Tuesday, September 18, 2012

First taste of Fall

Alright, alright...I know it's not quite Fall, yet. As a Florida resident for almost a quarter of a century in November, I'm also fully aware that in Florida we don't really have seasons, but this is week 4 of football season, and according to my planner (which of course is beach themed) the First Day of Autumn is this Saturday! Although I hate to see my beloved summer slipping away from me on the horizon, I do enjoy all the excitement that comes with Fall-decorating, stews, soups, holidays, family, friends...the list could go on! And in my opinion, us Floridians have the best of both worlds because we get to enjoy all the hype of fall, and still get to take beach days until October :)

So for the first taste of Fall I would like to introduce the Fiance's favorite fall dish: vegetable beef pot roast. I have been cooking up this recipe for the past couple of years, and he was asking for it while we were grocery shopping last week.  This dish comes from the collection of my mother's recipes. When I first started making this meal I would strictly follow her measurements and duplicate her exact recipe. To give this meal a healthier twist I added some extra veggies, left out the cream of mushroom soup, and serve it over mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes or rice.

What I love so much about this meal is how quick and easy it is to put together. My favorite tool in the kitchen is without a doubt the crock-pot--it saves on so much time, and produces some really great tasting food. This recipe can serve up to 4-5 people, but it was just the two of us so we were able to freeze half of our leftovers for a future dinner, and decided to make pot roast hoagies for lunch over the weekend (delicious!).

 Pot Roast Ingredients:
  • Boneless round roast- 2 lbs
  • Chopped carrots- 2 cups
  • Chopped celery- 1 1/2 cups
  • Baby bella mushrooms- 1 cup
  • French onion dry soup mix- 2 packets
  • Coke- just enough to submerge the roast in
First, place the roast in the crock-pot, and cover the roast with the dry soup mix. Next, chop the veggies and add them in. Then all you do is add the coke, set it and forget it for about 6-8 hours on low. For a shorter cooking time, set it to high for 4-6 hours. Allowing the meat to cook for a longer time will let the meat soak up both the flavor of the french onion and the coke together. This allows the meat to become more tender, and will fall apart easily. Serve over mashed cauliflower.

Mashed Cauliflower:
  • One head of cauliflower- chopped
  • Olive oil- 1 1/2 tbsp
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • Chopped garlic- 2 tbsp
  • Margarine, melted- 1tbsp
  • Milk (for consistency)
*Note: This was my first attempt to make mashed cauliflower. I've been looking for healthier substitutions to starches, and I am very pleased with my findings for this recipe! 

 Preheat the oven to 350. Begin by chopping the cauliflower into florets, and place them in a shallow baking pan lined with foil. Lightly drizzle with olive oil, and roast for 20 minutes- stirring once after 10 minutes. The cauliflower is done when it can easily be pierced with a fork. Next, combine the cauliflower, salt, pepper, garlic, melted margarine and at first, about 2 tbsp of milk to the food processor. Pulse until blended smoothly. To reach a similar consistency of mashed potatoes, you may have to add more milk as you go.

The best part of this recipe, is when you come home from a long day your house smells amazing!

Serve and enjoy!



  1. Alright! Crock pot Roast! You are speaking my language. I do mine almost like yours but I like to do it, a little over the top.

    1. I put a rub on my meat and let it sit on the counter for a couple hours, room temperature meat cooks better and has better distribution of fats when slow cooked.
    2. I heat a saute pan up, add some oil and bacon grease and crisp up the outside of the roast. By seering it you lock in all the goodness and flavor.
    3. I also seer the veggies, I like a little burn on everything. Your just caramelizing the natural sugars, but there is something magical taking place when you do this.
    4. Now for the braising of the meat. I usually make my own braising liquid out of the pan drippings, some Better than Bullion and my favorite dark beer of the week. Usually though I use Straubs.
    5. I always cook the meat with fat side up and after a few hours remove the fat pad to break up the meat.

    I'm stealing your cauliflower recipe. Thank you!

    1. Thanks for sharing your recipe! I always enjoy seeing variations of recipes. Adding oil and bacon grease sounds delicious (I'm huge on bacon!), but my goal with this recipe was to keep what can be a very heavy meal on the lighter side. Next time I'm definitely going to try searing the veggies first before throwing them in the crockpot, I love caramelized onions, carrots, and mushrooms.

      And you nailed it with the dark beer... I also love cooking meats in beer. I actually just made beer brats with caramelized onions the other night! Looks like I'll have to post about those :)

  2. Your cauliflower recipe is amazing!

    I actually am not a fan of pot roast, but I have tried it with Tilapia and Basa. I like the fishes breaded as Chicken Parmesan, and made with meat sauce. However, the fish itself has so much already but no vegetables! Normally I just serve a random can of vegetables, but the cauliflower matched it perfectly!

    1. Thanks! We were very pleased with it too.

  3. I have always wanted to try to make my own mashed cauliflower but could never find a recipe that I was actually interested in. I tried yours and it was so perfect and simple! I love mashed potatoes and this is a PERFECT substitute! Thanks for the awesome recipe!

    1. Thank you! That's exactly what I was going for- plain and simple, but still had the right taste for a mashed potato substitute. It's nice to see that my instructions were clear. Thank you for the comment!

  4. Using Coke as part of the crock pot meal sounds intriguing! I'll have to give it a go next time I make a roast in the slow cooker. Thanks for sharing the recipe. :)
    Vicki E

  5. LOVE that you gave props to your MOM for the pot roast!!!
    Your blog is great!!! Have fun and keep up the good work.


    Mommie Dearest