We've cooled down really quickly here in good old Indiana so, with fall rapidly approaching, I've had my slow cooker out often. This evening I made beef stew. I have this habit with vegetable soups and stews of just not following recipes. I tend to read a lot of them for ideas and then throw everything out and do what I want. Luckily, most of the time it turns out just fine.
My stew tonight was very simple. I love to cook but our schedules lately have been hindering the extent of how much time I have to cook. Case in point, I've just started eating dinner and it's 10:53pm. That being said, I like to call most of my cooking semi-homemade. I'm pretty sure there's a food network show that's based on the same concept. This is what went into my crock pot tonight: stew meat, a peeled and chopped sweet potato (honestly, because it's what I had and I've been trying to replace a lot of regular potato dishes with sweet potatoes), 2 cloves of minced garlic, about 3oz of tomato paste, salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley. I used 16 oz of pretty watery chicken broth, because I realized I had 1/2 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder after I started cooking and I was not about to head to the store. Normally, I would use beef broth, but I didn't have any and frankly, I usually just make do with whatever's in the cupboard. I let all of this cook on high for 6 hours. You could probably leave on low for around 10 hours if you have the time.
When I got home tonight I mixed a 1/4 cup of whole wheat flour with about 3/8 cup of water. Once it was mixed well I added it to the stew mixture to make it thicken up. I also added a bag of frozen mirepoix mixed veggies (celery, carrots, and onion) and about a cup of mixed veggies (corn, carrots, peas, and green beans), hence the semi-homemade aspect. I let that cook for about 30 minutes or so, until the veggies were cooked through and the stew was hot again.
The real homemade aspect came with the corn bread. While the stew was cooking, I mixed up some homemade cornbread. I wish I could remember where I found this recipe. It's probably the best cornbread I've ever made. Sweet enough that you don't have to load it with butter, but you'll want to because delicious.
3/4 c whole wheat flour (1c if all-purpose)
1 c corn meal
1/3 c white sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
3 1/2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1 c milk
1/3 c vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9x9 baking pan or muffin tin. Mix all the dry ingredients together. Add all the rest and mix until incorporated. Pour into pan and cook for 20-30 minutes depending on your oven. Mine are usually done at 20 minutes exactly and my oven runs hot.
You'll thank yourself for trying these out.