Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adventures in Cooking: Amelia's Really Awesome (and cheap!) Stew

So, I am a college student (DUH!) and there's nothing like a home cooked meal. My mother taught me from a young age how to cook food, and how to cook well. (And there were other influences, like Aunt Linney, who taught me many things in the kitchen!) So, living away from home, you'd expect as a normal college kid, for me to eat convenience foods.

Yes, I do at times. But they just don't make me feel as good (it has been shown that convenience foods make can actually make you feel sluggish because of the amount of complex carbohydrates that your body has to digest afterwards). And we all know just how wonderful a home-cooked meal really is.

So I cook a lot of things from scratch and make up some recipes along the way. I find it fun to put some music on and dice, slice and cook up things in the kitchen. Therapeutic actually. (A lot of times, I do it while drinking some green tea!) Though fresh ingredients are more expensive, I still find a way, with my part-time job and bills, to be able to buy them over the boxed meals. If you look in my freezer, there aren't any frozen pizzas, TV Dinners, or microwave snacks that are mine (I sometimes get pot pies because they are quick and easy, but that's about it).

Recently, my Aunt Jane gave me a crockpot cookbook that my grandmother had given my mother (there's a short inscription on the inside that says "Cathy, love Mother.") I was touched beyond belief. It's like passing it down to the next generation. And I recently refound (I know, not a word, deal with it!) my love for crockpot cooking when I made a recipe for crockpot lasagna that I had found on Pinterest. So, I was looking through this cookbook and it gave me some ideas and got the juices flowing.

This is where I came up with Amelia's Really Awesome (and Cheap!) Stew

My roommate Mindu recently moved out, and left a lot of random food items in our cupboards that she no longer wishes to have (since she didn't want to move them all the way to Boston). So, as the only person in my room that actually cooks, I decided that my new goal is to figure out what to do with these random food items. So, this was my first rendezvous is making up a real recipe.


1 lb ground beef chuck
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 small can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 small onions (I used sweet), diced
6 small red potatoes (peeled or not, your preference), diced
1 normal size bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup water
Preferred seasonings


1. Brown the ground chuck in a skillet on the stove. During this time, dice the potatoes and onions.
2. Grease your crockpot and put a layer of potatoes (3 diced potatoes), then a layer of mixed vegetables (half of the bag), then a layer of onion (1 onion).
3. After the beef is fully cooked, layer that on top of the layer of onion.
4. Repeat the layers of potatoes, vegetables, and onions on top of the beef.
5. In a separate bowl, combine the water, cream of mushroom soup and water. Whisk until it has a consistent texture.
6. Pour over the layers, making sure that all areas are covered. The liquid will go down between the vegetables.
7. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
8. Stir well and serve!


  • I prepared the layers the day before and stored them in the crockpot lining in the refrigerator over night. When on got up, I made the liquid mixture, poured it over and turned it on before leaving for work.
  • I put seasonings (I used a mixture of Garlic & Herb and "Savory" seasoning...I think they are both McCormick that I have in the cupboard) on the potato layers to add some more flavor. You'll want to season it to your taste, as the cream of mushroom/tomato sauce is kinda bland in flavor.
  • This was prepared in a 4 quart crockpot, if yours is bigger, you may need to double the recipe.
  • I didn't have biscuits, but this would be wonderful served on top of biscuits!!

This is a relatively cheap and easy take on normal beef stew. Prep time was about 30 minutes and it's done by the time you come home. In the time you allow it to cool, you'll have time to throw some biscuits in the oven!

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