The other day I found myself needing to kill a little time before meeting with our Realtor (we’re buying a house!!!). So I decided to stop in at Barnes & Noble since I had 3 gift cards from Christmas. I picked up a couple books for leisure reading, but also headed over to the Cookbook section. I spent a lot of time in the cookbook section. Of the 10+ cookbooks I wanted to buy, which could/should I actually buy?
There were definitely Barefoot Contessa & Giada selections that really pulled at me, but after flipping through, I had to be realistic about how many of their recipes I would actually make in my everyday life. Just not that many if I’m being honest.
I finally settled on two. One a celebrity chef and the other from good ole’ Betty Crocker. One thing I am drawn to when it comes to cookbooks is recipes that are written for just 2 or 3 servings. Well I found a whole book for 2: Just the Two of Us. I briefly flipped through and identified several recipes I knew I’d make and enjoy.
Funny thing is, when I got home and actually read the introduction (which I occassionally do), I had to laugh. Let’s take a look at Page 6: “Tea for Two: Let this be the time to reconnect with your spouse…” The premise of the cookbook is empty-nesters, not newlyweds. Being a newlywed, I guess I just assumed… ha. Um, well I guess there must be a different cookbook for newlyweds called “Just the Two of Us Before Kids” Or something like that…
Anyway, it has fabulous recipes! Like this EASY beef stew. This was so simple and quick. Although the original recipe says it needs to cook for 2 hours, I was able to use a wedding gift to cook it in 1 hour 15 minutes! It’s the Deep Covered Baker which can cook a whole chicken in the microwave in 25 minutes (if your microwave is big enough to hold the dish — I am hoping the new house microwave will be!)
Even if you don’t have this awesome Baker, it’s still a quick stew with good flavors. I forgot to buy an onion and just threw in some onion powder. Not the same, but close enough. I also added garlic powder just for fun. My only real suggestion: crush up the stewed tomatoes so that you don’t have near whole tomatoes in the stew. Otherwise, this is a winner. And not having to half this recipe makes it even better!
Savory Beef Stew
- 1/2 lb. beef stew meat
- 10-12 ready to eat baby-cut carrots
- 4 small red potatoes (1/2 lb.), cut in half [I quarted them]
- 1 can (14.5 oz) stewed tomatoes, undrained
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 3/4 c. water
- 2 tsp. flour
- [garlic powder if you like]
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- In 1 & 1/2 quart casserole, mix beef, carrots, potatoes, onion, tomatoes, pepper and bay leaf [and garlic powder].
- In small bowl, mix water and flour.
- Stir into beef mixture.
- Cover and bake about 2 hours, stirring once.
- Cook until vegetables are tender.
- Remove bay leaf and serve.