My mother taught me how to make beef stew years ago before I became a mother myself. This is a very simple recipe anyone can make it. I did change the method for making gravy but kept everything else the same. (My mother used gravy master and corn starch). I made this last night and my two year old who is a very picky eater ate two bowls. Score!!
In a large pot on the stove add a few tbsp of oil, salt and pepper and brown the stew meat on medium heat. Next add 4 cups of water and the carrots and turn heat up to high. Boil until carrots start to get soft. In the meantime peel and quarter the potatoes. Keep them large so they do not fall apart in the stew. Add 3 more cups of water and the potatoes and onions. Boil until potatoes get soft. Add two more cups of water. Add the three gravy packets to 1/4 cup of water in a cup and stir. Pour into pot. Turn heat down to low. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Add more salt and pepper if needed.
***Optional: Sometimes I add 1-2 stalks of chopped celery (add the same time you add carrots) or a cup of frozen peas (add after you pour in the gravy mixture).