Soon after Autumnal Equinox, I get the urge to start stocking the freezer with prepared meals.
One of my all time favorite recipes is straight from my mom.
It's also one of the simplest.
The basic ingredients are cooked beef, beef broth, tomatoes in one form or another, and vegetables.
The most traditional incarnation is:
Left over beef from pot roast, or a can or two of pre-cooked beef. We used to get the canned beef from the Amish, but now in the stores it mostly comes from Brazil.
Beef broth or stock, either leftover broth or canned. (I now use Kitchen Basics brand. they have a delicious all natural no-added-sodium stock)
A package of frozen mixed vegetables. You know, the kind with beans, corn, peas and carrots all diced up.
We used to use a jar of canned tomato juice, or even Dad's "V-9" (or V-12, or however many kinds of leftover vegetables were used in that batch), and a jar of home-canned tomatoes.
These days I use a big can of crushed tomatoes, or a can of no-salt tomato sauce.
Add the tomato stuff after the veggies are softened.
That's pretty much the basic recipe.
Here are some variations we've enjoyed:
Once when the beef was a bit scanty, I added a can or two of beans. Yum.
I've also added a handful of barley, a handful of pasta, or a handful of rice (add the barley or rice long before the veggies and tomatoes, and let it fully cook).
If you are going to eat it fresh, and not freeze it for later, you can add pretty much any vegetable you want. I find that broccoli gets a little mushy when refrozen, for example.
This time I added a mixture of thyme, marjoram and basil to the basic recipe. The house smells wonderful!