"Eyes Closed" Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe

We are enjoying the second week of summer vacation in our house. I love having the kids home with me. I sometimes feel like I "lose" them during the school year --- their teachers' somehow seem more "in charge" than I do, and while I'm head-over-heels in love with our school district, I just really like having my kids home with me.

I'm on a Little House on the Prairie kick again. I've written about my Little House love here and here and here -- there's just something about summer that makes me itchy to re-read the series (not a fan of the tv show so much) and spend more time outside instead of in. Melissa, a friend on twitter, also shares my love for all things Little House and at her suggestion I have been enjoying Into The West on dvd, Beyond the Prairie, and The Wilder Life.

All my reading has meant that I've decided (yet again) that my kids really need to step it up and help more around the house. So they made dinner.

I've called this Pot Roast "Eyes Closed" because it's so simple a grownup could throw it together while still half-asleep, or a child could easily load the crockpot with minimal instruction. If you're not comfortable with sharp knifes, onion flakes could be used instead, or you could pre-slice the onion yourself.

The Ingredients.
serves 4-6

1 large onion, peeled and sliced into rings
2 to 3 pounds beef chuck or pot roast
1/4 cup prepared ketchup
2 tablespoons prepared A-1 steak sauce

The Directions.

Use a 4 or 6 quart slow cooker. Place the onion rings into the bottom of your cooker and separate the rings with your fingers. Place the meat on top of the rings. In a small bowl, whisk together the ketchup and A-1 sauce. Pour this mixture over the top.

If desired, you can rub this mixture into the meat with your fingers, or you can simply use kitchen tongs to flip the meat over a few times to get the meat nice and saucy (that's my choice, although my 11-year-old really enjoyed rubbing the sauce around and ended up with sauce up to her elbows....)

Cover, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or on high for about 6 hours. The meat should cut easily with a fork when it's time to serve. The longer you cook it, the more relaxed it will become. Serve with roasted sweet or brown potatoes and something green.

The Verdict.

I like sauces like this that are flavorful enough on their own that no extra seasoning is required. A-1 is pretty magical stuff--- it's got garlic and onion powder in it and is pretty salty -- you certainly don't need any added salt. Ketchup balances the A-1 with a sweetness that doesn't require any extra sugar. Definitely use the organic stuff if you're staying away from fructose sugars.
All 5 happily ate our dinner, and then the kids cleaned the kitchen. I'm pretty sure they grumbled much more than Laura and Mary ever would have, though...

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Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at June 17, 2013

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What they say about this article

  1. I totally understand your obsession with Laura and Mary. I became obsessed last year, when I read the series for the first time ever. I've since learned how to make a ton of stuff. I read the books to my kiddos and yes even my boys(11 almost 12 and 8) and my little girl who is 4.

  2. Thank you for sharing the recipe and the DVD suggestions! I'm a "Little House on the Prairie" fan too!

  3. Fun post, Steph! I bet the pot roast is tasty, too. :-) Those tales are fascinating. I think that those kids were so limited that they knew grumbling was not an option. It sounds like your girls did great with the meal. Maybe less grumbling will occur as they do more chores on a regular basis. ;-)


  4. I LOVE Little House, when I was a kid I LOVED the TV series, but as an adult, I think I'm too much of a purist to even enjoy it. I'm trying SOO hard to get my 7 year old interested in letting me read the series to her. Maybe if we get a chance to actually go to DeSmet this summer ....

    Oh, and the roast looks good too :)

  5. Hi Stephanie,

    I think you've mentioned before that you live in northern CA. Did you know that Laura's daughter Rose lived in San Francisco for several years? Laura came and stayed with her for several months in 1915, and the book West from Home is full of her letters about that trip. I love all things Little House too :)

  6. Great recipe. I love simple recipes. Thanks for sharing all those great facts

  7. oh wow, looks and sounds so Delicious!

  8. I am also a huge fan of Laura and the Little House books and not a huge fan of the show. If you ever decide to do a family vacation to Walnut Grove to experience life "On the Banks of Plum Creek", they have some awesome fun family activities in July. My friend, Sarah, and myself have gone and enjoyed those activities and the pageant for the last 11 years and enjoy it immensely. I am happy to see this since I thawed a roast and have no idea what to do with it! Thank you for your blog, your gluten free goodness and your love of Little House! Blessings!

  9. Hi, I found your wonderful blog through eatshomecooks. I am also a Little House fan and although I have not seen the tv show in years, I do remember a baby boy being born and dying in the show. I think he died in a fire that was started by one of Laura's cousins, who was a fresh kid.

  10. Anonymous7/05/2013

    Stephanie, you make me laugh! I've been using your recipes for 3 years now and am always recommending your website to friends who say, "I want to use my crock pot more." Then when I just want to have a happy cooking read, I look you up again. Thanks for the good eats and the chuckles!

  11. Thank you, Stephanie, for this recipe. My husband, who is not a big fan of pot roast, likes it. I love the ease and simplicity of ingredients. I had other good pot roast recipes but this is replacing them. Not that the other recipes were hard to make. The prep for this dish just beats the other recipes in the ease and speed. And the beef came out tender, and very delicious!

  12. General question Steph. There is yet another disappointing chuck roast in my kitchen right now (not your recipe- don't worry.) it seems tough and chewy and I'm wondering if I used too much liquid. It was to be braised in apple cider and the apple cider pretty much covered my meat. I noticed your recipe calls for no additional liquid and so I'm wondering if that's where I went wrong... Advice?? Thanks!!

  13. Hi Jamie, I'm not sure what recipe you used, but don't toss the meat! Tough and chewy meat is a sign of under-slow cooking. If the flavor is good --- just plop it back into the cooker for another few hours on low. You want the meat to have the chance to relax and then re-absorb the juice --- as of right now, it is cooked, but hasn't had the opportunity to break down.
    I hope this helps a bit!
    As to the liquid -- that's a whole 'nother thing. :-) I, personally, don't like overly wet dishes unless I want them to be. The "old-school" method of slowcooking was to cover the meat completely. I've found that this just isn't necessary to result in a moist, delicious roast.

    feel free to email me if this isn't helpful and I'll try my hardest!

  14. I am in love with this website. This recipe is by far the easiest, and most delicious!

  15. This was so simple and incredibly delicious. I added a touch of sriracha for heat and enjoyed this over two days. It's even better on day two!

  16. I don't know how old your children are, but when mine were in elementary school, at the end of the evening meal and while everyone was still seated at the table, I would read to them. The first books were the entire series of the "Little House" books, folllowed by such classics as "Cheaper by the Dozen" and so on. They were especially fascinated by the adventures of Laura Ingalls.