The past few nights have been rough.

I would watch the preschooler during the day while Mr. Brickie worked. Then, Mr. Brickie would come home and take care of the kids while I worked.

Needless to say, he hates this arrangement.

When we first got together he was all, “I’m so liberal when it comes to relationships. ehrmagherd I would never have a problem with you working or doing whatever you wanted to.”

If he was the deep, introspective, know-thyself type he would have said, “I really don’t want to have a problem with you working but I will always be naturally happier when I am the one working and allowing you and our children to have leisure time. Also, until I can afford to provide a maid for my precious and wonderful family, can you keep the house clean while you’re at it?”

So tonight I’m giving us both the evening off. I am not going to work and I already have dinner in the crock pot so I don’t have to cook and he doesn’t have to cook.

Tonight’s Dinner: Slow Cooker Ground Beef Stew (a variation)

First, you’ll need to get some stuff out and lay it all over your counter. Or not. I cook that way because I just want to have everything at the ready when the cooking starts. I put things away when I’m done using them, so there’s really no extra mess with this method. Feel free to substitute willy-nilly as long as you sniff your herbs first to make sure the flavors match up and won’t come out like crap.


Stuff List

  • Marjoram
  • Sage (don’t really use this, I mixed up the bottles. I thought it was the…
  • Thyme
  • Salt
  • Pepper (Mine is Great Value because I’m hoity toity like that!)
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • A pound of ground beef of whatever kind you want.
  • 4 peeled and diced potatoes.
  • Can of Cream of Mushroom soup (or you can use homemade)
  • Corn, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, tomatoes, broth (I use fresh celery and garlic, process the onion with the cup attachment on my 2 cup immersion blender and get chopped garlic in a jar and my corn was from a can. My broth was a cup of water and a beef bullion cube. I used a can of diced tomatoes. You do you.)

Brown the ground beef in a pan. I know it seems stupid to use pans and cook so you can put some stuff all up in a slow cooker and then have to wait four hours after you already cooked in order to see the fruits (or stew) of your labor but you know what, I assume the original recipe calls for it that way because of some food-borne disease. I don’t mess with red meat.

While the meat is browning shake some spices on it. All the ones you took out (hopefully no sage but if you made the same mistake as I did just go with it). Remember, marjoram is powerful, powerful stuff so use a light hand for shaking. Keep sniffing the pan. When it smells awesome you can be done. Keep going until the meat is brown.

At this point, I take the beef out with a spoon and plop it right over into the Crock-Pot insert thingy. I leave the grease in because it’s flavor and really, there’s just not that much. I put the garlic, pulverized onion, carrot slices, pulverized celery (I threw that stalk in with the onions. I was SO over chopping after that carrot) and garlic in the grease in the pan and let it kind of sweat/cook/marinade/hang out for five or so minutes until the flavor is all over them and then I dump that whole mess into the Crock-Pot.

Next you dump your can of corn, can of tomato paste, diced potatoes, cup of water, and bullion cube in the crock. It looks something like this.


Gross, right?

Three hours later it looks like this:


Still not looking like the belle of the ball, but a lot more like stew than that first picture would lead you to believe.

The finished stew looks like this:


It smells divine, and it’s like potpourri for three rooms of my house right now. Also, it’s making me really hungry. We are going to serve it with biscuits and call it a day.

Prep time on this was around a half hour and cook time is going to be six hours on low. Everything is safe to consume once it’s in the crock pot (because you already browned the beef) and I’m pretty sure the entire six hours is just to cook the diced potatoes.

So when my husband gets home I get to be all, “Oh, hey babe, guess what I did. I scheduled zero writing jobs for tonight and started dinner at, like, eleven this morning. Feel loved yet?”

He will. I promise you he will. He will tell you it’s because he was cold all day (he works outside most of the time) and is really looking forward to stew. You and I know better. It’s because I accidentally married someone who wants to be all traditional and junk.

There are far worse problems to have.