Monthly Archives:

December 2016

Beer and Wine Pairings/ Canadian Recipes/ Featured/ Meal Planning

Weekday Pot Roast

Weekday Pot Roast Dinner

One of the hardest things that I had to come to terms with after having a baby is that I don’t run the schedule anymore. Prior to having a baby, I was an extreme type-A person, and my cooking was run on a tight schedule. I prided myself on my ability to time dinner prep perfectly so that I was plating it up just as the husband was walking in the door. Now with a baby, that is completely unrealistic. Dinner prep now is interrupted multiple times with crying and feedings and there’s no guarantee when it will be plated up!

I’ve heard from other moms that slow cooker meals are lifesavers when it comes to preparing weekday meals. You just throw a few ingredients into a slow cooker and let it cook by itself. Admittedly, I have yet to find a slow cooker meal that I love. I find them all to be bland and it literally tastes like you threw a bunch of ingredients together to cook with no technique or finesse. (I know, I kind of sound like a culinary snob there, didn’t I?)

Anyways, I will continue my search for a decent slow cooker meal, but in the meantime, I have this pot roast recipe that I have been making at least once a week. There are three reasons why I love this recipe:

  1. It takes about 10-15 minutes to prep and brown the vegetables and the meat. This is about the maximum amount of time my baby will peacefully sit in her bouncy chair and watch me cook.
  2. I use a cup of red wine to deglaze the pot. This gives me the perfect excuse to open up a bottle of red wine and have a glass. I mean, I could also use beef broth to deglaze the pot but what would be the fun in that?
  3. After everything has been prepped and browned, you toss everything back in the pot and let it simmer for 4 to 5 hours. I just love that wide time range – 4 to 5 hours means that even if at the 4 hour mark, I get derailed by a crying baby who needs to be fed, it’s not that big of a deal.

This pot roast is best prepared in a Dutch Oven (or French Oven). On my Christmas wish list is a Le Creuset French Oven.

On my Christmas wish list – the Le Creuset French Oven, perfect for roasts and stews.

These things are so pricey but would be well worth the investment. However, since I don’t have one yet, I just use a big pot and it works just fine.

For the meat, I usually buy whatever roast is on sale that week. It doesn’t have to be a premium cut of meat because 4-5 hours of cooking will make any cut of meat super tender and flavourful. The meat falls apart when you take it out of the pot. This week at Sobeys, “inside round marinating oven roasts” were on sale so that’s what I used.

I serve this roast with the carrots that were cooked along with it, some mashed potatoes and a quick gravy made with the liquid in the pot.

Browned meat and veggies, swimming in broth and red wine, ready to simmer for 5 hours

It’s the perfect weekday meal for these cold winter nights. Also, I should mention that after 4-5 hours of cooking time, your house smells super delicious – it smells like you put in way more effort to make this meal than you actually did!

As you can see in the photo above, we paired this particular dinner with the Stark Raving red wine. There’s no rhyme or reason for this – the Stark Raving red is the every day drinking wine in our house, so when I don’t have a particular wine preference to pair with a meal, we default to the Stark Raving. It’s an easy drinking red blend that pairs well with everything and it’s a decent price (~$15).

Give this recipe a try and let me know what you think. Also, if anyone has any delicious slow cooker meals that will convert me into a slow cooker believer, then please share!

Weekday Pot Roast

Print Recipe
Serves: 4 Cooking Time: 15 minute prep, 4-5 hours cooking time

Ingredients

  • 3-5 lb roast
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 whole yellow onions, peeled and halved
  • 8 whole carrots, peeled and cut in half (4 inch pieces)
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

1

Season the roast all over and well with salt and pepper.

2

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Brown the halved onions on both sides and set the onions aside on a plate.

3

Brown the carrots in the pot and set aside with the onions.

4

Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the pot and sear the meat for one minute on all sides until it is brown all over. Remove the roast and set aside with the carrots and onions.

5

Deglaze the pot with the red wine, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Place the roast and the vegetables back into the pot and add 3 cups of the beef broth to almost cover the meat.

6

Add the fresh herbs, put a lid on the pot and cook on medium-low heat for 4-5 hours.

7

If you're making a gravy, after the 4-5 hours of cooking time, take a cup or two of the liquid in the pot and strain into a small sauce pan. Whisk together 1 tbsp of cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water, and then add to the sauce pan. Heat over medium heat, whisking occasionally until the gravy thickens. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Canadian Recipes/ Featured

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been feeling a little lazy lately. With this gloomy and cold weather, all I’ve wanted to do is cuddle up with my baby and binge watch The West Wing (Martin Sheen For President!). I was a little too young to appreciate this show when it was on TV years ago, but man, I am addicted now! The writing is quick, intelligent, witty and at times, emotional. The characters are so relatable and believable, and the acting is so good I forget that they are actors. I’m on season 6 of 7, and I can already feel the depression setting in for when I’ve finished the DVDs. Does anyone have any other intelligent, political show recommendations? I’m already caught up on House of Cards but I might rewatch all of the seasons after I finish The West Wing.  Anyways, I digress…

My baby slept well last night so I also have some extra energy today to make a nice homemade soup. This creamy tomato soup is perfect for cold snaps like today. It’s full of fresh vegetables and vitamins which will help you stave off all the cold and flu germs that are going around. There are so many recipes out there that use canned tomatoes in the soup, but this recipe uses fresh whole tomatoes. Trust me – the taste difference is unreal.

Can we also talk about how economical it is to make this fresh homemade soup? You can get all the ingredients to make a big pot of this soup for under $15 – even less when the broth or tomatoes are on sale (which they often are at Sobeys or Safeway).

Give this soup a try this week and I promise it will warm you right up. Serve it with this pan bread or with a grilled cheese sandwich for a heartier meal.

cream-of-tomato-soup

Fresh Cream of Tomato Soup

Print Recipe
Serves: 6 Cooking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 large tomatoes, chopped and deseeded ( when you chop tomatoes most of the pulpy seeds fall out so I just discard them)
  • 1 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

1

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes.

2

Add the garlic and sauté another minute.

3

Add the tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, chicken broth, salt and pepper and stir well. Increase the heat and bring to a boil.

4

Then lower the heat and let the soup simmer uncovered for 40 minutes.

5

Add the cream to the soup and puree using a handheld immersion blender.

6

Remove from heat and enjoy with a grilled cheese sandwich, crackers or croutons.