This is the last post in the series to chronicle our weekday dinners.
It’s slow cooker day today. Slow cooker days are good. It means I’ve got dinner more or less settled early in the day. It means I had time to plan what I need, buy what I need, prepare it and pop it in the crockpot.
I only do two types of stews – chicken and beef. But apart from stews, I also use my slow cooker for steaming chicken, preparing Chinese soups, and cream of mushroom soup. I like stews because they are a one dish meal. Meat, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, mushroom, even long beans, all go in and make for a tasty meal. Easy to cook, easy to clean.
But my favourite part of using a slow cooker, is that I can prepare everything, and move on with my day without needing to think about dinner again until dinner time. On usual weeks, I would be busy with work in the afternoon. But I’ve been taking a bit of a breather this week since Jason’s off school. Which explains why I’m able to post more frequently!
It’s the last day of PSLE marking today. While Shannon was in school, Jason and I went to the library to borrow some Berenstain Bears books for her. She loves the series, and I love the values it teaches. The funny bits are a bonus. Shannon has memorised her favourite parts and says them to us randomly throughout the day. :) Oh and while Jason has graduated to other books, he can’t resist rereading them when he sees them. One of my favourite things to do during the school holidays, is to bring him to the library or the secondhand bookshop. We both pick out our books, then settle somewhere with a drink to read. And read. And read, until it’s time to pick Shannon from school!
So while dinner was stewing, this was what we were up to:
Then we picked Shannon and went out for a treat after lunch. At this point I think the carrots and potatoes were softening.
Our plans to go to the stadium nearby were dashed when the rain came today. But ideal evenings would look something like below. Stadium or park connector for a bit of a run, before going home for dinner. After my helper left 2.5 years ago, it took a while before I figured out a way to do both exercise AND cook dinner. Both happen around the same time. If dinner is done in a hurry, I can only get in a walk after dinner while their papa watches them. If time permits, dinner would be cooking in the oven or crock pot while we’re out exercising. Some days I’m too tired to do either…
This was yesterday, on the way to the stadium. Ok I need to improve on my wefie skills…
Timing her korkor
I love going home to the wafts of smells from the stew.
We had stew with rice today. Sometimes, for a change, we have pasta, or garlic bread instead of rice.
500g beef cubes for stewing (I used less)
1 large onion, 2 carrots, 2 potatoes, celery (I didn’t have today), mushrooms, 1 tomato, all cut into chunks
2 cups beef broth (small pack Heinz brand)
1-2 cups water (You can use all beef broth but I prefer it less salty)
100g tomato paste
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 bay leaves, pinch of dried rosemary and thyme
Red wine (I didn’t add and I don’t usually add because I don’t have it on hand at home)
Most recipes call for searing of the meat before placing in the slow cooker. I think apart from the fact that it’s supposed to taste better, it adds a brownish tinge to the stew which would otherwise look red from the tomato paste. I don’t do that because I would rather not have to wash another pan, or add oil to the dish.
Place all meat and vegetables into slow cooker
Add tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and broth
Top up with water or additional broth to cover all the ingredients
Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
Go enjoy your day and be back for dinner :)
Do share your recipes, or ways you cope with dinner. Drop me an email at email@example.com if you have easy recipes I can try or share with other mums. Am so looking forward to the weekend (where I don’t have to think about preparing dinners!).