Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free | Clean eating
I put an asterisk by the word “Curry” because it’s not as traditional a curry as I usually make. And if you’ve stuck around here awhile, you know how I am about my curries. BUT – that doesn’t make this dish any less delicious. Kind of like a stew or a ghoulash with a different array of spices. My husband called this, “like my mom’s beef tips, but with curry powder.” So there you go. That’s the best we can describe it. The low, slow cooking tenderizes the stew beef to fork-tender, making this my girls’ new favorite stew.
Slow Cooker Curried Beef Stew
Adapted from here
- 2 lbs cubed stew beef
- 1 1/2 lbs petite red or yellow potatoes, quartered
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 2 Tbsp yellow curry powder
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 Tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- optional: 2 Tbsp cornstarch, to thicken
- Place the beef, potatoes, and carrots in the slow cooker. Add the spices and garlic and toss to coat.
- Pour tomatoes and coconut milk over the top, then cover and cook on low 7 hours.
- If desired, 20 minutes before serving, stir in cornstarch, then re-cover until ready to serve.
- Serve over jasmine rice (or brown rice, for clean eating).
Paleo | Dairy-free | Soy-free | Clean Eating | Gluten-free | Nut-free
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
- 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.
- Cook on high 5-6 hours, or on low 8-9.
- 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.
- Remove bay leaves and enjoy! In the unlikely event that there are leftovers, they reheat beautifully.
Weelicious triumphs again!
To minimize mess, I generally buy & cook the short pastas, so when I told The Munchkin we were having “slurpy spaghetti” for dinner, she practically leaped for joy. The many different veggies in this dish are julienned just like the pasta, so she slurped them up just like the noodles. & get this: she was happy about it! She ate them on purpose! “Look, mommy, I’m slurping asparagus!” This, coming from the toddler who enjoys carrots, but will hardly touch zucchini or asparagus. The bowl was polished off. Success!
- 2 zucchini
- 2 carrots, peeled
- 6 asparagus spears, woody ends snapped off
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (original recipe calls for only 1, but it needs more)
- 1 lb. whole-wheat spaghetti (or, if you don’t have a food processor to julienne your veggies & your knife skills are as atrocious as mine, linguine covers a multitude of sins)
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup Parmesan
- Julienne your vegetables with a knife or the shredding blade of a food processor.
- Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a saute pan over medium heat.
- Saute garlic 1 minute.
- Add veggies & salt & saute an additional 3-4 minutes or until softened.
- Drain pasta, reserving 1/3 cup of the pasta water.
- Return pasta to pot or place in a large serving bowl. Add veggies, pasta water, butter, & Parmesan; toss to coat.
- Let your Munchkins pretend to be baby birds slurping up worms!
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
- Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl; stir until smooth. Set aside.
- In a shallow bowl, combine cornstarch, water, soy sauce, & garlic powder; stir until smooth. Toss beef in mixture until well coated.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in wok on medium-high heat. Stir-fry beef until done. Remove & keep warm.
- Stir-fry vegetables in remaining oil 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. (I like to cover the wok to allow the veggies to steam.)
- Return beef to wok & add sauce. Cook 2 minutes.
- Serve over rice.
What’s the weirdest food you craved when you were preggo? With both of my pregnancies, I’ve had an incessant, nigh-incurable craving for curry. The first time, that wasn’t a problem because we lived in a college town with a seemingly endless array of international restaurants in close proximity — read: walking distance — to one another, including what is still hands-down my favorite Thai place. (They also had an amazing Turkish place where we got to sit on cushions to eat at low tables & everything… but that’s another story.) This time around, however, I haven’t been so lucky. Living in suburban sprawl has its downsides, for sure, & restaurant choice is one of them, especially if I don’t want to drive 30 minutes each way. (Bakeries too… but again, another story.)
But then my friend Patty introduced me to Weelicious. In less than 15 minutes of perusal, my weekly dinner rut had disappeared completely. I was pinning & bookmarking dinner ideas faster than I ever have before! Catherine (what a nice name!) has everything from baby & toddler foods to family dinners, snacks, incredible lunchbox ideas, ways to get your picky eater to be less picky… Why was I just now finding out about this?!
Then I saw it. The cure for my curry craving (for the moment, anyway). It’s actually not one of Catherine’s, but a contest submission from a lady named Deb. & it rocks. Before I go back for thirds, let me share my version with you. The original recipe is here.
- 2 Tbsp. curry powder
- 2 Tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. cumin
- dash ginger
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 tsp. tomato paste
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 apple, cored, skin on, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces (UPDATE: we now use a diced sweet potato and like it even better!)
- 1 cup carrots (about 2 large), peeled, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
- 1 large Russet potato, peeled, cut into 1/2- to 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 lbs. chicken (about 4 breasts), cut into 1/2- to 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed braiser or pot, heat oil on medium heat. Add onion; saute 3-4 minutes or until soft & translucent.
- Add spice mixture & saute 30 seconds more.
- Add apple or sweet potato, carrots, potatoes, & chicken; toss until evenly coated with spice mixture & onions.
- Add broth & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer, covered, 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through & veggies are tender, stirring occasionally to keep curry from sticking to the bottom & to help the veggies cook evenly.
- Serve over basmati rice for the delicious authentic flavor, or brown rice for a clean option.
Dairy-free | Soy-free | Nut-free | Gluten-free | Clean-eating option
Like the other Catherine, my family devoured this. Munchkin included. (Her affinity for curry may have something to do with the amount of it that I ate when I was pregnant & nursing with her…) It was flavorful without being spicy. I wondered about the apples, but decided to try it anyway & loved the touch of sweetness they added. If you look at the original recipe, you’ll see that I substituted potatoes for celery, simply because they were what was in my favorite curry at that one Thai place in Bloomington. I’m sure you could do both if you wanted to, but the whole family agreed that it was exactly perfect just like this.
Who here has seen Ratatouille? Today’s flop-turned-okay lunch reminded me of the scene where Chef Skinner tries to set Linguine up for failure by giving him a dud of a recipe. Remy made it the most amazing thing at Gusteau’s in years; I just made mine edible.
I started with a recipe I found in Parenting magazine for Sesame Chicken Salad that looked promising. It had an Asian-inspired peanut sauce… that ended up tasting like peanut-butter-sandwich pasta. Gross.
I doctored it up to edibility, but I could use your help!
8 oz. pasta that you let your kid pick out to get them excited about trying something new
1 cup snow peas
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
2 carrots, sliced thinly into coins (if serving cold, just grate them & serve them raw in the pasta)
scant 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tsp. sesame oil
2 tsp. cider vinegar
Cook the pasta as directed. Add the carrot coins to the boiling water 4 minutes before the pasta is done, & the snow peas 1 minute before. Drain. (If serving cold, rinse under cold water.)
Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a large bowl. It may not incorporate entirely; the hot pasta will help melt the peanut butter.
Mix everything well & top with sesame seeds & thinly sliced scallions, if desired.
Okay, team: what can we do to make this good but still kid-friendly? My first thought was red pepper flakes, but The Munchkin can’t take the heat.
Thanks for your help!