Monday, February 10, 2014

Pot Roast

I love my pot roast. Joey loves my pot roast. My daddio loves my pot roast!

So here's how you make you and all of your favorite men and women in your life happy!!

The setup - See the pretty cabinets? ehhhhh.
Top: One big onion, 2 baking potatoes deeply scrubbed (no joke, get the sh*t off of them), baby bella mushrooms, S&P (duh)
Bottom: Carrots (i know, I slacked), celery, 3 lb chuck roast
Missing: Garlic (sorry, late memory)

The way to start it off: Preheat oven to 325. Heat your pot on Med/High while you chop up all of your veggies. You won't need to chop them fine…I do around 2 inch cuts. They get SUPER soft and delish when roasting so you really won't be disappointed. I just cut the onion in half, and sliced into chunks. Carrots- I cheated and bought pre-peeled and baby ones. So basically did similar sized cuts. SORRY!!!! The mushrooms were a suggested from Joey. (great suggestion, ps) Garlic should be chopped. It gets soft too so you won't be biting into big chunks when you are eating.

Step Uno: Pat your beef with a paper towel. It helps the searing process. Do it, don't ask questions!!!  S&P your beef. More than you think. Sear that sucker in your hot pan you have been heating up when you've been cutting up your veggies. 

Brown on both sides for about 7-10 minutes a side or when you can see there is a delightful crust of s&p on there…you will know.  Take the roast out of the pan and put on a plate to rest. I don't waste a good plate on it. Use a plastic plate or an ugly plate. Cooking isn't always pretty.

This tool is awesome to help you get the roast out to rest it before you add all the veggies.
See the purdy crust?

Once you pull out the meat - VERY important: turn heat down to medium/low and make sure to pour white wine or chicken stock (1/2 cup) into your pot to save all those yummy fatty beef flavors that stayed on the bottom of the pan. Then add all the veggies to your pot.

Once I put all of my veggies minus the potatoes in the pot, I realized there really wasn't room for the taters. This was kinda awesome because they are better roasted anyway….more on that in a second.

I took all the veggies out onto a plate after about 15 minutes of stirring, and getting a little browning on them...and then put my roast at the bottom of the empty pan, covered it with chicken stock (you can add any stock you want but that's what I had) and then added my veggies back on top!

Cover that sucker and leave it alone for 3 hours!

All the pretty veggies pre-roasted

Best way in the world to make sure you season your potatoes right: big plastic bag. I put my potatoes in the bag (cut them to about equal size), olive oil, rosemary, thyme, and s&p. Really, however much you want.  I do the same method with all veggies. Start small, then close the bag, throw it around, and see what distributed. Add more if you are feeling wild (:-) When there was 30 minutes left on my roast (after 2.5 hours the roast was already in the oven at 325) I put them on a pan and put them in the oven. They will be done at the same time your roast is.

After around 3 hours, your roast should be inventing your own candle scent to how great it smells in your house. But, alas, we all can't do that, so take the top off your pot,  break up the roast with tongs, and dish out as MUCH as you want! 

And that's all she wrote. You can plate it however you feel!

Errrr. Doesn't look like there is roast on there, but there is!! It's hidden behind all the delish veggies. Trust.

Sometimes I make gravy out of the drippings but did not tonight. Will share that later! It's still good with the drippings poured over your whole dish. Make sure you get all the goods on your plate. 

Tell me what you make in one pot!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Homemade Marinara

MUCH, MUCH easier than you think. Now I just need to learn to can stuff and will have this on a whim all the time. So simple, so delicious, and really really easy. Please make this! I know Prego is the solution! I used it up until I made this sauce. Plus, you can say it is homemade!!!!

I actually made some more pasta (whole wheat!) dough the other day but had not made a sauce to go with it yet. Remember, I am a newbie…nothing is always perfect like TV chefs make you think. Was a bit weary about the wheat pasta.. How would the texture be? Would it be mush?  More on that later. Don't you wish sometimes on food network they would cringe when they taste the end result because they messed up? Ok, whatever, I'm the Debbie Downer. But sometimes, your food ain't perfection. It is what it is. This time, it's good.

This marinara is  Giada's and is excellent.  I may have changed a couple of measurements like keeping all the veggies, but it's basically the same. Sweet from the tomatoes, savory, rich, decadent. All you wish for in a great pasta sauce.

I cut Giada's recipe in half (sorta) because it makes a ton and I am just feeding 2!

1/4 c olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic (we love garlic in our house), minced
2 carrots chopped
3 celery stalks (they were very small), chopped
1 32 oz can crushed tomatoes (we used Hunt's brand it was amazing but any crushed will do!)
2 bay leaves (still used 2 because I love the flavor they give to a sauce)

Add olive oil to your pot- any pot will do!!! - and sweat (stir every 3 minutes until they look glossy) your chopped onions down for about 10 minutes. Giada's recipe tells you to add the garlic as same time as the onions, but I find that makes the garlic burn and turn bitter. I added the garlic after the onions turned translucent. When you add the garlic, add the chopped celery and carrot.  Let those cook and stir every couple of minutes for about 10-15 minutes.

Then, add a 32 oz can of crushed tomatoes, 2 bay leaves, and stir…. THEN WALK AWAY. Really. For an hour. You have to let all those yummy flavors marry. But really, you are done making the sauce! All you have to do is stir every so often…but yes, you are going to make homemade marinara that quick!

I peeked - and stirred. MMMMMM

You don't have to do this next step, but I did just to make it a little smoother. If you like chunky sauce skip this step.  I used an immersion blender for just a couple of whirls to get it a little smoother. 

Here's my yummy pasta recipe- For the whole wheat pasta I cut the all purpose flour in half and used whole wheat in place. You still need the gluten in the AP flour to make the particular recipe I used work. Here's where it went awry! So, when you freeze your pasta, make SURE you flour it liberally…i mean, coat those babies with more flour than you think. Luckily, I defrosted some dough I hadn't cut into spaghetti yet and did it the right way. See the pic below. Those noodles need to be DRESSED in flour. Just do it. You will thank me later. I thought it looked wrong, but it was soooo right.

My cheat boil - a fry daddy basket :-)
When I boil my pasta I used SALTY SALTY water. 
Ooooh weeeeeee. Doesn't this look excellent? Don't say so if not.

Sprinkle some parm on there. 

Enjoy! Let me know what sauces you like with pasta. Mine obviously are those of the unhealthy variety. :-)