Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beef Pot Pie

Whenever I make pot roast, I always have too much leftovers. Dylan isn't a huge fan, and there's only so many days in a row in which I can eat pot roast. That's when I decided that I needed to figure out how to use up these leftovers so I wasn't throwing away food. My first idea was a recipe I remember eating as a kid, Beef and Noodles.

Then, one day, I got a brilliant idea. I love those cheap little beef pot pies that you buy in the frozen section, and I was craving one. Sadly, they aren't the greatest thing in the world for you. So I decided I was going to make my own. My first attempt was OK, though it was pretty bland as I didn't add any salt or other seasonings, assuming the gravy packets and the seasoning from the meat would take care of it. (Spoiler: They didn't.) So here is my improved recipe.

Beef Pot Pie
(Printable Version)

  • 2 packages brown gravy mix
  • 2 pre-made pie crusts
  • 2 organic russet potatoes, skinned and diced
  • 2-3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup leftover pot roast, diced
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Put bottom crust in a 9 inch pie pan. Either poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork, or use dried beans or pie weights to keep it from bubbling up. Bake in a preheated 450 F oven for 7-9 minutes or until slightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, cook gravy according to packages. Add the potatoes and carrots and simmer for about 15 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add the roast, mushrooms, and sweet peas and mix well.
  • Taste gravy and add salt, pepper, and onion powder to taste.
  • Pour the gravy mixture into the baked pie crust. Cover with the second pie crust. Put a couple of vent slits on the top.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 9 minutes or until the top crust is golden brown. Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. 

My Take 

I didn't measure how much salt, pepper, or onion powder I put in. For salt it was probably close to 1/4 teaspoon or more. The pepper and onion powder was only a dash. But take my advice, taste the gravy! Once you put it in the pie crust, you won't have a chance to season it, so make sure you get it right the first time, otherwise you're going to have a bland pot pie.

You also want to cut up your potatoes pretty small. The first time I made it, the potatoes were too big and took over the whole thing.

Because this is a leftover dish, you can use whatever veggies you want. For instance, even though the recipe calls for carrots, I usually use the cooked carrots leftover from my pot roast and add them in when I add in the peas. This time, though, I didn't have any, as my baby carrots went bad. So, I used the frozen pea and carrot combo, and it worked out great. I also didn't have any mushrooms on hand, so I just omitted them. Yet, it still tasted great.

And remember, you can always sub your own homemade crust for the pre-fab ones. I'm not very good at making crusts (a future project of mine) so I just always buy the pre-made ones for now. I'm sure this would taste even better with a homemade crust. :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Simple Pot Roast with Vegetables

When I think of pot roast, I think of family dinner after church on Sundays. It was a special meal with mashed potatoes and gravy, delicious cooked carrots, and ketchup. (My brother and I apparently didn't have very good taste buds when we were kids). Sadly, my husband isn't a huge roast fan, but I love it, so I've been on the hunt for a good roast recipe. I found several while searching the internet, but all of them used packets of gravy or dressings and it just sounded too salty for me. I also didn't want that much salt, because I was planning on feeding Lucy some.

So I do what I've done recently when I haven't found exactly what I'm looking for: I made something up. And this turned out great. More to follow after the recipe.

  • 3-5 pound bottom round roast
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can low sodium beef broth
  • 5-6 organic russet potatoes, skinned and quartered
  • 10-15 baby carrots or 3-4 large carrots cut into bite-sized pieces
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder

You have to get inventive sometimes to get all the sides brown

  • Season the roast with a pinch of salt and pepper. In a large non-stick skillet, brown all sides of the roast. 

  • Place the potatoes and carrots in the bottom of your slow cooker. Place the roast on top. Pour the beef broth over the roast and vegetables. Season the roast with a sprinkling of the garlic and onion powders.
  • Cook on Low for 8 hours, turning the roast over about halfway through. Roast is done when meat thermometer reads 160°F. Allow the roast to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving, allowing the juices to set.

My Take

I love how this yummy roast can be achieved by just a few simple ingredients. They aren't overpowering and really allows the meat to take center stage.

What I like to do is to take the potatoes out about 30 minutes before the slow cooker is done and use them to make mashed potatoes. I find that when I cook them with the meat, they get a wonderful flavor. And as an added bonus, pot roast makes wonderful leftovers! I also strain the liquid leftover, heat it up in a saucepan with some flour, and make a gravy which I use on the whole meal. Sometimes I do have to add some salt since there isn't a lot added in the cooking of the meat.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Root Beer BBQ Pulled Pork

I had heard about cooking pork in root beer and making pulled pork out of it, but I had never tried it. In fact, I had never even attempted to make pulled pork at home. When I go to a BBQ place, pulled pork is high on my list to order, so I figured I would try making it at home. I love the taste of root beer, so I figured I would do an Internet search and find a recipe I could easily do. The first one which caught my eye was this one. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe to the letter, but then I read the comments, so the next time I made it, I adapted it to what it is today.

  • 1 pork butt (shoulder), trimmed of any excess fat
  • 1/2 (2 liter) bottle of root beer (I personally prefer to use A&W. Has a sweeter taste than some others)
  • 1/2 (28 oz.) bottle of BBQ sauce
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic salt
  • Hamburger buns, lightly toasted


  • Rub the pork butt with a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic salt. Pierce the meat with a fork in several places, then place in a slow cooker.
  • Pour the root beer into the slow cooker, making sure at least half of the meat is covered. 
  • Cook on Low for 6 hours
  • Drain the root beer. Shred the meat with two forks and place back into the slow cooker. Pour the BBQ sauce onto the meat and mix them together until the meat is well coated.
  • Cook on Low for 1 hour.
  • Serve on lightly toasted hamburger buns. 

My Take

This is a sweet BBQ recipe, but it's one that is loved in my household. I love being able to make pulled pork at home and not have to wait to go to a BBQ place to get it. The root beer and BBQ sauce measurements are just estimations. I typically have to eyeball them. For the BBQ sauce, make sure your meat is well coated, otherwise the meat will dry out.