Sunday, October 25, 2009

Beef Stew - Quick & Healthy

One of my favorite Beef Stew Recipe's is from Pillsbury's "Fast and Healthy Cookbook (pg. 93)."  It's easy to make especially for those of you who have limited time, but still want to enjoy a healthy meal. 

I enjoy the Pillsbury recipe, but I also tried using a soup packet because I thought it would be "quick and easy" too.  After following the directions on the soup packet, I enjoy the Pillsbury recipe much more now.

Pillsbury Beef Stew

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

3/4 lb. boneless beef top sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch cubes.
1 small onion, chopped.
3 cups frozen southern-style hash-brown potatoes (from 32-oz. pkg)
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 (4.5-0z) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 envelope dry beef-mushroom soup mix
1/4 teaspon dried thyme leaves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 1/2 cups water

1.  Heat nonstick Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium-high heat until hot.  Add beef and onion; cook 5 minutes or until beef is browned.

2.  Stir in potatoes, carrots, celery and mushrooms;  cook and stir 2 minutes.  Add soup mix, thyme, pepper and water; mix well.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer 15 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  If desired, serve sprinkled with chopped fresh parsley.

Soup Packet Beef Stew

Besides the Pillsbury recipe, you can always pick up a soup mix too!  It's just as easy, although I feel the Pillsbury recipe is much more fast and tasty, even if there are only subtle differences.

For the soup mix, it's quite simple.  All the instructions are on the back of the mix, so you don't have to dig out a recipe book from your shelf.  All you need to do are the following:

Cover beef (approximately 2 lbs beef stew meat) with flour and brown all sides.

Measure the correct amount of water.  Pour water and soup mix into the pot with browned meat.  It took nearly an hour to cook the meat in order for it to be tender!  In fact, I should have cooked it longer, but I became slighly impatient.  (A slow cooker might be a great option for very tender meat!)

Cut up approximately 5 cups of vegetables for the stew.  After the beef is tender, add the vegetables.  Simmer for another 45 minutes.  I'd recommend cutting the vegetables right before the beef is done, so they will be peak freshness.

After nearly 2 hours, your beef stew will be ready!

As you can see, the Pillsbury recipe is much more quick!  It takes only 30 minutes compared to 2 hours with the soup packet.  However, it is definitely personal preference when it comes to beef stew and everyone's taste buds are different. 

Of course, i'll continue my hunt for a great beef stew recipe, but for now, Pillsbury meets my standards of being quick and delicious.

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