Preparing for Chili & Stew

This little roll of stuff can be your best friend!

Who doesn’t love a great bowl of chili or stew? Whether you are a carnivore, carnivale (chicken & turkey people), or vegetarian a good hot cowl of something lovely is great when it’s really cold outside. BTW, I was just kidding about the carnivale – I’m happy to be back and am in a joking mood.

Around here, it doesn’t generally snow very much. Last year it didn’t snow at all – but when it does, you can can’t on two things: Most of the schools will close and there will be a run at every grocery store in town where you will see people with 10 loaves of bread and 6 gallons of milk fending off others, who weren’t as quick as them, as they stand in line to pay with their bag of gold. Funny thing is, it’s never snowed us in more than a week here and I have never heard of anyone starving to death during said time.

One such time I got off work late and ran to the store only to find the shelves totally bare and the people at my house were whining for some stew. I had no stew meat and there was none in the refrigerated case or in the back. But, the guy led me over to the “Reduced” section of the case telling me this was physically sound meat, just not perfect to the eye – which is what is expected in the competitive world of groceries these days. Laying there right in the case, marked down to 1/2 price was some Chuck Eye steak begging me to trim, cut into chunks and put together for stew.

And………….so I did.

I thought the people in my house were actually going to lick the bottom of the pot! I must admit, it DID taste so much better! When it came time to chili, I decided to use Rib Eye and T-Bone, both from the reduced meat case section. Ummmmm….what a huge – and more lean – meal THAT was and I’ve never made it any different since! I will share the recipe with you next month but right now I want to show you how you too can prepare for chili/stew season too. Here we go:

First you pull out the Rib Eye and put it on a clean cutting board:

Then I trimmed off that hard connective tissue:

Now see? Here is the same Rib Eye all trimmed:

Then you cut off a big piece of that freezer paper and put about 1 and 1/2 pounds of chopped meat in it, wrapping up like this:

Stew meat is cut in bigger chunks and for both, I go to the Farmer’s Market during this time and buy fall tomatoes or end of season summer ones, bring them home, cut out any bad places – and then as soon as the tomatoes soften, with just enough water in the bottom to keep from burning, pul them out. then you will bag them up in freezer bags and freezer to pull out for chili and stew later. Here’s a picture of some grape tomatoes I got at a great price this weekend:

So – as you can see, I am ready for chili/stew this year! Now, I’m off to drive mom about 2 hours back to our hometown so she can see her physician (she refuses to change). Rocket is going on his first long drive with us and we will meet his other great-grandparents, whom I still consider my in-laws even though their son and I have been divorced almost 30 years. We can visit and they can see how much Rocket has grown in his 5 months on earth. It’s alway fun to see them and eating at the Mexican place we all love is always interesting as they are both vegetarian. See y’all later today.

I am soooooooooo glad to be back and want to thank all my guest posters!

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  1. says

    I love stewwy kind of foods, especially chilli. Of course mine is meatless, but I still really enjoy it. I love the idea of prepare way ahead of time. The keeps the trips to the fast food restaurants do to a bare minimum. :)

  2. pamasaurus says

    I’m so ready for fall and stews and all that good stuff. This is my favorite time of year!

    I’ve never thought about doing this for meats. We usually don’t use a lot of beef, because it’s so expensive here… but we do stock up when it’s on sale/reduced. I’ll have to keep this in mind when we do find some deals 😀

  3. says

    Freezer paper is white and it has a light plastic coating on the inside. Freezer tape, which looks like what we call masking tape (not sure what y’all call it) is used with it. Freezer paper is what a butcher uses to wrap his meats/fish in when you buy them at the shop. Lots of people use this paper for craft projects and a chain restaraunt in the U.S. uses it as table cloths – the wait-staff will come to your table and write their name in crayon on it so you don’t forget their name. Then, while you wait for your food – you color pictures on your table. Kids love the stuff. The BEST thing about freezer paper is that it keeps food fresher longer than any other thing. I’m from a ranch/farm and when we would have a beef or hog butchered that’s what all our cuts came back in. No worry of freezer burn!

  4. says

    Oh my goodness – are you in Indiana? Because that totally sounds familiar! We usually get a decent amount of snow, but last year it barely got cold enough to break out the winter coat! But when it does, the same thing happens and I always wonder if those people would ever buy 10 loaves of bread if it weren’t snowing… Great idea on the freezer paper. I usually just use freezer bags but I can see why this extra protection is worth it!

    • says

      Haha! No, I’m not in Indiana – Oklahoma – BUT, that’s exactly how it was here last year as well – and now bugs are everywhere! The freezer paper is really worth it, money-wise. Thanks for stopping by!

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