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Simple Stew Without Processed Ingredients?

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I've wanted to make some kind of stew or soup or something of that nature, but it has to be the kind of thing where I can just put in all the ingredients at once without having to cook something else first. As in, if, say, I had to make a stock before I could make the stew (and I couldn't do premade; there's nothing premade that doesn't have something disagreeable in it), well, for whatever reason that has a negative psychological effect on me. :P It's not just stock; that's just an example. I REALLY hate having to cook to do more cooking, and it really causes a block of sorts. Maybe one day I can get over that, but today is not that day. On top of that, many ways I've seen to cut those kinds of steps make use of processed food that almost ALWAYS has something bad for me in it!!!!!! Ergh. I need to be able to cook only once (and prepare the stuff once), without processed anything. I hope that makes sense. Is that possible? If so, could I please have some pointers? Thanks!

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So what can you eat? Or what are your limitations? (Whichever is easier.)

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Right, should have stated that from the get-go. :P My bad. Well, I need to avoid dairy, soy, corn, yeast and probably nightshades. I think beef is the best meat for me, and my favorite veggie is green beans.

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I've wanted to make some kind of stew or soup or something of that nature, but it has to be the kind of thing where I can just put in all the ingredients at once without having to cook something else first. As in, if, say, I had to make a stock before I could make the stew (and I couldn't do premade; there's nothing premade that doesn't have something disagreeable in it), well, for whatever reason that has a negative psychological effect on me. :P It's not just stock; that's just an example. I REALLY hate having to cook to do more cooking, and it really causes a block of sorts. Maybe one day I can get over that, but today is not that day. On top of that, many ways I've seen to cut those kinds of steps make use of processed food that almost ALWAYS has something bad for me in it!!!!!! Ergh. I need to be able to cook only once (and prepare the stuff once), without processed anything. I hope that makes sense. Is that possible? If so, could I please have some pointers? Thanks!

Do you have a crock pot? That would be the easiest way to be able to throw a bunch of ingredients in and get a whole meal out without dealing with different steps.

You could also do a soup--put a whole chicken in a big pot, cover chicken with cold water. Add a peeled onion, a couple stalks of chopped celery, 2-3 cloves of garlic, some salt/pepper, and a couple peeled and chopped carrots. Let it come to a boil, then simmer for a couple of hours.

The last hour or so, you can add pasta or rice.

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The one (two) ingredients I find essential are gluten free chicken and beef stock cubes/powders for when you don't have actual stock. These can just be tossed in the cooking water to add flavor to anything you are making be it soups, stews, casseroles. Then all you need are the fresh ingredients, whatever strikes your fancy. If you want to thicken it you don't even need flour or cornstarch, you can just add potato and mash it up when it's cooked. Keep things simple and uncomplicated and you will feel less frustrated.

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I buy whatever veggies are on sale, cut em up and throw them in to the crock pot with a chunk of meat on top. Sprinkle with one of the Costco spice mixes, and cook until morning/ home from work.

You could also put some meat into the crock, cook on low for a few hours, then pile on frozen, pre-cut veggies and cook a bit more.

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Thanks for the replies! I'm about to give away my n00bishness here: So, I can just throw, say, beef and my favorite veggies in the crockpot with water and be set (oh, and season it, of course, right?)? If I did this without stock or anything of that nature that requires making/cooking beforehand, would/could it still yield a tasty product provided I seasoned it well?

This question has been answered for me while I was typing! Thanks! :P

Keep things simple and uncomplicated and you will feel less frustrated.

I'm trying to, it's just that

1. I'm a n00b at cooking (the most complicated thing I've ever done is fry a cut of some kind of meat in olive oil)

2. Every recipe I see either has something that makes it too complicated for me, or

3. If it doesn't, the recipe makes use of processed items or ingredients that cause me grief.

gluten free chicken and beef stock cubes/powders

What about yeast, soy, and dairy free (I'm assuming none of them use potato starch or what have you)? Admittedly I've only seen broths, and I had no luck there, but I didn't look properly into powders or cubes.

One more question: What are some of y'alls favorite seasonings? I'm partial to Italian seasoning and I always used it on my meat-fried-in-olive oil, but what does everyone else like? <--- Sheep (not really, I'm just askin' :P)

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Yes, you are most likely to find soy in the cubes and powders, but the soy free ones are out there. I don't think I have seen dairy or yeast in them, but then again I haven't looked :unsure: I only look for gluten, soy and potato. I can't remember the brand I use in the U.S., just the kind I use in NZ. But then again, gluten free liquid stocks are easier to find in the U.S. The meats are tastier and and stews look better if you brown the meat in a little hot oil before you put them in the crockpot and the onions do taste a bit better if you do that with them too, otherwise that's the only precooking you need to do. Then set the time and come home to a cooked meal. You can toss a can of tomatoes in for the liquid too instead of or in addition to some stock/water/seasoning for a change of taste.

I use a lot of Italian seasoning too ;) And down here we do eat a lot of sheep :lol: - lamb shanks are my favorite crockpot dish.

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No water in the crock. It makes plenty of juice from the veggies. Add water or stock if you want something more soup-like.

You can make your own stock by filling the crock with meat of choice, cover with water (just), add some celery, onions, a bay leaf, and cook on low for 12-14 hours. When done you can take everything out, toss the veggies, munch on the meat (or shred it and put it in the stock) and divvy your stock into freezer bags. I use the quart size bags, but you could do smaller, or use tupperware-like bowls.

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Thanks for the replies! If I did this without stock or anything of that nature that requires making/cooking beforehand, would/could it still yield a tasty product provided I seasoned it well?

90% of what I eat is this...

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90% of what I eat is this...

Yeah, I think once I get the hang of it, and am capable of always making stuff to my liking this will definitely something I rely on (metric?) tons. I (well, mom and dad, technically, but I'm notorious for "taking over" stuff of theirs shhhhhh) have 2 crockpots; this is probably a verrrry good thing. :P

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I put some chicken pieces with a little water in the crock pot. I sprinkled Litehouse freeze dried poultry seasoning all over it. It was really yummy. I shredded up to use for other stuff but you could add more water and veggies. Veggies like frozen green beans probably only need to crock cook on low a couple of hours if you don't want them mushy.

I found this with the refrigerated dressing in the produce section in Target.

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It sounds like crock pot is the way to go for you. I love my crock pot and I get a lot of recipes from the crockpot lady's blog here: http://crockpot365.blogspot.com/

Everything she makes is gltuen free. Some things are more complicated than others. I am also soy and dairy free and I find I can make most of the things on her blog work for me (except maybe the cheesecake ;)

As far as premade broths go...Are you in the US? If so, look for Pacific Foods Natural Free Range Chicken broth. It is gluten free and dairy free and also has no yeast extract. The ingredients are as follows:

Natural free range chicken broth (filtered water, free range chicken)

Natural chicken flavor (natural chicken flavor, chicken stock, sea salt)

Sea salt

Evaporated cane juice

Onion powder

Turmeric

Natural flavor

If you are avoiding yeast, make sure you get the NATURAL FREE RANGE, NOT the ORGANIC. Their organic broth does have yeast in it. I have had no problems with this broth and use it whenver I am out of homemade. However, as others posted above it is very easy to make homemade broth/stock. Ball Canning supplies makes these little plastic jars for the freezer that are about the same size as a can of broth. I make a bit pot of broth on my crock pot every couple weeks and then fill up those jars. Then when a recipe calls for a can of broth I just pull one of those out of the freezer and thaw enough to get the broth out.

The best way to learn to cook is somewhat by trial and error. Don't be afraid to try new things. Most things can be fixed, but we'vee all made our share of flops.

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Thyme, poultry seasoning, and oregano are my favorite spices to use with any meat and veg combo you throw in the the crockpot...I add Turmeric for color and cause it is healthy too. But a half tsp is all it takes...as it can get bitter.

Choose your favorite 3 or 4 spices and stick with it for simplicity.

That is what I do.

Tony Crechera's seasoning is really good too on meat and veg combo's.

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Curried Irish Lamb Stew

Ingredients:

2 pounds of Lamb pieces, Chops, Leg steaks (whatever)

2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick

1-2 onions peeled and chopped into chunks. (removed first 2 layers, they're the toughest)

1 gluten-free low salt Vegetable stock cube in 1 pint of boiling water.

Place on low heat and cook for 3-4 hours.

When cooked.

Mix 1 tsp of gluten-free Curry powder and 2 Tbls of Starch (Corn, potato, arrowroot, tapioca)

Mix with a small amount of cold water and stir till completely disolved (smooth)

Add to Stew, turn up heat return to boil.

Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 3 mins (length of time needed to cook out starch)

Stir gently to avoid sticking.

Boil potatoes seperately and serve with the stew.

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Curried Irish Lamb Stew

Ingredients:

2 pounds of Lamb pieces, Chops, Leg steaks (whatever)

2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4" thick

1-2 onions peeled and chopped into chunks. (removed first 2 layers, they're the toughest)

1 gluten-free low salt Vegetable stock cube in 1 pint of boiling water.

Place on low heat and cook for 3-4 hours.

When cooked.

Mix 1 tsp of gluten-free Curry powder and 2 Tbls of Starch (Corn, potato, arrowroot, tapioca)

Mix with a small amount of cold water and stir till completely disolved (smooth)

Add to Stew, turn up heat return to boil.

Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 3 mins (length of time needed to cook out starch)

Stir gently to avoid sticking.

Boil potatoes seperately and serve with the stew.

Yum! David always has the best recipes!

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For soups or just braising liquid the brand " Kitchen basic" has stocks which are gluten-free and very full of flavor if you can't use the cubes , bases or powders.

Try it and see if you can use it, if so it can be your crock pot base (or soup base)for most any meat and vegetable combination you can come up with. Throw in some fresh or dried herbs and it is simple cooking. There are literally a million crock pot recipes online or goto the library and get a book.

If you like mexican look up the chicken taco soup recipe , super good impossible to screw up and delicious . I keep it thick and eat with Tostitos my dd eats hers in taco shells and my husband thins it with more broth for soup. If you need to substitute the seasoning packet with your own mix of spices use( cumin, chili powder, garlic powder , onion powder , salt and pepper).

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I think this stew will fall within your parameters, and it is very good and easy:

Beef Stew Soup (my concoction)

1 container Swanson's Beef Broth

2-3 lbs. stew beef

3 large Irish potatoes, diced (you could sub other veges, here, possibly beets-they taste good and are high in minerals/healing properties)

6-8 carrots, cut in thirds

Salt, pepper, bay leaf

1 small onion, diced

4 bulbs of garlic, 2 diced, 2 cooked whole

I cooked the soup on high for four hours, while I was out, in my crockpot, and then cooked it on low for another hour until tender. I imagine it would work just as well to cook it on low all day while at work.

This soup was actually even better a week later. I ate it as beef stew, mashed up the potatoes, topped with butter, salt, and pepper after nuking it, and yum!

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Well, let's see. Darn on the nightshades thing, no tomatoes. I like tabasco and those little bitty chile peppers and chile powder.

You can use canned puree of pumpkin as a stew base for beef. It's much better than it sounds. Drained, rinsed canned beans, beef, pumpkin, onion, garlic, apple cider vinegar, cumin, salt, olive oil. Need something for the hot spicy part that is not chile peppers, hmm. Maybe ginger and cloves with a pinch of cocoa powder and regular pepper.

Another soup base is coconut milk, lemon or lime, chicken broth. Can be used for chicken and rice noodles.

Carrot juice, if you can stand the sugar, blended with peanut or almond butter and pumpkin puree and curry - sweet spices and ginger, is another soup base that is really good with leftover thanksgiving turkey.

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Depending upon what is on sale, sometimes I stick pork, beef or chicken (better if browned first but not necessary_ in the crockpot, squeeze a grapefruit over it, add a bit of water, cumin, s&p, a quartered peeled onion and a few cloves of peeled smashed garlic, then cook it all day. Then we have cooked shredded cuban ... meat over rice, and it goes nice with black beans (which you just have to heat up on the stove.

I hope this helps. Good luck to you.

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If you want a thick stew, you can use just a little water for the liquid. You may want to add a little extra salt and pepper and extra flavorful veggies such as onions. You wouldn't want to add too much water. And brown your beef cubes first. If cooking the stew in a pot, you can just brown the beef in a little olive oil, then add the rest of the ingredients. If using a crockpot you would have to brown the meat in a skillet or other large pot and add to the crockpot.

Since you can't do potatoes, you might want to use some other carbier veggies like parsnips, sweet potatoes, peas, dried beans, etc.

If you find that your stew is not thick enough when it is done cooking, you can do one of three things. My crockpot cookbook says to add a little quick cooking tapioca and let cook for another half an hour. I didn't personally like this because it seemed to give it an odd texture.

The next thing you could do is remove some of the vegetables and puree them using an immersion blender. Add them back to the pot and stir through.

The third thing would be to remove some of the liquid and cook it on the stove in a pan with some added sweet rice flour. Whisk it through until it makes a thick sauce. Then add it back to the pot crockpot and let it cook through for about a half an hour. If you are doing the stew on the stove, you can just add the sweet rice flour directly to the pot. Just make sure to bring it to a boil and let it boil for at least a minute.

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This might not be exactly what you are looking for but here's a recipe for Brazilian Black Bean Soup. Super easy and cheap. It is WAY better the next day b/c the flavors have time to blend so sometimes I'll make it a day ahead.

1 tbs olive oil

3 c onion, chopped

8 cloves garlic, chopped, divided

1 carrot, diced

3 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp salt

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 c water

1 c orange juice

pinch cayenne, or to taste

Heat olive oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, half of garlic, and carrot. Add cumin and salt. Cook, stirring, until onion and carrot are tender. Stir in remaining garlic and red pepper. Continue cooking until tender.

Add beans, water and OJ to pan and season with cayenne. Transfer about 1/2 mixture to blender or food processor and puree till smooth (you can do more or less, depending on how think you like it). Return puree to pot and simmer for 10 more minutes.

(Sometimes I play with the OJ to water ratio and do about 3/4 c OJ and increase the water)

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I wish I could buy a slow cooker or a crock pot in my country !!!!!

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Well my first crock pot dish was a little overcooked, but still very tasty (it looks awful though but I've not been one for presentation :P). But I can do this, yes indeedy. :D

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Well my first crock pot dish was a little overcooked, but still very tasty (it looks awful though but I've not been one for presentation :P). But I can do this, yes indeedy. :D

I think the newer crockpots cook faster. Mine never needs as much time as a recipe says. Sometimes the best food looks bad but tastes great!

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