Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Crock Pot Roast Beef and Potatoes

I wasn't lying when I said I've been going nuts with the Crock Pot lately! Yesterday I made my first roast in the Crock Pot and DANG it turned out amazing! I have to tell you I think the Crock Pot is a totally fool-proof amazing way to cook. It has certainly put food back on our table this year, as we have a squirmy toddler who has to be barred from the kitchen via baby gate. It is so easy for me to throw a bunch of ingredients in my slow cooker in the morning when she is restrained in her high chair eating breakfast and it is so SATISFYING to have dinner ready to go when we're ready to eat at around 5:3o pm. God bless you, Inventor of the Crock Pot!

Here's what I did:

First add to your Crock Pot:
3-4 red potatoes (mine were on the large side) cut up in large chunks with the skin on. You could probably also use Baby Golds. Whatever you like or have available.
One large cubed onion.
4ish carrots, cut into chunks. I used regular unpeeled carrots, but you could also throw in a few handfuls of the washed and peeled baby carrots that we all know and love.
A heaping tablespoon of minced garlic (I have a huge Costco jar on hand in the fridge ... best purchase EVER MADE at Costco if you ask me).
One bay leaf
One cup of beef broth

Get a ~3 lb. chuck roast, coat it generously on both sides with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, and garlic powder. Then coat it with flour and sear it on all sides in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Place it on top of the potatoes and carrots in your slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Serve with biscuits and the drippings (or "juice" as we call it) for dinner and everyone will think they've died and gone to heaven.

(As a side note, the way to know that your roast is "done" is when its texture changes from kinda "hard" ... in other words if you poke it with a fork or squeeze it with your tongs it won't have a lot of give. When it's done it will be all floppy and falling apart and unwieldy and AMAZING so just be careful not to drop it on the floor when you remove it from the slow cooker or you just might cry. I would.)

Julie & Julia

Last night I finally saw the movie Julie & Julia. Naturally I thought it was WONDERFUL as it focuses on two of my favorite subjects: Writing and cooking! My husband watched it with me and even had to admit that it was a fantastic film. I related to it on so many levels ... especially how Julie, a writer, loves to blow off steam by cooking. Meryl Streep is obviously an amazing actress and played Julia so well, the food all looked FANTASTIC, and yes, it inspired me to cook and I totally printed out the recipe for Julia Child's Beof Bourguignon this morning ... three complicated pages. Oof. It might be a while before I get to that one as I am a person who doesn't attempt a recipe unless it is easy to make and isn't particularly labor-intensive (for instance, my Crock Pot has been getting a major workout this winter).

My favorite part of the movie had to be the story of Julia and Paul Child's marriage. Nora Ephron, you get props from me: You know how to tell a story.

If you love to cook, or even just watch cooking shows, you will love this movie!!

Here's a link to the Julie/Julia project blog that is featured in the movie. I'm about to go and devour it!)

Chicken Tortilla Soup in the Crock Pot

My Crock Pot has been getting a lot of use lately! My friend Kara (famous for her Governor Bar recipe, woah mama) recently posted on Facebook that she made chicken tortilla soup in her Crock Pot. I was intrigued and immediately asked for the recipe. I make another version of chicken tortilla soup every so often but it is a bit labor intensive, so I don't make it a lot even though it's delicious. I was able to throw this recipe together with stuff I already had on hand and poof! Dinner appeared! We were all pleased. Hope you enjoy it too!

Here's the recipe cut and pasted straight out of Facebook. Thanks Kara!!

1. 4 chicken breasts (I put mine in frozen)
2. 2 cans chicken broth
3. 2 cans diced tomatoes
4. 1 cup salsa... See More
5. 1/2 cup chopped cilantro (or 2 T dry)
6. 1 T Cumin
7. 1 can black beans (drained)
8. 1 can corn

-put all ingredients in and mix it up.
-cook in crockpot on low for 8-10 hours
-I shred the chicken an hour before done cooking
-serve with tortilla chips and cheddar cheese

(You can modify this recipe to your liking. I've substituted RoTel for one or both cans of tomatoes, I usually dump in a lot more salsa - we get the medium pico de gallo kind - and I also add chili powder and extra cumin for more umph. But this recipe as is is REALLY good. I just enjoy playing around and not following directions. Story of my life.)