Sunday, February 8, 2015

Beef Stew For Both Of Us

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you'll know I started Weight Watchers at the end of October - and I'm thrilled with it.  (There's no way I would have been mindful of what I was eating over Thanksgiving and through two Christmas-filled weeks in England without it!)  During January, though, I got stuck on a plateau, and a poke around the website and conversations with a few other members encouraged me to try Simply Filling for a week.  Simply Filling is a sort of side program WW offers wherein you eat only from a list of "power foods" that you don't have to track; the idea is that Simply Filling foods are easier for you to regulate on your own because they're natural and satisfying and are therefore less prone to provoking binges in the way that, say, a bag of chips might be.

Now, my husband and I both love enjoying a homecooked meal together at the end of the day, but "Weight Watchers" and "natural and satisfying" are not phrases that sends a thrill down Jon's spine.  My challenge, then, was to follow or create SF-endorsed recipes that Jon would like (or that he could easily doctor) so that we didn't have to make two different dinners every night and we could share meals.  The most successful from the past week, which we'll definitely be making again, was this basic beef stew.  We had it over brown rice on the first night, with a under a blanket of mashed potatoes another night, as a sort of bolognese with spaghetti squash another night - the possibilities are endless.  Jon usually doused his portion in Sriracha, mixed in chili flakes, or sprinkled cheese on top, but he agreed it was delicious even plain as I ate it!

Basic Beef Stew
makes 8 portions

2 tbs olive oil*
2 onions, diced
2 tbs garlic, minced
1lbs 95% lean ground beef
30 oz petite diced tomatoes
16oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
8oz baby carrots, cut into rounds
1c peas (defrosted and drained if frozen)**
1/2c reduced sodium chicken broth
salt, pepper, and whatever dried herbs you want to taste***

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven.  Add the onions and saut√© for five minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the garlic and cook for another few minutes, still stirring, and then add the beef.  Mix all three together to coat the beef in the onion/garlic and then cook until the meat is almost done, stirring occasionally and making sure to scrape up any bits that stick to the bottom of the pot.  Add the tomatoes (with any juices that mat be in the can), the mushrooms, the carrots, and the peas, and combine well.  Pour in the broth, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for at least 20 minutes.  Add salt, pepper, and seasonings to taste - and then enjoy!

*Simply Filling allows 2 tablespoons of oil per day
**I didn't actually use peas but I should have so I'm including them in this recipe!  You could also add beans if you wanted to bulk up the recipe (and therefore make more portions out of it).
***I added about two teaspoons of an Italian seasonings blend but this could be made with almost any cuisine in mind


  1. Looks delicious! I do mine over mash, but Sam prefers rice. xx

  2. That looks so good! I'm definitely a stew and mash girl! xx

  3. I also find it hard to make meals that Fredrik will find satisfying enough but that I feel are not overly heavy.

  4. Ooh, this stew looks delicious! I'm a WW devotee (though on hiatus during my pregnancy), and finding meals that both my husband and I will eat has been a challenge. But it's one I happily accept. I've found quite a few "sneaky" recipes that he didn't realize were healthy . . . love when that happens.

  5. me too - and there are ways to make them hearty but not heavy, thank goodness!

  6. OVER mash? what about UNDER mash? fake shepherd's pie FTW :)

  7. hahaha sometimes I do that to Jon too... it's amazing what he doesn't realize is missing from recipes sometimes!

  8. This looks great! Definitely going to add this to our meal plan for next week!


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