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Weight Watcher's Classic Beef Stew

I've had a fascination with crock pot (aka slow cooking) for as long as I can remember. The idea of prepping a meal in the morning and coming home to the wonderful smells of dinner ready is just too appealing to me (an admitted fridge raider when I first walk in the door), to not own one (and now two) crock pots. I have two problems with them though.

1. So many recipes end up being just mushy, bland or muted
2. I steer away from recipes that require browning in one pan, then transferring ingredients to another (why should I have to clean two pots?). Not to mention, you lose all that wonderful brown stuff on the bottom of the pan when you transfer it to another.

I'm still in search of the perfect crock pot recipes (I'm finding though, often it's the pot and not the recipe, as some pots cook notoriously faster than others and the cook must learn to adjust). But as far as the second issue, well I think I have found the solution.

You see a few short weeks ago (just before Christmas to be precise), my friends told me of this miraculous crock pot that has an insert and lets you brown on the stove, and then just transfer the insert to the heating mechanism for cooking.

So you can imagine my surprise (not) when this pot showed up under my father in-law's Christmas tree for me, Versaware Crock-Pot.

It allows you to take the stoneware out of the insert and brown on the stove (though no higher than a medium flame, and on electric stoves, you must use a heat diffuser, included). It also has a timer you can set for cooking, which automatically turns to warm once the cooking time is completed (so once I get times down for each recipe, hopefully, no more overcooked food too). Oh, and it can go in the dishwasher!

I'm gave it a test on Sunday, converting the recipe below from oven to crock-pot. Hopefully, it works because I'm a big fan of beef stew.

Weight Watchers Classic Beef Stew
Weight Watchers Classic Beef Stew


Weight Watchers Classic Beef Stew

12 oz lean sirloin beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/8 tsp table salt, to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/2 cup(s) canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup(s) fat-free beef broth
1 leaf/leaves bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
3 large carrot(s), sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
1 cup(s) frozen green peas, thawed
4 oz light beer
2 Tbsp parsley, minced

Preheat oven to 200ºF (100ºC). Season beef and dredge in 1 1/2 teaspoons of the flour seasoned with 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in oven-proof skillet and brown beef over high heat, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove meat from pan.

Reduce heat to medium. Add onions to pan and sauté until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden. Stir in remaining flour and cook until it just begins to color, about 1 minute.

Pour in beer, tomatoes and 1 cup beef broth; add bay leaf , thyme and carrots. Return beef to pot. Bring to a simmer, cover and place in oven. Cook until meat is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Check on stew occasionally. Add remaining 1/2 cup beef broth if liquid is running low.

Ten minutes before serving, add peas to stew. Cover and let stand. Season to taste and sprinkle in parsley, then serve in 1-cup servings. Each serving is 6 points. It makes four servings.

Read on to say the adjustments I made for the crock pot.

Weight Watchers Classic Beef Stew - My Crockpot Attempt

12 oz lean sirloin beef, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/8 tsp table salt, to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper, to taste
1 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion(s), chopped
1 medium garlic clove(s), minced
1/2 cup(s) canned crushed tomatoes
1 cup(s) fat-free beef broth
1 leaf/leaves bay leaf
1 tsp dried thyme
3 large carrot(s), sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds; mine were small, so I used 6 - probably could have done 8
1 cup(s) frozen green peas, thawed
4 oz light beer - I don't bother with light beer; we had pumpkin beer left so I used that.
2 Tbsp parsley, minced

Season beef with salt and pepper. Mix 1 1/2 teaspoons flour, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in large Ziploc bag. Add beef and shake until coated.. Heat oil in crock pot insert and brown beef over medium heat, 4 minutes. Remove meat from pan.

Add onions to pan and sauté until just softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until golden. Stir in remaining flour (1T) and cook until it just begins to color, about 1 minute.

Pour in beer, tomatoes and 1 cup beef broth, stir to loosen some of the browned bits; add bay leaf , thyme and carrots. Return beef to pot. Put insert into heating mechanism and turn to low. Cook for two hours (yeah, that's all it took - probably b/c of the sirloin and the small portion size). Check on stew occasionally. Add another 1/2 cup beef broth if liquid is running low.

Ten minutes before serving, add peas to stew. Cover and let stand. Season to taste and sprinkle in parsley, then serve in 1-cup servings. Each serving is 6 points.

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Next time, I think I'll double or triple this puppy in order to have some to freeze for future dinners.

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Other Thinks (2)

Lisa:

Sounds yummy, do you have the point info?

Kim [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Yep, as it says above under both variations, 6 points per 1 cup. :)

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