Balsamic Pot Roast

For years I’ve stuck by my tried and true pot roast recipe – it’s good. Real good. But a few months ago I went looking for something a little different where I could rely on my crock pot to do most the work. I came across this recipe on Pinterest, and it was instantly a crowd-pleaser. The meat is super tender, and the flavor is awesome. It’s very simple – mix up the sauce, pour it over the meat in the crock pot, turn it on and forget about it. If you like a gravy with your meat, you remove the drippings at the end and simmer it on the stove with some corn starch. Last night was probably my 6th time I’ve made this, and every time I go to my blog to find the recipe, only to be reminded that I haven’t blogged this recipe yet. Well darn it, I’m finally doing it – partly to share with others… and partly so that in a few weeks when I want to make this again and I don’t have to search through hundreds of my pins 🙂 Since one of my kiddos is on a gluten-free diet, I just subbed gluten free soy sauce for the regular variety, and my whole family can eat it. Hope you enjoy!

Balsamic Pot Roast

1 3-lb boneless chuck roast
1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp gluten free soy sauce (regular OK too)
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp corn starch (for gravy)

1.) In a medium bowl, whisk together beef broth, balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, honey, garlic and pepper.
2.) Place chuck roast in crock pot and pour sauce over top.
3.) Set crock pot to Low and cook for about 6 hours.

To make gravy:
Take 1 1/2 cups of the drippings from the roast and place in a small saucepan. Mix the 2 tbsp corn starch with a few tbsps of cold water in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Whisk into drippings, and heat over medium high-heat until it simmers and sauce begins to thicken. Salt and pepper to taste.

Balsamic pot roast sauce

Balsamic pot roast1

Balsamic Pot Roast

Balsamic pot roast gravy

Adapted from Add a Pinch’s Balsamic Roast Beef recipe

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

A couple of years ago I went through a crock pot phase. I got all excited about making freezer meals and cooking them in the crock pot while I was at work and thought I had solved all my weeknight cooking problems. It didn’t work out so well for me. First, I’m gone too long for most crock pot dishes and even on low with a timer (that turns it to warm), most of my meat was way over cooked. Second, the meat started to get a funny taste that I can’t really put my finger on, but I just didn’t like it. Seemed like everything I put in the crock pot had that same funny taste, and I so I retired it for a while.

I’ve been wanting to find a good red beans and rice recipe, and when I came across a slow cooker version, I figured I would give it a try. I’m happy to report that this dish turned out great – and no funny taste. Yay!

If you like some heat in your red beans and rice, you may want to add a little cayenne pepper at the beginning. My kiddos don’t love spicy foods yet, so I opted to stick with just paprika. I also didn’t presoak these beans… they spend so much time in the slow cooker that they are perfectly tender by the end. The whole family really liked this meal, and we benefited all day from the awesome smell coming from the crock pot. Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

1 lb dried small red beans, sorted and rinsed
1 medium sweet onion, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
1 tbsp minced garlic
4 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
7 cups chicken stock
10-12 ozs. smoked pork chops, diced
12-14 ozs. kielbasa sausage, cut lengthwise then sliced
8 servings of cooked rice

1.) Place first 10 ingredients in a crock pot and stir to combine. Cook either on low for 9 hours, or on high for 7 hours.
2.) Half way through, add smoked pork chops and kielbasa sausage.
3.) Serve over rice.

Adapted from The Weary Chef’s Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice 

Red beans and rice1

Red beans and rice2

Red beans and rice4

 

This is how it looked half way through right after I added the meat:

Red beans and rice5

 

Finished product!

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice

Slow Cooker Red Beans and Rice2