Sunday, December 28, 2008

To Die For Crock Pot Roast

Overview: This Chuck Roast or Pot Roast takes between 6 - 7 hours on the "low" setting to cook. I would suggest making it in the morning and eating it for dinner. Most Crockpots today have a "warm" setting that it will automatically change to when the timer has ended. If you like meat and potatoes then you are going to love this.

Lime Light: I would like to thank my Grandma-in-law for giving my wife and me with recipe.

Tasty Tip: In order to seal in the juices of the meat better, before you place your roast in the crock pot, lightly brown all the meat by placing a skillet on the stove and turning the heat between 8 and 10 or very close to high. Let the skillet warm up and then place each side of the meat on the skillet for less than 10 seconds to lightly brown it.

Combine 1 package of brown gravy mix, 1 package of Italian dressing mix and 1 package of Ranch dressing mix into a small bowl and mix them together.

Place your roast in the crock pot and sprinkle all of the powder onto and around the roast. Then pour 1 cup of water into the crock pot but don't pour it on top of the roast or else you will wash away the powder. Cook the roast for 4.5 - 5 hours on low heat.

Cut up a few carrots, a few pieces of celery, and a few potatoes to place in the crock pot. Once the timer has dinged after 4.5 - 5 hours, add in carrots, celery, and potatoes and cook them all together on low for 1 hour.

Here it is in all its glory with some homemade wheat bread and homemade strawberry jam. It DOES NOT get any better than this!

Red Lobster Biscuits

Overview: These biscuits are surprisingly very easy. All you need are the right ingredients and mix them all up, throw them in the oven and you are ready to be dazzled.

Here's what to do:

Heat Oven to 450 degrees

Mix together in a bowl:
2 Cups either Bisquick Baking mix/Buttermilk Biscuit mix/Jiffy Biscuit mix
1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder
1 Cup shredded cheese

Then add in and mix:
2/3 Cup cold milk

Spoon the dough into biscuit sized clumps on an ungreased pan

Place 1/4 Cup butter in a bowl and melt
Add: 2 Teaspoons oregano
1 Teaspoon garlic salt
1 Teaspoon dried parsley

Brush the butter/spice mix onto the biscuits

Bake for 8 - 10 minutes


Overview: This lasagna is absolutely delicious! I wanted the sauce and meat to be very rich so I put all the ingredients minus the browned meat in a Crockpot for two hours. I then added the meat and let that cook for another hour. Once the meat sauce was ready, I cooked the noodles and created the layers in a 9'' x 13'' Pyrex dish and baked all of it for 30 - 40 minutes. Serve with garlic bread and salad and you have it made.

It took close to four hours but I could not believe how amazing it tasted and smelled in my home.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Inexpensive Storage Shelves

Overview: I spent less than $30 on all material for this project. It took me 20 minutes to draw out what I wanted and two hours to build it.

Tools required: Saw, hammer, pencil, framing square, drill, wood glue, dowels, paper towels for the glue,eight 2" x 4" x 8' studs, one 4' x 8' plywood, and two 4' dowel rods.

You start out with eight 2"x 4" x 8' pieces of wood. You need to cut four of them in half which will be the bracing for your shelves. The other four pieces you need to cut to your desired height of the whole structure. I chose 6' 3" because I wanted to be able to bring them in and out of the room without having to take them apart.
Time Saving Tip: When you are purchasing your wood, you need to buy a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood that will act as your shelves. They do come in many different thicknesses. I used 1/2'' thick plywood and I am going to put all of my tools and food storage on them. You don't need much thicker than that. If you don't have a table saw you can have Lowe's or Home Depot cut the wood for you. I had Lowe's cut the plywood into four 2' x 4' sections. It was only two cuts for them and I knew they would match each other.

Then you need to mark your layout. This is a picture of the shelves upside down and looking at the inside. Leave space at the very top (1/2" for me) for your plywood to rest on while maintaining a flush surface on the top. I used wood glue and one nail per connection only to hold them steady for later installation of the dowel rods.

Time Saving Tip: Draw out your design beforehand so that when you are ready to put everything together you aren't trying to figure out what the heights of the shelves are going to be which may take you a long time. When you are designing your structure, measure the objects that will be placed on your shelves. This will help you decide your different heights.

Here is a view of the holes that I drilled at each connection. These hole sizes match the exact width of the size of the dowel rods I purchased.

I bought two 4' lengths of dowel rods. I then cut them into 3" lengths. I needed eight of these 3" lengths per side so for the whole structure I needed twenty four of these 3" cut pieces. I then covered the dowel piece with glue and hammered it into the hole. I made sure that the face was flush and wiped off any excess glue.

After I completed both sides (75 minutes of work), I let both sides dry over night. The next day, I got my wife to help me nail the pre-cut pieces of plywood. We used a nail gun attached to an air compressor to speed up the process. I did not use any glue for this. I also added one piece on both sides under the shelf acting as a cross brace to add extra stability to the structure as a whole. Upon completion, I did climb up to the top and laid on the top shelf and I weigh close to 200 pounds. These shelves are strong!

Have fun.