Last week, I was on a pretty good roll, dinner-wise. It’s sort of a no-brainer some weeks: just cook Hubby’s favorites for 5 or 6 or 7 days in a row and he’s a happy guy: meatloaf, crispy ranch chicken, pork tenderloin on the grill, scrambled steak over mashed potatoes. Now that I’ve run through all his best dinners though, I’m out of new ideas. And I have a fridge-full of leftovers. Hubby is not a leftovers guy. Now what?
For the most part, my time off is affording me the ability to devour last night’s leftovers while I lounge in front of the TV all day, so I have been able to control things a bit that way. And strategically planning the meals that will afford the most leftovers for the weekends has helped a bit also. For instance, Saturday Nicole and I hit the outlets all day, and Andrea was hosting a party at her house in the evening. Since I knew dinnertime would be a really big rush, I had put a roast together on Friday afternoon for the crock pot. When we got our first crock pot several years ago, my mom bought me Betty Crocker’s Slow Cooker Cookbook as a gift, and I found this recipe inside that’s now my go-to for a quick and easy roast dinner:1 pound medium red potatoes, cut into fouths 1 cup baby-cut carrots 3- pound beef boneless chuck roast 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard 2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried rosemary leaves, crumbled 1 teaspoon chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 small onion, finely chopped (1/4 cup) 1 1/2 cup beef broth Arrange potatoes and carrots in a 3-1/2-to 6 quart slow cooker. Trim excess fat from beef. Mix mustard, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper; spread evenly over beef. Place beef in slow cooker. Sprinkle onion over beef. Pour broth evenly over beef and vegetables. Cover and cook on low hear setting 8-10 hours or until beef and vegetables are tender. Remove beef and vegetables from cooker; using slotted spoon. Place 0n serving platter. Skim fat from beef juices in cooker if desired. Serve beef with juices.
For just the two of us, a roast is way too much for one meal. This is where planning it for the weekend was, well, kinda genius. See, what we did then on Sunday was to make that leftover roast into hot beef sandwiches. When we ate Saturday night we were in a real rush so we just kind of fished around in the pot for what we wanted. Then when I put it away, I separated everything into different containers: one for the meat, one for the ‘taters and carrots, and one for the juices. Sunday at lunchtime, I just emptied the juice into a pan and heated it, then whisked in a smooth paste of water and flour to make fresh, homemade gravy and shredded some beef on bread and spread the gravy over it. My husband says it’s restaurant-worthy.
This evening, Janelle and her daughter came over for dinner. The fare was spaghetti and meatballs, which leaves opportunity for meatball subs later in the week. That sounds like an awful lot of sandwiches for one household, and I guess it kind of is. But for weeks when we have lots going on, it works out pretty well to be able to create brand-new meals- even if they’re just quick’n’easy- from what I’ve already cooked. Tomorrow night, Ryan starts back into Tuesday night RC racing, so he’ll be out late. Also, his work schedule is getting kind of crazy right now, so being able to have something on hand that’ll be easy to throw together makes both our lives much easier. Once some of the stuff in the fridge gets cleared out, I’ll be able to start over again with some fresh meals and a clean slate.