Saturday, April 8, 2017

Cook Once, Eat All Week: Chuck Roast

As part of the series on cooking once and eating for the week, I will share my plan for using a large chuck roast (with video!). The first meal will be a pot roast dinner. Minimizing your time in the kitchen will help you to save money on those last minute "let's just order out" days when you are exhausted or simply do not have the time to start a meal from scratch.


Meal 1: Pot Roast and Vegetables
Pot Roast Dinner
Pot Roast Dinner

Meal 2: BBQ Beef on bulky rolls, Sweet Potato Fries
Meal 3: Taco Salad
Taco Salad, no cheese
Taco Salad without Cheese

Meal 4: Beef and Barley Soup
Beef and Barley Soup
Beef and Barley Soup

Meal 5: Cheesy Potatoes with chopped broccoli
(this uses no roast beef, but does use up left over potatoes)
Cheesy Potatoes with Bacon
Cheese Potatoes and Bacon (this one has no broccoli)


Pot Roast with Veggies

1 large chuck roast
1 carrot, chopped fine 
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
4 red potatoes
8 ounces baby carrots
(optional: Turnips, cut up into bite sized chunks)
Cooking directions below video
I apologize for the bad subtitles. Practice, practice practice

Heat up a large dutch oven (I prefer enameled cast iron for this application). Add a tablespoon of oil. Salt and pepper both sides of the beef and add to the pan once the oil is shimmering. Leave in the pan on high heat for several minutes. When very browned, turned meat over and allow to brown on the other side. If your pot roast is not flat, you will want to brown the other sides too.
Remove meat from the pan. Add a bit more oil if necessary, and add the onions and carrots to the pan. Cook for several minutes until you see the onions starting to lose their opaqueness. Lower the heat slightly and add in the garlic. Stir and cook until you really smell the garlic cooking.

Deglaze the pan by adding the broth to the pan and scraping the bits off the bottom. Raise the heat a bit if necessary.

Once the pan is deglazed and the liquid starts to boil, add the meat back in the pan. Turn off the heat, cover the pot and put into a 275 degree oven. Let cook for at least three hours. 

Add the vegetables to the pan after three or four hours, cover the pan again and let cook in the oven for another 30 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft enough to easily pierce with a fork.

Remove the meat and vegetables from the pan. Pass the liquid through a sieve to remove the bulky vegetables and skim the fat if necessary.

In the now empty pan, heat 2 tablespoons of fat (oil, butter, even schmaltz or bacon fat will do). Stir in 2 tablespoons of flour and mix together while cooking over medium heat. As soon as the flour starts to smell a bit nutty and maybe getting slightly browned a bit, slowly add in the now clarified liquids while whisking. You want the gravy to be slightly thinner than you plan to serve it as it will thicken as it cools. If the gravy isn't dark enough for you, add a small touch of gravy master until it is the shade you prefer. You don't need a lot of this stuff.

While you are cooking the roast, now would be a great time to boil a bunch of red potatoes. I usually get a 5 lb bag, use some for the pot roast and boil the rest for the week.

Shred any left over beef to refrigerate for the rest of the week.

Meal 2: BBQ sandwiches with Sweet Potato Fries

Shred enough left over pot roast for the number of sandwiches you are making. Top with BBQ sauce of your choice and slowly reheat over a low flame until hot.
Toast the rolls. Top with the beef mix and any other sandwich fixings you like. 
Sweet potato "fries": Scrub and peel two large sweet potatoes (sometimes marketed as "yams"). Cut in half lengthwise, then cut slices about the size of fries, as you like them. Toss the slices in a bit of oil, place in a baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and bake in an oven at 475 for 10 minutes, flip the slices and bake until they start to brown and are cooked through.

Meal 3: Taco Salad

Shred iceberg or romaine lettuce. Cut some tomatoes into chunks, or use a can of diced tomatoes. If you have the time, toss them with a little oil and roast in the oven at 475 until they shrivel and brown a bit, but this is completely optional. Slice a small can of olives. Crush some tortillas and lay at the bottom of the bowl, top with a mix of the vegetables and olives.
Cook up some of the shredded beef with some taco seasoning using the directions on the back from the point after you brown the beef. Alternatively, use the recipe below to make your own seasoning, then add 3/4 cup of water and simmer with the beef until heated through.

Top the bowls with the meat mixture and shredded cheddar if desired, when ready to serve. 

Meal 4: Beef and Barley Soup

Shredded beef (or small chop)
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
garlic, as much as you like. Or none. Up to you.
6 cups broth 
assorted chopped vegetables: potatoes, turnips, parsnips, broccoli, whatever you have on hand
1/2 cup of pearled barley
1/2 - 1 cup frozen peas
I can petite dice tomatoes
few dashes of Worcestershire sauce (use soy if you don't have this, or just leave it out. It will be a bit different, but still good)

heat some oil in a soup pot. Saute onions and carrots. When cooked, add in garlic if using. When you start to smell the garlic cooking, add in the broth. Bring to a boil. If using fresh vegetables, add them now, then add the barley, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and peas and heat through taste and season as desired (salt, pepper) and a few dashes of Worcestershire sauce. 

Meal 5: Cheesy Potatoes with Chopped Broccoli

2 or more cups of boiled potatoes, cut into small bite sized pieces. Finely chop cooked broccoli to make about a cup.
Heat a tablespoon of butter and a tablespoon of oil in a skillet. Add some very finely chopped onion to taste. Cook onion until it starts to brown. Add the potatoes and a bit more fat if necessary. Heat potatoes through and let them brown. Mix in bacon bits if desired, mix in broccoli. When heated through, top with cheddar cheese and cover until cheese melts.

Advanced cooking tips:

Boil potatoes when making pot roast
An alternative to cooked, chopped broccoli would be to pick up a bag of frozen chopped broccoli and let thaw before using.
Chop up onions, garlic and carrots in advance all at once for use during the week.
Mix up a batch of taco seasoning in advance
I buy a bag of bacon bits from Costco. Easily add that delicious flavor to anything without the mess.
Freeze any portions of beef that you will not be using in the next 3 or 4 days, to avoid spoilage.

Shopping List


5 pounds chuck roast


2 lbs carrots
16 oz bag baby carrots
1 pound of broccoli OR 16 oz frozen chopped broccoli
2 lbs onions
3 heads of garlic
5 lbs red, white or yellow potatoes
Iceberg or Romaine lettuce
1 pound or more tomatoes (or, a can of petite diced)
2 large sweet potatoes (also marketed as "yams")


Black olives
Taco Seasoning
3-32 ounces containers chicken broth
Gravy master (optional)
Good quality bacon bits (optional)
Bulky rolls
Tortilla chips
pearled barley
BBQ sauce
14 ounces petite diced tomatoes if not using fresh


16 ounces peas
16 ounces chopped broccoli (if not using fresh)


8 ounces shredded cheddar
8 ounces sour cream 

Make your own taco seasoning mix! 

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons hot smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Put all ingredients in a jar and shake to combine
Taco seasoning recipe courtesy of Alton Brown


  1. Love that you added a grocery list and a recipe for homemade taco seasoning!


    1. I will be doing the same for my sauce one as well as the ones coming up which will be chicken and turkey, and possibly ham.