mystery readers

Marnie Reilly’s Beef Stew and Pot Roast Recipe

Beef Stew and Pot Roast
Beef Stew / Pot Roast ready for the oven.

Beef stew and pot roast are two of Marnie Reilly’s most requested dinners. Detective Tom Keller and Carl Parkins are particularly fond of her pot roast – and raspberry pie (recipe coming soon). As it happens, both dishes (and raspberry pie) are some of my favorite comfort foods.

I have never seen this specific recipe written down – but this is loosely how my parents ( and Marnie’s parents) made pot roast and beef stew. Over the years, I have adjusted the recipe to my taste; and I have added in the extra garlic, the celery and mushrooms.

Beef Stew / Pot Roast Ingredients

1 medium yellow or red onion – chopped
1 celery stalk – chopped
3-6 cloves of garlic, crushed (this will depend on how much you like garlic – I use 6 cloves)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms (optional)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter (divided)
3 Tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
½ teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon of thyme leaves (optional)
3-5 pound chuck roast (leave whole for pot roast / cut into 1-inch cubes for stew
1 10 oz can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup
10 oz of water (use the soup can to measure
2 cups of beef stock
8 baby potatoes, halved
10-12 ounces baby carrots

Method

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add the flour, salt, pepper and thyme leaves to a zip-lock bag. Close bag and shake to mix. Unzip bag and add the whole chuck roast or beef cubes pending pot roast or stew preference. Zip the bag, and shake to coat beef with flour mixture.

Add olive oil and 2 Tablespoons of butter to a 5 quart Dutch oven (with cover). Melt butter over medium heat. Add beef and turn to brown on all sides. Remove beef to a bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of butter and stir until melted – scraping up browned bits from the beef. Add onions and garlic. Cook 3-5 minutes over medium heat. Add mushrooms. Cook 8 minutes – stirring occasionally. Add beef and juices back to pan and stir to mix thoroughly.

In the bowl you used for the beef, mix together cream of mushroom soup and 1 can of water. Add to Dutch oven when thoroughly mixed. Add beef stock, baby potatoes and carrots. Cover and place in oven for 2-3 hours (or until meat easily pulls apart).

You can also place is a slow cooker on low for 6-8 hours.

Enjoy!

Divine Guidance and Torn Veil – Reviews from the Writing Community

Divine Guidance and Torn Veil have recently received some lovely plugs from the writing community. A good book review is always a wonderful acknowledgement of the hard work that has gone into writing a book.

I am grateful to have connected with a strong network of writers who don’t view one another as competition – but view one another as a sounding board, a source for valuable information and a support network of empathetic individuals who cheer one another on each and every day.

Divine Guidance

Divine Guidance

“This mystery had me guessing right up to the twisty end. If you like strong female leads, smart and protective pooches, and stories with a paranormal influence, give this series a try.”

-Brook Peterson, Author of History of Murder


“In Divine Guidance, psychic psychologist Marnie Reilly finds herself the target of a shady group known as “The Collective.” With the help of Detective Daniel Gregg and her faithful Border Collie, Tater, Marnie must uncover the mysterious forces at work in Creekwood before it’s too late.

Marnie is a straight-talking sleuth in the grand tradition of a classic mystery series. Fans of Lisa Gardener’s D.D. Warren will appreciate Marnie’s ‘no bull’ attitude. Tater steals every scene he’s in and is worthy of his own spin-off series.

Author Shari T. Mitchell fills Creekwood with characters who are themselves characters, and gives this murder mystery a fun paranormal, holiday twist.”

Joanna Monahan, Author


“When a body shows up in Marni’s backyard shed, her world is turned upside down! A quick-paced thriller with threats around every corner, plus psychics and charlatans and family secrets and secrets exposed, and don’t forget furry sleuth Tater, Marni’s ever-faithful border collie. Spirits abound and things aren’t always what they seem in this great book by Shari Mitchell!”

– Jennifer Brasington-Crowley, Author


“This is the type of book that tells so much more than a story. It tells of a character that has a great soul and personality that a reader can’t help but think of someone who the protagonist reminds them of. From personality traits to behaviours, Marnie Reilly is a wonderful character. Honest, bold, compassionate, intuitive and someone who wants to nurture others. Her love for her dog, Tater, her baking and her psychic abilities drew me in almost immediately. The other characters had endearing qualities that helped knit the story together nicely, with an injection of deviance and danger from a serial killer on the loose.
With a back story of loss, buried emotions and clairvoyance abilities, Marnie is protected by a police team, and becomes part of a hunt for a killer at large. As relationships develop and the plot thickens, we are taken on a journey of excitement, risk, suspense, humour and friendship. Tater the dog is a beautiful touch to a book written with skill, knowledge and heart. Brilliant! I’m looking forward to the second instalment and more from this amazing writer. Highly recommended.[Divine Guidance]This is the type of book that tells so much more than a story. It tells of a character that has a great soul and personality that a reader can’t help but think of someone who the protagonist reminds them of. From personality traits to behaviours, Marnie Reilly is a wonderful character. Honest, bold, compassionate, intuitive and someone who wants to nurture others. Her love for her dog, Tater, her baking and her psychic abilities drew me in almost immediately. The other characters had endearing qualities that helped knit the story together nicely, with an injection of deviance and danger from a serial killer on the loose.
With a back story of loss, buried emotions and clairvoyance abilities, Marnie is protected by a police team, and becomes part of a hunt for a killer at large. As relationships develop and the plot thickens, we are taken on a journey of excitement, risk, suspense, humour and friendship. Tater the dog is a beautiful touch to a book written with skill, knowledge and heart. Brilliant! I’m looking forward to the second instalment and more from this amazing writer. Highly recommended.”

-Helen Aitchison, Author


“Divine Guidance grabs you and does not let go!

It’s been a long time since a book kept me up and reading past midnight. I just could not put down Shari T. Mitchell’s “Divine Guidance.”

Let me be frank: Mitchell crafted a story that scared the bejesus out of me – and it wasn’t the paranormal aspects of the story making my heart race! The murders and attempted murders happening around main character Marnie Reilly made me jittery. With ingredients like an abusive ex-boyfriend, a wild ice storm closing the roads, and a stalker-murderer running loose, you certainly have a recipe for a solid creep fest!

But the author doesn’t rely on bumps in the night to create a compelling tale. She’s also written a sound mystery-thriller with a flawed main character, who despite her rough edges, is good and kind at heart. She’s also believable.

We meet Marnie in an off-beat setting right before she tips the apple cart – angering her “peers” while taking the high road. From the get-go we understand that Marnie is not only tough, but also willing to do the hard things. And yet, she’s not this larger-than-life superwoman we can’t imagine as being real. She’s experienced significant loss and struggled with a frightening past (abusive relationship revealed in memories / current discussions). She’s human.

While the paranormal is present in this story, the mundane is what takes center stage. Imagine this: You are trapped at home with a maniac running rampant – but the ice storm prevents help from coming to you. At first the reader thinks: thank goodness police officers are stuck at Marnie’s house, too.

Then more attacks come. When the police are with you and you’re still in danger, how can it get any worse? The level of suspense the author creates during several scenes when you know the killer is watching them – and the characters know too! – is through the roof. I do not know how the author managed to sustain a level of constant unease, but she nailed it. I had to keep reading.

The author moves the drama from one place to another while keeping the tension high. There was literally one scene at Detective Gregg’s house that scared me because the buildup to the scene was so well done that when it came, I was wishing it wasn’t dark outside. (I was also glad I didn’t have an attic!)

Author Mitchell also brought in some complex relationships. Early on Marnie calls another character a charlatan – a “soul-sucking trickster” and the reader would agree. And yet this character displays a completely different side, helping Marnie when she’s in danger. This “relationship” of sorts has many layers, and it was intriguing to sort out what the current status between Marnie and this other really meant. There is a scene in Marnie’s home that involves a pipe (tobacco pipe). These little touches keep the reader wondering who was who and who was friend or foe.

As a reader, I want to know more about The Collective. Marnie has clearly angered this group of psychics and they have some power – but how much of it is real and how much of it depends on the fragility of the mind of their target? This could be why Marnie is wary but not openly fearful of this group. I hope to learn more in the follow-up to “Divine Guidance.”

With all the “normal” drama, there is a paranormal element, of course. For me it wasn’t the biggest part of the plotline but added to it. And a reminder: while it might be useful to learn from the dead (ghosts), it’s not always a happy experience.

Lastly, the supportive cast of characters around Marnie – her lovable dog Tater, the police, the detective, and her friends – certainly round out the story. There are a couple of big surprises at the end that beg the questions: In the circle of family and friends, who can you trust? Who is lying and who is dangerous?”

-Tracy Brown, Author


Torn Veil

Torn Veil (sequel to Divine Guidance)

“A sequel every bit as good as the first book – possibly even better!

It’s difficult to write a sequel worthy of a great first book, but Shari T. Mitchell did just that with the latest installment of the Marnie Reilly Mysteries, “Torn Veil.”

In this book, the reader is treated to so many layers building a strong plot. How did the author keep track of them all? Luckily for readers Mitchell manages this well, creating an intricate storyline with many moving parts while not losing the reader for a minute.

This time around we join a main character (Marnie Reilly) who is more willing to accept help as her life is turned upside down once again with the discovery of a dead body. She’s still tough, she’s still smart, and she’s definitely confident – but we’re diving into a complex character. Marnie’s not superwoman and she has fears, too. There’s also the matter of a blockage of sorts with her sixth sense. This limitation puts her at risk even more. We also find a Marnie who must work out which players are her friends, and who is the fraud. Author Mitchell does an EXCELLENT job of keeping the reader guessing.

Mitchell is a master of bringing in the bits: Here’s a character – let’s allow her to brush by – this will be important later. Or, here’s a snippet of conversation that will eventually point to a big piece of the puzzle. (Did you catch it, reader?) That’s part of the magic happening when you read a book by Shari T. Mitchell: you develop a habit of noting everything because it just might be important later and you are rewarded with an “aha!” moment. And again, the author delivers it in such a way that you are not lost.

It seems that author Mitchell is building a family for Marnie in “Torn Veil” – which really feels good. Marnie has been through so much already. This eclectic family-building isn’t just a safe haven for Marnie’s mental well-being, it’s a comfort for the reader as we become further invested in her story. We’re scared for Marnie more than once, and we hold onto the belief that the love surrounding her will provide the much-needed safety net when the time comes.

Returning readers to this series will recognize a favorite cast of supporting characters: the lovable and loyal Detective Tom Keller, and of course, the sexy, strong, and supportive Detective Danny Gregg. It may be getting colder outside, but it’s heating up between Marnie and Danny. This developing relationship is such a nice side story that does not overwhelm the drama and mystery. Other familiar – and new faces – fill in the population of Creekwood. We’re also glad to see Tater, Marnie’s beloved border collie, playing with some new pals.

The paranormal is definitely present in this latest installment, and we get some peeks into a darker side of people who operate in this world. And yet, Mitchell uses her characters to remind us that some evil only has power if you give up yours. How the paranormal is related to the events in the book – or not – is quite clever. There are some solid twists that make so much sense when all is revealed!

“Torn Veil” is crafted in such a way that you want to try and figure out who is who, and what is really at play. How did I do? I had my ideas, but ultimately Mitchell dished out some big surprises. There were a few things I did not see coming but worked perfectly with the storyline. That’s so much fun for a mystery reader!

If you haven’t yet started the Marnie Reilly Mystery Series, don’t wait a second longer. This is the perfect season to get familiar with Mitchell’s bunch! “Fatal Vow,” the third book in the Marnie Reilly Mysteries, is due out in 2022. I’m on pins and needles waiting for it. I know I’ll definitely be ordering the book as soon as it’s available for pre-sale. I. Can’t. Wait!”

-T.L. Brown, Author


“It’s Christmas time in Creekwood, and psychic psychologist Marnie Reilly is being stalked by shadows from her past. After a near-death experience, she is unable to reach across the veil to ask her departed loved ones for guidance.

In Torn Veil, everyone has secrets, and no one is who they seem. Luckily, Marnie, Tater, and Detective Daniel Gregg are more than equal to the task of uncovering the evil that has come to Creekwood.

Shari T. Mitchell has written a twisty paranormal murder mystery that keeps the reader in suspense to the very last page.”

-Joanna Monahan, Author


Divine Guidance and Torn Veil are available in paperback and Kindle from Amazon and other book resellers.