The Hatch-Palucks, Week 26: Cook Once, Eat Twice

Filed under: Healthy Families Challenge

crock pot  picture

I'm learning to love my Crock Pot, and so is everyone else in my family. Credit: Amy Hatch

When I was pregnant with my son, Henry, I craved pot roast from morning to night -- when I wasn't upchucking my guts out from morning sickness, that is.

My craving for red meat wasn't so surprising when the doctor discovered that I was severely anemic.

Too bad I don't have that excuse anymore. Now, I just want pot roast because I like to stuff my face with saucy, delicious, slow-cooked meat. I indulged myself -- and the rest of my family -- with a great big pot of it last Sunday.

While it doesn't sound like the most healthy meal I could have chosen to make -- and, no, it wasn't -- there was a method behind my madness. When it comes to Sunday dinners, we throw caution (and healthy eating) to the wind. Once a week -- before spending the next six days minding our nutritional Ps and Qs -- we indulge our desires for a full-fat meal, complete with a homemade dessert.

That's where the pot roast came in.

I'm pressed for time every day of the week, whether it's a weekend or not, and I wanted to feed the troops something hearty and worthy of our Sunday dinner traditions. I spend a lot of time reading blogs for my work, and I came across a lovely woman named Rachel Matthews, who blogs about food and cooking at A Southern Fairytale, and offers recipes for those of us who aren't necessarily blessed with the skills of a trained chef.

Rachel and I have met on a few occasions, so I emailed her and asked if she had a pot roast recipe for the culinarily challenged. She sent me hers, which is made in a slow cooker.

I have to tell you, it was a raging success.

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This is a big deal because, you see, my husband, Channing, prefers not to eat food made in a Crock Pot. I don't know why, I have no clue about the origins of his slow-cooker phobia, and he won't spill just what it is that made him so averse to this cooking method.

I knew if I made Rachel's pot roast for him, he would change his mind. And if he changed his mind about slow-cooked food, that would make it so much easier for me to get homemade meals on our table more than once a week.

See? I told you I had a good reason for making pot roast!

The pot roast I made was so yummy that Channing even asked me to keep the leftovers, which I did, giving me a second homemade meal for the week.

Score!

I served it with the veggies made right in the pot with the roast, and Henry ate every single carrot I could put on his plate. I also put some fresh, raw veggies on the table with the rest of the food -- a rainbow of peppers and orange sweet tomatoes.

I spent the rest of the week perusing slow-cooker recipes and I found a whole bunch that look good, including several that are meatless and much lighter than pot roast. We practice no-meat Fridays during Lent, giving me the perfect excuse to put more plant-based meals on our menu, since we also dislike seafood.

Now I can put dinner together in the morning before I leave for work, and when I get home, it's almost ready to serve. All that's left to do is make a quick loaf of bread in our bread machine, and voila! We have a homemade meal on the table with minimal effort -- and almost no stress.

This is a revelation for me, considering how crazy it made me to try to pull together a meal at the most hectic time of our day -- and the guilt I felt about serving fast-food instead of homemade weighed on me even more than our extra poundage.

My Crock Pot triumph has left me feeling a great spirit of generosity -- and because of that, I'm going to share my pal Rachel's recipe with you. Enjoy!

Pot Roast

1 2- to 3-pound roast (chuck or shoulder)
1 10-ounce can cream of mushroom soup
1 10 -ounce can cream of celery soup
2 medium yellow onions, cut into 1/4-inch rings
1 head celery, chop off the tips and the ends, cut into 1- 1 1/2-inch pieces
12 oz full-bodied beer
1 small bag of baby carrots (or a bag of full-size carrots peeled and cut into pieces)
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of paprika (optional)

Heat a skillet to high and sear the roast on all sides for about two minutes or until nicely browned. Combine ingredients in slow cooker and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.