tale of the broken crock pot

Over the Christmas holiday my crock pot broke. The crock somehow cracked. Although crock pots are not expensive, I was not in the mood to purchase another one. My crock pot was my go-to kitchen time saver, though. I simply resolved to find other ways to cook my soups and roasts.

Of course stock pots are wonderful for cooking soups on the stove top, I was not foreign to that! I had, however, never cooked a roast in the oven. Now that I have begun I may never purchase another crock pot.

I have been using the cast iron skillet and lid passed down to our family from Jesse's grandparents, and it cooks a roast with much more flavor than a crock pot ever did.

I simply preheat the oven to 300 degrees. To the skillet I add one roast (today it was an arm roast), two cups of water (to give me a good stock), 2 tablespoons of olive oil/butter, a dash of balsamic vinegar (if on hand) and a sprinkle of sea salt. I also add basil from time to time. I roast the meat for 3 hours and it turns out super, duper tender.

Our favorite ways to eat a roast are
  • as is, with vegetable and bread as side dishes
  • shredded and added to egg noodles, for beef and noodles
  • shredded and made into beef enchiladas
If I don't use the stock in the meal for the day then I simply freeze it to use for another meal.

I've also begun to use the skillet to roast chicken and, of course, the flavor is magical compared to the crock pot.

Have you noticed how frequently my posts are on the topic of food! I could blame the cooler weather, however, I have something else to blame: my children aging. With each turn into a new year it seems a transition happens in regards to me as a mother relating to my dear children. I could sense last year (turning from 2010 to 2011) that we were edging out of the heavy duty training years, that my son was becoming that much more independent and less underfoot (needing me so!). At the time it was quite a revelation because I had become to focused on certain goals and then I realized...we were meeting them and my children were growing and maturing...which is of course, what you want for your children! As the turn of this year rolled around (2011-2012) the children were needing me even less, playing together for hours at a time. I told my husband I wasn't sure what to do with myself! My responsibilities are in the home, so it wasn't time for me to run out and find something to do or get a new hobby. I looked around my home and began to consider at what else I could improve my skills. I'm not a natural in the kitchen, but have always been eager to learn more. So this has been a place to learn more, grow, try new recipes, be more healthy, become more frugal - overall become more knowledgeable about this aspect of caring for my family.

And THAT is why you've seen so many more food posts!


Michelle said…
I recently cooked roast in a cast iron dutch oven for the first time and I thought it was great, but there were quite a few steps involved. But I like how uncomplicated your method is and I think I'll do that next time.