Healthy Recipes With Stew Meat That Aren't Stew

Stew beef is often a butcher's special at the grocery store, but if you're not in the mood for stew, you may bypass it for a pricier cut. While it's true that the chunks of pre-cut meat are characteristically tougher than a tenderloin or sirloin, cooking them in the slow cooker can help make them tender.

Sick of stew? There are plenty of other things you can do with stew meat. (Image: OksanaKiian/iStock/GettyImages)

When looking for stew meat in the grocery store, you may not know what type of meat you're getting. Ask the butcher or the meat manager if their stew meat is chuck (the type you want). It has more connective tissue that breaks down with slow cooking and gives you the tender, delicious result you expect.

Tips for Cooking Stew Meat

When you get home, there are a couple of rules when cooking with stew meat that will ensure you get the most out of your budget-friendly protein.

  1. Trim any excess fat from your stew meat — a little fat is good, too much leads to a greasy meal.
  2. First, sear your meat in a skillet with a little oil, and then add it to a dutch oven or slow cooker.
  3. Cooking time is essential when cooking stew meat, so follow these guidelines:

8 Stew Meat Recipes Other Than Stew

While beef stew may be the first dish that comes to mind, stew isn't the only meal you can make with cubed chuck. Their convenient, bite-size shape allows for the quick addition of beef to a variety of savory meals. Here are eight recipes using stew beef cubes (other than stew, of course).

1. Beef and Mushrooms

What meals can you make with stew meat? Well, a healthier spin-off on beef stroganoff, beef and mushrooms can be served in a classic stroganoff way. Originally a time-consuming dish, its preparation can be streamlined with your slow cooker.

  1. Put 2 pounds of stew beef into your slow cooker and set it to low.
  2. Add 1 cup of beef broth, 1 sliced onion, 1 pound of sliced mushrooms, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon dried thyme.
  3. Cook for 6 to 7 hours on low.
  4. When you're ready to serve, boil egg noodles until tender and drain.
  5. Serve the beef and mushrooms over the noodles.
Replace your beef stew with tacos! (Image: rocksunderwater/iStock/GettyImages)

2. Tacos

Tacos can be a dinner staple, but you can elevate your taco game with one of the best recipes with stew meat — tacos! Taco Tuesday just got more interesting. Just add your favorite toppings.

  1. Add 1.5 pounds stew meat to slow cooker and set it to low.
  2. Sprinkle with 1 package of taco seasoning and cover with 2/3 cup water.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  4. Remove from slow cooker, shred with two forks and use immediately or return to slow cooker to keep warm.

3. Philly Cheese Steaks

Philly cheese steaks are made with tender, mouthwatering slices of beef, but you can also recreate this classic sandwich with stew meat. Add the peppers and onions at the beginning for more tender veggies or wait until you have an hour left on your cooking time for crisper veggies.

  1. Place 2 pounds of stew meat into the slow cooker and set it to low.
  2. Slice 1 large green pepper and 1 large onion and place on the top of the stew meat.
  3. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon dried oregano and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.
  4. Pour 1 cup beef broth over all ingredients.
  5. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours in slow cooker.
  6. Serve on hoagie rolls topped with provolone cheese.
Warm up your winters with beef chili instead of beef stew. (Image: bhofack2/iStock/GettyImages)

4. Beef Chili

Texas-style chili, a common dish in the Southern states, uses beef stew chunks instead of ground beef to give the dish more meat and a more satisfying taste.

  1. Add 2 tablespoons canola oil, 1 diced onion and 1 diced green pepper in a dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add 2 pounds of stew meat and sear.
  3. Add one 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes, one 14-ounce can of drained and rinsed kidney beans, 1 package of chili seasoning and 2/3 cup of water and stir.
  4. Cover and simmer on low for 2.5 to 3 hours until the beef starts to break apart with a fork.

5. Steak Bites

Steak bites may become your new favorite dinner. A traditional steak dinner can be expensive, but with this recipe using stew beef cubes and a slow simmer, you can have the tender steak you love at a much lower price.

  1. Place 1 pound of stew meat in the slow cooker and set it to low.
  2. Pour in 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  4. Remove steak bites from slow cooker and serve with your favorite steak sauce.

6. Asian Beef and Rice

This method of cooking an Asian-style beef can be used with a multitude of different veggies. Using broccoli instead of peppers will give you another meal idea to use on a different night.

  1. Place 1 pound of stew meat in a slow cooker and set it to low.
  2. Mix 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1 teaspoon garlic powder in a small bowl.
  3. Pour soy sauce mixture over meat.
  4. Cook on low for 6 hours.
  5. Add 1 sliced green pepper, 1 sliced red pepper and 1 sliced onion.
  6. Continue to cook for an additional hour on low.
  7. Remove from slow cooker, serve with rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Eat your BBQ beef solo or as a sandwich. (Image: LauriPatterson/iStock/GettyImages)

7. BBQ Beef

Barbecue beef is traditionally a low-and-slow dish that produces tender and juicy beef that falls apart, perfect for sandwiches. Adding your own favorite BBQ sauce ensures you get the right amount of spice for your liking.

  1. Place 2 pounds of stew meat in the slow cooker.
  2. Add 1 cup of your favorite BBQ sauce.
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  4. Shred with a fork and eat plain, with more sauce or on a kaiser roll.

8. Sloppy Joes

Swap out ground beef for inexpensive stew meat for a delightful twist on sloppy Joes. The slow cooker cooks the meat all day to give a comforting, kid-friendly food that's ready for dinner after a long day at work or school. Add extra chopped veggies, such as green and red bell peppers, for even more nutrition.

  1. Place 1 pound of stew meat in the slow cooker and set to low.
  2. Add 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup tomato paste, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons dried minced onion, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  3. Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
  4. Shred and pile high on a kaiser roll.
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