Oscar Night Dinner for My Four Leading Men – Crockpot Beef Pot Roast with Mushrooms “Sorta-coto”

It’s the same thing every year.  I always want to watch the Oscars to see all of the fabulous dresses and hairstyles, and the incredible jewelry, and my current celebrity crush (right now, I’ll take the Ryans – Gosling and Reynolds) in a tux.   In college, actually, for pretty much any awards show, we would always get all of our friends together, maybe make a big pot of spaghetti, and just ogle over or make fun of famous people all night.  My friend and former college roomie, The Half-Baked Housewife, is a total awards show junkie.  This year, she even live blogged during the Oscars (I paid more attention to that than the actual show).

But I was never really into watching the actual awards.  I have always been more of a “movie” person than a “film” person, and, more often than not, it is the “films” that are nominated for the big awards.  So I don’t usually have much of a vested interest (except this year I did see and LOVE Moneyball, so was pulling for the movie, Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill to win). And the mediocre hosts and long speeches and boring tributes – not worth four hours of my time.  I think the best thing to happen to the Oscars was E! starting to televise the red carpet.  And even better, now I just have to watch Fashion Police, and I get the full recap of the only parts I am interested in.

So instead of a throwing an Oscar party, and making all of the fabulous dishes that I saw posted on a ton of other blogs, I thought it would be nice to make a good meal for the four leading men in my life: The Bug, The Hubby, Dad, and Grandpa.

My Four Leading Men

And when you are cooking for four generations of men, what better to make than good, old fashioned meat and potatoes.

Meat and potatoes

Let’s just say they were all quite satisfied, including The Bug.

The Bug digging in to Pot Roast with Mushrooms

My inspiration came from Giada DeLaurentiis’ cookbook “Giada’s Family Dinners”, and her recipe for Stracoto with Porcini Mushrooms.  I have made this recipe several times, and it has always been a hit.  But I wanted to change up a few things.  Giada braises her roast, and I wanted to make it in the crock pot (I used my 5 quart one).  She uses chuck roast, and I happened to have an eye round roast in the freezer (next time I would probably use a chuck or something else with a little more fat, to make it even more tender).  Also, her gravy is made from pureeing everything that is left in the pot after removing the meat.  I wanted chunks of mushrooms and a little thinner gravy.  I also wanted to cook some carrots with the roast because there is nothing like carrots soaked with all of those wonderful beef juices, and they are one of The Bug’s favorite veggies.  I did sear the meat, like she did, because I love the flavor it gives.  But I bet you could just chuck everything into your slow cooker, and it would be delicious.  Alternatively, if you don’t want to use the crock pot, you can follow Giada’s braising instructions.

Pot Roast with Mushrooms on plate

The flavors were perfect, but if I made it again, I would use a bigger piece of meat to have more leftovers (there was plenty of sauce, so no need to increase that).  However, I did manage to re-purpose what was leftover for a few lunches.  On Monday, The Bug had a repeat plate of what he had for dinner Sunday night, and devoured it just as happily.  Then today for lunch, Bill stuffed some of the leftover meat and gravy with some cheese into a pita, and I had a salad topped with the leftover mushrooms (oh, how I love mushrooms), a fried egg, parmesan cheese, and balsamic vinegar.  Yum!

Salad with leftover mushrooms from pot roast

Did you have an Oscars party?  What were some of your favorite dresses?

Crockpot Beef Pot Roast with Mushroom Sauce “Sorta-coto” (serves 4, but you can easily use a bigger piece of beef)

IngredientsPot Roast with Mushrooms in serving bowl

1 (2-pound or bigger) beef eye round roast (or another type of beef roast, such as chuck)

2 T. olive oil

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 t. salt

freshly ground black pepper

1 cup beef broth/stock

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2T. tomato paste

1 medium or 1/2 of a large onion, quartered

3 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled

1 cup dry red wine (I used a Merlot)

10 oz. cremini or white button mushrooms, quartered

1 cup baby carrots, or whole carrots, peeled and cut into “fingers”

1 large sprig of fresh rosemary

Directions

1.  Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat.Pot Roast With Mushrooms in Crock Pot before cooking

2.  Combine the corn starch, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish.

3.  Roll the meat around in the cornstarch mixture until it is coated on all sides.  Set aside the remaining cornstarch mixture.

4.  Sear the meat in the pan for 2-3 minutes on each side, until it is nice and browned.

5. While the meat is searing, add the reserved cornstarch mixture, broth, balsamic vinegar, and tomato paste to the slow cooker, and stir to dissolve.

6.  Remove the meat from the pan, and put it in the slow cooker.Pot Roast with Mushrooms in Crock Pot after cooking

7.  Reduce the heat to low and pour the wine into the pan.  Scrape up any of the brown bits with a wooden spoon, and pour everything into the crockpot.

8.  Arrange the onion, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, and rosemary around the roast.

9.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the meat is cooked through.

10.  Remove the meat, carrots, and mushrooms from the slow cooker.  Ladle out or strain the liquid from the crockpot, and serve on the side as a gravy.

11.  Enjoy!

Pot Roast with Mushrooms close up

This recipe was shared with:

BSI (Blogger Secret Ingredient) – Beef at My Bizzy Kitchen.

Real Food Wednesday 2/29/12 at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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Of Lent and Leftovers (Mango Avocado Salsa Recipe)

I was raised Byzantine Catholic. It is pretty much like being Roman Catholic, but not really.  I could explain further, but I really don’t intend to use my blog for theology lessons.  But for us, Lent starts on Monday, not Ash Wednesday.  We don’t even really acknowledge Ash Wednesday.  I remember the first time I saw someone with ashes on their head, I thought they had been cleaning their fireplace and then touched their forehead before they washed their hands.  Another difference is that on the first day of Lent and on Good Friday, we can’t have meat or dairy.  Growing up in a meat-and-carb-loving family who didn’t really like seafood or beans (or, in my case, fruits and vegetables), and knew absolutely nothing about vegan cooking, this was tough.  Basically we picked on Pop Tarts (yes, strangely most varieties of Pop Tarts are dairy-free), Campbell’s Tomato Soup, peanut butter, saltines, bananas, and lo mein all day.  Well, this was not very tasty, filling, or healthy.

Luckily in the past several years, I have learned to make and enjoy a wider variety of foods.  So now one of my go-to dishes for the first day of Lent and/or Good Friday is fish or shrimp tacos with Mango Avocado Salsa.  Actually this salsa makes a frequent appearance on our dinner table ever since I first saw the recipe I based it on two years ago.  I tweaked the ratios to how I like it, got rid of the raw onion, and replaced the jalapeno with chili powder and cumin, because I usually have these in my pantry, but don’t usually have a jalapeno lying around (and I am not a huge fan of chunks of raw jalapeno).  We LOVE it on fish, shrimp, black bean, or chicken tacos.

Tyler eating Mango Avocado Salsa

Clearly The Bug loves him some Mango Avocado Salsa

I used to make it with just half of a mango and half of an avocado, but The Bug absolutely devours it (well, he does pick around the tomatoes).  But when I use a whole avocado and mango, we do usually have some left over.  And I hate leftover food.  Well, actually, I hate throwing away week-old, uneaten leftover food.  So I have come up with a number of ways to “re-purpose” any salsa that is left.  Except for the salad, these are all some of The Bug’s favorites:

  • Scoop it up with Tostitos Scoops (I usually get the baked ones)
  • Put it in an omelet with cheese
  • Make a quesadilla with beans and/or cheese
  • Put it in a grilled cheese sandwich
  • Spoon some on top of a pile of  mashed black beans (my version of refried beans)
  • Scoop it on top of a salad with Cumin Lime Dressing, and maybe a little feta cheese (my cheaper, easier to find replacement for cotija cheese)
Fish Taco with Mango Avocado Salsa

Fish Taco

Mango Avocado Salsa on Black Beans

Black Beans

Mango Avocado Quesadilla

Quesadilla

I am giving up wine this year.  It was that or ice cream, and I don’t feel like I can part with ice cream right now.  Are you giving up anything for Lent?

This post was shared with:

Pennywise Platter Thursday 2/23 blog carnival, on The Nourishing Gourmet

Traditional Tuesdays 2/28/12, on Whole New Mom

Hodge Podge Friday 3/2/12, on It’s a Hodge Podge Life

Mango Avocado Salsa
Adapted from Cooking Light

Ingredients

1 mango, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)Bowl of Mango Avocado Salsa

1 avocado, chopped (about 1 cup)

3/4 cup chopped tomatoes (I like to use grape tomatoes)

Juice of 1 lime

1-2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon salt

A few grinds of pepper

Directions

1.  Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl.  I like to squeeze the lime over it right after I cut the avocado to keep it from turning brown.

2.  If you have time, let it sit in the fridge for a little while to let the flavors blend before eating.

3.  Scoop onto your taco of choice.

4.  Enjoy!

Mango Avocado Salsa