Beef Stew…pie?

I’ll admit it, I’m a superfan of Emmymade on Facebook. If you’re not familiar, click through and check out her page. She makes really fun food videos, and covers everything from recipes that went viral on TikTok and copycat versions of famous foods, but my favorites are those where she takes military-issued food rations and makes something insanely good out of them, like this one:

Video credit: Emmymade // At around 13:17, something caught my eye – she puts beef stew in a pie (puff pastry)!


My husband and I were watching this video the other night, and when she got to the part with the beef stew (13:17) the two of us looked at each other as if the light bulbs above our heads lit up at exactly the same time!

I had a plan already to make my regular beef stew, so I thought, hey, let’s mix it up a bit and try putting it inside puff pastry! SPOILER ALERT: IT WORKED AND IT WAS REALLLLLY GOOD!

You can use any beef stew you like (including canned, if you’re in a pinch), but if you need a great, simple beef stew recipe, try mine. The steps are below, in photos:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. I used Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets (one box includes two sheets). Defrost as package instructs, and place one sheet on a sheet pan lined with foil and lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Spoon your cooked stew over the sheet, leaving room at the edges for sealing.
Beat up 2 egg yolks and brush around the edges of the base layer. Drape second sheet of puff pastry dough over the top of the stew and press the edges to seal. Brush the top of the pastry with the egg and cut a small hole in the center to release steam. I sprinkled mine with a little bit of dried thyme, but it’s not necessary.
Bake for about 20-25 mins or until crust is puffed and golden brown.
Cut up and serve! I had extra stew, so I served it separately in a bowl and froze leftovers.
Crispy, flaky and buttery outside, savory and warm inside. A winner dinner – except for my daughter, who hates all things beef stew and protested this meal by having a TV dinner that’s off in the distance!


Takeaways:
1. Next time, I think I’d try to make individual pies, which would give a crispy crust on all four sides (because, who doesn’t love puff pastry?!)
2. You could make your stew ahead of time and keep in the fridge. It can be added to the pastry cold, since the cooking in the oven will warm it right up.
3. I’d chop my veggies and beef smaller, for more uniform bites in the filling.

Give this a try and let me know what you think in the comments!

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

This is literally a “set it and forget it” meal! What’s better than cooking an entire meal all at once and having it ready before you even get home??

The best part about beef stew in the slow cooker is that it’s very forgiving. You can add more or less of the meat and veggies, and even throw in some extras like mushrooms or celery. Follow my steps below for a great beef stew.

This little packet is my go-to secret when I make beef stew or pot roast. I use the same flavor pack for both because the pot roast version just has a great meaty, savory flavor that I haven’t been able to replicate with my own blend of herbs and broth, so don’t judge! 

Prep veggies and place into the pot. Add the meat and mix together. Then, pour seasoning mix over the top – that’s seriously it!

Easy Slow Cooker Beef Stew

Serves 4-6 (more if you serve a side like egg noodles or bread. To make less, just cut down on the quantity of ingredients, same cooking time).

Start to Finish: 8.5 hours

What you’ll need:

  • 2-3 lbs stew beef
  • 2 large russet potatoes (or 3-4 red potatoes), chopped into even chunks
  • 3-4 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • Crock Pot seasoning (or herbs/spices of choice)

How to:

  1. Clean and prep veggies, place in empty slow cooker.
  2. Add stew meat to the slow cooker.
  3. Pour water/herb/spice mixture over meat and veggies, stir well.
  4. Set slow cooker to 8 hours on low and give it a good stir when done. Enjoy!

Double Duty: 2 Days, 2 Quick and Easy Crock Pot Dinners

The summer is just beginning here in New jersey, and that means looking forward to a couple of months of cold salads, sandwiches and take out for dinner, right? WRONG! Instead of turning on the oven and heating up my kitchen, I whip out the trusty Crock Pot and let my dinner cook away while I’m at work.

This week, I made two deliciously simple meals, that only need a quick side dish to make them complete. Yesterday, it was pot roast with carrots, steamed green beans and a quick sweet potato hash (recipe for that below too).

Admittedly, I ran out of EVERYTHING I usually use in this recipe, but oddly enough, the meat came out just fine. It seems that it’s really difficult to ruin a pot roast!

ImageIngredients for Pot Roast (serves 4):

  • 2-3lb bottom round beef roast
  • 2/3 cup beef broth (or water)
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into thick chunks
  • Seasonings of your choice – I used a store-bought “steakhouse” seasoning blend, but salt, pepper and some garlic powder work just fine
  • 1 onion – normally, I would put onion in this, but I found mine rotted last night, so left it out. If you use an onion, cut that up into thick chunks

How to: Season meat on all sides with your blend of spices. Add broth (or water) to crock pot and then onions and carrots. Place meat on top of veggies and cover. Cook 10 hours on low. Meat will fall apart when done. Pull out veggies and serve on the side. To keep meat moist at the table, add about a TBS of flour to the pot and whisk juices to make a gravy. Pour over meat. Want something yummy (and lower-carb) than mashed potatoes to serve with this? Try my quick and easy sweet potato hash!

Sweet Potato Hash (serves 4):

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste (or, use the spice blend you used on your pot roast!)
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves

Heat oil in a large saute or fry pan and add potatoes. When they start to brown, add seasonings and spices and continue to cook until soft enough to pierce easily with a fork (about 10 mins). Once cooked, turn heat to low and add spinach leaves. Continue cooking until spinach is wilted and soft, drizzling additional oil if mixture becomes dry. Use tongs to mix thoroughly. Serve with pot roast, or eat alone – easy and delicious!

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In the pot today: chicken legs and BBQ Sauce. That’s it. When I get home, these things will fall off the bone. Pick up some coleslaw and cornbread on the way home and dinner is done. Enjoy!

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First Post: Eat it up!

Why not start with a quick and easy crock pot recipe? And when I say “crock pot” I mean slow cooker, of any brand, any size, any price. My weapon of choice is a 6qt Programmable Rival Crock Pot that I’ve had about 4 years (link goes to a newer version, but you get the idea). I use it a lot and have no complaints. Since I work a 9-5 job, and have a little one in school, you’ll notice that most of my recipes cook for 8-10 hours on the ‘low’ setting (my pot automatically switches to “keep warm” after the cooking time is complete- a great feature!). Any of these can be adapted to your schedule, just always be sure to check for doneness with anything you create. You’ll also notice that I’m not afraid to amp up pre-bottled or packaged goods, because, really, who has time to make EVERYTHING from scratch these days? Not me.

That being said, my first recipe is for these awesome BBQ Chicken Legs:
428005_10200290412520779_157009441_nYou will need:

  • 6-8 raw chicken legs with skin on
  • 1 bottle of your favorite bbq sauce
  • 1 Cup water + extra for the end
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp dry red pepper flakes (more if you like spice)

How to: in an empty crock pot, place all ingredients (except chicken) in, and stir with a whisk until all are incorporated. Give it a taste, add some salt and pepper if you feel the need. Rinse chicken in cool water and place into pot. Get your hands dirty and mix it all together, coating the chicken legs on all sides. Even them out in the pot and check your liquid. Add extra water until legs are about half way submerged. Cook for 8 hours on LOW setting or 6 hours on HIGH. These will fall off the bone when they’re done!

Suggested sides: baked beans, coleslaw, mashed potatoes, etc… anything goes with this.

Eat up!