Day 7: Crockpot Creation

MENU

Breakfast (6 min): spinach, onion, mushroom, and cheese omelette; latte

Lunch (5 min): artisan lettuce salad with avocado, grape tomato, bell pepper, chicken (from Monday’s roast), and carrot

Dinner (30 min): slow-cooked bottom round roast; oven-roasted beets

Snacks: 1/2 apple with peanut butter; yogurt with banana and honey

DSCN4365
Beet Chips

If you do not own a crockpot, consider investing in one. If you are scared to use yours, do not be – these things are idiot proof. Sure, you can make not-so-appetizing meals in them, but for the most part the food turns out pretty good. Plus, it takes the guess-work out of cooking meat to the right temperature. The best part is that crockpots are so convenient: your meal is all ready at the end of the work day. There is nothing better than coming home and having a mouthwatering aroma greet you at the door.

Crockpots are actually not much of an investment at all. Brand new they are in the $25-$50 range, but people frequently give them away gratis. In fact, I have received 3 free ones in the span of about 2 years. They also are a staple in second-hand shops where they are priced dirt cheap. Beware, though – not all crockpots are made equally. The first two free models I received were HORRIBLE. My food was always burnt, dried out, and simply overcooked; they made me loathe the crockpot concept. Rival, my third model, turned crockpots into my friend. Now I use it often to make anything from yogurt to soup.

This evening’s crockpot recipe just involved meat (no veggies). The beef was a big, cheap hunk that I bought at ALDI, but it turned out incredibly tender and rich after it had been simmering all day. First, I seasoned it with ALDI paprika, chili powder, freshly minced garlic, and s&p. Then I seared it on the stove for a minute on each side to help seal in juices. After placing it in the crockpot with a bay leaf, I poured a big spoonful of tomato paste mixed with about a cup of water over the meat. Eight hours later, when I was tired of the day, all I had to do was make a side dish of beets chips and I had dinner. To make the beets, I cut the stalks and long roots off, washed and peeled the bulbs, thinly sliced them, and covered them in oil and salt. Then I broiled them until they were somewhat crunchy. By this time the meat aroma was so strong that I had a hard time waiting for the beets to fully cook – I pulled them early. Luckily my husband did not get home until 8 – he would have wanted my dinner over his burgers.

Chef Sarah Bogan

For information on NC cooking classes visit WhiskingApprentice.com.

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