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What's for Dinner? It's 'Stew'-pendous

If I didn't have an Insta-Pot cooker, which is also a slow cooker, I think our family would either have frozen pizzas or quesadillas even more regularly than they already do. So, tonight I dumped a pile of hearty vittles into the slow-cooker, hit the button for it to cook for eight and a half hours, and crossed my fingers. Actually, I used this recipe before, quite often, and especially since we woke up to snow on the mountains, it feels like a 'stew'-pendous day for a pot of hearty stew. I'm not a chef, by any means, a rustic cook at best, but I do a lot of home cooking for our crew. Here's how I quickly made this right before I dashed out the door this morning. I have a passel of hungry kids who come home from football practice ready for a good meal, so I always amp up the meat.

'Stew'-pendous Stew

3 lbs stew meat-beef, elk or deer

16 oz frozen mixed vegetables

1 large yellow onion-quartered

4 large potatoes-russet or yellow-peeled and cubed

2 packets of brown gravy

2 packets brown gravy

1 small can tomato paste

1 tsp cornstarch

4 cups water

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp celery seed

3 sprigs of basil-from my garden

2 bay leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

4 cups water


Dump everything in the slow-cooker, and it'll do it's thing. Ha...ha! I'm's a bit more directions. Add onion as the base layer, next the meat, veggies and potatoes.  Now...I used frozen meat as well. The water will cook out and still makes it soft, however, always, always use safe methods of meat preparation. This works for me, since nine times out of ten I forget to pull the meat out the night before to get it thawed. I then add the water, top with gravy mix, add garlic, celery seed, sprigs of basil, bay leaves, salt and pepper. I then let it cook all day. I typically leave at 7:15 am and am not home until at least 5pm, and if I set it to 8 1/2 hours or 9 this still lets it cook, then the Insta-Pot automatically turns it to a 'warm' setting.  I'd love to say I can check on it and stir it, but I can't...we're 30 minutes from town, but once I get home I stir everything together, taste to see if I need to add anything. I also reset my Insta-Pot to the pressure cooker controls, and if I feel like it needs a little more of something, I set the buttons on meat/stew for a quick 15-20 minutes before everyone gets home. The stew gets nice and hot, and gives me an opportunity to add anything in that may just send the dinner over the top...from good to great, or I'd like to think that :). Once it's complete, remove the sprigs/twigs of basil and the bay leaves. Let it cool and serve with biscuits or homemade bread. Enjoy!

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