Thank goodness for this Loveliness Fair theme--Simply Lovely Soups! I can't wait to see what's bubbling in everyone else's pot! When the weather gets cold, a good hearty pea soup, beef or pork stew, chili or chicken pot pie (with a real homemade pie crust on top!) of course can't be beat.
But when you want a hot, yummy meal and there's no time to clean and chop veggies or roll out dough or sear meat for the Dutch Oven or Crock Pot, here's a meal for you:
Best-Ever Beef Dip (originally found on allrecipies.com)
Note: The original recipe said it makes six servings. In my family, it goes a lot farther than that, we always have leftovers. They're great reheated and served in the same way; or served over mashed potatoes, or mixed with your favorite pasta and veggie and maybe a little Parmesan cheese, in a quick, savory leftovers casserole.
4 lbs. beef chuck roast
1 T. minced garlic
1 T. dried rosemary
3 bay leaves
1 c. soy sauce
6 c. water
Place the roast in a crock pot. Put in all the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low setting for 6-10 hours--the longer, the better! Remove the bay leaves. Shred meat with two forks and return to liquid.
Serve hot in bowls, with plenty of crusty garlic bread for dipping, or make into sandwiches on buttered, toasted rolls, with dip on the side. A green salad and/or some green beans work well with this meal.
This dish is a favorite to bring to pot lucks, church suppers or to serve at casual buffet parties, all year long!
This next recipe is just for fun (and definitely not for eating!) I came across it in my file as I was picking out a recipe to share here--I think I'll be making this today!
1 c. corn starch
1/3 c. sugar
4 c. water
red, yellow and blue food coloring
ziploc-style freezer bags & duct tape
Mix cornstarch, water and sugar in a medium saucepan, and cook over medium heat stirring constantly, until the consistency of thick pudding.
Divide into three equal parts, and add a few drops of one food coloring to make each color. (You can also leave it uncolored, and just add a drop or two of food coloring in the next step.)
Place a generous spoonful of two, or even all three, colors into a ziplock bag and seal; reinforce the seal with duct tape to avoid leakage.
Give to the kids and let them poke and squish away! The colors will mix and swirl, and eventually become all one color. Kneading the warm mixture inside the bag can be very soothing, and can hold some kids' attention for a very long time!
This is a lot of fun for preschoolers (though your older kids may say "ew"), and and can be adapted to a number of different fun uses (I knew a preschool teacher who made 12 times this recipe for each of three colors, put it all into a queen size mattress bag, and let a whole class of little 3 and four year olds go to town in their bare feet, squishing, jumping and rolling on the warm stuff.) I've used it for color mixing, tracing letters or following a track (draw whatever you want traced directly on the ziplock bag before you put the stuff inside), or just imitating lines and circles, poking and squiggling movements with a single finger.
If nothing else, it's a fun "different" thing to do when everyone is stuck inside!