Easy Roast Beef Dinner From Your Slow Cooker
A down-home, old fashioned roast beef dinner is one of the easiest meals to prepare. And if you have a slow cooker it is even easier. The fix it and forget it cooking of a slow cooker makes this the ideal dinner for a busy day. BUT you do have to plan ahead.
In the morning, take out your slow cooker, plug it in and set it on "low." If you have less time, or forgot to take the roast out of the freezer and thaw it ahead of time, then use the "high" setting. I personally like my roast beef to be so well done it falls apart and you can cut it with a fork, but not everyone likes it this way. Adjust cooking time to your own taste. Just remember to cook it to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. (see note below).
Plug in and turn on the slow cooker as soon as you take it out of the cupboard. More than once I came home expecting to have a delicious meal all ready to eat only to find that I had forgotten to either plug in or turn on the slow cooker.
Spray the cooker with cooking spray. Slice an onion and line the bottom of the cooker with with the slices. Even if you don't like cooked onion, (I personally think it is delicious!) the slices will keep the meat off the bottom of the pot and add flavor as well. Save any leftover slices.
Peel and quarter one potato for each person, cutting them lengthwise. Peel and slice two or three carrots. Cut them lengthwise so the pieces are about 6 inches long and as big as those fat crayons made for pre-schoolers.
Top with half of the leftover onion slices.
Rinse the piece of meat and place on top of the onion. Put the remaining onion slices on top of the meat to help keep it moist. You don't need to do this if you add the cream soup as noted in the tip below.
Put on the lid and let it cook. By evening, all you will need to do is add a salad and some rolls and you have a roast beef dinner even Grandma would be proud of.
To add flavor to the meat you might want to mix together some salt, pepper and ground sage, or just take some lemon pepper and rub it into the meat before placing it in the slow cooker.
If the meat is frozen, or if you want your meal to cook faster, or if you want a ready-made gravy, stir a small can of cream of mushroom or cream of celery soup until smooth and pour over the top before you put on the lid.
The USDA recommends cooking beef to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F before removing it from the heat source and then letting it rest for three minutes before carving or consuming. During this three minute rest time the temperature remains constant or continues to rise, which destroys harmful bacteria.
You can measure the internal temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer. Place the food thermometer in the thickest part of the food. It should not touch bone, fat, or gristle. Start checking the temperature toward the end of cooking, but before you expect it to be done. Be sure to clean your food thermometer with hot soapy water before and after each use.
For more information on cooking meat, check out the U.S. Department of Agriculture web page