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updated: 12/13/2011 3:29 PM

Mom, that beef stew was amazing

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  • Italian Beef Stew and Vegetables comes together quickly if you have a bath of stewed beef in your freezer.

      Italian Beef Stew and Vegetables comes together quickly if you have a bath of stewed beef in your freezer.
    Alicia Ross/Desperation Dinners

 
 

Though I'm often cooking for one these days, I still like to cook in big batches to freeze. Not only do I have my dinner with most of the work done, I have food to share, too. Both of my daughters live in apartments near their university. On a restricted budget and with incredibly hectic schedules, their diet often suffers. So I purchased a couple of sets of plastic freezer containers and have been packaging "extras," freezing them and sending them to school about every six weeks. It's like giving them building blocks to construct quick and easy dinners.

In case you missed last week's recipe for Italian Stewed Beef, I'm printing it here again for you. But be sure to check out the great ravioli recipe that goes along with the beef on kitchenscoop.com. Today's recipe uses the already-stewed beef to stir up a steaming hot, wonderfully filling beef and vegetable stew that can be served tonight or frozen and served later. (If you are using the previously frozen Italian Stewed Beef mixture, I don't suggest freezing the stew again.)

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With batch-cooked Italian Stewed Beef on hand, your dinner possibilities literally multiply. Serve over rice, potatoes, polenta, ravioli or turn it into soup, stew, spaghetti sauce or lasagna. All of this can be for you and your family to use at home or to give away. Even though my girls aren't around to eat dinner with me every night, it's still really nice to hear, "Mom, that beef stew was amazing!" even in a text message.

Suggested menu: Italian Beef and Vegetable Stew with deli coleslaw and breadsticks.

• Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross are co-authors of "Desperation Dinners!" Write them at Desperation Dinners, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or tellus@kitchenscoop.com. More at the Desperation Dinners Web site, kitchenscoop.com.

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