Whatever You Have Beef Stew

This week has been a blur. Devin started school on the 20th. Classes at VCU started for me last week on the 23rd so this was my first full week of classes. We’re both getting used to getting up early. He took a 3+ hour nap when he got home from school one day! It’s Labor Day weekend though, so with no school on Monday for both of us I can write on my blog, clean the house, do some homework and enjoy our last weekend at the pool for the summer!

The stew I made today is inspired by the rainy day and the bits and pieces of veggies from my cooking this past week that were left in my fridge. In the crisper drawer I had a quarter of a package of baby carrots, a bag of celery with only 2 stalks left, a yellow pepper and half of a large onion. My mom’s fresh canned tomatoes had been opened a few days ago for use in another recipe and I knew the rest of them needed to be used up soon. In the pantry I had a few tiny red potatoes. Making this stew was meant to be!

We served it with cornbread muffins:

Travis took some leftovers to his 95 year-old grandfather and he called me the next day to tell me how much he enjoyed it. He said that, “he wasn’t sure it was beef stew but whatever is was it was really, really good”! How great is that?? Thanks Grandpa!

Whatever You Have Beef Stew

  • 1 pound ground beef (93% lean)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • handful baby carrots, sliced
  • 1/2 of a large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced into strips and diced small
  • 3 zucchini,Ā quartered and sliced
  • 1 – 16 ounce bag frozen, chopped spinach
  • 12 tiny red potatoes, sliced
  • Ā 1/2 quart fresh canned tomatoes (a 28 ounce can would work great)
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

  • In a medium skillet cook ground beef and the minced garlic along with a little salt and pepper until the ground beef is cooked through.
  • Meanwhile chop veggies and add them along with the rest of the ingredients (including the cooked ground beef) to the crockpot.
  • Cook 3-4 hours on high.
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White Chicken Chili

When I asked Devin what he would like for his last-day-of-the-9th-grade-eve dinner he thought White Chicken Chili would be good. He also informed me that it better taste like his Aunt Zan’s. He went to visit her in Washington, DC for a few days last summer right before school started and she made this for him… he has been talking about it ever since. This recipe is very similar to the one she makes but the recipe she shared with me called for a can of cream of chicken soup and an envelope of prepared taco seasoning. Zandria has cut out gluten and a lot of sugars and processed foods from her diet since last making the version she sent me so I’m sure she would like to know about this latest, greatest recipe I found.

I cooked everything in my dutch oven.

Devin announced that the chili was very, very good and gave it a thumbs up.

White Chicken Chili

Adapted from Fearless Homemaker

Ingredients

  • 2 cans cannellini beans, drained
  • 1 can hominy, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (I doubled the broth that her recipe called for because I like a soupier chili)
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste (her recipe called for white pepper but I didn’t have any)
  • 2 – 4 ounce cans of chopped, mild green chilies
  • 1 1/2 cups Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • sour cream, for serving

Method

  • Start by dicing up the raw chicken breasts into the size chunks that you prefer. Heat a dutch oven to a medium heat and add the oil. When heated, add the chicken breasts chunks and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirringĀ occasionally until done. Remove chicken and place in a medium bowl.
  • Add onions and garlic. Cook for about 8 minutes until soft. Add the butter and when it is melted sprinkle the flour over everything and stir constantly for 3-4 minutes. Slowly add in the chicken stock, then the half and half. Turn heat down to medium-low. Bring mixture to a simmer (watch the heat and stir frequently so that the pan doesn’t scorch). Add chicken, beans, chilies and spices. Cook for about 30 minutes with the lid on stirring occasionally. Right before serving stir in the shredded cheese. Serve with a dallop of sour cream if desired. Devin ate his with some crushed tortilla chips.