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Apple Cider Beef Stew

Adding apple cider and cinnamon gives a unique flavor to this economical and easy-to-make beef stew.

4 cups frozen vegetables for stew, thawed
1 (8 ounce) can sliced water chestnuts
1 (4-1/2 ounce) jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
2 envelopes brown gravy mix
2 tablespoons onion soup mix
2 teaspoons steak seasoning
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can beef broth
1-1/4 cups apple cider*
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup cold water

1. Place the vegetables, water chestnuts, mushrooms and onion in a 5-quart slow cooker. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the gravy mix, soup mix, steak seasoning and cinnamon; add the beef, a few pieces at a time and shake to coat. Add to the slow cooker.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the broth, cider and tomato sauce; pour over the beef. Add the bay leaf; cover and cook on Low for 6 to 7 hours or until the beef is tender.

3. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into the stew. Cover and cook on High for 15 minutes or until thickened. Discard the bay leaf before serving. Makes 8 to 10 servings.

* You may substitute unsweetened apple juice for the apple cider if desired.



Golden Mushroom Pork and Apples

Simple, easy-to-fix and totally delicious!

2 (10-3/4 ounce) cans condensed golden mushroom soup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
8 boneless pork chops, 3/4-inch thick
4 large Granny Smith apples, sliced
2 large onions, sliced

1. Stir the soup, water, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and thyme in a 3-1/2-quart slow cooker. Add the pork chops and turn to coat with the soup mixture.Top with the apples and onions.

2. Cover and cook on Low for 8 to 9 hours or until the pork chops are cooked through. Makes 8 servings.



Herb-Roasted Chicken

Delicious, juicy, herb-seasoned chicken with colorful roasted vegetables is sure to be a winner at your family dinner table.

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon dried sage
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole chicken (about 3.5 pounds)
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 medium onion, peeled
2 cups chicken broth
6 ounces new potatoes, parboiled
3 bell peppers, de-seeded and cut into quarters
2 medium zucchini, cut into chunks
1 red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil
flat-leaf parsley sprigs, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the butter, sage, garlic and pepper. Carefully loosen the skin from the chicken breast, being careful not to tear.

2. Spread 1/2 the butter-herb mixture under the skin; rub the remaining mixture on the top. Sprinkle with the rosemary. Place whole onion in the chicken cavity and tie the legs together using kitchen string.

3. Place the chicken on a rack in a roasting pan; pour broth into pan. Cover pan with foil and roast for 1 hour. Uncover and cook 40 minutes longer or until juices run clear when meat is pierced. Transfer chicken to serving dish; let stand 15 minutes before serving.

4. Meanwhile, place the parboiled potatoes, zucchini, peppers and onion slices on a separate baking pan; drizzle with the olive oil and bake 35 to 40 minutes until cooked and crisp around the edges. Arrange around the chicken; garnish with parsley sprigs. Makes 6 servings.