Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beef Stew Biscuit Bake

I can be ridiculous, and sometimes be a slave to myself, my schedule, and my meal plan.  This recipe is just one example of that.  When I am working through a cookbook, I like to make everything in there that I'm going to make, not save certain things for different seasons, because I either want to put the cookbook back in my cupboard (for the really good ones that I want to keep and potentially pass to Emma someday) or put it in the Goodwill bag (for the ones that had a few good recipes but not enough to keep the whole book).  I write little notes in the margins (like my mom does) so years later Emma will have little notes from me about the recipes.  At any given time I have 1 or 2 cookbooks that I'm going through, as well as the latest Simple & Delicious magazine.  I have over half of a shelf of cookbooks that I haven't started working through yet.  So I feel sometimes like the pressure is on to get through a book so I can start on the next one. 

Every two weeks I plan my meals.  If I have a meal planned for a certain day, there have to be huge circumstances to get me to change the order around, because I usually plan based on when I've bought the fresh meat and veggies (to be used soon after the shopping trip) vs. the canned veggies and frozen meat (to be used closer to the end of the two weeks).  Examples of when I would change a meal plan--1. Earthquake (which has never happened but I anticipate that would throw a wrench in the gears).  2. Unexpected friends coming over, requiring a reworking, but the fellowship is worth it.  3. Husband wants to take me for a date, which I will do, but first have to agonize over the meal planning calendar to make sure I still use up my fresh ingredients.  Aren't you glad for this glimpse into my head?? 

At the end of last week, we had a heat wave.  It was something like 90 degrees with 95% humidity.  Unfortunately for me, I had planned Beef Stew Biscuit Bake during my meal planning several days prior, without consulting a weather forecast.  I do have a (somewhat flimsy) theory that when it's 100 degrees out, it doesn't matter if your oven is on or not, your kitchen will be hot.  But who wants to prepare and then eat beef stew on a hot day?  Apparently we do.  So on Saturday, after a hot afternoon at a park for a friend's birthday party, we came home and I made this.  The kids had two friends over, who looked askance at me when I said "beef stew" in reply to the kids' question "what's for dinner?"  But after I explained that I did not want to throw the meat away, or freeze it, I wanted to use it up, they appeared to understand.  This recipe is from $5 Dinner Mom.

Beef Stew Biscuit Bake
1 tbsp olive oil
3/4 lb beef stew meat (I used 1 1/2 lbs because I have found her recipes to be lacking in the meat dept)
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 small onion, diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped (I used a big handful of matchstick carrots)
1 can (15 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
Salt & pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Biscuit Topping:
2 cups flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large ovenproof pot or Dutch oven, warm the oil over medium-high heat, then brown the stew meat.  Stir in the garlic, onion, carrots, tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.  Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for 8-10 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and garlic powder.  Then whisk in the melted butter and milk.

When the batter is mixed, sprinkle the shredded cheese over the bubbling stew and then pour the biscuit batter over the top (mine kind of plopped out in the center and then was hard to spread...next time I will plop big spoonfuls over it so it will be spread out more).  Transfer the pot or Dutch oven to preheated oven and bake for 20-24 minutes, until the biscuit crust has baked through and begun to turn golden on top.

Using heavy duty oven mitts, carefully remove the pot from the oven and let cool slightly before serving.

Everyone liked this!  Even though it was beef stew on a hot summer day.  Our two visitors both remarked on how good it was and cleaned their plates.  My kids of course picked out their favorite parts, but overall they liked it.  Steve and I did, too.  Even though I doubled the meat, there was still plenty of "stew" to it (not too thick, I mean).  This one's a keeper, although next time I will not purposefully plan this during a heat wave.

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