Well, That’s a Crock

We live in a fairly roomy house in Denver. Despite the fact that it was built in the 1970s when often homes lacked a lot of places to keep excess things (because frankly, back then people didn’t really have excess things like they do now), there is considerable storage space. The house has large closets, lots of cupboards, a fair amount of countertop space, roomy cabinets, a pantry, an attic, and lots more storage in the basement.

Lots of storage space is a blessing and a curse, at least for me. I am the queen of if there is space, it will be filled.  I have so much storage that is out of sight, i.e., in the basement, and that’s where I keep things like the popover pan I’ve used only once, the French bread pan I’ve used only once, the wicker dumpling steamer that I have used only once (are you sensing a pattern?), and the punch bowl that I have used on several occasions but will almost certainly never use again. There’s a Fry Daddy, a Seal-a-Meal, two ice cream makers, an electric wok, and a partridge in a pear tree.  Well, not that last thing. But lots and lots of stuff.

Our house here in AZ is a mere 1,300 square feet in which there are often three adults residing. We have a small kitchen with a smattering of counter space. There is a small pantry, and a few below-counter cabinets and above-counter cupboards. Space is at a premium. Bill has installed a few cupboards in the garage.

Which (finally) brings me to the point of this post: Crock Pots.

I have long been a fan of crock pots. For working people, I think they are life savers. If you can get yourself organized either early in the morning or the night before and get ingredients into a crock pot, you have dinner waiting for you when you get home.

I, of course, am not a working person. I could spend the entire day cooking if I wanted to. Which I don’t. But I still am a big fan of slow cookers, primarily because if I put food in the slow cooker at 10 o’clock in the morning, I will not talk myself out of cooking and into going out to eat at a restaurant at 6 o’clock.

At some point after we bought this house and Bill and I started spending entire winters here, I decided I needed to get a new crock pot. My existing crock pot was literally from the 1970s, and though it worked just fine, I wanted one that was oval. I think at the point I purchased the new crock pot, I had fallen prey to the Mississippi Pot Roast craze, about which I blogged here. Unfortunately, the roast wouldn’t fit properly in my existing crock pot, so I ended up borrowing one from my niece Maggie. Shortly after, I predictably went and purchased my own oval crock pot – a 6 quart pot in which I could cook the CU Buffaloes’ mascot Ralphie. It worked fine for the one-and-only time I made the Mississippi Pot Roast (as I was frankly underwhelmed.  The pot roast that owns the internet indeed!).

But it didn’t take long for me to realize that a 6 qt. crock pot is far too big for the meals that I cook 99-and-44/100th percent of the time (for Bill and me). So the other day, I spontaneously went to Target and bought a 4 qt. crock pot. I brought it home and used it to make smothered pork chops with mushrooms. As I dumped all of the ingredients into the crock pot, I quickly realized that despite being two whole quarts smaller than my other crock pot, it was still too big.

At the crack of dawn the next day, before I could give myself time to reconsider, I went onto Amazon and ordered (with one click!) a two-and-a-half quart crock pot.

Voila! It’s perfect. Except for the fact that I now own four (count ‘em) crock pots in a house which, if you will recall from this exceptionally long and boring post, HAS NO STORAGE SPACE. Jen’s going to be very surprised when she comes next to AZ and finds her bedroom filled with crock pot boxes.

crock-pot-plethora-2

Just kidding, because by time you read this post, my niece Kacy will have picked up my 4-quart crock pot which I brilliantly thought to give her, as she actually IS a working mother with three small kids. And look at the little teeny tiny crock pot on the right. It doesn’t count because it is so small. Right?

For good measure, here is a recipe I recently made in my crock pot. I’m sorry for the poor photo. At some point I will remember to not shoot photos of my food when it sits on a yellow plate. Everything looks a sad color of orange….

beef-and-noodles

Beef ‘n Noodles with Mushrooms and Onions

Ingredients
3 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast, cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper
3 T. vegetable or olive oil
2 c. beef broth
1 medium onion, cut into wedges and separated
Half of a 1-oz package of onion soup mix
1/8 c. A1 steak sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
½ T. horseradish
½ t. spicy brown mustard
½ t. salt
2 T. butter, cut into pieces
½ lb. sliced mushrooms (any kind)
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. cold water
16-oz. bag noodles or macaroni

Process
Season beef with salt and pepper as necessary. Brown pieces of beef in the vegetable or olive oil until seared nicely. Put into slow cooker. Add the beef broth, onion, soup mix, steak sauce, garlic, horseradish, mustard, salt, butter and mushrooms to the crock pot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

Mix cornstarch and cold water, and add to the mixture, stirring well. Turn to high and cook for 10 minutes more or so, until the sauce begins to thicken.

Serve over noodles, cooked as instructed on the bag or box.

Super Super Bowl

Jen's dog Tucker shows his Bronco loyalty.

Jen’s dog Tucker shows his Bronco loyalty.

This post was written somewhere around noon on Sunday. Around that time, Cam Newton was practicing dabbing in the full-length mirrors in the locker room and Peyton Manning was checking to make sure his helmet was tight enough on his head to leave red marks and indentations that will still be there as he, his wife, and his twins are enjoying Disneyland. It turned out the way Bronco fans wanted, thanks to our Big D!

At the time I’m writing this post, the game is hours away. I therefore have no knowledge of which team wins. I am ever optimistic of the outcome. Well, I’m optimistic that there WILL BE an outcome. That’s about as optimistic as I get when it comes to football. When Dad would get nervous about a football game, he would move to the kitchen and play Solitaire. I will crochet.

I believe that God isn’t too worried about the Super Bowl, so in my Sunday morning prayers, I prayed that there would be no serious injuries to anyone on either team, that the fans of whichever team won would be grown up and not turn over cars or start trash can fires, and that the stadium and fans attending the game would be spared from hatred by anyone via a terrorist attack.

I will admit, however, that I did put in a little pitch for a Bronco victory. What could it

Addie, Dagny, Maggie, Alastair and Allen root for the Broncos.

Addie, Dagny, Maggie, Alastair and their Uncle Allen root for the Broncos.

hurt? After all, sunrises and sunsets – all created by God – are orange and blue and not powder blue and white.

By time you read my post, the victor will be known, and I will know if my other prayers were answered.

Even with the game hours away, I am certain about a few things. My brother David, his daughter Kacy, and her kids; my sister Bec; and my niece Maggie and her family will be here cheering on the orange and blue, and we will have fun. I am making a variety of appetizers and they are

Kaiya, Cole, and Mylee show their Bronco colors.

Kaiya, Cole, and Mylee show their Bronco colors.

bringing goodies as well, and it will all be yummy. Bill has set up a television in the back yard so that we can watch the game both outside and inside, and as the weather is expected to be in the mid-80s, it will be simply lovely.

When I decided to host the family for the Super Bowl, I began thinking about what I would serve. There are, of course, wings, which are so traditional. Nachos? Mexican food?

But Jen had just told me about something that she said was THE RAGE OF THE INTERNET. (She swears she has a job, but I think she just sits at home and peruses the web all day. She always knows what bloggers are up to at any given point in time.) However, when I looked up the recipe for the thing she said was THE RAGE OF THE INTERNET, I learned that the New York Times was calling this the roast that owns the internet. Despite the fact that it owns the internet, I hadn’t heard of it. What is it?

MISSISSIPPI POT ROAST. THE ROAST THAT OWNS THE INTERNET.

The original creator of the recipe is a woman named Robin Chapman, who apparently proclaims that the recipe has been in her family for years. I wonder if any of my family recipes could ever be THE (fill in the blank) THAT OWNS THE INTERNET. My grandmothers Swiss Mac and Cheese perhaps?

But, whether the Broncos win or lose, I will leave you with Ms. Chapman’s recipe.

Mississippi Pot Roast

Ingredients
1 chuck roast, 3 – 5 lbs.
1 packet dry Ranch dressing mix
1 packet au jus mix
1 stick butter (not margarine, butter)
5 pepperoncini peppers

Process
Layer all the ingredients in a slow cooker; cook on low for 8 – 10 hours. Shred and serve with your favorite side dish or as a filling for a sandwich.

Nana’s Notes: The roast was good. It would be yummy as a main dish with mashed potatoes or noodles. I served it shredded with crusty rolls.

This post linked to the GRAND Social