(Caveat: I use certain spices regularly so I keep them on hand at all times. Refer to the page Picky-Eaters Approved to find what they are and to get yourself a hand-dandy Grocery Shopping List as well!)
1lb Steak Cubes (labeled stew meat as well)
1/2 lb baby carrots (1/2 the bag)
4 medium sized washed red potatoes
3 stalks celery, ends chopped off
1 medium onion (your choice of type)
2 cups Chicken Broth
About a 1/2 Tablespoon of each:
3 Whole Bay Leaves
Salt / Pepper to taste
Here's the best part. Grab a big chopping board / knife and a big mixing bowl. Chop everything roughly. All the odds and ends of your veggies throw into the bowl (it's my "Thank you for coming bowl" courtesy of Chef Anne on Food Network :D). Quarter the potatoes (skin on) and onions. Chop the celery into inch long pieces. Throw the meat and veggies into your Crock-Pot with the all the seasonings (except the bay leaves) and chicken stock and mix it around. Add enough water to cover your beautiful mix. Tuck your bay leaves into the sides and put the lid on. Start to finish this takes me about 5 minutes. You can increase or decrease any item you want to your family's preferences as well. Toss the bowl items into the trash and the dishes into the sink / dishwasher and you're done!
I cook ours on low all day but we also leave at about 6am and don't get home till 5:30pm (now that I see that written down I'm starting to see why people think i'm nuts for working ;p). That said...you could cook it on high for about 6 hours and reduce it to low for the last however many if you want. This stew can't be ruined so whatever your schedule may look like as long the meat is cooked through and the potatoes are fork soft you will have done well. I serve this with the breads I make (especially the Amazing No Knead Bread) and some butter and call it a day. Easy Peasy for even the novice cook!
My Stew all done and ready to go! mmm-mmm delish :D
Whatever you do just remember one simple thing. Your children will remember the smells and smiles from their memories more than the time it took to make them happen. Take the five minutes to make this. Your house will smell delicious, your family will have a well rounded dinner to laugh and talk over, and your child will be all smiles just from spending that extra time with you.
My crazy family at Thanksgiving this year...
Now if only I could remember why Monkey and I are laughing so hard!