Pot Roast – Good Old-Fashioned Comfort Food

Pot roast was a family favorite when I was growing up, and I think just about every kid’s mom made pot roast. It’s simply one of those good old-fashioned American comfort foods. It requires very little prep time, and just about anyone, regardless of their cooking skill, can whip up a pot roast. Modern cooks have a few more options, such as using a crock pot instead of a roasting pan, and there are a few other variations you can use as well.

My mother never wrote down her pot roast recipe. Some dishes are so basic they really don’t require one. This is how I make a pot roast. No doubt it’s similar to the way the rest of you make your pot roast too.

I start by putting my roast in the roasting pan, and then adding chopped onions, carrots, and potatoes. (Red potatoes work very well). Then, depending on your preferences, you can add celery, shallots, corn, squash, or lima beans, whatever vegetable you like. One time I even tried adding broccoli. It tasted okay, but broccoli doesn’t always smell so nice when it’s cooking, and it left a strong odor in my kitchen. Season the mixture with season salt and pepper. You can also use celery salt, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley, whatever your favorite seasonings happen to be.

I prefer having my pot roast well done, so if I’m baking it in the oven I set the thermostat to 350 and roast it for about 15 minutes per pound.  However, I usually make my pot roast in the crock pot, so I’ll start it in the morning and cook it on low all day. Whichever method you choose, be sure to add about a half cup of water to your mixture before you begin roasting.  That way the roast will stay moist and not get too dry.

Here’s another tip: the leftover roast can be used to make tacos. Place it in an iron skillet, add a little water and some taco seasoning blend, and break up the meat with a spoon as it’s heating.

Enjoy.

GM

Quick and Easy Taco Soup

The other day I came across a couple cans of diced tomatoes I bought by accident as they had diced green chilies in them, and I always by the plain tomatoes.

Just like Rosie, I don’t throw food out. I look at it as a happy accident and a chance to try something new and different. So, after browsing a few online recipes as inspiration, I came up with my own creation, and it’s so good I’ll have to make it again.

Enjoy,

GM

 

QUICK AND EASY TACO SOUP

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes with green chilies (14.5 oz), OR
  • 2 cans plain diced tomatoes with one small can diced green chilies
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 2 cups beef broth or water
  • 1 package taco seasoning mix
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Brown ground beef and onion in a skillet. Drain, and place in small stockpot. Add canned tomatoes, green chilies, corn, black beans and tomato sauce. Add beef broth or water and stir well. Add seasonings. Stir, bring to a boil, turn heat to low, and simmer for approximately ten minutes. Top with broken tortilla chips and cheese, or with a dollop of sour cream and chopped green onions.

 

 

 

Rosie’s Recipe–Hungarian Goulash and a Happy Accident

Sometimes good things can happen when we really don’t mean for them to happen, and where I come from, we call this a happy accident.

Back when I tested this historic recipe for Rosie’s Riveting Recipes, I of course started preparing it according to the original recipe. Tomatoes are an option, but I decided to use a canned of diced tomatoes instead of fresh. Popped open the can and dumped them in, only to discover that I’d added Italian style tomatoes instead of plain tomatoes. Well, no harm done. In fact, that extra flavor gave the recipe some added zing. So, even though it’s not listed as an “official” ingredient, try it with a can of Italian flavored tomatoes, or add a teaspoon of Italian seasoning. You’ll love it.

Enjoy.

GM

HUNGARIAN GOULASH

  • 2 lbs beef chuck, neck or flank meat
  • 2 tablespoons butter, margarine or drippings
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon caraway seed (if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon marjoram
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Paprika

Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Let onion brown in butter, then add meat and let it brown lightly. Add caraway seed, marjoram, salt, chopped garlic and enough paprika to create a noticeable red color. Add 1 cup water, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Whole potatoes may be added to the goulash 1/2 hour before done. Some goulash recipes call for the addition of tomatoes. Strained tomatoes may be substituted for water in this recipe. Makes 6 servings.

Note: Beef or chicken broth can also be substituted for water.

Barbecued Ribs — Crockpot Style

Back in college I had a boyfriend whom I’ll call, “George.” He was studying to be an architect, but had he pursued it, I really believe he would have been a damn fine chef. George was a whiz in the kitchen. He was master at creating simple, tasty dishes on a slim budget. For example, he could take a boring, frozen pizza, pile on his own freshly made toppings, and turn it into a gourmet meal.

One of George’s signature dishes was his short ribs. He’d simply dump them into a crock pot, pour in a bottle of barbecue sauce, and cook them on low for eight hours. They came out so tender that the meat fell right off the bone. Back then neither one of us had access to an outdoor grill, but George’s ribs sure satisfied our yen for barbecue.

Being a good cook myself, I’ve tweaked his recipe, ever so slightly. With food prices the way they are these days, short ribs are like gold, but their ugly cousin, the back rib, is cheaper, flavorful, and works nicely in a crock pot. I simply stack them in, with a little barbecue sauce between the layers, and then add a little sauce on the top, but I don’t use anymore than a quarter to a half of the bottle. The sauce becomes watery as it cooks, so less sauce means less mess and a richer barbeque flavor. It also means some the meat on the top will get a little drier, but it will also have more of the consistency of meat that’s been grilled or broiled. Set the cooker on low, wait about seven or eight hours, and you’ll have yourself a tasty meal. I like to serve mine with scalloped potatoes or baked beans. Or both.

Enjoy.

GM

Beef Chop Suey

This recipe is based on the Heart Chop Suey recipe found in Rosie’s Riveting Recipes. I’ve modified it as many people today would find organ meat yucky, and, in some cases, the organ meat itself may be difficult to find. For this recipe I used stew meat as a substitute, but I think chuck steak, or even a tenderloin, would also do nicely. The end result was a tasty, easy-to-prepare meal that was both healthy and delicious, and, somehow, I think Rosie would approve.

Enjoy.

GM

BEEF CHOP SUEY

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds stew meat or chuck steak
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 1/2 coarsely chopped green pepper
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • 2 cups water (or 2 cups of beef broth, omitting bouillon cubes)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 cups boiled rice

Cut meat into 1/2-inch cubes and dust with flour. Place meat and onion in heavy frying pan and brown in butter or margarine. Add celery, carrots, green pepper and bouillon cubes and 2 cups water. (Beef or chicken stock can be used in place of water and bouillon cubes.) Cover and simmer until tender, about 1 to 1/2 hours. Add seasonings and sauce. Serve with boiled rice or fried Chinese Noodles. Yields 6-8 servings.

Swedish Meatballs

swedish meatballsI’m fortunate because I went to school during a time when home economics was still being taught. And it should still be taught today, since food is kind of important, and knowing how to safely prepare it is an actual life skill. That said, I still have my recipe box from my 7th and 8th grade home economics class, and the recipes are actually quite good.

Here is another classic dish, courtesy of Mrs. Witt’s 8th grade home economics class.

SWEDISH MEATBALLS

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 cup rolled cracker crumbs or breadcrumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • salt and pepper

Combine meat, eggs, onion and crumbs in a large mixing bowl and mix until well blended. Heat oil in a skillet and roll the meat into balls, approximately 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick. Brown meatballs in skillet. Once the meatballs are thoroughly cooked remove them from the skillet and set aside. Stir flour into the pan drippings and add the milk, stirring rapidly. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and place meatballs back in gravy. Salt and pepper to taste. Cover and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes or noodles.

GM

Beef Tips

Beef Tips 2Classic, timeless cuisine doesn’t get any better than this. This recipe is super easy, and it’s one I often prepare at the end of a busy day when I haven’t had much time for cooking.

Enjoy.

GM

BEEF TIPS 

  • 1 to 2 pounds sirloin, round steak or chuck steak, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 small (7 oz) cans of mushrooms
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup red cooking wine
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 1 package brown gravy mix
  • water, milk or beef broth

Chop onion and slice beef into small cubes. Melt butter in a skillet and add onions and beef. Cook until onions are clear and the beef is brown. Add mushrooms, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and cooking wine. Salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. If mixture gets too dry, add beef broth or water. Once beef is tender increase heat to medium, add gravy mix and stir, adding water, milk or beef broth until desired consistency is reached. Serve over toast, noodles or mashed potatoes.

Note: Low sodium gravy mix works best as the soy sauce and Worcester sauce already have plenty of sodium.