Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Something to Stew Over...

I hate winter produce. The grocery store never looks as genetically mutated as it does in January. This morning for brekkie I had a grapefruit the size of Mollys head....now just try tell me that's a natural occurrence. It's not.

Anyway, as I surf through tmy regular 'mommy sites', I can't help but notice all the chatter at 5pm each night. Moms all around town last night were looking for new ideas on how to cook their ground beef. And the suggestions that get thrown out there are just delightful: Tacos, Hamburger Helper (Barf!), Spaghetti (Yawn) and other *yummy foods that usually require a can of cheese soup or jar of Prego. It's disappointing to say the least. And yet when someone mentions that ground beef might not be the best ingredient to start a healthy meal, almost every single mom says "It's cheap."

So is Kraft Dinner. And my kids have it weekly (and sometimes Tacos, and Spaghetti too). But I can do that guilt-free knowing that most other nights (6 out of 7) I am putting in the effort to make sure they eat well. You can eat well for for cheap, you just have to put forth the effort. And I want to shake some of these women who are consistently cramming garbage into themselves & their children's bodies. I see it online everynight, at 5pm. And if you are just deciding what to have for dinner at 5pm then I am pretty sure the effort just isn't there (It sure isn't when it happens to me).

I start "supper" every day at 4pm. Almost every.single.day.

I start prep, so that if I get interrupted & have to stop to put a wheel back onto a firetruck (5 times!) then we will still eat at a reasonable time. It was something I started last year & it has worked so well for me (us).

I suggested to a lady online that she make stew the other day. She said she didn't have time and money for "fancy" foods like that. .... Ummm, pretty sure my dads farming family of 9 didn't grow up on stew because it was fancy. What is with people???

Here's the stew I made tonight. Something to think about while you are chopping your onions is how much effort you are putting into your family's meals.

Kraft Dinner for a family of four- $2.50 & 15 minutes time.
Stew for a family of six (with leftovers for lunches!) - About $11.00 & 20 minutes prep.

easy Greek Bean Stew

Stewing Beef Cubes (About $4.50. You only need one package because you are going to add so much more to this stew. You'll pay $7 at the farmers market for natural beef, you decide how important that is to you.)
Baby Potatoes - scrubbed, not peeled. (Often go on sale for $2 a bag)
1 Onion - Peeled and diced (3lb bag is $2. That's .25 cents for your onion.)
2 Garlic Cloves - Grated
1 Can of Diced tomatoes (We buy organic for $2.69 You can buy regular ones for half that.)
1 T, of Tomato Puree (Paste)
2 Bay leaves
2 T. parsley (Buy fresh for $0.49)
2 T. dill
1 t. sea salt (Winners & Homesense often have great deals on Sea Salt in cute packages)
1/2 t. of pepper (We use more)
1/2 t. paprika
1 T. Sugar
1 Rinsed can of Mixed Beans (About .70 cents. Seriously.) (We love beans so we usually add another can of chickpeas and a cup or two of dried lentils. So cheap.). Rinse your lentils before adding them.

The Beef and potatoes are optional. This stew is great without either.
If you own a spice rack you should have all of these spices. Bay leaves can be purchased at a farmers market for about $4/bag. They last forever. Take them out when you are done cooking - don't eat them - don't reuse them.

Directions: Boil potatoes until tender. Sear your beef (helps to seal in the flavour & shorten the cooking time). Throw everything into a crockpot & cook for at least 2 hours (can be up to 8, why not?) or throw it into a cast iron soup pot & cook stovetop on low for an hour or so. Serve with feta sprinkled on top, or not, you decide.


My Sunny Porch said...

Your blog is for keeps-- hope my daughters, college students & young friends find you soon! Cans of soup & stews are good to have on hand for 'real' emergencies, but too many of us are counting normal days of distraction as emergencies (self-judged). In a world where time IS money (& becoming more a luxury), food IS health & health (strength) buys-- no, EARN$ more quality time!

Nyssa said...

You make me feel guilty about my no-time meals these days. But I have an excuse right? I wish I could just go to your house every night. That would be nice :D

Tasha said...

Ok, now I am properly logged in (I hope!) I just said before that I found a blog of crockpot recipes and someone on pinterest commented "none of these look that easy" because none of them had a can of cream-of-whatever soup and all involved chopping some form of vegetables (prob less than 10min prep total).
And I lovvvveee when you can spread out your beef in a stew or whatehaveyou, not just for an economical point of view but also because we try to eat less meat in general (but stews are so delicious and you get that wonderful beefy flavor through the whole thing. I tried a Balsamic Beef Stew last week that I am sure you would love also!)
You should start a "recipe" label for your posts so we can all track down all the recipes you've got! :)

kaly said...

That's crazy that someone dissed you on your stew comment. The days that I'm not 100% prepared, I usually think of stew or soup first. They are the easiest! Chop some veggies and throw it on the stove or crockpot! How hard is that!!!!? Check out this website: http://budgetbytes.blogspot.com/

I just re-found it awhile ago. Cheap dinners, but not cheap on nutrition.