Easy “No Peek” Beef Tips

I know, I know, this isn’t a cooking blog.  (I actually *have* a cooking blog that I never manage to post to, but alas….)  Sometimes I’m just overcome with the want to talk about food, and I guess this is one of those times.  Well, and truthfully, it seems like there is an actual *need* for a processed food-free version of this recipe, and so I’m just showing up to tell it to ya’ll what I did to make my beef tips “easy” and “no peek” without the gunks.

Easy "No Peek" AND No Processed Beef Tips

Easy “No Peek” AND No Processed Beef Tips  (Yes, I’m Still Using My Christmas Corelle!)

I’m on pinterest, surfing, a lot.  I mean, A LOT.   I see a handful of repeated topics float through about once a week, and this is how I became familiar with the following dish.  Now let me say, with all of the variants of  “Easy ‘No Peek’ Beef Tips” that have floated through my pinterest stream, it seems to be a really, really popular recipe.  The comments under the pin always say things along the lines of “next time I will double this, we ate it ALL!” or “so easy, and my kids loved it!”  Those phrases, paired with a mouthwatering-looking photo of what must be a hot and delicious dinner always tempt me.  I cannot *tell* you how many times I have clicked through to the link and found– on different blogs!– the same recipe filled with the same processed, prepackaged ingredients.  I am discouraged at how many times I’ve read to mix brown gravy mix, french onion soup mix, and canned cream of mushroom soup for this dish.  And the canned mushrooms.  Blech.  Sometimes they even have you cover it with ginger ale!  Gotta put the high fructose corn syrup in there somewhere, amirite?!  Go ahead, look, I’m soooo not kidding:
www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?q=no%20peek%20beef%20tips&rs=ac&len=10

Why the processed ingredients, guys?!  Is it because you believe it to be easier?  Is this thought to be cheaper?  Well, I hate to cut on the feelings of time-crunched peeps who want an easy dinner, but it doesn’t have to be this way!  You don’t have to cook like that!  I just try really hard to not cook with processed ingredients like those above, and after cutting them out, I won’t go back, no matter how many promises of easy, and no matter how many drooly pictures you show me.  I have worked really hard to change the way I cook, and it’s improved the way I feel on a daily basis.  That’s important.  Food is fuel, and life is too short to eat junk that makes you feel sick….

No Peek Beef Tips Over Rice

No Peek Beef Tips Over Rice

After lusting after this recipe for so long, I took it on as a challenge to come up with an ‘easy’ version of that still tastes delicious, is inexpensive, and that *doesn’t* require dumping packages.  I’ve made this a couple of times now, and I think I’ve done a pretty decent job!  I will admit that I never made the processed version to compare it to, but my end result was perfectly-cooked beef in a rich gravy that we found delicious…  that sounds close enough to me.  This dish is beyond easy, doesn’t muss up the kitchen, and it only contains the kinds of ingredients you would find in grandma’s pantry.  (Well, if grandma drinks beer, that is!)  It smells incredible while it’s cooking, and the beef tuns out incredibly tender and flavorful.  Plus– gravy that makes itself!  I really think you’ll like it.

Easy “No-Peek” Beef Tips

*  2 one-pound packages of cubed beef (stew meat, etc, see note * below), cut into smallish, 1″ or so cubes
*  2 packages of whole fresh mushrooms, quartered
*  1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*  12 oz beer (I would recommend just a pale lager or a pilsner, I used Miller High Life, my fave)
*  2 cups beef broth (I used a re-hydrated Knorr bouillon cube, more processed than I’d like, but what I had.  Next time I’m going to get MSG-free canned broth, but I’m not going to go out to the store just for broth.)
*  a hefty few shakes of worchestershire sauce (I probably used close to a quarter of a cup)
*  1 smallish yellow onion, peeled and quartered
*  1 tsp minced garlic
*  a few sprigs fresh thyme
*  a few fresh sage leaves
*  one dried bay leaf
*  pinch of red pepper flakes
*  kosher salt and fresh pepper (I went lighter on the salt for this dish, anticipating the broth and worchestershire probably having higher sodium levels)
*  non-stick cooking spray

My Ingredients

My Ingredients

**The note on the beef: my nearby Food City offers several options in cubed beef, usually stew mixes and the like.  Sometimes the chunks are way huge and need to be cut down– pop it into the freezer for 15 minutes before you cut it, and use a serrated knife– and sometimes, like my example pics, they are already perfectly bite-size.  Usually I choose based on a combo of price and NuVal scores, and I just get two packs.  (Oh, NuVal scores are one of the fabu things about shopping at Food City, they calculate the health value of all of the foods and place it on the price tags, it’s a great feature.  It’s the #34– indicating that this meat is actually quite lean and not unhealthy– in the upper right corner of the price label on the meat packs. )**

***

Flouring

Flouring

(You can click on any picture to see them larger!)

*  Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.  (Low and slow is the way to go, ya’ll!)
*  Coat your casserole dish with cooking spray.  Open your packages of meat and place them straight into the casserole dish.  If you need to cut them into smaller pieces, do this as an in-between step.
*  Sprinkle all of your dry ingredients– flour, salt, pepper, dry herbs if you are substituting for the fresh– on top of the beef, and then toss to coat somewhat evenly, redistributing the meat over one layer in the bottom of the dish when you’re done.  I also used this time to reconstitute my broth.
*  Place your quartered mushrooms, fresh herbs (if using), red pepper flakes, and bay leaf on top of meat layer.  Pour the beer, shakes of worsches(mumblemumble)shire sauce and two cups of broth (or broth and water to make 2 cups) on top of it all.  Also, if you are omitting the mushrooms, you may want to add a little more water or liquid, the mushrooms put off moisture as they cook, and I would assume that’s important.  Just a guess though.

Before Adding The Liquids

Before Adding The Liquids

*  Tightly top the casserole dish with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven to cook for three hours, with no need for peeking or tending, just like the recipe says.
* After taking it out of the oven, open carefully, as you’ll have a lot steam escaping.  At this time, it is atomic-hot, so proceed with caution.  I used a slotted spoon to stir it a little, and as I’m doing this I fished out the herbs (thyme sprigs, mostly missing their leaves, and still-whole bay and sage leaves) as well as the onion, as it is likely still huge pieces now cooked down to a snotty, unappetizing consistency.  (It’s done it’s flavorful job!)
*  Serve over egg noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, or nothing at all if you’re doing a lower carb thing.  Two out of three of us vote the mashers as the very best tasting option, but the spawn doesn’t like potatoes, the little weirdo.   He prefers the rice.

This makes quite a nice, large amount, enough to feed five at least.

***

If you happen to have leftovers, you can make a quick stroganoff when you reheat your beef tips and gravy, just add some fresh sour cream and serve over egg noodles!   Yum!

The Things I Dirtied While Cooking This, Casserole Dish Aside.

The Things I Dirtied While Cooking This, Casserole Dish Aside.

So, to review:  It’s still no-peek.  It’s still yummy.  As far as messy goes, I literally dirtied a casserole dish, a measuring cup, a spoon, a fork, a knife, and my cutting board.  I would be willing to bet that all of those things amount to about the same amount of ‘mess’ as the original dish….

And then there’s the economy aspect.  I’d argue it’s still pretty cheap.  You’re buying the exact same amount of meat, so no changes there.  You’re not buying cream of mushroom shloop, boxed multi-packs of dehydrated soup mix, pouches of brown gravy powder, or ginger ale, and I would think flour and herbs (dried ones, at least) should be things you already have in your pantry.  I always have garlic– I get the jarred stuff that is already minced– and I usually buy my onions in larger economy bags, so those amount to literal tens of pennies used for this dish.  Yeah, I’m making you buy fresh mushrooms, but I find those on sale a LOT (plus, they are *always* in season), and beer might not be something you usually purchase.  If you don’t drink alcohol but are tempted by this recipe, you should get one of those super-duper cheap 40 oz beers with the screw caps, pour out 12 oz for your recipe, tightly recap, and store the rest in your fridge door for making tacos, chili, or even this recipe on another occasion.  It doesn’t matter if the beer goes flat, if you only intend to cook with it.  (And of course the alcohol cooks off completely, so no worries there.)  The dish does not have a “beery” taste, but using the suds will definitely enhance the depth of flavor in your beef and help create that perfect savory gravy.

I hope you try it!  Especially if you have made the other version of this recipe, I’d love to know what you think….  Really, if I help one person that is trying to cut back on the processed gunks make this dish and enjoy it, my work here is done!

 


Feb 24, 2014 | Category: Just A Thought, Recipe | Comments: none | Tags: , , ,

 


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