I know I am a crockpot addict – but if you have not tried cooking in one – do it! You will be amazed at how great your home smells, and how easy and time efficient it can be. Below is one of my favorite recipes – you can get it all ready in the morning or even the night before ( putting the crockpot with its contents without the electrical connector into your fridge) – plug it in, set for 10-12 hours on low ( or 5-6 on high) and off you go to work or play – and when you come home the house smells divine and the kids can sit down and eat right away!
So here is one of my pet peeves.
Nothing will spoil a child’s appetite more than crackers and snacks just before a meal – yet lots of young mothers seem to do this nowadays. Do you remember feeding your children constantly all day? I did not do that with my son – he had three meals – and a piece of fruit during the morning break and another during the afternoon when he came home from school. Otherwise there were no power bars, ( another word for candy in my opinion), crackers, pureed fruit, dried fruit chips, vegetable chips or other such things in his world.
A strange change in many young parents nowadays is that they never go in the car, or to the playground or to soccer games or other sports without snacks. I see it all around me – young moms and dads carrying bags of stuff for their children to eat wherever they are. I find it really strange!
I have told my grandkids that I don’t carry snacks. Am I a bad grandma? Just doesn’t seem to make sense to me – does it to you? Let me know! I find they eat well at their meals when they are with us. And we try to feed them natural food – nothing processed, frozen, dried or packaged. Just organic meat, vegetables, fruit, chicken – and I am hoping – soon, fish. I am not perfect and don’t restrict other foods – just try to offer the healthy options more often.
They love my home baked bread ( who wouldn’t!) as well as my desserts – but hopefully that is well interspersed with the good stuff so it all balances out.
I certainly understand that small children have small stomachs and can’t hold a lot of food – and need to have a mid morning and mid afternoon snack – hopefully healthy things like fresh fruit or baby carrots – but I just don’t recall carrying food and water around for the kids all day long….rather I do recall teaching children to wait for meal times and then eat properly then or ‘the kitchen is closed’ . That seems to me to be a better approach. Sigh. Maybe I am just old fashioned – love to hear from other grandparents and caregivers and young moms and dads re what I am missing here…..
Anyway here is that yummy recipe! Enjoy cooking with your kids – I love cooking with my grandsons!
Crockpot Pot Roast – Cooking with Kids
- 2 medium sweet potatoes , 2 medium yukon gold potatotes cut into quarters (4 cups) – use my knife skills technique when cooking with kids -ie have the child cover your hand with his/hers while you hold the knife
- 2 cups fresh whole baby carrots ( children can throw these into the pot and snack on them too)
- 1 stalk celery , cut into 1″ pieces ( cut these with the kids and let them throw them in)
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes in puree ( once you have opened the can, hold the child’s hand as he/she pours the contents into the crockpot
- 2 1/2 lb. beef bottom round roast or beef chuck pot roast ( we try to use only organic meat)
- 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper and 1/2 tsp. of kosher salt
- 1 can (10 3/4 oz.) Campbell’s® Condensed Tomato Soup ( same as the can instructions above)
- 1/2 cup water ( teach the children how to measure half a cup) NOTE: Think about replacing the water with red wine – we always seem to have wine in the fridge that is half a bottle – it does add a wonderful taste and aroma to this dish
- 1 tbsp. garlic ( you chop this one!)
- 1 tsp. each dried basil leaves , dried oregano leaves and dried parsley flakes, crushed ( show the children how to measure one teaspoon!)
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 1 Tbsp of Olive Oil
- Put potatoes, carrots and celery in 3 1/2-qt. slow cooker.
- Season the roast with salt and pepper and brown in olive oil on the stove then place on top. (You can skip the browning step if you are in a hurry – it also means one less thing to clean ie the frying pan)
- Mix the soup, tomatoes in puree, water, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and vinegar. Pour the mixture over the vegetable contents of the crockpot.
- COVER and cook on LOW 10 to 12 hr. or until done. On high would take about 5-6 hours
Thickening the Gravy:
I like to thicken the gravy by taking out the roast, mixing 1/4cup of flour with 1/2 cup of water. The way to do this so that it doesn’t get lumpy, is to use hot water with a bit of flour to make a paste, then add more water until you have the full 1/4 cup mixed with the flour. Then start adding the juice/gravy from the pot and keep mixing until you have a smooth mixture that is becoming very much more liquid than pasty. Only add this to the pot once you are confident that it is as smooth as you can get it. Mix what is in the crockpot – then replace the meat until ready to serve.
Serving the Potroast:
A nice service approach is to slice the potroast meat into pieces/slices and put on a warmed platter and then arrange the vegetables around it, then pour the gravy mixture over it all and serve family style so that everyone can have second helpings! I have also served steamed rice made in a rice cooker ( it keeps for hours there) with this even though there is a starch ( potatoes) in the mixture. The reason is that we don’t want to lose a bit of that delicious gravy!
TIP: For thicker gravy, mix 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup water. Remove roast from cooker. Stir flour mixture into cooker, cover and cook on HIGH about 10 min. or until mixture boils and thickens.