Hearty Beef and Butternut Squash Stew

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This one was surprisingly good. I wasn’t sure how this healthier alternative would fare since I usually make a heartier beef stew with celery, potatoes and carrots in a slow cooker so I can “set it and forget it”. But since I’ve been trying diligently for the past 2 weeks, to eat better, I decided to try one of the 21-Day Fix approved recipes. Very few ingredients – lean beef stew meat, onions, peppers, garlic, tomatoes and butternut squash. I did a couple of things differently, so I will be sure to highlight that in the directions.

Ingredients

1 tsp.            olive oil

1.5 lbs.         raw lean beef stew meat, boneless, cut into 2-inch cubes

1                   medium onion, chopped

1/2                green pepper, chopped

1/2                red pepper, chopped

4 cloves        garlic, minced

2                   medium tomatoes, chopped

1 cup            low-sodium organic beef broth

1                    bay leaf

1 tsp.            sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 tsp.            fresh cracked pepper

2 cups          cubed butternut squash

1/4 cup        chopped fresh flat leaf parsley (optional)

Directions

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.

2. (This is my little addition…) Clean and season beef with fresh cracked black pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika and Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute. I hardly ever “measure” my seasoning. I usually shake the bottle over the meat to lightly coat the top of the pile of meat, then massage it through the rest of the meat. I try not to add any salt until closer to the end of cooking. I like the other seasonings to settle into the meat and cook in before adding salt, so as not to “oversalt” the food. I’m not trying to encourage hypertension. LOL (Aintnobodygottimeforthat!)

3. Add beef to pot, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until beef is brown.

4. Add onion and bell peppers; cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is translucent.

5. Add garlic; cook, stirring frequently, for 1 minute.

6. Add tomatoes, broth, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, covered, for 40 minutes. (This is where you can pretty much set it and forget it. Set the kitchen timer and go do a HIIT workout.)

7. Add squash; cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 12 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and beef is fork-tender.

8. Remove bay leaf; serve topped with parsley.

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