another 2-3 minutes or until zucchini is tender.
  6. Toss pasta with sauce & zucchini, then place in serving bowls. Sprinkle with parmesan & basil, then spread sliced steak on top.

Picky (or at least skeptical) eater pleaser: Take out some of the pasta before tossing it with the sauce & place it in a section of one of those nifty partitioned plates & a little of the sauce & some zucchini slices in another. Cut the steak into small pieces & place them in a third. The Munchkin preferred to dip her pasta in the sauce rather than having it coated in it already, & even tried a slice of zucchini! As for the steak, it was gone before we knew it. I’d call that a success.

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Steaks & rolls on a weeknight? Oh yes, I did! (& you can too!)

I wish I could say there was some inspired reason for breaking the Sunday Dinner mold like this. But to be honest, the steak was the first thing I saw when I opened the freezer to decide what to make for dinner tonight.

The rolls? Rhodes Bake-N-Serv rolls. Just pull as many as you want out of the freezer, & 3 hours later you have hot, fresh rolls straight out of the oven! If you’re coming home from work/soccer/Brownies/etc., they even have a quick 1.5-hour way! They really are a miracle. & they’re tasty too. We get them at Target.

Once the rolls are out of the oven, I follow the Frugal Flambe’s method for Grilling Without a Grill. I’ve mentioned it before, but I really can’t get enough of it!

Stick your cast-iron grill pan in the oven & turn it up to 500 degrees. Then take your room-temperature steak & season it how you like. He suggests salt, seasoned salt, onion salt, garlic salt, & pepper. I just kind of play with it; tonight I used garlic pepper, lemon herb seasoning, garlic salt, & this yummy potlatch seasoning.

Once the oven reaches 500 degrees, pull your grill pan out onto a medium-high burner. Splash both sides of your steaks with some Worcestershire & a spritz of PAM canola oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. Sear them for 1-2 minutes on each side, then USE YOUR OVEN MITT (not speaking from experience or anything) to put the pan, steaks & all, back in the oven for 8 minutes.

Finally, pull it back out, cover it loosely with foil for a few minutes to tenderize, & treat yourself & your family to a fancy dinner on a weeknight!

This could be a great idea for someone’s weeknight birthday or other special occasion, or just because that’s what was in the freezer!

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Slow-cooked roast with carrots.

I may or may not still be avoiding using my oven. So here’s another slow cooker recipe for you!

I saw this recipe months ago over at Talkin’ Chow, Playin’ House, but never found a roast on sale enough to merit trying it.

Until now!

Now, this is definitely comfort food, so I wouldn’t blame you for waiting to try this until it cools off. It definitely seemed odd to me, seeing this out my window (we have a nature preserve right behind us, & it’s so humid that the windows fog up every morning) & then tossing a big, hearty roast into the Crock Pot. It’s a jungle out there! Literally! But oven vendettas are stronger than heat & humidity.

Whenever you do decide to give it a try, I promise you that you won’t be sorry. My only suggestion would be to season your roast more generously than the Martha recipe suggests (Yes! Even she isn’t perfect sometimes! There is hope for the rest of us!), because the beef tasted bland in comparison to the AWESOME carrots.

  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch (a little more if you want a thicker gravy at the end)
  • 2 Tbsp. cold water (or stock, if you’ve got a container already open; I used chicken broth)
  • 2 lbs. carrots, peeled & cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • 3-lb. beef chuck or rump roast, fat trimmed
  • 2 Tbsp. (plus a splash) Worcestershire
  • salt & pepper, or seasoning of choice (I think a Steakhouse Seasoning grinder would do a fabulous job)
  1. Stir together cornstarch & water (or stock) in bottom of slow cooker until smooth, using a non-scratching utensil.
  2. Add carrots & onion to slow cooker. Season with salt & pepper; toss to combine.
  3. Season both sides of roast generously. Place on top of vegetables. Drizzle with Worcestershire.
  4. Cook on high 6 hours or low for 10 hours.
  5. When finished, slice thinly against the grain. (If you can! Mine was so tender it just shredded. Not the worst problem to have, right?)
  6. Place meat & veggies in a serving dish, then drizzle with the gravy & serve. Or serve the gravy on the side. (I found there wasn’t enough of it for the latter.) Yum!

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Slow-cooker fajitas.

We’re back online! It feels so good to have Internet again. We’re still getting settled in, & I’m having a hard time finding places to fit everything inside my tiny kitchen (I may or may not be keeping my spices in a cardboard box for the moment & some of my baking dishes in a linen closet; how ironic that our NJ kitchen was larger!), so no kitchen or craft experimentation just yet, but I do have one recipe that I photographed in our old kitchen & didn’t have time to post before we rushed down here.

When The Munchkin was tiny, she was really tiny. Nursing was a two-handed job just because she was so small, so my long list of books to read while nursing turned into countless hours of DVR’d movies & TV shows in the middle of the night. I barely left the living room sofa. My daytime lineup included several cooking shows, like Semi-Homemade with Sandra Lee. This recipe is adapted from one of hers. In addition to being wonderfully easy, this is a great recipe for picky eaters who have a hard time with texture; the veggies get nice & soft in the slow cooker.

Slow-Cooker Fajitas

  •  2 lbs. beef round steak, sliced thin (I just buy the pre-sliced stir-fry beef)
  • 2 pkts. fajita seasoning
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 green peppers, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 cup plus a splash of apple juice
  • whole-wheat tortillas
  • sour cream, cheese, etc., for serving

(I make a half recipe for us, so that’s why one of the peppers is missing.)

To slice your peppers without getting the seeds everywhere, use Ina Garten’s method (which I also learned from my nursing days in front of the TV): Hold your pepper with the stem up on your cutting board, then cut around the core using a large chef’s knife. Discard the core, seeds, & all, when you’re done. No mess!

  1. Add sliced veggies to the slow cooker; toss with 1 packet of seasoning.
  2. Add steak slices on top, seasoning those with the other packet as you go to make sure that the beef is relatively evenly coated. I don’t use the whole packet; it’s plenty seasoned with less. But you can choose how much to put on.
  3. Pour the apple juice over the top.
  4. Cook on low 8-10 hours.
  5. To serve, warm tortillas in the microwave, then use metal tongs or a slotted spoon to add meat & veggies. Top with sour cream, cheese, & whatever else sounds tasty!

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