Monday, February 3, 2014

Super Simple Pot Roast

Well, the old groundhog saw his shadow yesterday, so we’re in for 6 more weeks of winter. Not that we weren’t, though, because it’s still early February! But the thoughts of an early spring are so pleasant considering the long, dreary winter we’ve had around here. I did buy some packets of flower seeds a few days ago, just because the pictures on the front looked so pretty and colorful. They made me think of warmer weather. Eventually…..

The second event yesterday was the big game - I won’t use the exact name since that’s actually a copyrighted term, but we all know it well. How could we not? I remember going to my boyfriend-now-husband’s house to “watch” the first one in 1967 with his family and not knowing a thing about the game! I still don’t know much about football, and at this point I may not learn too much more.

I’m sure we all had our snacks and treats ready last night to enjoy while watching the game, no matter which team we were cheering for. And we all look forward to the new commercials, some of which were quite good and some not so much. We had dessert while watching – chocolate parfaits made with chocolate pudding, crumbled brownies and a mixture of peanut butter, white chocolate and butterscotch chips. They were pretty tasty!

Dinnertime, of course, was well before time to snack during the game. I made this roast in the slow cooker, and it made the house smell just so good all day! It was just the thing to pour over mashed potatoes and for dunking bread.

SUPER SIMPLE POT ROAST

1 beef roast
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet dry Italian salad dressing mix
1 packet dry ranch dressing mix
1 packet brown gravy mix
1 cup water

Heat oil in skillet and brown roast on all sides. Place roast in slow cooker. Now, here’s the hard part! Pour all 3 packets of dry mix over the roast. Pour the water around the roast. Cover and cook on low 8 to 9 hours. Remove meat to platter and let stand 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Slice and return to sauce in slow cooker.

This recipe is all over the internet, and has lots of different names, but whatever you call it, it’s delicious!

Notes: My top round roast was just under 2 pounds, but you could go up to 4 pounds.
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Are you familiar with all the cuts of beef? It seems there are just so many different cuts! Typically, the beef carcass is cut in half front to back, then the two halves are cut in half top to bottom, with the sections being called “forequarter” and “hindquarter”.

The forequarter is cut into chuck, rib, brisket, plate & shank cuts. The chuck is further cut into roasts and steaks. The rib is cut into prime rib, rib eye, short ribs, with less tender pieces and/or scraps being ground. The brisket, of course, is the brisket! The plate is a tougher, more fatty cut and is portioned into short ribs, skirt steak and some of it is ground. 

Hindquarters are larger portions and become the loin (including sirloin, tenderloin, short loin and bottom sirloin), round, flank and shank. The loin sections are cut into steaks and roasts. The round portion is cut into round, eye of round, top round, bottom round – all steaks and roasts. The flank is a tougher cut and is perfect for london broil.

The meat closest to the legs and neck will be tougher due to the extra work the animal does in those areas. Basically, the longer the distance from the legs the more tender the meat will be. Also, the tougher cuts are perfect for those low, slow cooking processes and for braising. They tend to be a little less expensive, too.

I actually learned some things while doing research for this post. I hope you find something helpful and interesting here, too!
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Your comments and suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

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