Imagine it’s almost dinner time and you haven’t been to the grocery store to pick up your usual staple of groceries. What do you do? The kids have to eat. As you anxiously look through the pantry and the fridge, an idea forms in your head. Why not make a stew with what you already have.
Most stews are great if you have any leftover carrots or potatoes to add a little bulk to the mixture. Add any other veggies that you like as well. To create a rich thick consistency, use gravy mix or add a little flour along with some seasoning. Combine all these ingredients in a large pot and set the flame or cooking level to low. The vegetables should cook slowly to allow the flavors to marinate.
This is an area where you can get extremely creative. Use any meat that you desire. This will add a richness to your stew and create more balance and flavor, now that both meats and vegetables are represented. You may even want to throw your meat of choice on the Grill grates outside, to give the stew a smoky grilled flavor. Season the meat accordingly.
Rice or Noodles?
Rice or noodles can be added to the medley to round it out. You now have a meal that represents all the major food groups. Meats, vegetables, and bread/carbs are now represented in this surprise stew. Stir your mixture and taste it after it has cooked for awhile. Does it need anything else, perhaps onions or a pepper or two? Add your own twist to this stew. When the stew is almost done, taste it again. Is the flavor rich enough? Are the vegetables cooked enough? Make any final tweaks to your masterpiece before ladling the stew into bowls for the kids.
Learning to use what we have in the kitchen is a great way to get rid of leftovers and still put together a freshly reinvented meal in a pinch. Imagination and creativity can be your best friends because stew allows you to be very creative. Using what you have increases your cooking skills and helps you to save money by cutting down on foods that would otherwise be thrown away due to spoilage or age. Take a shot, skip the grocery store for a day and see what kind of magic you can whip up.