I’m a half-way decent cook but a bad grocery shopper. I also start thinking about dinner 10 minutes after my body has activated the low fuel alert so last minute grocery runs are almost always a non-starter.
As a result, I spend a lot of my kitchen time trying to make something fast out of ingredients that were purchased with no master plan. I call it Chopped: The Home Game.
I have not been good up to this point of writing any of these creations down which means I have to reinvent them every time. This series is an attempt to remedy that.
Sometimes I start from scratch, but more often I have a recipe from the internet that serves as starting point. This evenings starting place was Barley Burger Stew.
There is no way I’m going to retype the recipe for you. I did google it though.
This is one of the rare times I actually made note of the changes I made to the recipe on the actual recipe so I’ve replicated the results on more than one occasion.
- 1 lb ground beef instead of 1/2 lb ground beef
Does anyone buy meat in 1/2 lb packages? No way I’m doing extra work for less meat.
- 1 bag mirepoix instead of chopped onion and celery
Chopping things up is second only to washing dishes on the list of reasons I don’t cook every night. Knives that don’t suck helped with that but not as much as bagged frozen vegetables I can dump in the pan.
- 1 large can tomato juice instead of 2 1/4 cups tomato juice and water
Same deal as the meat. If I could buy tomato juice in 2 1/4 cup cans I might follow the recipe. Maybe.
- 1 cup barley instead of 1/4 cup
Makes up for the extra liquid
- Smoked Paprika
Doesn’t replace anything. That stuff is just super delicious.
Can I make this without going to the store Substitutions
These are the extra substitutions I made tonight based on what I had on hand.
- Top Sirloin Cap Steak instead of Ground Beef.
In my defense, I had ground beef I just thought the sirloin would be yummy.
- Cajun style mirepoix instead of standard mirepoix
Cajun style replaces the carrot with green pepper. Still has onion and celery.
- 2 cups of water &15 oz can of tomato sauce instead of tomato juice
- 14.5 oz can of tomatoes
Extra vegetable attack of opportunity. I noticed too late I ended up with a brand with high fructose corn syrup so who knows if I did us any favors.
- Quick Cook Barley instead of the standard kind
I prefer the regular barley but I can’t always find it. Plus it take a hella long time to cook.
I followed the basic cooking instructions except it only needed to cook for 15-20 min thanks to the quick cook barley.
It turned out pretty tasty. I liked the extra tomatoes and sirloin instead of ground beef a lot. The green peppers also worked better than the carrots.
I guessed wrong on the water so it was more of a soup than stew. Next time I’d cut the water by a cup or so.