The wind is blowing hard outside. There’s a dusting of snow on the ground. It’s icy cold.
It’s certainly a meat-and-potatoes for dinner kind of day.
Bring on my tried&true, go-to slow cooker recipe. It’s hearty. It’s savory. It’s cheap!
CrockPot Poor Man’s Stew.
CrockPot meals are great for several reasons. For one thing, I like knowing I have dinner essentially done – by 10 in the morning. It helps me to feel, and be, ahead. Yay!
Slow-cooking food creates a taste that is hard-to-beat. The flavors are enhanced naturally; everything is perfectly done and delightfully tender.
Having dinner ready in the CrockPot allows some flexibility in my evening schedule. I don’t have a hot meal on the table ready at 6:30, only to have my hard-working husband come home at 6:50. Dinner in the CrockPot will be ready, hot and fresh – when we are.
Appropriately named Poor Man’s Stew, this recipe is very economical to make. If you need a meal on the cheap, this is a great one! Plus, it consists of basic ingredients many of you probably already have in your frig and pantry. Potatoes, ground beef, carrots, tomato paste, water and a few basic seasonings.
I typically double the original recipe so that there is plenty left for seconds and for leftovers the next day. I. Love. Leftovers.
The 10 Ingredients:
The photo above shows doubled ingredients. Also, I do go a little heavier on the potatoes than I need to, because they are my daughter’s favorite part of this meal.
For the original (non-doubled) recipe you will need:
1. 1 lb. Ground beef
2. 3-4 Potatoes
(You can use any variety – white, red, golden, fingerling. I personally have used them all varieties in this recipe at some point, each kind has been just as delicious as the other.)
3. 1 Can (6oz) tomato paste
(I stock up on organic tomato paste cheap at Costco!)
4. 1 Cup sliced carrots.
(I usually use my home-canned garden carrots.)
5. 1 Clove of garlic
(I love using freeze-dried garlic. I can’t say enough good things about it!)
6. 1 teaspoon Salt
7. 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
8. 1 teaspoon Onion flakes/powder
9. 1 teaspoon Oregano
(The oregano is what really gives this meal it’s awesome flavor.)
10. 2 Cups water
***I usually add a dash of basil to it as well.
***If you want to double the recipe, basically you just double all of the ingredients. But, don’t double the water. Use 3 1/4 cups of water and 6 large potatoes when doubling this recipe.
***If you really wanted to save a little bit of time and effort, you could used canned potatoes and/or canned sliced carrots in leu of fresh.
1. Spray the inside of your CrockPot with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Brown the ground beef in a skillet, then drain off the grease. Put beef into the CrockPot.
3. Peel and cut the potatoes. Add them to the CrockPot.
4. Slice the carrots. Add into the CrockPot. (In case you were wondering, for this recipe, there really is no right or wrong way to slice or dice your fresh carrots. Just go for it.)
5. In a mixing bowl, combine the water, tomato paste, garlic, onion, salt, pepper and oregano. Stir well, preferably using a whisk. Then, pour over the beef, potatoes and carrots inside the CrockPot.
6. Stir everything together with a large spoon. (Don’t forget this stirring-it-all-together part, as I have before!) You could also stir it all together in a large mixing bowl prior to putting it all in your CrockPot as well, but I just generally just stir it up after all the ingredients have gone in to my CrockPot.
7. Place lid on and turn on the LOW setting; let it slow cook on low for about 7 hours. Note: The potatoes should be tender when it’s done.