Rinse potatoes. Halve or quarter large potatoes for fairly uniform size. Place potatoes in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 5 minutes. Add carrots; cover and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, just until potatoes and carrots are tender.
In a Dutch oven combine potatoes and carrots, beef tips in gravy, and the water. Cook over medium-high heat just until bubbly around edges. Add green onions. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more or until heated through. Ladle into bowls. Sprinkle with thyme.
Substitute 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cut up, for the new potatoes. Along with the chopped green onions, add a handful of chopped kale. Serve the stew with crusty bread or whole grain crackers.