Wednesday, February 29, 2012


If you haven't noticed already, Olivia and I are at different places in our culinary lives.  That isn't a bad thing.  In fact, it is  good because I think we represent  the good things about where each of us is in our lives as cooks.  Olivia is young and eager to build her own repertoire of recipes and traditional favorites.  She eagerly scours web sites, magazines, cookbooks, classes, stores, etc.  looking for new things to try and luckily her husband, my husband,  and I benefit from her many excursions into culinary nirvana.

Me on the other hand--not so much.  I enjoy watching her grow as a cook and she even brings mom along for the ride (which I appreciate) but the truth of the matter is, I am not as adventurous as I used to be and that is okay. I am passionate about preserving family traditions and recipes from previous generations, but to be honest, my biggest culinary challenge most days is trying to figure out what I can cook for my husband and I after a tiring day at work.  I care that it is nutritious and tasty, but beyond that success is measured by if the evening meal even happens (I'm guessing there are working women over 50 years of age out there who can relate to this).  The following recipe is one I came up with in an effort to do something different with minimal effort.  I served it to the family and got good reviews so I share it with you.  If you like beef and you like Italian flavors, I think you will enjoy it.

Place in your slow cooker or crock pot  a 1-2 pound beef roast (I use either a rump roast or chuck roast.).  Depending on your slow cooker or crock pot and whether you cook it on low or high, cook it 4-6 hours until the meat is thoroughly done and tender. I'm vague about the cooking time because, if you work outside the home during the day, you will cook it at the rate you need to so that it will be done when you get home (not very scientific, but hey--it works).  If you need to add a little broth or water during the cooking time so it doesn't totally dry out, do it.  Remove the meat from the cooker and if there is any grease in the bottom of the cooker or crock pot, remove most of it.  Keep no more than 2 tablespoons of drippings in the pot.

If there is fat remaining on the roast, remove it.

Next, pull the meat apart and flake it.

Cut up a medium onion and a green or red pepper (whichever you prefer).  Place the vegetables in the bottom of the cooker/crock pot and then put the shredded beef back in the pot on top of the vegetables.  Don't stir it because you want the vegetables to sweat and get tender.  They will do that best in the bottom.  On top of the meat, place garlic (the minced kind from a jar) if you want it and red pepper flakes if you want them.  Add as much or as little as you prefer.

Once you have added the meat back into the pot with  the garlic and the red pepper flakes, pour one cup of your favorite bottled Italian salad dressing on the meat.  Cover and continue to cook on low for at least an hour to allow the vegetables to get tender and the meat to soak up the flavors.

Before serving, stir everything well.  Serve the beef on your favorite roll or bun.  If you want to really get exotic, add a slice of pepper jack or mozzarella or provolone cheese.  This recipe should make enough for at least four sandwiches. I hope you like this as much as we do.  I'm toying with the idea of trying to pressure can this recipe when canning season rolls around. If that happens, I'll let you know how it goes!

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