Theme and Variations, Or Dinners for Most of a Week

For the past few years, in autumn we’ve bought a beef cow from next door to split with two or more families and eat during winter.  Although I was a vegetarian for six years, I feel good about eating local beef that lived happily for a time on sloping, rocky land perfect for grazing but unsuitable for growing grains.  My neighbor, farmer Don, lives mostly off the land and will stop by our house at a moment’s notice if we have trouble with our water heater, stove, or most anything he knows how to fix.  We like being able to support his farm by purchasing beef.

Also, I’ve discovered that meat-based meals can stretch a long way.  Here’s an example.

Day 1:  Brown a chuck roast on all sides using oil in a large cast-iron pot.  While it’s browning, chop a few sweet potatoes, an onion, and any other root vegetables sitting around in the fridge (carrots, turnips, parsnips, etc.).  Add a quart jar full of water and bullion cubes (or stock), 1/2 cup tomato sauce, and seasonings to taste (ie. paprika, basil, salt, pepper), then let simmer for a long time, 2-3 hours, till the meat is cooked through. (Alternatively, you may brown the meat and then cook in a  crock pot)

Slice the roast into portions and serve with the soft vegetables over top.  Good with mashed potatoes and salad of mixed greens.

Reserve half the roast and vegetables for variations.

Variation 1:  To the leftovers, add plenty of water or stock, additional tomato sauce, and more seasonings.  Add more chopped vegetables:  carrots, celery, sweet potatoes, potatoes. If available, add 1 hot chili pepper without seeds (may use chili powder). Cook till veggies are soft.

Prepare dumplings:

Cut 3 tablespoons butter into dry ingredients (1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. salt) until mixture resembles fine crumbs.  Stir in milk.  Drop dough by spoonfuls  on to hot meat or vegetables in boiling stew (do not drop directly into liquid).  Cook uncovered 10 minutes.  Cover and cook 10 minutes more.

(This lasted us two meals, with leftovers for next variation)

Variation 2: Reheat leftovers and serve over cooked brown rice.  Serve with salad or other vegetables, and perhaps pumpkin bread.

Pumpkin Bread

Mix dry ingredients:

3 cups white whole wheat flour

1 cup wheat germ

2 cups suconat (or use half white sugar, half brown)

2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. each ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves

Separately, mix together:

1 29-oz. can pumpkin

3 beaten eggs

1/2 cup oil

Put wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix till dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into two greased loaf pans.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven until toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean (about 50 minutes).

Cool in pan on wire rack about 10 minutes, then turn loaves out to cool before slicing.

Extra delicious treat: Place a few semi-sweet chocolate chips on a slice of pumpkin bread and microwave just till chocolate melts.

Well, that’s what we ate last week!

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *