For years I have been making pot roast and meatloaf using a Mccormick packet. Those two recipes seemed a mystery to me and they were both delicious, so why mess with a good (easy) thing? Have you ever looked at the back of the Slow Cookers Savory Pot Roast packet? The first two main ingredients are corn starch and salt. A few ingredients later you start getting to the spices, but there are only a few and the rest are additives. Yuck! I thought I was making comfort food, but what we usually ended up with was an upset stomach.
One night I braved pot roast without a packet and guess what? It turned out delicious! I wanted to share with you the recipes I’ve found that taste great and don’t add anything to your pot but flavor. Stop using packets!
The first recipe is Pot Roast. We don’t make this too often, but when chuck roast goes on sale, this is what I usually make. Here are a few choices of what meat to use for pot roast. I always seem to need confirmation that chuck is the one while standing in the meat section. I didn’t follow this recipe exactly, it’s rare that I do, but I wanted to put mine in the crockpot and I didn’t have beef broth.
A couple of things to remember and my modifications:
– Generously salt and pepper the meat. This is very important. You’re most likely using a think chunk of meat and it might seem like too much, but you are seasoning an entire meal with that salt and pepper and the crock pot mellows out seasonings.
– I didn’t have beef broth or red wine and subbed chicken broth and it turned out delicious. If chicken broth worked, I bet the other ingredients make it even tastier.
– Don’t cut your carrots and celery too small or they’ll waste away in the crockpot, but no more than two inches or they won’t cook through.
– It’s more work than a packet, but totally worth it and you’ll be able to say, “I made this from scratch”. :)
The second recipe is meatloaf. This packet doesn’t seem as bad, but it still has a lot of extra additives. We don’t make meatloaf very often either, but when I do I buy a pound of ground beef and a pound or less of ground turkey. I like it better than pork which is what I used to use because Publix had it divided and ready to go. (Sigh, Publix) When you think about it, using the meatloaf packet doesn’t really save you much time because you still need the milk, eggs and breadcrumbs.
I used this recipe for the meatloaf seasoning. I omitted ketchup and used:
– two eggs
– 1/2 cup milk
– I chopped two slices of bread in the food processor to make breadcrumbs and used about a cup
For the seasoning I added 1 tbsp of Mrs Dash Table Blend (I feel like that’s kind of cheating, although it is a blend of spices that will just go to waste in my cabinet like celery seed and marjoram, but really adds good flavor to the recipe.) Mix it up! Put it in a pan, I use a 9×9 casserole dish, in loaf form and pour an 8 oz can of tomato sauce on top. Bake for one hour at 350 degrees.
One more recipe I began making from scratch was sloppy joes. I was never really a fan of sloppy joes sauce from a can until I started making the sauce myself and it is so easy! I use this recipe and use garlic while I cook the meat instead of garlic powder, but that’s the only thing I do differently. It’s just ketchup, mustard and brown sugar! Manwich, for example, has way more than those three ingredients in it and I bet this simple recipe is way tastier.
Once I started using spices instead of packets our tummyaches went away and the kids seem to like the recipes more. We don’t need all of that sugar to mask the additives and the best thing about using your own ingredients is you control that as well. You can use organic chicken broth, ketchup, and milk if you’d like, but even if you aren’t into organics I’m pretty sure you aren’t adding Xantham Gum and Maltodextrin to your recipes. Please let me know if you try these recipes and how you like them! Do you have any recipes you used to use a packet for and switched to spices instead?