Do you Menu?

Menu Planning may sound like a lot of work, but it's actually one of the laziest things I've ever done. Since I started planning our meals for the week (and eventually the month) I've noticed some improvements in the way we eat and in the way I shop. Knowing what's for dinner not only saves time, it saves money and helps us eat healthier as well.

By planning out the week's meals I can make a more effective list for the grocery store and purchase only those items that we will need for the week. I make fewer impulse and duplicate purchases, and have practically eliminated the mid-week run to the grocery store—not to mention those impromptu take-out nights.

And if you display your menu where the family will see it, you'll never hear the words, "Mom, what's for dinner?" again!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yankee Pot Roast

3 lb boneless chuck roast
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces (quartered if they are thick)
1 lb red potatoes, unpeeled, cut unto quarters
3 ribs of celery cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces
1 medium onion, peeled but left whole
1 can beef broth*
1 tsp Wylers Beef Crystals*
2 cups water
salt & pepper to taste
olive oil

COOKING METHOD: This roast can be cooked by whatever method you like, Crock Pot, Stove Top, or Oven. After cooking, the broth can be served as is or thickened as desired to make a gravy.

OVEN: Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat bottom of large 5 qt oven safe dutch oven with olive oil and heat on stove top over medium-high heat. Place roast in dutch oven and allow to brown on all sides. Add remaining ingredients. Bake in oven at 350°F for approximately 3 hours or until fork tender.

STOVE TOP: Follow the steps above but do not preheat oven. Simmer in dutch oven over medium-low heat until meat is fork tender.

CROCK POT: Brown meat as described above. Deglaze the pan using the 2 cups water. Place vegetables in the bottom of a large 5 qt crock pot. Place the meat on top of the vegetables. Add the deglazing liquid, broth, beef crystals, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 8 hours.

*This is my own adaptation of what Grammy always called Yankee Pot Roast. Hers was much plainer. She only used water, salt, and pepper to season her version and she didn't brown hers. I've boosted the flavor quite a bit by browning the meat and with the addition of beef broth and beef crystals. You can use one or the other (or neither) as desired. This is just the combination our family prefers.

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