Thursday, November 12, 2009
Beef and Lentil Slow Cooker Stew - Italian or Mexican Style - You Choose!
One of our favorite dinners is Beef and Lentil Slow Cooker Stew and you can make it either Italian style or Mexican style.
I originally got the recipe several years ago on the Weight Watchers website here. And the photo above is also from Weight Watchers.
I have adjusted the original recipe to suit our tastes and it has become a favorite. I also like that I can throw it in the crock pot in less than 5 minutes and it does not require pre-browning of the beef!
Recipe - Italian Style
1 small onion chopped (if you're in a rush you can omit)
2 cups frozen green beans or 1 can green beans (or in the summer I've used fresh too!)
1 pound beef cubes (I use what ever beef I get on sale and cube it myself)
1/2 tsp oregano or Italian seasoning, crushed
2 - 3 cans (14.5 oz each) diced tomatoes - undrained
1 cup dry lentils
2 - 3 heaping tablespoons of tomato paste
4 cups beef broth
4 carrots chopped
2 cups broccoli stems ** or bagged frozen broccoli
1-2 cups frozen or fresh corn
Whatever other veggie you like!
salt and pepper to taste
If your beef cubes are frozen - thaw them in the microwave first. Place all ingredients (except green beans and corn) in the crock pot. Cook on low 6 -7 hours. Add green beans and corn in for last hour or so to heat. (If you are using fresh green beans you might need a bit more time if you like them soft and not crisp)
To make this Mexican style substitute 1 or more of the cans of tomatoes with the salsa of your choice. If you use all salsa - which is how we like it - you can eliminate the onion as this is already in the salsa!
This is a VERY versatile recipe - you can't mess it up. Just add in what vegetables you like - the lentils make it so thick and yummy. In the summer I make this with fresh veggies from the garden or farm stand. I do not recommend adding potatoes because they tend to mush when cooked that long.
** When I make fresh broccoli, I chop and then steam the stems for a few minutes. Then I cool and put them in the freezer in bags with 2 cups each. My family does not like to eat the stems with steamed broccoli - but the make a nutritious filler in soup and cooking in the crock pot makes them soft instead of tough and woody like they usually are when steamed.