I hit the grocery budget jackpot a few months ago in the meat section of the supermarket. Organic beef stew cubes were on manager's special — marked half price because their sell-by date was that day. I came home with several packages and immediately put them in the freezer.
I made beef stew twice before wondering, "What else can be done with stew meat that isn't stew?" I went searching for new ideas and found several that appealed to me. I even rediscovered a recipe I'd created years ago that I had forgotten about.
Slow Cooker Beef Tips and Gravy: This was so good, my son asked me to make it again a few nights later. It was the right comfort food during the bombogenesis that hit just after the New Year. The beef is browned on the stovetop and added to the slow cooker along with garlic, onions and a gravy made from simple ingredients. It's delicious ladled on top of creamy mashed potatoes in a bowl.
Beef Pot Pie: Like any other pot pie, the meat is cooked first before it's put between pie crusts with cooked carrots and potatoes, plus a thickened gravy made from beef broth. And now my wheels were turning. If I doubled the Slow Cooker Beef Tips and Gravy recipe from above, I could use half of it as the beef and gravy for this pie and just follow the rest of the directions.
Slow Cooker Shredded Beef for tacos: Seven years ago I also had an abundance of beef cubes in my freezer and came up with this recipe to brown them on the stove top and then cook them with beef broth, a little tomato paste, and some seasonings. One thing I'd do differently now, after removing the meat from the pan, I'd add a little of the beef broth to the pan to deglaze it, scraping up all the bits of flavor from the bottom. Then I'd pour that broth from the pan into the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients.
French Onion Beef Stroganoff: Oh wow. This looks amazing. Nearly caramelized onions and mushrooms that have been cooked with garlic are added to classic stroganoff that's cooked in a skillet. Then cheese is melted all over the top.
Beef with Barley Soup: A classic, comforting soup with lots of flavor, this recipe is exactly what you'd expect — fresh vegetables, beef, barley, beef stock and seasoning. Crusty, fresh bread on the side seems like the perfect accompaniment to dip in the soup.