With the holidays quickly approaching and a new baby in the house, I am finding it more and more difficult to get dinner on the table every night. Some evenings are so rough that it seems to take me over an hour (or two!) to get a simple meal on the table for everyone. Then the minute we sit down to eat, Luke gets hungry, tired or bored. Have you ever tried to eat one handed while holding a baby? Allan and I tend to eat a cold meal every single night. Sound familiar?
For some reason I don’t quite remember things being this complicated with Matthew. But I’m sure that they were… I’ve just conveniently forgotten the chaos. I strive to fit in my workout during Luke’s morning nap and while Matthew either workout with me or watched Sesame Street. That way I have the afternoon nap open to prep and/or make dinner.
So, I am defaulting to meals that require long cook times, hours of simmering or slowly braised meats. I have been scouring Pinterest boards and some of my favorite blogs for these kinds of recipes and then saving them in categorized boards on Pinterest. When I do my weekly or biweekly meal planning I sit down with my iPad and pin the meals I plan to make to my Meal Plan board. That way I don’t have to spend time searching for a recipe again or remembering which board it is saved to.
The following recipe for Beef and Broccoli is an example of a recipe I spotted on Pinterest. I simply cleaned up the original recipe and added a few extra veggies to amp up the nutrition. What I was left with was an amazing, gourmet meal that was very easy to prep, had little clean up (I stick my crockpot in the dishwasher!) and was plated by 6:15 PM.
We served our meal over perfectly cooked quinoa (done in 12 minutes!), but it would be delightful on top of brown rice.
Crockpot Beef and Broccoli adapted from Table for Two, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free
1 lb grass-fed stew meat
1 cup organic vegetable stock
1/3 cup liquid aminos or tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/8-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or natural sriracha sauce, optional
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp arrowroot starch
1 onion, cut in half and then into thin half moons
1 carrot, shredded using a julienne peeler or box grater
16 ounces frozen broccoli florets
Lightly mist the insert of a 6 quart slow cooker with olive oil. Whisk the veggie stock, aminos or tamari, maple syrup, sesame oil, garlic cloves and red pepper flakes, if using, in the slow cooker insert. Add the stew meat and stir to coat the meat. Layer the onion and carrot on top of the stew meat.
Set the crockpot to cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours.
After cooking time is up, dissolve the arrowroot into 4 tsbp of water and add to slow cooker. Stir to distribute the arrowroot into the cooking liquid. It’s ok if the onions and carrots are also mixed into the sauce.
Place the frozen broccoli on top of the sauce and meat. Replace the lid of the slow cooker and set to high for 30 minutes to steam the broccoli.
The sauce should be thickened, the broccoli warmed and the meat cooked.
Serve over brown rice, quinoa or millet. Taste test the sauce and add additional sriracha, if desired.