Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Crock Pot Wednesday: Beef and Pork Roasts in the Crock Pot

Final product--beef roast with potatoes, carrots, and green beans

If you follow our Crock Pot Wednesdays, you have read about the many soups and stews that I do for our lunch on Wednesdays while we teach classes. Our oldest son is soup-crazy, so I started the tradition for him as he comes to teach with me each week.

Classes are over, but I do want to continue the Crock Pot Wednesday tradition because so many of the entrees in the crock pot are so simple--and one dish!

Today I did a beef roast, potatoes, carrots, and green beans in the crock pot. While I don't have a specific recipe for you, I do have many tips and ideas for the weekly "meat and potatoes" meal that I do.

Here you go:

1. By knowing that one meal is going to be "meat and potatoes" (preferably all in one dish) meal, I know every week that one meal is "covered," so to speak (without too much planning and thinking). My meat and potatoes meals usually consist of one of the following:

~Cheesy potatoes with ham
~Beef roast with veggies (like above)
~Pork roast sided with potato wedges in oven or with the veggies in it (like above)
~Pork roast that is more of a sweet and sour type sided with rice (not true meat and potatoes!)
~Beef stew
~Chicken stew
~Meatloaf with whole potatoes around it
~Beef roast with mashed potatoes (seldom--too much extra work!)

2. I almost always cook my roasts in cooking bags---even if they are in the crock pot. I don't usually buy expensive cuts of meat, so the small price I am paying for the "oven cooking bag" helps make the meat more tender.

3. Sometimes if I find one of those pork roasts or corn beef roasts with the seasonings already in the packet or on the meat, I go for them! Something about knowing the meat is tenderized and seasoned makes that day's main meal feel really easy!

4. I seldom cook my vegetables in with my meat. It sometimes tastes as though the potatoes are overcooked in order to get the meat done, etc. Thus, I always steam+ my veggies in the micro and add them to the oven bag (or dump the oven bag the last bit) during the last hour or two to mix flavors. (If you are not opposed to using a microwave oven, I encourage you to do more and more cooking in it. I put fresh veggies in (one type at a time), put a 1/4 cup of broth on them, and cover--and steam cook in the microwave until nearly done. I also do this on stir fry night for stir fried veggies, like carrots, that take longer to cook than the other stir fried veggies I am using.) +For potatoes, I often use my "potato trick."

5. To make stews (chicken or beef), I cut up my meat and put it in the crock pot early in the day with either store bought soups or homemade soups and a small amount (cup or two, depending on size of crock and amount of meat) of rich broth. (If using canned broth, I add base to the broth to deepen the taste.) I also add onions, bay leaves, and other seasonings. This becomes my "starter" for my stews. Then later in the day, when the meat is nearly done, I add the steamed veggies as described above in number four.

6. The richest, best beef roast I make is rolled roast with mushroom soup, deep broth, onions, peppercorns, and bay leaves. Before I put the roast in that mixture, I rub it with a tablespoon or two of coffee, some garlic, and Mrs. Dash. This makes the best gravy ever!

I love having a day each week dedicated to "meat and potatoes." It fills my four guys up--and gives my mind a partial day off from thinking about dinner too much! Happy crocking!

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