Saturday, May 21, 2011

Skillet stew

Yesterday I had fully intended to make a big pot of beef stew (that was supposed to happen earlier in the week but we barbequed instead)  with another loaf of my homemade bread (see recipe and how to here), but I got it in my head to spend the weekend working on my kitchen. When we moved in, the kitchen was COVERED literally from top to bottom in this brown paper. Brown. In a narrow kitchen. At first, I planned to remove it and paint before moving in, but it proved to be a HUGE undertaking, and managed to only paint the small bare wall and removed some of the paper from a section of the CEILING. Yes, the ceiling. They PAPERED THE CEILING. This is what the paper looks like around the door leading outside to the back yard:
Please ignore the ugly door....its truly hideous, lol. But imagine that paper, EVERYWHERE.

Anyway, I did manage to do some cupboards and inside them (oh yeah, forgot to mention its inside the cabinets too!)  last summer, but it was just a small space and soooo time consuming. I gave up after that and moved on to funner things.

Well, yesterday I decided that since my husband is leaving for almost 2 weeks, I would again tackle the paper. I somehow manged to work right through dinner time, and at 7:15 my girls were saying, "mom, when is dinner? Were starving?!" At which point I looked at the time and about had a heart attack, because not only did I not have dinner done, I forgot to defrost the meat!! I was not only running on 2 1/2 hours of sleep and a small nap, but I had a doctors appointment in the morning and forgot to even lay out the meat.

Pregnancy does odd things to the brain....

So, what did I do? I made the stew. In a skillet. And defrosted the meat in the microwave. Ive made the skillet stew before, always planned, so its not like it was a new meal, but then I thought how quick and easy it is and decided to share it in lieu of my typical stew recipe. I did not make a fresh loaf of bread and used sandwich bread in place of it, still yummy!
I take awful pics, but our camera is also just a point and shoot, so my pictures will never be super pretty. At least until I get a nifty camera. But Im having a baby, thats better. Right?!

Skillet stew:

1 lb stew meat, or shredded beef, cut into small chunks
2-3 potatoes, red or russet
1 cup frozen green beans
1 cup carrots- (I used halved baby carrots last night, but usually julienne regular carrots when I make this. Same result either way)
1 tbsp minced garlic
salt and pepper
2 cups beef broth (or water and bullion)
flour or cornstarch
2 tbsp oil

In a large skillet, heat oil. Add meat and garlic, season with salt and pepper. Brown on all sides. Add carrots.
Cube potatoes.

Cut in half, then in half again lengthwise, then across the width to get the cubes.

Next simply add the potatoes and green beans to the meat.
Sautee for a bit.
 Add beef broth and cover, cooking until carrots are tender and potatoes soft. Make a paste with the flour and 1/2 cup of water, add to the skillet and stir together. Once the stew has thickened, remove from heat and serve.

And voila!! You have a skillet stew.
Again the awful pic!!! But I promise you, its delish!!
If you want to make a regular beef stew, omit the green beans (or not, totally up to you!) add half a cubed  onion, 4 cups beef broth and some rosemary sprigs. Brown your meat then place in the crock pot (with veggies) or a big stock pot. Cook until the meat is soft and easily breaks apart. If youre using a stock pot, I advise using shredded beef and having extra broth in case it cooks down too much, otherwise the meat may not be very tender and too chewy. Make a gravy the same way you would with the skillet stew. Remove rosemary sprigs and serve.

And some pics of the work in progress kitchen:
This is my above the sink cupboards. We havent started this section yet, but you can see the spot n the left where we started. And the ceiling, that was where I removed paper when we first got the house. Can you imagine?!

This is the bank of windows/wall were working on now. Didnt get a before pic, sorry! But you get the gist of the extent of the papering!! Gah!
That wall on the left there, is my pantry. Its in there too!!! This window was papered shut. I had no idea there was an opening window there!! Craziness.
Look at that molding. Why would anyone want to COVER IT?! And the ceiling above
More ceiling
Molding and 2 of the 4 windows there, in the middle.
Almost done. The wall on the left is the only wall that wasnt covered. Its also the only wall without cabinets, hence the shelves above the stove.
Stay tuned for the finished kitchen!

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