What A Crock

I have a love hate relationship with my Crock Pot. I LOVE it because it’s so easy. I hate it because it’s really not as versatile as I once believed.

Chicken, for example. Seems like most chicken made in the slower cooker pretty much tastes the same no matter what I do to it. Perhaps that’s just me. Plus it’s annoying because it falls off the bone and while that’s usually a good thing it’s still a pain to try to serve up.

My slow cooker isn’t a new model. It’s one of the old, ugly ones with 2 functions: Low and High. And the handle is broken. And it’s stained to high hell. And I won’t get rid of it until it craps out on me. I’ve toyed for about 8 years with getting one of the new fancy digital ones, but I just can’t do it. I can’t forsake my old faithful.

I still wouldn’t ever be without a slow cooker, mind you, and some things are heavenly in the Crock Pot. Namely: Pot Roast.

This is super simple. It pleases every time. I love it too. Totally diabetes friendly.

You gotta get a good cut of meat though. I use grass fed. No, you don’t have to. To me, grass fed is one of those things that’s worth the extra money for the taste and health benefits. Grain fed meat is evil. Evil evil stuff. Bad for you too. But as always do what you can do and what you can afford.

Start with beef.

Three Cowgirls Chuck Roast

I bought this at the Farmer’s Market early this year. It’s Chuck Roast. I’m so pissed I didn’t get more. The beef from this place never fails. It’s always amazing, though I don’t know that they actually ship during the winter. You can go to threecowgirls.com. I can’t rave enough about them. Next year I’m hoping to get half a beef.

Just for reference, I don’t add vegetables to my slow cooker pot roast. Veggies in the slow cooker tend to get over cooked and mushy and weird. Yes, sometimes they add flavor, but for this I normally don’t. Now put the beef in the pot. I leave the bone in. It adds flavor.

Now you’re going to add onion soup mix. I make my own onion soup mix (that’s for a different post), but if you don’t about 2 envelopes will do the trick.

Homemade Onion Soup Mix

Get about a cup and a half of really hot water and dissolve the mix into that. Add seasoning salt and pepper to your beef to taste, I usually use a teaspoon or so each, then dump the dissolved soup mix on top. Don’t add TOO much liquid remember. You’re making kind of an onion soup concentrate. Slow cookers keep juices and water in, and trust me there will be enough liquid.

Hmmm, dried onions.

Now turn that bad boy on low for about 8 hours and you’ll have awesome pot roast. Really soft, too if you’ve got a decent cut of meat. Now comes the sides. Well, you can serve whatever you want. I had a busy day, so I knew it was gonna be easy sides.

I made instant mashed potatoes. I can hear the jeers now. Ok, people, listen. I don’t actually EAT mashed potatoes, real or instant, very often. (Stupid diabetes). However, I grew up with a single working mother and there was no way she was gonna peel and boil mashed potatoes for dinner on weekdays. So I learned very quickly how to doctor up instant mashed potatoes. Here’s one of my variations.

Water, milk, butter and salt for instant tatoes

Follow the directions on the package. I don’t any more, I just wing it, but if you aren’t comfortable with the instant type follow the directions or you’ll end up with a globby mess. I generally add a little extra salt because otherwise they are pretty plain. Ditto on the butter.

Make the potatoes slightly thicker than you normally would be adding just a little more flakes than calls for. Once those are done you are going to add (stay with me now): Ranch dressing, sour cream, scallions and mozzarella cheese to the potatoes. Just trust me. It’s good.

There’s no hard and fast rule to how much you should add. You don’t want to add a ton of sour cream and dressing because it’ll make the potatoes really runny. If I had to guess I’d say I add about 1/4 cup of each to the mix and a big ole handful of cheese, then about two scallions.

Now mix the hell out of it.

Mixed instant doctored potatoes

The cheese will melt nicely with the heat of the potatoes. They are REALLY good. Trust me. Now it’s time to take the roast out of the pot and make the gravy.

Looks good, don't it?

Now remove most of the juice from the bottom and add it to a saucepan to make gravy.

Gravy is one of those things that, not unlike bread, you either are great at or suck at. I generally suck at it. So I’ve come up with a couple ways to cheat.

I’ve been told over and over again that all you have to do is add a slurry of cornstarch to thicken it and maybe a little bit of seasoning. Bullcrap. I’ve done that and I always come out with bland runny gravy. So I made my own trick.

When it comes to brown gravies, just add a packet of turkey gravy mix to it. I suppose you could use brown gravy but I like turkey gravy. Works every time. It doesn’t over power the taste of the natural juices, indeed it just adds a bit of flavor, and it thickens it up very nicely. This is just MY way of doing it. If you can make gravy just fine on your own, good for you. Gravy hates me. So I had to come up with a creative way to make awesome gravy because well, I’m just not gravy talented.

So add your turkey gravy packet. Turn the heat up and whisk the crap out of it until it bubbles and thickens

That’s pretty much it for the gravy. It won’t be super thick, but with pot roast you don’t want it to be. Then I decided I wanted green beans. By “decided” I mean I had a leftover can in the cabinet from Thanksgiving’s green bean casserole.

Now for the salad. You’ll see a lot of salads here. It’s not a “health” thing, it’s a “diabetic” thing. If you have diabetes, you’ll learn to love them, trust me. So, my salad is gonna have organic greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, green onions, ranch dressing and alfalfa sprouts. From my new sprout trays. Check them out. They rule.

Gadget Alert

So all this equals this:

I knew I’d want something sweet for after dinner, so I grabbed the half a honey crisp apple from the fridge I didn’t finish yesterday. They don’t go all brown and weird right away like normal apples, probably why they last so long, too. Check it out.

And dinner was served

And the diabetic version

Dinner sans the potatoes

Super good. Super juicy and flavorful, super simple, super everything. Next time you are feeling only slightly lazy, this is a good one to pull out. Plus it looks like way more work than it is. That’s always a plus.


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