Sunday, September 27, 2009

musical theater

One of Ryan's classes this year is Musical Theater, which he's pretty excited about. In class, they have been starting to learn the music to this year's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie.

"Well, I'm officially a Soprano!" he said when I picked him up from school one day last week. "But I'm pretty sure that's only because I haven't gotten my "man-voice" yet."

Monday, September 7, 2009

how the crock pot saves me on soccer nights, part 1 - pot roast

Welcome to the first of a series of posts about how my crock pot saves me on soccer nights! Jackson and Emily have soccer practice on the same nights, two nights a week. One of those nights is Friday, so we usually end up ordering pizza or picking up something, but the other night is earlier in the week, and if I don't plan ahead, we end up eating very late and getting everyone to bed very late. Know what's worse than the over-tired "But I'm not tired!" screaming meltdown right before bed? The "I don't want to go to school!" screaming meltdown in the morning! And if we are late to eat and late to bed, we usually get both!

So, Pot Roast!! I's a little early in the season for something as hearty as a pot roast, but our grocery store had a special on the meat, and soccer season is in full swing, so what's a girl to do??

What cut of meat? I use either chuck roast or rump roast...and I think this particular day I used a chuck roast.

To brown or not to brown? I have made it both ways, and the difference in the final result was so minimal that I normally do not brown! Because really? That's just one more pan to scrub and we're trying to keep things simple, right?

As for all the other stuff...

Usually I season the meat and let it sit while I chop up all the veggies. I have used dry onion soup mix, but if you don't have any of that on hand, you can also use a good grill seasoning. (I like McCormick's Spicy Montreal Steak seasoning, which I almost always have for burgers, steaks and the homemade sloppy joes I sometimes make...ooh, I wonder how that would be in the crock pot??)

For the veggies, I use whatever I happen to have, which is usually a mix of potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and celery. This week I happened to have some mushrooms so I added those as well. I toss everything into a bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Next comes putting it all together...first, put some of the veggies in the crock pot, set the seasoned roast on top and then add the rest of the veggies all around. You'll also need a bit of liquid, about a cup or so. I've used beef broth, water, wine and, on this day, I used beer. Again, whatever you have on hand. They are all great! (Although my personal favorite is beer!) If you felt like adding any other herbs (thyme and parsley for me), this would be a good time to sprinkle them on top.

Let's get a closer look...


Just set it on low for 6-8 hours and you have dinner!

I usually eat just the veggies with just a small serving of the roast the first night. They are my favorite part and no one in the house likes to eat them as leftovers. One of these days I'm going to try to make my potato soup with the leftovers...And speaking of leftovers...the best thing to do the next day is a BBQ Beef Panini! Some of the roast, shredded, with a bit of BBQ sauce and some cheddar cheese between slices of buttered bread! And if you don't happen to have a panini press (I don't!) but you do have a grill pan (I do!), you can do this...

Put a piece of foil over the sandwich and then use a pot or pan with soup cans as weights! Worked like a charm!

Have a favorite crock pot recipe that saves you during the week? Send an email to and I'll use it in this series!

Next week...Crock Pot Tacos!

quite possibly the only reason i could never be a vegetarian

Jalapenos, stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon.

I found the recipe on The Pioneer Woman's website and first made them last fall for a party. They disappeared in record time. We just discovered this summer that they are even better on the grill than they are in the oven. Be sure to make double what you think you will need. You'll just have to trust me on this one. Oh, and when you are prepping the jalapenos, wear gloves. Trust me on that one too!