This Christmas I got a bunch of great gifts, but I think my favorite was a Le Creuset casserole pan in bright cherry red. I just so happened to send Randy an email from Sur La Table with a great deal on the brand right before the holidays and lo and behold, look what made it’s way under the tree. It’s a beaut, Clark!
The pan is a smaller size, only 2 3/4 quarts, so I was worried it wouldn’t work. I thought these things were made only for a big hunk of pot roast or a full pan of chicken parts simmering away in wine. As always, my eyes were bigger than my stomach. This guy will be perfect for anything I’d make for a family of three. I think I’m in love.
Shortly after the holidays when I was introduced to Aloha’s healthy living magazine and was inspired to write about a a homey dish to share with family and friends. I knew I’d have to make something in my new pan. I choose to do another “Tooned Up” dish since we are in the season of resolutions. I think this one will surprise you. It’s a hearty, healthy beef stew that leaves no flavor unturned, but I’ve lightened it up in little ways that leaves you more full off of less calories. I created this one partially on what I remember from my mom’s beef stew recipe and this one from the Pioneer Woman. (Yes, Mandi, I am back on the Pioneer Woman bandwagon. I don’t want to like her, but some of her stuff is just that good!)
I added in a bunch of veggies and changed out the beef stock with chicken stock. I’m still working off of the delicious homemade stuff I made with our Thanksgiving turkey and roast chicken bones, so you might need some herbs and spices if you’re using the boxed stuff. Also, let’s talk about ketchup vs. tomato paste. I got a bottle of locally made ketchup recently because well, it was locally made and eh, it’s not good for normal ketchup purposes. It’s made in a more traditional way, so its very vinegar-y vs. sweet like the standards from Hunts. I’m trying to use it up in dishes like this one where it works great. Tomato paste would be just fine if you have the normal sweet ketchup at home.
The first time I made this dish, the meat soaked up most of the juice, so the sauce was thick. The second time, it was more stew-like. Both were great.
This second time, I made mashed potatoes to go alongside. I can’t lie. No calories were saved here. I had 2 oz of cream cheese, a handful of shredded cheddar, a 1/2 cup of heavy cream and one piece of bacon left over from demoing recipes for work. Seemed like a good place to us them, no? Man, was it delicious!