Easy Pot Roast Stroganoff

Let me say, right up front, I don’t typically cook with cans of soup. Usually the sodium levels are really high and it just seems like a bit of a cheat to take advantage of all of the ingredients the soup companies have included. But once in a while, I give it a go and darn it if the meal doesn’t turn out really good. Curse you, convenient cans of soup! 

Recently my local grocery store had a big sale on Boneless Beef Chuck Pot Roast, my favorite cut. It’s large, thick, well-marbled and lends itself beautifully to slow cooker cooking. With a can of Cream of Mushroom soup lurking in my pantry, I decided to throw it over the top and see what happens. Turns out, some magic happened in that Crock Pot, creating an easy version of the Beef Stroganoff I usually make (that takes a very long time). This dish was a big hit with my family. 

eat-beef-stroganoff-roast

My daughter loves the Stroganoff meat and sauce part so much, she doesn’t want mashed potatoes to get in her way, as pictured above. But I love having the taters underneath the meat and sauce to absorb every drop so I don’t miss any of that yummy flavor! 

Ingredients:

Note, you can double this recipe with two roasts, layering all crock pot ingredients and cooking 8-10 hours on “low.”

1 Beef Chuck Pot Roast Boneless, 2-4 pounds (or larger or smaller depending on the size of your crockpot)
1 onion, sliced
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup plus one can of water
1 teaspoon of Tone’s Beef Base paste
A handful of mushrooms of your choice, sliced

2-3 TBS sour cream 

Potatoes for mashed potatoes

Directions: 

1. Place the onion slices on the bottom of the crock pot and place the roast on top of it. 

eat-beef-stroganoff-roast-start

It’s not pretty – yet. This is the soup spread over the meat.

2. Open the can of soup and pour it over the top of the roast, spreading it across the top. Fill the empty soup can with water and pour that around the edges of the roast – not over the condensed soup. Make sure there is enough liquid to go about half way up the side of the crock pot. 

3. Put the teaspoon of Beef Base paste somewhere on the side too. It will dissolve and spread around in the liquid. 

4. IF you are doubling the recipe, place more onion slices on top of the soup-covered first roast and repeat the process. 

5. Cover the crock pot and cook on low around 8 hours or on high for 5 (but it works best

eat-beef-stroganoff-roast-meat

Thank you, Crock Pot, for making such tender beef! 

slow and low).

6. You’ll know the meat is almost ready when you stick a fork down into it and it doesn’t resist at all. It should be incredibly tender. If it’s approaching dinner time and you feel resistance, turn up the Crock Pot to “high.”

7. Closer to dinner time, make the mashed potatoes the way you like (I use the shortcut of pre-cooking cubed potatoes in the microwave just to soften them a bit.)

8. Remove the roast from the Crock Pot and put it in a large bowl. Let it sit a bit. Pour the

easy-pot-roast-beef-stroganoff-crock-pot-sauce

Yum! Delicious sauce for your stroganoff.

liquid into a pot over medium-high heat to reduce down and thicken slightly. Leave the onions in or strain them out – they will have flavored the broth. Add the sour cream at this point.

9. In a small skillet, add the mushroom slices with NO oil or butter. They will release their own moisture and will brown beautifully. Saute only until the edges start to brown then add them to the sauce. 

10. Using two forks, shred the beef in the bowl. 

11. To serve the meal, place a bed of mashed potatoes down first, then beef shreds, then a generous ladle or two of the mushroom sauce. 

In some posts, including this one, we use affiliate links, which means the E.A.T. blog receives a small percentage of the sale if you use the link to make your purchase. This does not change the price of the product! This income directly offsets the cost of web hosting for us. We appreciate your support.

 

 

 

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Autumn Muffins

One of our most popular recipes in this blog, and in my house, is for Harvest Pumpkin and Chocolate Muffins.  We make them every year around this time. And, when my kids were little, I’d stock up on cans of pumpkin in the fall so that I could make these muffins when it was my turn to bring snack to school or for a soccer game. This year, I’m proud to say one of my daughters came up with a variation on my muffins that is delicious and very pretty! They’d be wonderful to make for holiday brunches or to give as gifts.

My daughter used my recipe but instead of putting the full 1 cup of chocolate chips, she used 1/2 cup chips and 1/2 cup fresh, chopped cranberries. She also recommended throwing in 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans.

You could also experiment with an orange glaze on top, made of powdered sugar with some orange juice. If you do this, apply it immediately after taking the muffins out of the oven, while they are still in the muffin tin so that the glaze melts and seeps into the fresh muffins.Orange goes great with both chocolate and cranberries but if you prefer one over the other with an orange glaze, just stick to 1 cup of either chocolate chips or cranberries. Mmmm, that would smell so good!

autumn-muffins

In The Kitchen with Chef Dan

Mad Greens - Chef Dan's finished plate

Weeknight Kale and Italian Sausage Pasta. Photo courtesy Mad Greens.

Getting kids into the kitchen is one of the easiest and most fun ways to get them excited about  cooking and eating better. That’s why Chef Dan Long, MAD Greens Co-Founder and Chief Culinary Inventor, has come up with some easy-to-prep and prepare recipes that are great for busy families who may not always have a ton of time to make a healthful meal.

The dish below is designed to be easy – incorporating a pre-made sauce base that saves time during the cooking process. The sauce can be made in advance and portioned out to be used in various recipes throughout the week.

“In addition to being easy to prepare, another goal with this dish was to incorporate vegetables in a fun and tasty way to help get kids excited about what they’re eating,” says Long. “The recipe can be used as a starting point for both kids and adults to play around with. Feel free to change up the ingredients to match the taste preferences of everyone in the family.”

 Weeknight Kale and Italian Sausage Pasta 

This pasta dish combines fun-shaped noodles (seriously, who doesn’t smile when they scoop up a spoonful of farfalle noodles?), a hearty dose of Tuscan Kale and a delicious homemade pasta sauce and makes any weeknight meal just a little more awesome. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Mad Greens - Chef Dan cooking Kale

Chef Dan prepares the kale. Photo courtesy Mad Greens.

1/2 lb. Pasta – farfalle or another interesting shape

1/3 lb. Mild Italian sausage – you can substitute spicy sausage

1 bunch Tuscan kale (also known as black or lacinato kale) – cut into ½ inch strips. Discard the stems

1 ½ c. Dan’s homemade pasta sauce (recipe below) or whatever pre-made pasta sauce you have on hand

1 c. Reserved pasta cooking water

Parmesan – to taste

3-4 leaves Basil – cut into very fine slivers

Steps:

  • Start cooking pasta according to directions on package.
  • While pasta is cooking, break apart sausage and cook in a large saute pan. Once sausage is nicely browned and cooked through, add kale. Cook until kale starts to wilt and then add about ½ cup of pasta cooking liquid.
  • Add tomato sauce, allow to come to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer.
  • When pasta is done, reserve ½ cup of the water and then drain the pasta. Add the pasta and reserved water to the sausage and kale. Mix everything together until pasta is well coated. There should not be much (if any) loose sauce in the pan.

Top with freshly grated Parmesan and basil. Serves 4.

Mad Greens - Chef Dan prepping pasta

Chef Dan adds shredded Parmesan to the dish for a finishing touch. Photo courtesy Mad Greens.

Chef Dan’s Zesty Homemade Tomato Sauce

This flavorful tomato sauce can be used as the staple ingredient in several recipes. It is a base that can be made in advance, frozen and subsequently used for several different dishes over time.

Ingredients:

4 Cans “San Marzano” style whole peeled tomatoes – drain off the juice

2 Onions – medium dice

4 Cloves garlic – finely chopped

1 tsp. Salt

1.2 tsp. Fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp. Dried oregano

4-5 Sprigs fresh thyme

1 TBS. Balsamic vinegar

1 TBS. Honey or agave – adjusted to taste

Steps:

  • Over medium heat cook onions until they start turning translucent.
  • Add garlic, let cook an additional 1 min. Add tomatoes.
  • Add the rest of the ingredients.
  • Let cook for 2 hours over very low heat the sauce should be barely bubbling. Stir occasionally to keep the sauce from burning.

After the sauce is cooked you can use an immersion blender to make the sauce smooth or you can leave it as is. This is entirely a personal preference. Use within 3-4 days or freeze.

 

About Chef Dan

Chef Dan Long is the Co-Founder and Chief Culinary Innovator at MAD Greens. Long and business partner Marley Hodgson founded Colorado-based Mad Greens – Eat Better in 2004. They were intent on addressing the lack of fresh, fast and healthy fare available to the average American consumer.

 

 

 

Ravioli “Lasagna”

Making lasagna is an arduous task. All those ingredients. All those layers. All that baking time. Totally worth it, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not the stuff of an easy, weeknight dinner. Here’s something that is, “cheating” a bit with ravioli, which takes care of two of the elements of lasagna in one cute, pillowy package – the pasta and the meat. You augment with a few other things and you’ve got dinner in a jiffy! As with many of my recipes, the measurements are more by feel and the customizations are encouraged and totally up to what your family likes.
Ravioli lasagna

Ravioli “Lasagna”

Ingredients:

1 bag frozen beef ravioli (or with other fillings, per your tastes)
Approximately 3/4 jar of pasta sauce of your choice
1 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to taste but there’s already cheese in the ravioli)
A few shakes of grated Parmesan cheese or 1/4 cup hand-shredded
Dried basil, oregano and rosemary to taste
Additions if you like: Shredded zucchini or other squash and/or wilted spinach or other greens to up the nutritional value. See also, how we served it at the bottom of this post.

Directions: 

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Pour a little pasta sauce in the bottom of an oven-proof dish with a lid, like a casserole dish.

3. While I’ve seen some recipes where you just throw the frozen ravioli in a dish, I haven’t had great luck doing this. The moisture created by thawing while cooking seems to dilute the sauce. Instead, I take the extra step of boiling the ravioli, per package instructions, but cut off the cooking time by one minute. Drain them well and pour them into your baking dish.

4. Cover with the rest of the sauce and distribute your seasonings of choice evenly over the pasta/sauce by rubbing them between your fingers to release the aromas and oils.

5. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the top and then the Parmesan. Add a little sprinkle of parsley for looks.

6. Cover and bake for approximately 20 minutes. Because you aren’t really going through layers and layers, and because the pasta was already hot, you are really just melting the cheeses, heating up the sauce and melding all of the flavors together.

7. Serve, spooning out the raviolis, making sure to capture sauce and cheese. This meal is delicious with a crusty bread and a big, crispy salad. We served ours over a bed of shredded kale. It made it pretty, provided a variety of textures and lots of good nutrition.

Ravioli lasagna served

 

 

Coconut Curry Chicken

Coconut Curry Chicken

I have a few picky eaters under my roof which makes it a real challenge to figure out what to make for dinner. I would be a much more adventurous cook if I could just make what I want and know that the kids would eat it. But, tra-la-la, that’s the lament of most parents, am I right? My pickiest-eater child has suddenly decided to take pity on me (after all of his ultra-picky years) and is willing to try more things. But then the kid who used to eat anything has suddenly decided he doesn’t like rice, pork, steak or chicken. Great. Swapped one for the other. Undeterred by this, and noticing I had a can of coconut milk in the pantry, I set out to create a dish everyone would at least be willing to try and came up with a great one.

Coconut Curry Chicken

A dish even my pickiest eaters loved! If I’d had some peas, I would have added them. Wouldn’t that have looked nice?

Coconut Curry Chicken with Rosamarina Rice

Serves 6

Six boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I buy them frozen at a big box store)
1/2 a large red onion sliced top to bottom
1 small potato, diced (this just extends the meal but doesn’t add any real flavor)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of coconut milk (13.5 ounce)
1/2 t. coriander
2 T. curry powder
Salt and Pepper to taste, added just before serving
Add on: 1/2 a cup of frozen peas
Rosamarina Rice to serve it with (recipe below)

Method:
In a small pan, melt about a tablespoon of butter, then add the coconut milk, coriander and curry powder. Gently whisk until blended. Turn off the heat and set it aside.

Coconut Curry Chicken

The sauce with coconut milk, curry powder and coriander. Don’t add the salt and pepper until you are simmering the sauce and chicken together.

In a large skillet or dutch oven, drizzle some olive oil and heat up the pan. Add the onion slices and saute until they begin to be translucent. At that point, add the garlic and stir for a few seconds. Be careful because the garlic will burn quickly and become bitter.

Coconut Curry Chicken

I love the look of red onions! I sliced them the long way so that the kids who didn’t want onion could easily pick it out (turns out they didn’t!).

Add the diced chicken and turn everything over with a spatula to get the onion and garlic off the bottom of the pan and get things mixed up a bit. Do this periodically until the chicken is beige on all sides. It doesn’t have to be cooked through at this point.

Coconut Curry Chicken

The mixture will thicken as you let it simmer. Don’t cover it or the drops from the humidity that builds up on the lid will drip back down and water down the dish.

Pour the coconut/coriander/curry mixture over the chicken and stir again. Switch out your spatula for a large cooking spoon at this point because the spatula has raw chicken juice on it. Always do this when you are cooking – as soon as all sides have started to cook, ditch the raw-stuff utensil for a clean one to finish the dish to avoid cross-contamination.

Lower the heat and let the whole mixture simmer and thicken until the chicken and potatoes (if used) are cooked through and tender. In the last minute or so, add the peas, which I would have done with my dish if I’d had any. It would have added a nice bit of color and another element of flavor. Serve over the rice (or quinoa or nothing).

Rosamarina Rice

Coconut Curry Chicken

Every time I make rice, I make it this way, with rosamarina because it just tastes so darned good!

1/4 cup rosamarina, also called orzo, found in the pasta section of the store
2 cups rice
4-1/4 cups water (or chicken stock)*
3-4 bouillon cubes (if using water instead of stock)

Method:
Melt about 1 tablespoon of butter in a pot. Add the rosamarina and stir almost constantly until it starts to brown. At this point, it will burn quickly so before that can happen, pour the rice over it and stir to prevent the rosamarina from continuing to sit on the bottom of the pan. The butter that’s still in the pan will lightly coat the rice/rosamarina, adding some flavor.

Add the water/bouillon and stir. Let the mixture come to a boil. As soon as it does, cover the pot, turn the heat to low and let it sit to start absorbing the liquid. This usually takes about 20 minutes so I try to time the coordination of making rice with making the entree so they are done around the same time. Resist the urge to lift up the lid or stir the rice because it will effect how the rice turns out.

* Because the rosamarina needs to absorb the water to cook, I either lower the amount of rice I put in or add a little water/stock to compensate.

avocado

Easy Sunday Morning Breakfast

To quote the song, this recipe is “Easy Like Sunday Morning!” My husband and I have a weekend tradition of turning on CBS Sunday Morning and having breakfast in bed. I don’t want to miss a second of this wonderful show by slaving over the stove, yet we want something that’s a little special to go along with our little tradition. Last week, I came up with this idea, using some bits and pieces we had in the fridge. It was delicious!

avocado

Avocado Toast with Cheesy Egg – an easy way to make breakfast feel special and also healthy.

Cheesy Eggs on Avocado Toast

Ingredients:

1 egg per person
1 piece of toast of choice (I used a sprouted grain bread substantial enough to hold up to the avocado)
1 avocado half (or some guacamole)
About two tablespoons of a strongly-flavored, favorite cheese like cheddar, Asiago or Parmesan, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Fry an egg sunnyside up in some olive oil or butter. While the egg is cooking, toast the bread. Spread half of the half avocado on the toast like it’s thick butter. Or treat the guacamole the same way.

When the egg is done, carefully lay it atop the avocado toast and sprinkle the cheese over the top to taste. You aren’t trying to smother it, just add a little something extra! Salt and pepper to taste.

Break the yolk and help it spread all over the avocado toast so that every bite has cheesy egg, avocado and toast in it. Yum!

Variation: You could also do a poached egg (if you are that talented, which I am not) or just a scrambled egg so that you could even pick it up and eat it like a slice of pizza. But then you don’t get that oozing yoke deliciousness. Your choice!

Spaghetti frittata

Spaghetti Frittata

The other night, I went a little overboard making pasta and ended up with a lot of plain pasta remaining. What could I do with a bunch of leftover pasta? While I have rejuvenated leftover pasta other times by dipping it briefly in boiling water, as though it was fresh pasta, I wanted to do something different with this batch. Some eggs, cheese, tomatoes and herbs and I had a nice side dish to go with grilled chicken. Here’s what I came up with:

Spaghetti frittata

Spaghetti frittata with tomatoes, herbs and Parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti Frittata

1. Drizzle olive oil or butter in the bottom of a non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat.

2. Add enough spaghetti so it covers the bottom of the skillet, approximately 1 to 1-1/2 cups.

3. Whisk two large eggs so that they are mixed and pour them over the spaghetti.

4. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and herbs of choice – I used oregano, thyme and basil but any combination you like could be used because the pasta and eggs are like a blank slate.

5. Put the lid on the pan and leave it until the eggs are set.

6. With a spatula, loosen the edges of the frittata and slide it onto a cutting board.

7. Dice up tomatoes, ideally pretty cherry tomatoes and sprinkle them on top with parmesan cheese and some fresh herbs if you have them.

8. A pizza cutter works great to slice the frittata into serving-size triangles.