Best Stuff Ever!

So, this month I have decided to try a few new cooking ideas… homemade apple cider and the classic beef stew. Both are great for the fall and pretty easy to make and even easier to eat!

Let’s start with the classic beef stew:

I went to my computer, and literally Googled “classic beef stew”… there where a lot of finds but I decided to go with Ms. Betty Crooker. Let me tell you, that woman can cook! Here is the recipe with my own twist:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 lb boneless beef  pot-roast, cut into 1-inch cubed
1/4 cups flour and spice mixture
3 cups beef broth
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large unpeeled potato, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium stalk celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped (1/4 cup)
1 dried bay leaf
1/2 cup cold water
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1. In a zip lock bag combine 1/4 cup of flour and spices of your choice (I used McCormick Grill Mates Barbecue flavor)
2. Place the meat in the bag, close it securely, and shake. Make sure all meat cubes are coated.
3. In a 4-quart pot, heat oil over medium heat 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Add beef and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, and until brown on all sides.
5. Add beef broth and bay leaf; heat to a boil.
6. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 2 hours 30 minutes or until beef is almost tender.
7. Stir in remaining ingredients except cold water and flour.
8.Cover and cook for about 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaf.
9. In a container, whisk cold water and flour.
10. Gradually stir the water/flour mixture into the stew.
11. Heat to a boil on high heat, stirring constantly for 1 minute until thickened.

It was very simple to make and very easy to eat! To make it easier for myself, I asked the friendly Safeway butcher to help me find a good piece of beef. We eventually found, a beef pot roast that looked good and was at great price. The butcher even trimmed the fat and cubed the roast for me. I bought enough ingredients that I could make two pots of stew.

Now for the homemade apple cider:

2 quarts of apple juice (not from concentrate, no preservatives, no sugar added) Safeway has a few brands to choose from.
1 small orange cut in slices
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tablespoon all spice
1/4 cup splenda brown sugar

Put all ingredients in a 4qt pot and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling bring to a simmer on medium heat for 30 mins. Let cool a little and strain with a cheese cloth bag. Enjoy!

For adults, add 2 cups of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum when adding other ingredients. It’s not too strong but is an awesome flavor booster!

Fall is the best time for cooking… bring out your inner Betty Crooker!

– Girl in Pigtails

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