It doesn't matter if it's a five course meal or drive-thru takeout, there is something special that happens for my family when we sit down for dinner together. Parents and kids get a chance to talk and listen together, my kids share funny things that happened during the day, or things that bothered them, plus I get a shot at teaching manners! I love the sense of order that comes when we make each other a priority this way. It reassures my kids that they are being taken care of and not just fending for themselves. It reminds us that we are a family. I think that's important in childhood.
Around here, we love to have a big Sunday dinner, and one of our favorites is this fork-tender pot roast we had yesterday. So. Good. This is a great "fix it and let it cook while we are at church" dinner. You won't believe how good it smells when you come home! I usually serve it along with Rhoades rolls. They are so easy that my 11-year-old has become the resident roll guy. You just pull them from the freezer and drop them into a pan sprayed with Pam, cover and let them rise while you're away. When the roast comes out, the rolls go in. By the time we have prepared the rest of the food and set the table, the rolls are browned and we are ready to sit down at the table. It elevates a dinner when you add fresh bread, don't you think?
I need to give proper props for this recipe. We have some great friends who have shared most of the important events in our family's life with us for many years. Baptisms, baby blessings, and vacations found the Barzee family in our Pennsylvania home. One of those times, Jenilyn and Ryan showed us "the proper way" to make pot roast, and we have never gone back!
Pot Roast and Potatoes
1 chuck roast (around 3 lbs)
3-5 potatoes, chunked
3/4- 1 lb baby carrots
1 onion, halved and then cut into wedges
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
Place the roast in the bottom of a 9x13 inch pan, or a roasting pan, if you are a fancier chef. Surround it with your vegetables, and sprinkle the dry onion soup mix over the top of the meat and the vegetables. Add enough water to cover 3/4 of the way to the top of the roast. (You don't want to cover the meat, as that will wash off the seasoning.) Cover with foil and place in a 325 degree oven for 3-4 hours. I will often put a jelly roll pan underneath the dish to catch any boil-over that occurs. It doesn't usually do this, but I hate cleaning an oven! When you are ready to eat, transfer the roast to a platter, and the roasted vegetables to a serving bowl.
To make gravy, strain the broth into a pan. Mix cornstarch and cold water in equal parts in a small container, and whisk it into your broth. (You will need about 2 T per cup of broth.) My favorite method of doing this came from my mom--get a small container, like a 5 oz butter tub, put the lid on and shake it up! Bring it all together to a boil, and voila! Gravy! It is best to skim the fat off the top of the broth, by the way, but in a hurry, no one will care. They will eat it all either way. Bon appetit!