If you still need a gift idea for that person on your list who “has everything”, I have an AWESOME present that I guarantee no one else will be getting for them. Besides being a cool, fun, conversation piece, it’s also a functional, high-quality kitchen appliance. A couple weeks ago, I got to custom design a Crock-Pot for my kitchen. What a blast! There are so many options, that when combined with your personal photographs, create unique, one-of-a-kind appliances that anyone would love to have on their counter.
Ordering was simple, though I DID have several decisions to make. To begin, I visited the Crock-Pot website. The first step was to select the slow cooker that was right for my family. The 6-quart oval with locking lid is perfect for my big crew!
Step 2? Simple. I needed to pick the background design I wanted. Crock-Pot allows you to design a slow cooker with any of the 32 NFL teams as the theme, but I wanted a backdrop I could add personal pictures to.
The third step is where your customization becomes more personal and allows for the creativity that truly makes your appliance one-of-a-kind. This particular design allows for up to 4 photos to be uploaded to use on your Crock-Pot. I uploaded two and simply repeated them on the back. So, no matter which direction I am shooting pictures for a recipe post, my slow cooker promotes the blog. I know, it was almost a little too narcissistic for me, too, but I managed to get over it. 🙂 The cool thing about this is that it would be such an awesome way to have pictures of grandkids or nieces and nephews front and center in the lives of those who love them or a creative remembrance of an awesome trip. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination and to top it off, it’s also such an incredibly practical item. Win! Win!
This was a fun and simple process and when my custom Crock-Pot arrived, I couldn’t have been more pleased. I love having it out on the counter and having someone notice and say, “Hey! Is that…? Where did you get that?” lol Plus, the recipes I can prepare in it, keep everyone coming back for more. Yes, there’s no doubt about it. A custom Crock-Pot would be an amazing gift!
One of my (and my family’s) favorite slow cooker meals in Roast Beef. It’s perfect for Sunday after church, since all that’s left to do when we arrive home is to make gravy from the delicious beef stock and serve a flavorful roast beef dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy and salad or a vegetable. My favorite mashed potatoes are make-ahead, so they can easily be warming in the oven when we come in the door from church, as well.
There is definitely a “trick” to making delicious roast beef. First of all, if you buy the super-lean, all the fat is trimmed off cuts for roast beef, don’t expect this recipe to turn out the same. The flavor that makes pot roast so wonderful and “like mom used to make” comes from good marbling (fat) streaked through your roast. It will melt away as it cooks and become part of the delicious stock you’ll use for gravy. But, if you’re afraid to allow some fat you will sacrifice flavor, moisture and tenderness. The beauty of that choice is that the cut of roast I am recommending, chuck roast, is so much less expensive than the leaner cuts. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when lean beef is exactly what I want for a particular recipe, but I would likely be allowing it to sit for some time in a marinade to add flavor and help tenderize it. For really amazing roast beef, you want a chuck roast. Just sayin’… 🙂
Once you buy the correct cut of meat, the process to make it delicious for your dinner table is extraordinarily simple. It’s perfect for those times when you won’t be home to watch over a meal. All the work is done by your Crock-Pot and whatever your day goes like, you’ll come home to a delicious meal. The day I made this meal, I had a large group over for lunch after church. I used my new custom Crock-Pot and cooked THREE chuck roasts, approximately the size of the one above. The meat turned out heavenly and everyone enjoyed the flavorful, tender main dish.
I’m not even going to code a specific recipe card for this roast. You only need two ingredients and a Crock-Pot to make it and you can increase it easily, according to the number of people you will be feeding. As I mentioned, my new 6 quart slow cooker accommodated 3 large chuck roasts with ease and they cooked to perfection. So, whether you are preparing one, two or three, the recipe is still the same — 1 envelopes dry Onion Soup Mix for each Chuck Roast you make.
Place the roast in the bottom of your slow cooker and pour the dry onion soup mix over the top. Do not add water. (Unless you are adding vegetables. If you want to cook your roast with potatoes and carrots, layer the potato and carrot chunks in the bottom of the crockpot, place the roast on top and then pour 1 cup of water and the onion soup mix over the top.) My family prefers mashed potatoes with a roast, so I usually don’t cook the vegetables in with the roast.
Secure the lid on your slow cooker, turn the crock-pot on low and cook for 8-12 hours, depending on how much meat you have in the slow cooker. For one roast, 8 hours will likely be enough. When I cooked three, they were in nearly 12 hours.
When the roasts are done, remove them from the crock pot and place them on a platter to rest. Cover them with foil and let them sit while you make the gravy. When I make gravy, I put a strainer over the pan I will cook it in and pour the beef broth that formed while the roast was cooking, from the crock-pot, through the strainer, and into the pan. My family likes really smooth gravy, so I strain all the bits away. There is no water in there, just the wonderful flavorful stock that was made roasting the meat. I bring it to a boil and thicken it by mixing a couple Tablespoons of cornstarch with enough cold water to dissolve it. Then I whisk the cornstarch mixture into the boiling broth and stir until the gravy thickens. It is DELISH!
We got in such a hurry to eat our delicious lunch, that I neglected to take any pictures of the roast plated with the mashed potatoes and gravy. I know. It’s a lame excuse, but the only one I have. Sorry! But no worries, you’ll be able to test out this easy recipe for yourself and see how gorgeous it is. Plus, one lucky Busy-at-Home reader will win a custom Crock-Pot of their very own! How sweet is that?!!!
GIVEAWAY: To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on this blog post telling me which of these Crock-Pots you would like to customize for your own kitchen. Register your entries on the Rafflecopter form, below. Easy as pot roast! or pie, if you prefer. 🙂
a Rafflecopter giveaway
I received a custom Crock-Pot to review and test it in my own kitchen and collect data for this post. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.