Thursday, November 3, 2011

slow cooking queen...

I've never claimed to be good (or even mediocre) at juggling housework, cooking, and life. In fact, I've never successfully juggled anything. Oh, sure. We get by... always have clean clothes, even if that means being 15 minutes late, because we're waiting on the dryer to finish. I don't usually have much to do in the kitchen. Andy enjoys that space and I willingly relinquish control of that situation. 

Let me tell you a little about Andy (lovingly referred to as Drew, Andrew, or Daddy). He is a very hard worker, providing for his family and is relentless about the quality of his work. He's a wonderful husband, loving father, meticulous electrician, and a fabulous keyboard/piano player. His current work schedule (which has a tendency to change at a moment's notice) has him working four 10 hour shifts, so the Caudill Weekends begin on Thursday around 7:30, when the man walks in the door. There is excitement on Thursdays. Avery can feel it. I can feel it. He's coming home today and we get him all to ourselves for 4 whole days (it is never "all to ourselves" though, because he usually has some sort of side job to do during the weekend: fixing some wiring at so and so's house, recording music for that one guy, practicing for a late night Saturday show with this guy... you catch my drift. Like I said, he works very hard for his family.)     
Thursdays also bring the question: What would you like for dinner? After working hard all week to provide for us, he usually comes home to us having already eaten or with a luke warm pizza in his hands... and I feel like it's time for change. It's time that this hard working man come home to a hot meal. It's time to come out of my comfort zone. Drum roll, please... **It's time to bust out the Crock Pot!**

Now, don't judge. Some Most All of you, are probably thinking, "Uh, yeah. This is a big deal because...?" Well, it's not so much a big deal, other than it doesn't happen much. As I stated earlier, I'm not really the keeper of the kitchen. Andy enjoys being the key holder, and so I give it to him (selfless, aren't I? *wink). However, I feel that this has turned into an expectation on my part. So, I'm taking back a couple days during our weekend. He can have one or two, I'll take the others and/or we can share a night and this cooking thing can be something we do together. What a concept. Sharing a task, so we can spend more time together. Brilliant. Why haven't I thought of this before?!

So... I'm not sure if that stream of thoughts made a lick of sense to anyone (Welcome to My Head), but I got the message. Loud and clear.  

So, what is on the menu for tonight, you ask? Slow Cooker Italian Beef (recipe courtesy of The Crock Pot Girls). I've been flirting with the idea of trying one of their recipes for awhile, and this sudden lunge towards marital bliss has inspired me to do just that. *For those of you who just clicked on the link and thought to yourself, "THAT is what all this fuss is over? 6 ingredients?", please remember: Baby steps to build my culinary resume. Starting small... but at least I'm starting. Right?! Right. Who's with me?

So here it is: 

Just before the "slow cooking" begins.

3 lb. Beef Chuck Roast or Sirloin
1 Onion, quartered
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
1 -10.5 to 14 oz. can Beef Broth
1 pkg. Good Seasons Italian salad dressing
1 envelope dry Au Jus mix
1/2 (16 oz.) jar Pepperoncini Peppers and juice

Place meat and the onion in a 5-quart slow cooker.
Mix up next 5 ingredients in a small bowl, then pour over meat.
Add peppers and juice.
Cover and cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
Remove meat from cooker and slice or shred.
Have juice and peppers available to put on sandwiches or on the side.
Serve on rolls or buns.

The verdict? Juicy, tender meat that just fell apart in the tongs.
Yes. We will be making this again. You should try it.

Full stomachs. Marital bliss.

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