Slow Cooker Pot Roast

There are some times when a picture is not worth a thousand words. This is one of those times. Some dishes don’t photograph well even for people with good photography skills, and since I don’t have those, I end up with a photo like the one above. But you need to trust me on this one. Even though it isn’t very pretty, this pot roast is so good. And it fulfills (almost) every possible recipe desire!

Comfort food? Check

Easy to make? Check

Meat and potatoes dish for the man in your life? Check

Minimal list of ingredients? Check

Great leftovers? Check

Makes the house smell uber-yummy all day? Check

So even if you can’t trust the picture, please trust the words. This recipe really is easy, tasty, and perfect for those chilly fall and winter days when the comfort food cravings are strong. I like to serve the meat and lots of gravy over egg noodles or mashed potatoes, and the leftovers make awesome French Dip Sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast (my own recipe)

3-3.5 lb. chuck roast*
2 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 large yellow onion
2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 packet dry onion soup/dip mix
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup red wine**
*I find the cut marked “chuck tender roast” is my favorite, but cuts marked “chuck roast” or “pot roast” work well also.
**You can substitute beef broth for the wine, but if you do, use low sodium broth and condensed soup.

 

Slice onion into 1/2-3/4 inch slices, crosswise (as if making onion rings). Place slices into slow cooker (you are making a place for the roast to sit). In a bowl, stir together condensed soup, dry soup mix, water, and wine.

Liberally salt and pepper both sides of the chuck roast and dredge both sides in flour. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear roast on both sides until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes per side.

Transfer roast to slow cooker, placing on top of onion slices. Pour soup/wine mix over the roast. Cook on low 7-8 hours. Shred meat with a fork, removing any excess fat, and serve over preferred starch with lots of gravy.

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Project Pastry Queen: King Ranch Casserole

I just recently discovered the Project Pastry Queen group and this is my first recipe from the project. In the spirit of full disclosure, I will say that I changed the recipe some to make it easier for myself. I used boxed chicken stock and the shredded meat from two chicken breasts that I roasted in the oven. I also couldn’t find New Mexico chilies at my grocery store (I think they are just heading out of season), and honestly I was too lazy to roast my own chilies anyway, so I used a can of mild fire roasted green chilies.

That being said, Big Man and I loved this dish. It was hearty and filling with just the right spice level. I really liked how thick and creamy the filling was even though it didn’t have any condensed soup like most similar casseroles. I even liked the mushrooms, and I am in general a hater of cooked mushrooms. Overall, this recipe was a big success and one I will definitely make again.

This PPQ recipe was hosted by Jody, so head over here to see the full recipe

 

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Chicken Fricassee

Comfort is a big thing to me. And it can come in all sorts of forms, but I really try to make my home a source of comfort for myself and the rest of my family. Lots of snuggly covers and stuffed animals on the bed. Wearing comfy clothes and going barefoot around the house. Meals that are tasty and low maintenance so all my time isn’t spent cooking and cleaning up afterwards. And the best part is that my family provides all the comfort I really need. Little Man resting his head on my shoulder and hugging me, especially when he is sleepy and extra-cuddly. Little Lady falling asleep in my arms. And my favorite, hugs and snuggles with Big Man, which give me the greatest feeling of comfort in the world.

Food is a big part of it for me too. I know most people have comfort foods, and I am no different. Even the smells associated with certain dishes make me feel warm and happy and home. This dish is one of those comfort foods for me. My mom made it a lot when I was growing up and I make it whenever I need a little extra “home comfort.” It is light enough to eat when the weather is warm, but hearty and filling in the winter too. And it makes the house smell amazing as it cooks: white wine, garlic, herbs, and tomatoes. Major win.

I think the original recipe came from Cooking Light magazine, but my mom changed it a little and I modified her version to make it easier. I think it is best served with lots of hot buttered bread to soak up the sauce. I hope you find this dish comfort on a plate, like I do.

1/4 cup flour
2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
1 Tbs olive oil
12 cloves garlic, finely chopped (about 2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 cups dry white wine
1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup black olives, pitted
1 Tbs dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbs tomato paste
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Dredge chicken in flour and add to pan. Brown chicken on both sides, about 3-5 minutes per side. Remove chicken from pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 90 seconds. Add the wine to deglaze the pan, stirring to pick up any bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the remaining ingredients, stir well, and return the chicken to the pan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Serve with bread to soak up the extra sauce.

Hamburger Gravy

Yesterday was Monday. When I quit my old job to start homekeeping, I had this great hope that Mondays would no longer feel like Mondays since I wouldn’t have to leave the house to go to work. Maybe Mondays would be filled with happiness and anticipation of a great week. Mondays would be the new Thursdays – not quite the weekend, but close enough to encourage a good mood.  I have since discovered that my hope was utterly unfounded. Seriously. Mondays are still Mondays. Blah.

Part of “the Mondays” for me usually means laziness about cooking. I go back to being the only parent in the house after two days of having Big Man here to help. I have piles of laundry to do because I didn’t do the two loads on the weekend like I told myself I would. (I need to stop lying to myself. I will never do laundry on the weekend. It’s a lost cause). So by the time the afternoon rolls around and I need to start making dinner, I’m very tempted to order a pizza or eat cereal for dinner.

Enter Hamburger Gravy. It’s quick to make, inexpensive, requires few ingredients, and is totally delicious! And there are several different serving options. I have used mashed potatoes, egg noodles, biscuits, and grilled bread.  My favorite is the grilled bread, but really they are all delicious.  Add steam-in-the-microwave veggies and you have a complete meal in about 20 minutes. Win!

This is my version, adapted from Allrecipes.  Serves 2


1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 onion, diced (I prefer yellow or Vidalia onions)
1 1/4 cups milk
1 tsp beef bouillon granules
1 tbs butter
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbs flour
Salt and Pepper to Taste


Brown ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat.  Once beef is cooked, drain off any fat more than what is needed to coat the bottom of the skillet.  Add onion and cook until the onion begins to soften


Pour 1 cup of the milk in the skillet and stir, scraping up any brown bits. Add in the bouillon, butter, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil and simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes.


Whisk the four into the remaining milk until mostly smooth and add into the skillet, stirring constantly. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.  Adjust with more flour or milk as needed to achieve desired consistency.


Serve over your starch of choice and enjoy a home-cooked meal, even on a Monday.