Meal Planning: Tradition and Values
Like many, our plans for the March school holidays were affected by the evolving Covid-19 situation but we didn’t let that thwart our quality family time. I took the chance to teach my teenage daughter to cook one of our family’s favorite dishes – One-Pot Easy Beef Stew!
Cooking this dish is more than just passing-down a family tradition to my kids, I’m passing down the value of proper self-care by eating healthy, nutritious meals.
Iron in Diet
Face it, meal planning for the family is challenging for busy Moms but I realized that once I am properly educated on nutritional needs, it makes decision making easier.
For my 2 growing kids, iron is very essential for their development. One of the sources of good iron is from protein, specifically from good quality lean red meat. In general, toddlers 13 years need about 7 milligrams of iron each day. Kids aged 4–8 years need 10 milligrams while older kids aged 9–13 years need 8 to 15 milligrams.
An adequate amount of iron in a kids’ diet helps to ensure:
- Reduced risk of developing Anaemia
- Optimal Muscle and Physical Development
- A Healthier Appetite
- Better Energy Level
- Better Concentration and Focus
Correspondingly, for us, busy adults, it is important to eat food rich in iron to prevent:
- Anaemic Conditions
- Tiredness and Irritability
- Heart Palpitations
- Shortness of Breath
- Headaches and Dizziness
- Dry and Damaged Hair and Skin
Heme vs Non-Heme Iron
Here’s a fact which I only found out recently. There are two types of iron that come from food: Heme and Non-Heme Iron. Heme iron is a form of dietary iron that is more easily absorbed by our digestive systems. Heme iron is found only from animal protein in red meats, poultry, seafood, and fish. By contrast, non-heme iron, are found in plant-based foods like grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. Non-heme iron, seemingly deemed healthier and more environmentally sustainable (by vegans), is not as easily absorbed.
In our home, we take beef at least once a week because beef is one of the best sources of well-contained iron. Recently, I was introduced to True Aussie Beef and Lamb.
- How is True Aussie Beef and Lamb Superior?
Australia’s abundance of vast, natural pastures enables its animals to roam free. Taking a more natural approach to farming, and with government-run border protection and biosecurity systems, True Aussie Beef and Lamb is safe from livestock diseases. This has given Australia the reputation of producing one of the best beef and lambs in the world. No hormones or antibiotic are used in the rearing of the livestock.
All lambs and cows are grass fed (as opposed to the cheaper alternative of grain fed). Grass is the natural food of these animals and it shows when you savour it! In addition, Australia is close to Singapore, so much of the beef and lamb are air flown here fresh.
- Where can I buy True Aussie Beef and Lamb?
Let’s Cook One-Pot Easy Beef Stew!
Here’s the cooking instructions (adapted from Life Is In the Small Things)
One-Pot Easy Beef Stew Recipe
1Kg True Aussie Beef Cubes & Oxtail
3 Capsicums (Green, Yellow and Red), cubed
3 Russet Potatoes, cubed
4 Stalks of Celery, cubed
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Carrots, cubed
2 Yellow Onions, chopped
1 Zucchini, cubed (Optional)
1 Punnet (200g) Brown Mushroom, quartered
1 Can (400g) Whole Peeled Tomatoes
1 Litre box of Campbells Beef Broth
2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons of Sweet Paprika
2 Teaspoons of Caraway Seeds
2 Tablespoons of Red Wine Vinegar
2 Bay Leaves
Light Sour Cream (Optional)
Salt and Ground Black Pepper
Sprigs of English Parsley for Garnish
- Season beef cubes and oxtail with salt and pepper.
- Add olive oil to a large heavy pot (or pressure cooker) over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the beef cubes and oxtail. Sear the meats and brown evenly on all sides. Add more oil if necessary to keep the meat from sticking to pot.
- Toss in the onions, garlic, capsicums, carrots, zucchini, sweet paprika and caraway seeds. Stir for 5 minutes until fragrant.
- Mix in the whole peeled tomatoes, celery, mushrooms and red wine vinegar. Stir well to mix and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add in the beef broth, potatoes and bay leaves. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for 40-60mins, covered. Stir occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in a dollop of light sour cream and garnish with English parsley. Serve with crusty baguette, boiled pasta or fluffy rice!
Notes FROM THE CHEF
- We use the WMF Pressure Cooker which reduces the cooking time by half.
- You can buy Sweet Paprika and Caraway Seeds in the condiment section of NTUC Finest or Cold Storage supermarkets.
- We like to use both beef cubes and oxtail as it gives texture to the stew.
- You can replace brown mushrooms with canned button mushrooms.
- The stew tastes even better overnight. So we freeze the leftovers!
- For more recipe ideas, head to: https://www.trueaussiebeefandlamb.com/recipes/
This One-Pot Easy Beef Stew is a staple in our family menu but this time, with the high quality Australian beef from True Aussie Beef and Lamb, the beef was so tender and the stew exceptionally flavourful.
I’m delighted that our weekly family dish has now been enhanced significantly with True Aussie Beef! You really have to try it to believe it. What is even more significant is that my kids now are getting the right nutrients from a certified good source.