Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Weeknight Wonder: Slow Cooker Roast with Crispy Vegetables

I don't know about y'all, but I have a heck of a time getting dinner on the table most weeknights.  Andrew & I both commute for at least an hour each way (Austin traffic @$#*!) & by the time we get home, both of us are usually too tired to make a complete meal.  It's hard!  We often result to breakfast for dinner, eating out or on occasion....frozen stuff.  Yep.  This food blogger is admitting that when weekdays get the better of me, we've been known to make meals out of frozen eggrolls, quiche, pot stickers, ramen packs or even...corn dogs!

While I think there's room for everything in moderation, even frozen corn dogs, I'm striving to make better, healthier weeknight meals.  But if I don't do at least a little prep work in advance, all is lost.  Traffic is terrible, or we stop on our way home to run an errand or two....then we end up ordering a pizza.

That's why I've starting making more slow cooker meals.  With a couple of chops the night before, a second in the morning to throw everything in the pot & turn the slow cooker on & a few minutes making a side or two while your meal finishes up the evening of, you can have a tasty, healthy, real meal with no fuss.

This roast with broiled-to-crispy-perfection vegetables has been a go-to of ours in the last few weeks.  One of Andrew's favorite meal is pot roast.  I think he even requested it as his 'birthday meal' often as a child.  But it's never been my style.  Growing up, roast was a staple in my house, & I never turned it down, but I also never cared for the soft veggies.  Which is why I love this version so much!

The onions, wine & chicken stock that are slow cooked with the roast to add a ton of flavor to the meat & help keep it fall-apart tender.  Throwing the rest of the vegetables in the oven to roast gives them a crisp bite & a taste I just can't get enough of.  In addition to the traditional potatoes, I've added in cauliflower & radishes.  I disliked these as kid, but roasting has bumped them to be some of my favorites.  The cauliflower gets a little toasty & takes on richness from the balsamic vinegar.  The radishes mellow out their bite, & gain a touch of sweetness.  They're both so good.  You have to give them a try. 

Slow Cooker Roast with Crispy Vegetables


1 Beef Roast
3-5 Onions, sliced
1 tablespoon Ground Mustard
2 tablespoons Paprika
1 tablespoon Garlic Powder
Salt & pepper
1 bottle red wine or rose
1 quart chicken stock


1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 bunch radishes, halved or quartered
1 lb. baby or fingerling potatoes, halved or quartered
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
salt & pepper

Optional Extras:

Polenta, cooked according to directions
For Polenta: 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated & 1 -2 tablespoons butter
Fresh thyme for garnish

Combine first 8 ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 6 -8 hours.  About 30-45 minutes before you are ready to eat, remove beef from the slow cooker & shred.  Return to slow cooker until ready to serve.

During the last few minutes of cooking time, start polenta cooking, according to directions.  Once polenta is cooked, take off flame and add in butter, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper.  Stir to melt butter & cheese & combine.

About 20 minutes before eating, preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine vegetables, olive oil & balsamic vinegar in a large zip top bag.  Close bag & carefully shake to coat veggies in oil & vinegar mixture.  Arrange on a lined baking sheet & season with salt & pepper.  Roast vegetables for 15 - 20 minutes.

In a bowl or plate, spoon a helping of polenta, then add meat & onions, top with vegetables & garnish with fresh thyme & additional salt & pepper if desired.


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