Fiesta Lime Beef Stew
Iced Tea, Lemonade or Fruit Drink
Zesty flavors make this Tex-Mex Meal a family favorite. Fiesta Lime Beef in a spicy sauce is spooned over creamy Polenta. Garlic Spinach and cooling pineapple serve side dish duty. Nutritious, filling and family-friendly, this pantry meal proves that stored food meals can be just as appetizing as any family meal.
Polenta is an upscale name for low-brow cornmeal mush. It’s cheap, filling, and tastes like home.
- 1-1/2 cups cornmeal
- 1/2 to 1-teaspoon salt (to taste)
- 2 tablespoons butter flavored shortening or dairy-free margarine
- 32-ounces (4 cups)
Combine the cornmeal and salt in a zipper bag or other resealable container. Stash in the meal box along with the water.
Combine the water and the contents of Bag 1 in a 2-quart saucepan. Stir until the mixture is lump-free. Add the shortening or margarine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to the lowest possible flame. Cook and stir for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the polenta is very thick.
Coat a 9-inch square or round pan with shortening or no-stick spray. Pour the hot polenta into the pan. Set it aside to cool. Cut into 12 squares or wedges and serve topped with Fiesta Lime Beef Stew.
Start the polenta first, before you start the stew. After the polenta is prepared and set aside to cool, fill the pot with water so it will be easier to wash later. Then start the Fiesta Lime Beef Stew. If you try to make the polenta and stew at the same time it gets tricky to manage them both and the polenta will burn when you’re not looking.
It’s important to stir the polenta frequently while it cooks because it has a tendency to stick to the pan, especially towards the end of cooking. Years ago polenta was prepared in the top of a double boiler and allowed to simmer on the back of the stove for several hours, until it was thick and creamy. This cooking method is great if you have a wood burning cookstove, but if you’re making due with a 2-burner propane stove, then long cooking in a double boiler becomes impracticable. I usually make polenta in my heaviest cast iron pot, which seems to be the least likely to scorch if I get called away to investigate a fascinating new bug identified by a wandering child. If you have a good helper, put them to work stirring the polenta while you go on to the Fiesta Lime Beef Stew.
Fiesta Lime Beef Stew
Hot, tangy and bursting with lime, this stew may be a bit too spicy for small children. Teenagers and adults, however, love it! Serve over wedges of polenta made from cornmeal for a traditional presentation.
- 2 (12-ounce) cans roast beef in broth, undrained
- 1 (10-ounce) can tomatoes with cilantro and lime, undrained
- 1 (15-ounce) can corn, no salt added, well drained
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime flavor
- 1 tablespoon dry minced onion
Gather the canned goods and place them in your meal box. Measure all of the ingredients for Bag 1 into a small zipper bag or other resealable container. Stash it in the meal box along with the cans.
Open all of the cans. Drain the juice from the roast beef into a 3-quart saucepan. Set the beef aside. Add the contents of Bag 1 and stir until the cornstarch is dissolved. Drain the corn, discarding the liquid. Add the remaining beef, tomatoes with cilantro and lime and the drained corn to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Serve over wedges of polenta.
The polenta is cut into squares or wedges and placed in the bottom of each plate or bowl. Scoop the stew over top and serve with a spoon.
- 2 (15-ounce) cans spinach or other greens
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Pinch black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
Place both cans in your meal box. Combine the contents of Bag 1 in a small zipper bag. Label and stash in the meal box along with the spinach
Open up both cans of greens and pour into a medium sized saucepan. Add the contents of Bag 1, the olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice and soy sauce. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the temperature and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, or until quite hot.
- 20 ounce can crushed pineapple
To Store & Prepare
Stash the pineapple in your meal box. When ready to serve simply open the can and spoon it out. The pineapple provides a cooling component to the heat of the stew.
- 2-quarts to 1-gallon of water
- Your Favorite Instant Drink Mix
Determine if you will need 2-quarts or a full gallon of water to feed your crew. Measure enough Lemonade Mix or Instant Iced Tea or even kool-aid and sugar, to make the amount you need. If you prefer something sugar free like Crystal Light, that’s fine too. Store it in a zipper bag. Label it and place it in your meal box along with everything else. Stored water has a flat flavor, so your meal will be more appealing if you flavor the water you serve.
I like to serve either Tang or Lemonade with this meal, because the citrus complements the rest of the flavors.