Dust In My Coffee

Loving my life as a woman in agriculture one sip at a time

May is full of special moments including Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, graduations and weddings.   May is also Beef Month which ties in very well to the food needed for those celebrations.  During the remaining month of May I will be sharing several beef recipes from family members you may want to add to your celebrations.  In this post I will highlight a beef pot roast beef recipe I learned as a child from my mom.

This is a photo of my family from the 1960’s.  From left to right:  My dad,
Linda, Paul, me, Aunt Kathy, Sharon sitting on my mom’s lap, Sandy in
my mom’s tummy and David with a big grin.  This was probably taken on a
Sunday and mom most likely made fried chicken for the main meal of the day.

My mom was typical of many mom’s of the 1960’s.  Mom made all of our meals from scratch including many meals with beef.  I am the oldest child of six and I would often help with the job of peeling potatoes.  When my youngest sibling started school my mom went to work full time.  My cooking skills increased as mom started giving me instructions on how to start dinner so it would be ready by the time she and dad arrived home.  One of my favorite meals to make was Pot Roast.

Our fourth child, Jeff, developed a habit of swinging his legs
up on the back of the chair while we were eating meals.  He
would reach up to his plate and grab some food and bring it
down to his mouth.  Roast Beef and gravy is a little more
challenging to eat that way than a sandwich!

Mom taught me to brown the roast on both sides, put the roast in a baking pan (a 9 x 13 pan works well), add carrots and potatoes (peeled and cut), add onion slices, salt, a little bit of water, cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees.  I didn’t pay attention to how long it would bake as mom would be home by then!

A photo from the archives!  Here I am about
the age I started cooking more meals.

One of the key steps to that recipe is browning the beef.  I have since learned that mom knew the secret to getting the best flavor from the roast by searing or browning as she called it.   Emma Christensen says on her website “Searing meat is 100% about building flavor. And oh, what flavor it is! When that meat hits a scorching hot pan, the surface instantly begins caramelizing. In your stew or braise or roast, this translates into the kind of deep, savory flavor that we crave on an almost a cellular level. This is the flavor that makes us want to lick our plates clean. No sear, no plate-licking good times.”

For many families mom is the one doing most of the meal planning.  I am fortunate to have a mom who taught me the basics of cooking and then assisted me during my 4-H baking days as I tried to get that perfect batch of corn bread for the county fair.  My own children have learned as much from my husband, Steve, about cooking-even more when it comes to grilling-than they have from me.  I am blessed to have a husband who enjoys making meals.

Steve is making a stir fry supper using Sirloin Steak.  He loves tossing
vegetables and finding different combinations to put with the
beef.  The sirloin is sliced very thin while still partially frozen.

Through the years I have altered the pot roast recipe my mom handed down to me just a little bit.   I learned about new seasonings that give the beef and gravy a better flavor and it has Steve’s seal of approval.  The new recipe goes like this:

Simply Delicious Roast Beef
3 pounds Chuck Roast
1 package dry Italian salad dressing
1 package dry Ranch salad dressing
1 package dry Brown gravy mix
2 cups water
Turn oven to 325 degrees.  Sear the roast (brown both sides).  Place roast in roasting dish.  Warm the 2 cups of water in pan used for searing and pour over the roast.  Put seasoning packets in a bowl, mix, pour over the roast and in the water.  Add baby carrots and small red potatoes or cut and peeled potatoes.  Cover.   Bake 3.5 hours in oven or bake in Crock Pot for eight hours on low.
I am so grateful to have a mom that taught me how to cook a recipe that I would continue to use for my own children and now for my grandchildren.  Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and all the moms out there doing the very best they can for their families!
“Do what your father tells you, my son, 
and never forget what your mother taught you.  
Keep their words with you always, locked in your heart.  
Their teaching will lead you when you travel, protect you at night, 
and advise you during the day.”  Proverbs 6:20-22


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