For it being the first day of December, it’s been ridiculously warm here in South Dakota. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I know there’s a drought and all, but as one customer pointed out earlier this week, we can have a wet spring–The mild winter is really nice! Even still, the fact that it’s December makes me crave comfort food like crazy. The meal plan I got last night’s Cheesy Rigatoni Bake from also had a recipe for Crockpot Beef Stew, which I thought I’d try out.
Of course, I made some minor changes to suit my tastes…The original recipe calls for fresh mushrooms, and since Jay doesn’t really care for them and I refuse to eat them, I left them out. I also added more beef, but that was more because the stew meat I picked up came in 1 1/2 pound packages. And I know Jay and the bambino won’t complain about extra meat. I also got a chance to use these:
I have a lot of issues with canned diced or peeled tomatoes for the most part. I hate tomato peels with a passion (it’s one reason I won’t eat them raw if I can help it), and if I make sauce with canned whole, peeled tomatoes, I will stand over it and meticulously pick out any extraneous peels I see pop up. I don’t even remember how I stumbled upon the Jovial Foods website, but I was intrigued by their story and figured I’d just save up until I could place a bulk order. Imagine my surprise at discovering their products at my local Hy-Vee (before I’d even had the chance to request them, no less!)! So, of course, I had to buy some tomatoes (and some Einkorn pasta), in the hopes Hy-Vee won’t stop carrying them any time soon.
But back to the stew…
It’s hearty, it’s comforting, and if we had S-n-o-w coming or it was colder out, this would be perfect. Better yet, because it’s a crockpot meal, you can set it and walk away for 8 hours. Which is exactly what I did this morning. Jay had some guys over for game-playing this afternoon, so I didn’t even have anything I had to worry about prepping while my dining room was overtaken by geeks!
I’m really tempted to go back to the store and get more beef as well as tomatoes, and make up a batch of Barley-Beef Soup as well…Which is what this meal almost ended up being. But this, along with some deliciously crusty Italian bread from Buttercrust Bakery, made a perfect meal to kick of the month of December. And Jay proclaimed it the best beef stew I’ve made, if that tells you anything!