Friday, January 15, 2010

Pot Roast

The Mission:
Make Pot Roast.... 1 - because we have a ton of venison pot roast in the freezer.... 2 - because I love it.... And sometimes I just need to make what I want and not care too much what the husband says ;) I know he's not a fan of Pot Roast, but I'm pretty sure he can deal with eating it once or twice a year! It can't possibly be that bad.

The Ingredients:
  • 3 lb pot roast (beef, venison, whatever)
  • 2 Tbsp cooking oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp instant beef bullion granules
  • 1 tsp dried basil, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 small onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into bite sized pieces (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • Black pepper (optional)
The Instructions:
Trim fat from meat. In a 4-6 quart pot brown roast on all sides in hot oil. Combine the 3/4 cup water, Worcestershire sauce, bouillon granules, basil and salt in a small bowl. Pour over the roast and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer covered for 1 hour. Add potatoes, carrots, onions and celery to the pot, return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 - 60 more minutes or until everything is tender. Transfer the meat and veggies to a warmed platter and cover with foil, reserving juices in the pot. For the gravy - whisk the 1/3 cup of flour into 1/2 cup of cold water until no lumps remain. Stir into the juices is the pot. Cook and stir over medium heat until thick and bubbly. Add black pepper if desired. Serve the gravy with the meat and veggies.

The Results:
I think it turned out fantastic. Of course, I forgot to photo document how fantastic it turned out.... so you'll just have to take my word for it. The roast was perfectly tender, and the veggies turned out superb! I did add a bit of extra flour than the recipe called for in order to get my gravy to the desired consistency, but sometimes it happens.

The Reviews:
The husband ate it, and admitted that it tasted fine.... but did remind me that it's not his favorite and he really didn't want it again any time soon. Boo. It's always disappointing to me that he doesn't fawn over everything I make, though it's to be expected. My coworkers who saw my leftovers thought it looked and smelled fantastic, though. That's always a nice ego boost :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Mom's Meat Loaf

The Mission:
Make meat loaf for dinner because I've been craving it lately. I use my Mom's recipe, which I've been eating since childhood, though I omit the celery and substitute onion powder for the diced onions. My husband prefers it that way, and if he's going to eat it, he has to like it. I love to top mine with Piquant sauce (recipe at bottom), but the husband prefers his with boring old ketchup.

The Ingredients:
  • 1.5 lbs ground lean ground beef (or venison)
  • 2/3 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 slightly beaten eggs
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion (optional if you have a picky eater)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dry ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning 1
  • Tbsp Worchestshire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp chopped celery (also optional)
The Instructions:
In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients with your hands until combined. If the mixture doesn't seem firm enough to form a loaf, add 1/2 to 1 cup of Quaker Oats. Place the meat into a loaf pan and pack down tightly. Form the meat into a loaf shape (higher in the middle and lower on the edges) and place in a preheated 350*F oven. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the meat is done. Serve with Piquant Sauce, ketchup, or mustard if desired.

Piquant Sauce:
Combine together the following ingredients: 3 Tbsp brown sugar 1/4 cup ketchup 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg 1 tsp dry ground mustard Then heat in the microwave for 30 second increments, stirring inbetween, until warm.

The Results:
I left out the chopped onions and substituted onion powder for my picky eater. It's important to use lean ground beef or else the meatloaf will be very greasy. I've also tried this recipe using ground venison with fantastic results. My husband shared some of his leftovers with a coworker, who just raved about how good it was :)

The Reviews:
Though my husband griped about the meatloaf a bit before hand, he dug right in and cleared his plate. Then he had seconds. Then he ate all of the leftovers. Apparently leaving out the celery and diced onions really made this meatloaf tasty to him. I'm thrilled. Unfortunately, he hid the camera so I couldn't take any more pictures :(

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Venison BBQ

The Mission:
To use some of our ample supply of venison to create a hearty meal on a cold, cold Monday. I wanted to make something especially comforting since this particular Monday happened to follow a four-day weekend :) Pulled venison barbeque happens to be a favorite of my husbands, and it was his Dad that told me how to make it. My father-in-law has some very yummy ideas for wild fish and game.

The Ingredients:
  • 1 venison roast water
  • 1 or 2 tsps of salt
  • liquid smoke - optional
  • your favorite barbeque sauce

The Instructions:

This is extremely simple to make. I place the roast into my crockpot. I cover the roast with water and add about a tsp or two of salt. If the mood strikes me, I'll add some liquid smoke to the water as well... just a few dashes. (I skipped that step this time.) I'll set the crockpot on low for about 20 hours, since I usually put the roast in the night before. 8 hours on low is just fine if you prefer to assemble the goods in the morning. 30 minutes prior to dinner time, remove the roast from the crockpot, placing it in a glass baking dish. Discard any bones or fatty things from the meat, then use two forks to pull the meat apart until it is in bite-sized pieces. It will look kind of shredded. Serve immediately with your favorite BBQ sauce and side dishes.

The Results:

Delicious as always. Someday I plan on making barbeque sauce from scratch and seeing how it turns out. I served this particular meal with green beans - frozen for me and canned for him, and his favorite biscuits. As an added bonus, I use the leftover 'broth' from the crockpot to moisten up the dog's food. They adore it, and it's pretty healthy once you drain off the little bit of fat. We usually add water to their food anyway, so I consider this to be a special treat for them and a way to recycle for me. This roast yielded about 2 quarts or so of broth.

The Reviews:

I thought it tasted fantastic, my husband was really happy, and I believe the dogs were just thrilled :)

Weekly Menu: January 3 - 8, 2010

I have become complacent in my meal planning and rarely cook any new concoctions.... and even though I tried new things over the holidays, I was too lazy and too busy to spend much time documenting and blogging about them. Oh well! There's always next holiay season :) But for now, there's the start of a new year and a new plan....

In an attempt to get my life back on track, become more organized, and rekindle my love for my kitchen, I'm working hard at menu planning for each week. This ensures that the grocery shopping will be productive, that I won't be stressing out each day over what to make for dinner, meats will be thawed & marinated on time, fresh veggies will not go to waste, and I can generally keep things calm and effective in the kitchen.

So for this week, I have planned on the following meals:

Sunday 1/03/2010:
Shake 'n' bake chicken, frozen peas, fresh carrots, and sauteed potatoes.

Monday 1/04:
Pulled venison BBQ, green beans, and biscuits.

Tuesday 1/05:
Seasame ginger chicken breast, broccoli, and rice with soy sauce.

Wednesday 1/06:
Meatloaf, pinto beans, and california blend veggies.

Thursday 1/07:
Roasted pork loin, butter beans, and steamed cabbage

Friday 1/08:
Venison pot roast with potatoes and carrots (new recipe!), green beans, and a fun dessert... maybe pumpkin custard....