Crock Pot Pot Roast

I’m not typically a beef lover. Ben loves nothing more than a good steak [or lemony kale pasta, go figure], so we’re not always good food matches. This is why we never share meals at restaurants  much to my chagrin… unless he’s being really nice to me, I suppose! :) But sometimes I really do crave beef. A few weeks ago this was the case, so I decided to make a nice pot roast for Saturday night dinner while my parents were visiting. But as is typical when my parents are in town, my mom and I had been planning on doing a little shopping during the afternoon, so I decided to let the crock pot do the work for me.

Crock Pot  Pot Roast | The Pajama Chef

Though I had never made pot roast in the crock pot, I decided to give a popular yet simple Martha Stewart recipe a try. Though pretty basic, this pot roast is incredible! I let a three pound roast  simmer on low all day long with carrots, onions, pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, and red wine, and the result was a rich, tender, flavorful roast. I’m no expert in pot roasts, but I think the key to this one was the vinegary, salty, and sweet Worcestershire sauce. As a side note, did you know that Worcestershire sauce is used in cocktails? How bizarre! Anyway, if you’re looking for a no frills, classic, and simple pot roast, look no further! I served mine with some oven roast potatoes, and their crisp skin was the perfect pairing with the tender, soft, fall apart in your mouth beef and carrots. So, so good! Enjoy! :)

Crock Pot Pot Roast [adapted from Martha Stewart]
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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 8 medium carrots, cut into thirds
  • 2 medium onions, each cut into 8 wedges
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 beef chuck roast [3 pounds], trimmed of excess fat [or can use a variety of beef roasts--I used a bottom round roast]
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions:

In a large crock pot, whisk together cornstarch with 2 tablespoons cold water  until smooth. Add carrots and onions, and season with salt and pepper. Place roast on top of vegetables, then season with additional pepper and salt if desired. Drizzle Worcestershire sauce on top, then pour wine and water around the roast [on top of vegetables if possible].

Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until fully cooked [or on high for 6 hours].

Remove roast to cutting board, then shred roast or thinly slice against the grain. Serve roast with vegetables and pan juices.

Time: 8 hours, 15 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: 8-10 servings.

Notes: The original recipe called for cooking on low for 10 hours or on high for 6. I cooked the roast on low for 8 hours and it was done, so just pay attention to your roast and if you do have cook it over [i.e. work schedule], it’s probably best to do so on low and to add a bit of extra water/wine. You can also strain the pan juices before serving, but I didn’t do this.

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Pineapple Black Bean Rice

Let me start off with a huge disclaimer: this jerk chicken is not authentic. Just wanted to get that out in the open. I mean, it’s cooked in a crock pot and not smoked in a pit… so that’s a pretty big difference. And furthermore, traditional jerk seasoning has a lot of heat to compliment the sweet, smoky flavor of the myraid of spices [primarily allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg] that make up the jerk seasoning blend. Or at least, that’s what my cookbook said. :) My jerk seasoning blend has more sweetness than heat, but that departure from the norm isn’t bad… it just means you can enjoy what’s there instead of burning your mouth to bits.

jamaican jerk chicken and pineapple black bean rice on a plateNow that we have established that my version has been adapted, shall we say… let’s get on with it. Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, let’s focus on what we do: this Jamaican Jerk Chicken and Rice is amazing. It’s sweet and smoky with a little bit of jalapeno-induced kick. Plus, this crock pot cooking method does not require traditional overnight marinating that most jerk chicken recipes do… meaning you can whip this up on a whim, no planning required! Though if you are thinking ahead, I bet marinating the meat would take an already fantastic dish absolutely over-the-top!

If I do say so myself though, the marinating to take things over-the-top-bit might not even be necessary. I got you covered on that over-the-topness. Instead of serving this pulled meat [almost type "slow cooked" meat... you remember how I feel about that!] on boring rice or a sandwich bun, I decided to fancify my regular white rice with some Caribbean-inspired ingredients like more allspice, crushed pineapple, black beans, and cilantro. The rice was undoubtedly my favorite part of this dinner [and the chicken Ben's, but he's a meatloving man so that's not surprising].

I mean, how fantastic does this look? Sweet, smoky, fresh, substantial rice paired with sweet-hot pulled chicken. What else would you want? If you figure it out, please do let me know because I don’t have a clue. :) Enjoy!

Jamaican Jerk Chicken & Pineapple Black Bean Rice [chicken adapted from Slow Cooker Classics from Around the World by Victoria Shearer, rice is a TPC original!]
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Ingredients:

for chicken

  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • sprinkle salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced [deseed if you wish--I did]
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 4 pounds cut up chicken pieces, bones and skins removed

for rice

  • 1 1/2 cups white rice
  • 3 cups liquid [drained pineapple juice + water or chicken broth]
  • 1 1/2 cups black beans, rinsed and drained [1 15 ounce can]
  • 1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple [fruit + juice]
  • ~3/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons allspice
  • pinch cayenne pepper

Directions:

Place all ingredients for chicken in large crockpot. Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and shreds easily.

About thirty minutes before eating, prepare rice. Drain pineapple, catching liquid in a large measuring cup or bowl. Add extra water or chicken broth to make 3 cups liquid, then add liquid and rice to a large pot set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes or until rice has absorbed liquid. Stir in black beans, reserved pineapple, allspice, and cayenne pepper. Just before serving stir in cilantro.

Serve shredded chicken over rice, or on sandwich buns.

Time: 5 hours.

Yield: alot of food!

Notes: This recipe can be halved and cooked for 3 1/2-4 hours in the crock pot. I did make the full amount of rice so if you’re cooking for a crowd, the rice may need to be doubled or tripled.

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken

So, almost immediately after pinning this awesome looking recipe for Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Chicken, Tina commented on my pin with her rave reviews. I knew it looked good, but hearing how fabulous it was made it even more appealing. But what about this recipe made it so wonderful, when I hadn’t even tasted it?

Was it the combination of garlic and ginger? Honey and soy sauce? Toasted sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes? Or [gasp] even the ketchup and canola oil and onion?

I’m not sure. Does it even really matter, though? I’m not sure it does.

Simple ingredients come together to make something fantastic in this Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken. And the best part is that it only takes four hours to cook in the crock pot. [Side note: I despise calling a crock pot a "slow cooker." It sounds so... ugh... to me. Hence the name change.]

Ben loves anything Asian-inspired, so you can be sure that this was a huge hit in our house. The flavors are just the right amount of sweetness and kick, but feel free to add more spice if that’s your thing. This is a must make, so if you’ve been thinking about it… go for it! Enjoy!

Crock Pot Honey Sesame Chicken [adapted from Six Sisters' Stuff and Foodie with Family]
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Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • black pepper
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • hot cooked rice, for serving
  • steamed broccoli, for serving
  • sesame seeds, for serving

Directions:

Season chicken thighs with black pepper and lay in bottom of crock pot.

In a medium bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, onion, ketchup, canola oil, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Pour mixture over chicken thighs and flip chicken to coat. Cook on low for 4 hours, then remove chicken to a plate.

In a second bowl, combine cornstarch with water until dissolved. Then pour into liquid in crock pot, return chicken, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until thick.

Break up chicken with two forks, then serve over hot cooked rice with steamed broccoli. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, then enjoy.

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce

Cranberries don’t have to be just served just on Thanksgiving and Christmas. They make a tasty addition to your table throughout the winter too. This post-holiday period is a great time to stock up on cranberries to freeze, and some grocery stores even carry them in the freezer section year-round.

Recently, I had some leftover cranberries to use up, so I decided to improvise on my own Crock Pot Chunky Applesauce recipe. Ben and I love the normal version, and make it quite often, so I thought the addition of cranberries would be a welcome alternative to the norm. And it was! Like my normal version, Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce is an easy chop-it, mix-it, and forget-about-it recipe that looks and tastes gourmet–with minimal effort. The tartness and bite of the cranberries paired perfectly with the sweet, chewy apples and also provided some naturally festive food coloring. Pretty food is always better, in my opinion, so whether you need a simple yet fancy side or a use for excess cranberries, give Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce a shot today!

Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce [adapted from my own Crock Pot Chunky Applesauce]
printable version

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces cranberries [fresh or frozen], rinsed
  • 12 cups apples, roughly peeled and chopped [I used Gala and McIntosh]
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

Directions:

Place all ingredients in crock pot and stir well to combine. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Don’t yield to the temptation to open the lid at all… it adds to the cooking time by releasing the heat. At the end of cooking, use a potato masher to crush apples and cranberries to desired texture, stir thoroughly and enjoy!

Note:

Feel free to add extra brown sugar at the end if it isn’t sweet enough for you.

Time: 8 hours and 15 minutes [15 minutes active].

Yield: about 12 cups.

Crock Pot Hot Potato Soup

Hot potato, hot potato, hot potato hot! Anyone else ever play this game back in elementary school? I know I sure did. And in tribute to days of old… I bring to you Crock Pot Hot Potato Soup.soup in a bowl

So, this variation of potato soup is definitely different than my traditional fare, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less yummy. This Crock Pot Hot Potato Soup is the closest thing I’ve ever had to a baked potato in a bowl. Creamy and satisfying, it is a rich, filling one dish meal that everyone will love. It’s definitely a potato soup, but not overwhelmingly so. What makes this Crock Pot Hot Potato Soup unique is the kick of spice that surprises you with each and every bite. Subtle enough for those spice scaredy-cats like myself, but strong enough that spice lovers [like Ben] can rejoice with every bite, this soup is as flavorful as they come. Plus, since it’s made in the crock pot, it’s easy too–just prep the ingredients the night before and turn it on in the morning. Easy as 1-2-3! And it’ll be really easy to give this hot potato away… not that you’ll want to after a bite or two. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Hot Potato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups potatoes, roughly peeled and diced
  • 2 cups chicken broth [or vegetable broth]
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 10 ounces condensed cream of chicken soup [you can buy it or make your own, like I did... vegetarians can try other types of condensed soups]
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped and partially deseeded according to your desire for spice
  • black pepper
  • red chili pepper flakes
  • 12 ounce can fat free evaporated milk
  • olive oil
  • shredded cheese, for serving [optional]
  • green onions, for serving [optional]
  • cooked and crumbled bacon, for serving [optional]

Directions:

In a small skillet, saute onions and celery in olive oil over medium high heat until just soft. Meanwhile, combine potatoes, chicken broth, condensed soup, jalapeno, and garlic powder in a crock pot.  Add in onions and celery and stir to combine. Season with pepper and chili pepper flakes as desired. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, then stir in the evaporated milk and cook for about 20-25 minutes more. Serve with cheese, green onions and bacon.

Click here for the printable version: Crock Pot Hot Potato Soup

Question of the Day: Fave childhood game? Ready… go! I loved to play freeze tag. You’re it :)

Come join the fun at the My Baking Addiction and GoodLife Eats Holiday Recipe Exchange sponsored by West Bend.