Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Quick Beef Roast May 12, 2014

Filed under: Eat-In May,Food & Cooking — suburbanpioneers @ 4:10 am
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A large bowl of shredded beef for only 5 minutes of work?  Yes, please!

A large bowl of shredded beef for only 5 minutes of work? Yes, please!

This recipe is a gem: fast, easy, delicious, and very few ingredients.  We made it last Wednesday, and it fed three adults and one pint-sized human for dinner, and then it fed me for lunch the next day, and then it filled burritos on Friday night for two adults and a young’un.  I can’t recommend a recipe any more highly than that!

The original recipe called for 1 c. of ketchup, but that seemed both expensive (that’s somewhere around half a bottle!) and too sweet, so I altered it a bit and added some spices.  You could probably double the spices, the brown sugar, and the tomato paste and skip the ketchup entirely if you were so inclined.

You could also probably skip the onions, but I thought it made a nice additional topping to the sloppy joes.

Seriously, this took me 5 minutes to make, and it gave us two dinners.  That’s a pretty good return on investment!

Bonus meal starter for a different night!

Bonus meal starter for a different night!




beef roast (I just used a basic chuck roast)
1/2-1 onion, cut into rings
1/2 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. ketchup
1 small can (6 oz) tomato paste
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 c. broth (any kind will do, though I used some of the Leftover Veggie Broth I had frozen)


1. Place beef in crock pot.
2. Place onion rings around and over the beef
3. In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, sugar, ketchup, tomato paste, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
4. Pour the mixture over top of the beef and onions.
5. Pour broth over top of all of it.
6. Cook on low 6-8 hours.

We ate it on hamburger buns with a little BBQ sauce like a sloppy joe.  We also later ate it in burritos (just add a smudge of taco seasoning when you reheat).  You could make it over mashed potatoes or to go with veggies.  I like versatility; it helps you use up leftovers!

Also…if you’re being super thrifty, don’t throw away the soupy sludge at the bottom of the crockpot.  The tomato-y beef broth would make the perfect starter for veggie beef soup or, perhaps, for a minestrone!  I froze the stuff left in my crockpot, and it probably equalled about 2 cups.

Leave that restaurant table empty!  You've got a date with some fruits and veggies.

Leave that restaurant table empty! You’ve got a date with some fruits and veggies.


Lauren: Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce November 8, 2013

I’m all about low-maintenance these days. You’ll usually find my hair in a ponytail and probably with some dry shampoo in it. I just haven’t mastered the art of showering with kids yet. In case you were wondering, here’s why:

1. If I shower in the morning, I’ll wake them up (not worth it).

2. I don’t want to waste any of the precious two hours of nap time I get in the afternoon (not worth it).

3. If I let the kids roam free while I’m getting clean, I spend the whole time stressed out and listening for the sound of crying or, just as dangerous, too much laughter (not worth it).

4. I don’t like showering at night because then my pillow gets wet and I have funky-looking hair in the morning.You might ask why I don’t just blow-dry it. Well, Sarah’s mom’s theory about drying dishes is: why spend time doing something that will happen eventually (not worth it).

And you thought this post was about apples. . . Well, it is, I promise, I just had to rant about showering first.

I feel the same way about dry shampoo as I do about the low maintenance of Homemade Crock Pot Applesauce. (How’s that for a segue?) All you have to do is throw some apples in the slow cooker, come back in a few hours, blend it up and tada! Applesauce. Easy Peasy.

We normally go apple-picking, but we’re kind of traveled-out right now so we skipped the 1.5 hour drive and picked our apples from the farmer’s market. To be honest, I kind of liked it better. We were able to buy a wide variety without having to walk down 4 sides of a mountain and still had the rest of our morning to do whatever we wanted! Shower, perhaps? Nah. . . probably not.

What to do:

1. Cut up 10-12 apples. Use an apple slicer if you have one. You don’t need to peel the apple. Yep, that’s right. I mean, you can if you want to, if you are an overachiever or something. . . or you have an extra 20 minutes to spare.

2. Throw the apple wedges in the Crock Pot.

3. Add 1/2 cup apple cider or water. Apple cider will give the applesauce a little more of a spicy, sweet flavor. You could also add a tsp. of cinnamon. Some people add sugar, but I don’t think it’s necessary. If you get the sweeter apples, the applesauce will be tasty enough on its own. See this previous post for apple varieties.

4. Turn the Crock Pot on low and let it simmer for 5-6 hours, until the apples get mushy.

5. Go about your day.

6. Use an immersion blender to blend it all up. (My immersion blender was seriously the best $4 I ever spent at Goodwill.) The flecks of peel are so tiny, you won’t even notice them. Or you could run it through a blender or food mill.


6. Pour the applesauce in mason jars and stick them in the fridge.

If you want to can the applesauce you’ll need:

Water bath canner (or, if you’re like me, a big stockpot and round cake pan rack)

Jars and Lids

(Makes 5-6 half-pints)

1. Sterilize the jars and lids

2. Pour applesauce into jars. Leave 1/2 inch head space. If you’re messy like me, wipe the rims with a clean towel or rag.

3. Screw on the lids.

4. Place jars in boiling water. Once the water returns to a boil, reduce heat (so it’s still boiling but won’t overflow), cover with a lid, and process it for 15 minutes.

5. Voila’! Applesauce. Store in your pantry and bust it out in the dead of winter when you want a taste of pure fall.



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