Healing My Family With Beef Stew

When Gavin falls asleep in the middle of the afternoon I know he’s about to be hit with something big.  Last week in the middle of the weekend this very thing happened.  One minute he was watching a video and the next he was asleep on the floor by his bed.  It was one of those moments where I wanted to wake him up so he wouldn’t ruin his bedtime but also wanted to savor the couple hours of peace I was sure to have.  Brae and I ended up mildly sick for a couple days, but Gavin was out of school for a week with a 103-degree fever, aches, chills, runny nose and a cough.  We went through an entire bottle of Tylenol that week.

Being a single mom is so hard.  There is never a day off.  Especially when a little one is sick.  I was up every night at 3am wiping his forehead with a lukewarm towel, giving him another dose of Tylenol, plus I still had to do everything the next day by myself.  There is no backup, no help.  I made this stew as much for myself as for Gavin.  It’s so comforting and cozy.  We cuddled up in the corner of the couch with his favorite fleece blanket and an animated movie.  Its the perfect end to a long tiring day.

This stew takes just a few simple ingredients and about 10 minutes of chopping.  There is about 20 minutes of active cooking then the rest is just waiting while it bubbles away on the stove.  I buy the stew meat already chopped up so it cuts down on prep time.  You could get the meat cheaper if you wanted to chop it yourself.

Sometimes when I am the one that’s sick I will buy the carrots, celery, and onion already chopped up and I use baby potatoes.  Then I just have to throw it all in the pot.  No chopping needed.  Another shortcut I have fallen in love with is using prechopped garlic.  I used to throw out so much dried up garlic but no more.  Plus, since its already chopped and ready to go, I use it a lot more often.  It saves time and helps boost my immunity.

What do you like to make when you are sick?  Do you have any go to recipes to help you feel better?  Please share them with me in the comments!

Beef Stew

Serves 5

  • 1 – 1.5 pounds stew meat
  • 1/4 cup of gluten-free flour
  • 3 carrots peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 celery sticks, cleaned and chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic, chopped
  • 4-5 potatoes, each cut into 4-6 pieces
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • large pinch of dried thyme
  • large pinch of dried oregano
  • 1 quart of beef stock (check to make sure it’s gluten-free!)
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
  1. Heat a heavy large pot over medium-high heat.  Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and heat until almost hot.  Add the onion and celery.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until translucent.  Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  2. While the veggies are cooking place the stew meat into a zip top bag with the garlic and some salt & pepper.  Coat the meat then add the 1/4 cup flour.  Close the bag and shake until the meat is coated thoroughly.  Set aside.
  3. Add carrots and cook for a couple minutes.  Remove all the veggies and put them into a separate bowl.  Set aside.
  4. Add another tablespoon on olive oil to the pot.  Add the meat and flour mixture and allow it to brown.  Don’t stir until the bottom of the meat has browned.  Flip the meat over and brown the other side.
  5. After the outsides of the meat is browned, remove the meat to the bowl with the veggies.
  6. Add a cup of beef broth to the pot and scrape the bits off the bottom until everything is scraped free.  Do not use a metal utensil for this.  Use wood, plastic or silicone spoons so you don’t scratch your pot.
  7. When all the tasty bits are scraped from the bottom add the meat, veggies, potatoes, herbs and 1.5 – 2 quarts of beef broth.  Season with salt and pepper, stir well and cover.
  8. Turn the heat down to medium and allow it to simmer for 30-45 minutes.
  9. Check the potatoes to ensure they are done cooking.  Remove the bay leaf and serve with gluten-free bread and butter.