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What is it about mom’s cooking that makes it undeniably better? For starters, it means that someone else is doing the cooking. At the heart of it, the best mom food comes from perfected recipes that they’ve served over and again, conjuring memories and nurtured comfort. But mom cooking more than just a good recipe.

When I would visit my parents, after the hugs and kisses, I went straight to the refrigerator. Sure I was hungry, because duh I was awake and always hungry, but I wanted to see what my mom had for our visit. Was it seafood and cheese spread from the local deli, cut up vegetables and dip, salami? Why did her ketchup even taste better? The clean white cap might have helped. Of course it was simply that I was being taken care of and even as an adult, that felt awfully good and awfully necessary. With every grocery selection and every stir of the pot, she added a special mom ingredient that you can’t find at Penzeys or your farmers market.


I’m lucky to have a mother-in-law who offers the same comforting cooking. This is her recipe and even as I type, I can hear her reciting the directions with a final step “and no peek.” Much like a slow cooker recipe, this one is handsfree cooking, leaving arms available for long-lasting hugs.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Nancy’s “no peek” beef stew

Like most stews and casseroles, No Peek Beef Stew has much room for improvising. Use the vegetables you favor or have on hand. I prefer more mushrooms, fewer potatoes, but adapt to your liking. I never, however, deviate from the core sauce and thickeners mostly because I trust this recipe implicitly, but to those culinary skilled folks, feel free to boost with your favorite herbs and stocks.

preptime: 25 min 4-6 servings

cooktime: 4 hours (handsfree, eyesfree)

  • 2 lbs stewing beef
  • 1 c celery, sliced
  • 8-16 oz mushrooms, trimmed but whole
  • 5 potatoes, 1″ cubed
  • 5 carrots, sliced
  • 2-3 medium onions, chopped
  • 12 oz tomato juice
  • 12 oz beef broth/stock
  • 5 T instant tapioca
  • 1 T kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a large pot with lid.
  3. Bake covered for 4 hours – AND NO PEEK!

family recipe handed down from my mother-in-law and provided by crunchtimefood.com

1 Comment

  1. DJ says Jan 23rd 2019 6:06 am

    Hi, This looks wonderful, Can you tell me what oven temp. you use. Thank You

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