You've likely heard that my friend and colleague, Tamara Taggart is home recovering from surgery. I'm very happy that she's doing well and will be back at work before you know it.

We've been in touch since the day she landed in hospital. (Thank goodness for smart phones.) While she was there, I was feeling useless and wanted to do something to help, anything. Since her husband Dave was spending a lot of time at the hospital, and they had family helping out at home, I decided cooking for him and their three small children would be the most practical way to lend a hand.

Cooking for others can be risky -- especially for kids who may or may not be picky eaters. So I kept it simple, and I'm happy to say my choice was received with enthusiasm and much appreciation. Tamara even had some of the frozen leftovers when she came home from hospital. She told me, "I loved your stew, and I don't' even like stew!" How could she not like it? Love makes everything tastes better.

PS... I sent along lasagna after that, and now have bragging rights that her youngest's first lasagna was mine!

Beef Stew

I don't measure much with this recipe. Use enough beef and vegetables to make six servings. I grew up making this stew. It's a great starter recipe for kids who want to learn.

Stewing beef or thick-cut round steak cut into 1" chunks
3 large baking potatoes
3 large carrots
1/2 large turnip
4 stalks celery
1 large yellow onion
2 tbls flour
2 tbls olive oil
salt and pepper
1 bay leaf
1 liter low sodium beef stalk
bunch fresh parsley

Heat oil in a large pot.

Place beef chunks in a plastic bag and add flour to coat.

Fry beef at medium hi until browned. Don't cover as you don't want the beef to steam. This should take about 20-30 min. Try not to rush this part as the longer you cook the beef the more tender it will be.

Peel and chop all vegetables to similar sized pieces so they will cook evenly.

Add onion and cook for 10 minutes or until just softened.

Add all other vegetables, bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste.

Add beef stalk and simmer covered for 20 minutes until vegetables are tender.

Add chopped, fresh parsley just before serving.

Enjoy with some crusty, French bread and the company of those you love!