So neither my boyfriend (Shawn by the way) or I could make it home for Easter. So I decided to take it upon myself to whip up something special for the sake of the holiday. Because lets face it, there is nothing more I'd rather be doing on a beautiful sunday afternoon than cooking up a big meal in my kitchen with the windows open and with the Food Network on in the background (sometimes when I'm feeling extra cheery I'll put on some Joss Stone or Christina Aguilera to sing along to. But that's when I really know what I'm doing and am completely comfortable with it).
We collaborated on the menu and came up with what I thought to be very satisfying and a very home-cooked eastery type of meal. Instead of the traditional ham or lamb we both decided pot roast sounded IDEAL! Along with that we had a roasted potato salad, garden pea salad, homemade pretzel rolls, stuffing and of course Easter cupcakes!
Pot Roast (I combined two of Paula Deans Recipes for this and added a few vegetables in myself)
1 (3-pound) boneless chuck roast
1 1/2 teaspoons House seasoning, recipe follows
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup beef stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup red wine
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1/2 bag baby carrots
2-4 stalks of celery, chopped
Sprinkle roast on all sides with house seasoning. Using a skillet over high heat, sear roast until brown in oil. Place roast in a slow cooker, and layer onions, bay leaves, garlic, and cream of mushroom soup. Add the red wine, worcestershire and beef stock and cover with enough water to cover all of the ingredients. Cook on the low setting for 8 hours. (After about 2-3 hours throw in the vegetables and stir)
1 cup salt
1/4 cup black pepper
1/4 cup garlic powder
Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months
SUGGESTION: There is a lot of liquid leftover so I made a gravy out of it. All you do is put the excess liquid in a saucepan and heat on medium. Then you mix in a bit of cornstarch mixed with water. Mix and stir slowly until you reach your desired thickness.
Roasted Potato Salad (from Food Network)
This is a great potato salad when you want something different than your origional mayonnaise-based potato salad. The only change I made to the origional recipe is I used red potatoes instead of russet potatoes. I think they are taster and prettier :)
11 tablespoons olive oil, divided
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
Handful chopped fresh thyme and rosemary leaves
3 pounds red potatoes, cut into large dice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1 cup chopped basil leaves
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix 6 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Add potatoes and toss. Spread out onto a baking sheet and bake for 55 minutes, stirring occasionally. When potatoes are golden brown remove the pan from the oven and let cool. When potatoes are cool, place them in a bowl and scrape the pan drippings into a measuring cup. Add enough oil to the drippings to measure 6 tablespoons of oil. Whisk the vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add the oil and then mix in the shallots. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and combine. Season with salt and pepper, if needed. Add chopped basil. Let stand for 1 hour at room temperature. Serve.
Garden Pea Salad (This comes from Paula Dean...who else would I go to for home-cookin!?)
1 (15-ounce) can very young early peas (recommended: Lesueur)
1/4 cup chopped onions
2 boiled eggs, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 to 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
Chopped pimento, optional
In a colander, drain peas very well. Place drained peas in a medium bowl. Add the onions, crumbled eggs, and mayonnaise, tossing to combine and coat peas. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add pimento, if using. This recipe is easily doubled or tripled.
Pretzel Rolls (I wanted to make pretzel rolls because at one of my favorite restaraunts called Tip Top they serve a pot roast sandwhich on a pretzel roll with swiss and mustard. I get it EVERYTIME and it is DELICIOUS! I wanted to do something similar, so I handmade these rolls and had Shawn bring over provalone cheese and a-1 sauce and we made our own pot roast sandwiches...yum! If only we had Tip Tops sweet potato fries with spicy mayo to go with! OH! also, I got the recipe from recipezaar.com)
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons warm milk
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt or pretzel salt
2 quarts cold water
1/2 cup baking soda
In a small bowl if using a bread machine, or in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, mix a 1/3 cup of the warm water (105-115 degrees) with the yeast and let stand until foamy.
Add the remaining cup of warm water along with milk, sugar & melted butter and swirl to dissolve the sugar. (If using a bread machine add mixture to bread machine at this point and continue). Add flour and mix on dough cycle or med-low speed. Remove dough from bread machine once it forms a nice a firm, pliable dough ball. Add more flour if necessary.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured table and knead for 2 minutes. Roll into a 2 foot long log and cut into 12 even pieces. Cover dough with plastic and a damp cloth and let sit for 10 minutes.
Pat dough into rolls or form knots and arrange on a lightly floured surface about an inch apart and cover with lightly oiled plastic wrap. Let the pretzels rest for an additional 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Lightly oil 2 baking sheets.
In a large stockpot, bring the cold water to a rolling boil and add baking soda.
Drop two rolls into the boiling water and boil for no more then 30 seconds, turning once. Carefully remove with tongs or slotted spoon and hold above pot and let drain. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Repeat with the remaining rolls.
Arrange rolls on the oiled baking sheets and bake on the upper and middle racks of the oven for about 8-10 minutes, or until browned all over; shift pans from top to bottom and back to front halfway through, for even baking.
Let rolls cool on the baking sheets for about 5 minutes, then transfer them to a rack.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
SIDENOTE: I know this recipe looks overwhelming (in fact, I was kind of terrified) but it is actually VERY easy. You feel a great sense of accomplishment when all is said and done and you have a decent roll!
The stuffing I made was some cranberry stovetop boxed stuffing that was actually pretty tasty and only took 5 minutes to make!
I already posted the Easter Cupcakes but linked them for convenience :)
Hope everyone had as good and as filling an Easter as I did!