I am terrible at planning meals. Awful. I think about meals ahead of time quite often, as I do enjoy cooking and the satisfaction of a job well done, when you take that first bite and everything has come together perfectly, is wonderful. Unfortunately the best way to achieve that result is to plan, to shop, to set time aside and prepare hours in advance; that’s not how I operate. The other day we had a surprise pot roast for dinner thanks to the in-laws generous donation, however it wasn’t cooked with vegetables and potatoes (this ended up being a good thing). Obviously a great portion of this went uneaten. The next night we had boiled sausage and cabbage, and since our girls don’t eat cabbage, they had green beans for a veggie. We never use all the cabbage, so I saved that, and the girls didn’t eat all the green beans (lightly seasoned with garlic salt). I now had an idea.
Today is another winter day off, as close to personal days or vacation days as I get in my line of work. As long as there aren’t too many of them and they don’t affect the bottom line too heavily, I try to take advantage of them. Clearly this was a wide open window of opportunity to execute the beef stew I contemplated the other day. Three of my ingredients were ready to go, I even saved all the juices and simple gravy from the roast. What to fill it out with? My wife and I have been trying to eat “clean”, or at least as clean as we can stand, so potatoes are a no-no. A-ha! Sweet potatoes! Carrots! Onion! Excellent!
I took a whole onion, chunked half of it and petaled the other, and browned it lightly in 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil. In went the leftover pot roast, and two cups of water. Then for the sweet potato, I took a monster one out of the bag (equivalent of two mediums probably), scrubbed it but didn’t peel, and made 1/2″ cubes. In went the chopped carrot. It was all brought to a slow boil, stirring occasionally, and left to simmer for about a half hour (I hate crunchy carrots in stew/soup). In went the green beans, which was maybe 1 1/2 c, and the cabbage, which had filled a chinese food soup container, the tall one for won ton, yes that’s an official measurement. Ground sea salt and pepper to taste, left to simmer a bit longer to warm the rest of the veggies.
Wow, I really impressed myself! I was never great at sports, and always played on crappy teams which may have been my fault, but I think this is what winning tastes like.