Thursday, February 11, 2010


I am sure that my husband is biased but he said this was the best roast he has ever had. This means a lot coming from my husband who is a "foodie". Also, I chose to use a half of a london broil from out freezer since we already had it and it is leaner than the traditional roast. Try it out and let me know what you think! In addition to being very yummy, it is easy and convenient and ideal for the busy mom/dad!


•1 (3 to 4-pound) boneless chuck roast - I used a small piece of London Broil
•Bicentennial Rub Seasoning
•Mignonette Pepper
•olive oil
•1 cup thinly sliced onion wedges
•3 cloves garlic, crushed
•2 bay leaves
•1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup - I used reduced sodium
•1/4 cup red wine - I used 14 Hands from Washington State
•2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
•Beef stock - reduced sodium

In addition to these ingredients added more fresh vegetables. I added sliced mushrooms, baby carrots, diced red potatoes, and 2 stalks of celery diced. My husband suggested that I should add beets!

Get your crock pot out and plug that bad boy in! (Note - you can cook in the oven @ 350 degrees).

Rub bicentennial rub and mignonette pepper into the roast on both sides. Heat oil in a large skillet and brown the roast, searing it on all sides. Place the meat in a the crock pot (or roaster pan if using the oven). Add onions and garlic to skillet for 1 to 2 minutes to absorb leftover roast juice. Place into crock pot (or roaster pan with meat and bay leaves. If you choose to add the additional vegetables add these to the pot!

Combine the mushroom soup, wine, Worcestershire sauce and beef stock into a bowl. Pour over the roast. Note - if you don't use the beef stock you can us 1 tablespoon of beef bouillon granules and 3/4 of water.

Cook in crock pot covered on low during the day. Voila - dinner is served! If you are using the over - cover pan with foil and bake for 3 to 3 1/2 hours or until tender.

Remove and discard the bay leaves.

*Cook's Note: If the gravy is not thick enough, remove the meat from the pan and pour the gravy into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and thicken it by adding 2 tablespoons of cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup cold water, stirring constantly

I modified the recipe that I found on the food network courtesy of Paula Deen, 2008. See

The bicentennial rub and mignonette pepper is from Penzeys Spices. You can substitute with anything you like!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Penzeys Spices

Just taking a break from studying and thought I would share my thoughts on the best place to get spices. My Aunt Kathy first introduced us to this AMAZING place. You can go online and request a catalog or order online ( You will not be disappointed. My husband and I both love the selection and the prices. You cannot beat it. They have some really good gift ideas as well. For instance my aunt has given us the Steak Seasonings and the Kitchen of Province Gift Crate (both pictured above). We both love to cook and use these spices daily! The Steak Seasonings gift set is not just for steaks as you can use most of the seasonings on any meat as well as most vegetables. I encourage all to try it out. This place is the best. I never purchase spices in the store anymore unless it is an emergency.

Happy shopping!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash and Bacon Pasta

I found this recipe on cooking light and just love it. I read through the comments before I made it. A lot of the comments said it was bland and not easy to make as a weeknight meal. After making this recipe I have to disagree. You will see below why I disagree. I will give you some time saving tips! See the original recipe for at (

The recipe below is modified to my specifications!

3/4 teaspoon salt, divided ( I use no salt since I am on a sodium restricted diet)
teaspoon or more of dried rosemary
freshly ground black pepper
dash of french four spice
dash of allspice
dash of crushed red pepper
2 cloves of fresh minced garlic
olive oil
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (**see note below**)
Cooking spray
6 sweet hickory-smoked bacon slices
1 shallot thinly sliced
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta (tube-shaped pasta)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups organic 2% reduced-fat milk
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded reduced fat provolone cheese
1/3 cup (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese

**Note: if you go to Harris Teeter and look in the produce section you will discover a time saver! They sell a 2 pound package of peeled and cubed butternut squash. This will save lots of time. Just as good. It is more than you need for this recipe but you can have the remainder another night b/c you can never have too many fresh vegetables in your diet!**

Preheat oven to 350.

Combine salt, rosemary,french four spice, allspice, olive oil, and black pepper in a bowl. Toss squash in spice and oil mixture. Bake at 350° for approximately 45 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Increase oven temperature to 450°.

Cut bacon with kitchen shears into pieces and cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan and set aside on paper towels to remove excess grease. Reserve 1 1/2 teaspoons drippings or olive oil in pan Increase heat to medium-high. Add shallots and garlic to pan; sauté until tender. Combine squash mixture, bacon, and shallot mixture; set aside.

Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well. Pasta can be cooked ahead of time if you would like.

Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly with a whisk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until slightly thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Add provolone, stirring until cheese melts. Add pasta to cheese mixture, tossing well to combine. Add a dash of crushed red pepper and stir. Spoon pasta mixture into an 11 x 7-inch baking dish lightly coated with cooking spray; top with squash mixture. Sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 450° for 10 minutes or until cheese melts and begins to brown.

Yield: 5 servings

CALORIES 469 (28% from fat); FAT 14.4g (sat 7.3g,mono 4.4g,poly 0.9g); IRON 3.5mg; CHOLESTEROL 40mg; CALCIUM 443mg; CARBOHYDRATE 66.6g; SODIUM 849mg; PROTEIN 22.1g; FIBER 6.8g