Hello, and welcome back to our weekly series on $5 family dinners. Our sole aim is to provide you with tasty, inexpensive ways of feeding your family on a food stamps budget. In this week’s post, we’ll be taking a look at slow cooker pot roast, which is an amazing way to have dinner waiting for you when you get home at the end of the day.
The Meal: Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Is there anything heartier and more satisfying than the comfort of slow cooker pot roast? It’ll take you instantly back to every great family dinner you’ve had, the kinds where dinner makes you feel just right inside. And this meal is also super simple to prepare, with a tantalizing aroma greeting you the second you walk through the door.
What You’ll Need
- 2lbs beef: Look for a roast that’s on sale, such as chuck or flank. The idea is to go with beef that’s as cheap and tough as possible, as using a slow cooker will make it unbelievably tender.
- 2 cups beef broth: Go for the low-sodium version. They’re almost always the same price as the regular ones, and you won’t notice a difference in taste.
- 1lb carrots: Peel them and slice them in 3” pieces.
- 1lb potatoes: You can peel them or not, depending on your personal preference, but make sure to scrub them clean thoroughly. You’ll also want to cut them into eighths.
- 1 onion: Peel and chop into big chunks, about half the size of your potato pieces.
- 4-6 cloves of garlic: This may seem like a lot of garlic to you, but remember, this is a meal that’ll provide eight servings. Peel the garlic, slice the tips off the ends, and then mince.
- 1tsp salt: You can add seasoning to it, but plain salt will do just fine.
- Black pepper: Add in as much or as little as your taste buds dictate.
- Celery: Use a handful of stalks to give it extra flavor. Just cut off the flowery bits and then slice into pieces about the same size as the carrots.
- Spices: Toss in things like oregano, bay leaves, basil, cumin, or whatever else floats your boat.
What You’ll Need to Do
- Pour about a third of the beef broth into the slow cooker, and then sit the beef in it as though it were in a wading pool
- Add in your celery, carrots, onions and potatoes, both spreading them around and placing them on top of the beef.
- Use the remaining two-thirds of the broth to give the top of the beef, carrots, celery, onions and potatoes a good soaking.
- Top it all off with the seasonings, making sure to sprinkle them evenly.
- Turn your slow cooker on high and set it to cook for seven or eight hours.
Bonus Tip: Gravy
Instead of buying gravy from a packet, make your own. It’s super easy and will taste better than anything off the shelves, and the only new ingredient you need is flour. Take out the food from the slow cooker and drain the liquid into a pot. Add in just a little bit of flour — it’s really important to start off with less flour, as you can always add more if you need to. Use a whisk and mix the flour into the drippings thoroughly, making sure you’re not left with any little flour balls.
If you’ve accidentally added a bit too much flour, boil some water and pour in a bit at a time. It needs to be as hot as possible to help dissolve the flour, otherwise you’ll end up with those dry, icky little flour balls.