Pantry Stews for the Crock Pot

Ahhh! Winter chill means a pot of stew. Grab the meat, potatoes, carrots, celery, and onion and we’ll have an old favorite… again!

How about trying something new this year? Have you ever had Pantry Stew? No? Well, guys and gals, you are in for a treat.

Need a recipe? Oh, I forgot to tell you, there is no recipe. You just open some cans of food from your pantry and dump them in the crock pot until it is as full as you want it and wait for a new taste of delicious!

Seriously, it is that easy. However, I will grant you a few tips to help the process along. After all, we want to be a little selective about what we put in our Pantry Stew.

Most of us will want to begin with some kind of meat or chicken and the stock from cooking it. Veggie lovers will prefer using beans for their protein and perhaps use bouillon to enhance flavors. Other flavor-enhancers are garlic, cumin, marjoram, bay leaf, or chili powder.

To give your stew a good base, look in your cabinets and refrigerator. Try shredded cabbage, rice, couscous, or barley. Don’t overlook squash this time of year; small cubes will add texture, flavor and color to your stew. How about turnips, onions

Now for the pantry, what do you have there? Are there cans of veggies that your family just doesn’t eat too well as a side dish? Here is your opportunity to add some nutritious foods they will eat. Don’t forget some beans: garbanzo, black beans, lima and other.

If your family enjoys tomatoes, add a can or two of diced tomatoes. From the freezer add a box of finely chopped spinach or broccoli: trust me, it will taste good.

You know the flavors your family loves; focus on those foods. Do they like spicy foods? Garlic and onion? Pasta-rich soups? Lots of potatoes (toss in a bag of hash browns)? Try some new combinations as you use up odds and ends in your kitchen.

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