Cooking On A Budget: Pot Roast Dinner and Beyond

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pot Roast Dinner and Beyond

Yum

A Pot Roast dinner is an ideal fall and winter dish that definitely fits into the plan of cooking on a budget. There are a number of things that you can do with the left over meat. I like to use either Beef Bottom Round with a decent fat cap or a nice thick boneless Chuck Roast. Pot Roast dinner can be cooked in the oven, on the stove top or in a Crock Pot (slow cooker).
The keys to a great pot roast dinner are:
Searing the meat (even if you put it in a crock pot for cooking while you are at work, I would sear it first). Searing the meat first gives it a nice crust and locks in moisture and flavor. Also it yields great tasty pan drippings for your sauce or gravy.


Before searing, season all sides of the beef with salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Add enough oil to coat the bottom of your dutch oven or roasting pan and with medium to medium high heat, sear the beef on all sides.
Next, add chunks of celery, onion and carrot to your roasting pan, dutch oven or crock pot. These will add lots of flavor to your gravy due to the natural juices they give out.
Add in a good amount of liquid - use all beef broth or, use 1/2 broth and 1/2 water. I prefer mostly beef broth. To lend a slightly different flavor, add in some red wine (but only the kind you would drink). If you are doing the roast in the oven or on top of the stove you can start with liquid about a third of the way up the roasting pan or dutch oven. Check it from time to time for evaporation. For crock pot cookery you should follow the manufacturers recommendations, or your recipe booklet for the amount of liquid needed.
Cover the roast and let it braise for a long period of time. The time it takes to braise and become tender depends on the size of the meat. For a 4 to 5 pound bottom round, for instance, it will take about 3 1/2 to 4 hours to become really tender when cooked in a conventional oven or on the stove top. If you are cooking it in a crock pot for all day cooking you can start it out on high and leave it on low. At the end of the work day it will be tender and juicy.
Generally when I make a pot roast dinner, I serve it with mashed potatoes, gravy and a side vegetable. I make sure that I make plenty of gravy and potatoes so I can use them in other cooking on a budget dinners. Also, I will purchase a larger roast than what can be consumed by my family at one sitting. Keep in mind that the longer cooking roasts, just like corned beef shrink in size.

Utilizing the left-overs from a pot roast dinner:
I am definitely a fall/winter person and there is nothing better than coming home to the smell of a pot roast cooking away in the oven. Pot roast is one of those comfort meals that just warms the heart and soul and is a super family style meal. Here are a few recipe suggestions for using the left-overs. You can of course reheat it as an exact duplicate meal.


Beef, Pepper and Onions




Make a beef, pepper and onion dish utilizing the beef and the gravy. Serve with rice. The additional ingredients needed are a large bell pepper of your choice, (I use green in this instance) and a medium sized sweet onion. (I use a Spanish or Vidalia Onion, but any white onion will work or red onion if that is what you have on hand.) Dice the onion and peppers and left-over beef into bite-sized pieces. Add a tablespoon of butter or olive oil to a deep skillet on medium to medium low heat. Add in the onions and peppers and cook until softened. Add in the beef chunks, left-over gravy and some water to help reconstitute the gravy. Stir and add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer on low heat for about 20-30 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Make your rice while the beef mixture is cooking. Both the rice and the beef dish should be done about the same time. I have a separate section on basic rice recipes. For this dish I use long grain white rice.

Beef Chimichangas: For this you will need to shred the pot roast. Additional ingredients include flour tortillas, a large jar of salsa, a can of green chilies, a Mexican cheese blend or Monterrey Jack cheese and a small onion diced. In a frying pan saute the onion until softened. Add in the salsa and green chilies and the shredded pot roast. Stir and cook for about 5-10 minutes. Soften each tortilla either in the microwave for about 15 seconds or in a warm skillet. Put the mixture on the flour tortillas. Add the shredded cheese and roll up like an envelope, sealing all sides. These can either be brushed with oil and baked in the oven at 350 degrees until crispy, or fried on top of the stove. If you are frying on top of the stove you will need to have the oil come up about 1/3 of the way of the skillet or fry pan. You can also serve this more like a burrito and leave the tortilla soft.


Make homemade Beef Barley Soup utilizing the beef and the gravy. You will need barley, diced carrots, onion and celery, and water. For spices: salt and pepper to taste, dried thyme and dried parsley. Begin by sauteing the diced celery onion and carrots until softened. Add in the left-over gravy and water to reconstitute. Add in additional water or beef broth and the spices. Bring the liquids up to a boil and add in barley and the left-over beef. Reduce heat and simmer until the barley is completely cooked (about 1- 1/2 hours). Serve the soup with a hearty bread and you have a delicious, healthy and hearty meal.



Turn the beef into a mock Beef Stew utilizing the beef and the gravy. You will need an onion, celery, carrots and a few red potatoes. Cut the beef into bite sized pieces. In a sauce pot or dutch oven, add some oil or butter or a combination of both to the pot. When the fat is melted and hot, add in the diced onion, celery and sliced carrots. Cook until the onion and celery begin to soften - about 5-10 minutes. Add in the beef gravy and use water to reconstitute and stir until blended. Next, add in the left-over beef, and diced potatoes. Cook for about 30 to 40 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are fork tender.


You could also use left over pot roast to make Potato Crusted Beef Pie.This is absolutely delicious. The original recipe uses roast beef, but a pot roasted beef would be just as tasty.



Utilizing the beef and the gravy serve it as a hot Pot Roast Open. Have a vegetable alongside and it is a complete meal. Slice the left-over pot roast and add it to the gravy to completely warm through. When it is done, serve it over any toasted bread of your choice.

Turn the pot roast into a Beef Hash and serve with eggs (any style) on the side. You will need to finely dice the pot roast. Additional ingredients include diced onion and bell pepper, and diced red potatoes (or any other waxy potato), and eggs. In a mixing bowl combine the diced onion, bell pepper, diced potatoes and beef. Add salt and pepper, paprika, granulated garlic (or fresh chopped garlic) to taste. In a skillet add a combination of oil and butter and melt over medium to medium high heat. Add in the hash mixture and cook until golden brown. This can be a breakfast meal served with any style egg, or a dinner meal served with a side salad or vegetable of your choice. For a kicked up version, add hot sauce or cayenne pepper or a combination of both to the hash mixture.

Utilize the beef and gravy and make a Beef Pot Pie. You will need a pastry crust, diced carrots and potatoes, finely diced onions and celery, frozen peas and water to reconstitute the gravy. In a sauce pot cook the diced potatoes and carrots until fork tender. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, reconstitute your gravy and cube your beef into bite sized pieces. Next, combine all ingredients and add to an oven proof casserole dish. Top with store made pastry dough or dough that you have made from scratch. Place the casserole dish on a cookie sheet and put into a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the mixture is bubbling, approximately 45-50 minutes.

Make a Chili with the left-over pot roast. Start by shredding or cubing the pot roast and set aside. In a sauce pot or deep skillet, saute diced onions and bell peppers until softened. About 3-5 minutes. Add in canned diced tomatoes and canned red kidney beans, as well as the cubed beef. Spice it up with red pepper flakes and granulated garlic or fresh chopped garlic, cumin, salt and pepper to taste. Add hot sauce and cayenne pepper to taste if you want to kick up the heat. Cook over low heat to combine all the flavors - approximately 30-40 minutes. When the chili is done, put it in an oven proof bowl and top with your favorite cheese and bake until the cheese is melted. Serve it with crusty bread or cornbread.

Make cold pot roast sandwiches or make grilled Pot Roast Pannini's. To make the pannini's simply slice the beef, layer it on your favorite bread with roasted red peppers and a mild cheese like Muenster. Butter both sides and grill until golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve with a side salad (a garden green or potato salad).


You could also make a version of Traditional Beef Shepard's Pie. In an oven proof casserole dish add the reconstituted gravy, shredded beef, frozen corn (or any other vegetable such as peas can be substituted) and top with the left-over potatoes (or make some fresh) or a combination of both. Drizzle melted butter over the top layer and bake in a 350 degree oven. When the casserole is bubbly and the potatoes have a nice golden crust you are ready to eat.

Make a Beef and Tomato Soup with pasta or Cannelini Beans. In a sauce pot saute small dices of onion, celery and red bell pepper until tender. Add in a large can of diced tomatoes, a medium sized can of tomato sauce and dried or fresh parsley, granulated garlic or 2 cloves of finely minced fresh garlic, basil, and salt and pepper - all to taste. Add in the diced left-over pot roast. If you are not using pasta add in the Cannelini Beans and simmer until all of the flavors have a chance to combine (about 45 minutes to an hour). If you choose pasta, while the soup is simmering, cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Orchietta pasta works well in this dish or any other small pasta such as Ditalini or even Elbow macaroni. Add the cooked pasta to soup bowls and ladle the soup over the top. Serve as is or with a side salad, or crusty bread.
Using the same principles as the beef and tomato soup add in any other left-over vegetables you might have to make it a Beef Vegetable Soup. If you do not have any left-over vegetables try adding in Swiss Chard or any other leafy greens.

Making Stuffed Cabbage leaves with the cooked pot roast is another clever make-over meal. It utilizes the left over beef, and left-over potatoes and carrots if you have them. You can either buy a fresh head of green or Savoy Cabbage or, if your weekly menu plan included corned beef and cabbage or a New England Boiled Ham dinner with cabbage, use the left over cabbage from those dinners. The only other ingredient you will need is a can of diced tomatoes with the liquid. In a sauce pot or large skillet simmer the diced tomatoes with their liquid. Add in 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped onion, 1/2 tsp. dried basil, 1 tsp. dried parsley, 1/4 tsp. granulated garlic and salt and pepper to taste. While that mixture is simmering, shred the beef and put in a mixing bowl. Combine the shredded beef with some ketchup, left-over mashed potatoes and carrots (mash them first). Mix well. If you are starting out with fresh cabbage you will need to simmer the cabbage leaves to wilt them so that they are pliable for stuffing. Stuff your cabbage leaves with the mixture, roll up and cook the stuffed cabbage in the tomatoes until heated through and the cabbage is completely softened. Serve with a side vegetable of your choosing.
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