Beef stew without salt

In the past, I’d make beef stew either in the crock pot or stove top, using a seasoning packet and bouillon.  I’d use left over steak or stew meat bought at the store, with plenty of fresh and/or canned vegetables.  Now that we are low sodium, I can’t just throw in bouillon and seasoning packets.  The sodium is in the thousands in both the broth and bouillon.

What we have been learning is the fresher the ingredients, the better the flavor, even without salt.  I recently  made a beef stew using a low sodium liquid beef broth and just 1 teaspoon of a seasoning packet.  I add water 3 times equal to the broth (14.5oz) This keeps the sodium low, but keeps flavor in there.  Also, the left over steak was marinated in low sodium Teriyaki sauce, so once cubed and put into the stew, it added flavor.

I add cubed potatoes (Russet give an earthy flavor, red potato are a bit sweeter), celery, carrots, green beans, onion and corn.  All add their own flavors to the whole stew.  1/4 teaspoon minced garlic and  a bay leaf also.

It simmers for a couple hours, till all veggies tender.  We like it thickened so right before serving we mix corn starch with a little water and then pour into stew.  It will thicken the whole thing.

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So, how is the Old Rooster, you ask.

Or not, but I will give an update.

Do to our diligence in taking almost all sodium, naturally occurring or added, out of the Old Roosters diet, he is just marvelous!!!  Our palates have adapted, but the better news is our bodies are very happy.  The swelling is completely down and he is now gaining weight.  Which is a very good thing.  Because he was so full of water (12lbs were removed) he had no appetite.

What we have learned is that he definitely cannot eat out.  We tried Chili’s hamburger because they will leave off the seasoning if you ask.   There is still sodium in the meat because it is processed and not freshly ground.  Hamburger buns have sodium also.  But, by leaving off the cheese and pickles, he is not getting as much.  But, it can’t be very often and he can’t have the fries (even without seasoning).  He felt slightly ill the next day when he ate the hamburger and fries.  It uses up a great deal of his daily allowance.  We are keeping him between 500-1000 mg per day.  The average healthy adult can take in up to 2300 mg.  Remember, you can get that much sodium in just 1 t of table salt.

We’re not as unhappy about this lifestyle change as we were.  There are foods we miss a great deal that we can’t alter.  Like bacon!  I love bacon!  However, as you notice when you come to my blog, we are enjoying creating recipes, altering recipes to our needs and plain ole fun in the kitchen again.

I’ve been gone the last 3 weeks training for a new job.  I am home on the weekends, and last weekend we cooked and put leftovers in the freezer for Old Rooster while I was gone during the week.  Yes, he can cook and cook quite well, I just enjoyed leaving him some food I prepared for him.  We made Chicken and Dumplings (recipe to be shared soon), Spaghetti Sauce, modified Porcupine Meatballs (recipe from Texana’s Kitchen  http://texanaskitchen.com/about/#comment-2943), Chicken Stew Provencal, and Potatoe Soup.

Life is not boring in the least and neither is dinner.

Trader Joe’s is AWESOME

Took a small day trip into the Metroplex; Dallas/Ft. Worth for those not familiar.  Trader Joe’s is now in Ft. Worth off S. Hulen (just off I-20, don’t go to Hulen Mall off I-30).   We’ve heard from friends and on internet sites this is one of the best places to go for organic, gluten free, and low sodium/no salt.

As we pull into the parking lot, there is a crew member directing traffic to parking.  They would not let us proceed to find a spot and instead directed us to one as they saw it emptying.  This place was PACKED!!!!  We get inside and get a basket and start at the produce department.  All organic and fresh and wonderful.  We picked out some pears, nectarines, and pink lady apples.  All very reasonably priced.  We also found some true baby carrots.  I take those to lunch instead of chips.   Satisfies the desire for something crunchy.  And I like raw carrots.
It was hard to get around, as so many people had the same idea to shop on a Saturday afternoon.  We checked out the cheese department and there is quite a variety.  Even a yogurt cheese!!!  Found some snack cheese sticks with fairly low sodium, only 135 mg per stick.  That’s quite good as the stick is much more cheese than just a slice.  So, being careful, Old Rooster can now add cheese to his tacos and garnish other dishes.

As is so stereotypical of hens and roosters, the Old Rooster went too quickly through, only looking at what he immediately was interested in, whereas I really wanted to browse.   It was awfully crowded, so I just followed his lead.

We found some chips very low in sodium so he can enjoy a small snack.  Found cracker even lower in sodium that he can enjoy with cheese or salt free, organic peanut butter, no salt tortilla chips, no salt added marinara (which has about the same low sodium as our homemade spaghetti sauce and can be used for those rushed times), some delicious cookies (we ate some on the way home) with very low sodium, natural fruit juice gel candy (like the orange slice candies, but healthier) and two kinds of cereal with very low sodium.  A frosted flake and raisin bran.  We have only been able to find shredded wheat as a no sodium cereal.

We also bought some wine and beer that was very unique.  Oh, and picked up some seaweed snack for Sailor Man, our son.  He just LOVES seaweed.

Do go to Trader Joe’s website and visit one personally if you get the chance.  The prices were very reasonable, even though we considered the fish and meat high, you can expect to pay more for organic.  I look forward to going again and maybe getting to go through a little more leisurely……

Great finds

Great finds at Trader Joe’s