Cranberry pot roast and cheesy cauliflower mash

Cranberry Thyme Pot Roast w/ Easy, Cheesy Cauliflower Mash…the utmost in comfort food!
So, with a little pre-planning, this can be assembled in about 3 minutes in the slowcooker and 5 minutes of hands on time with the microwave. It doesn’t get any easier…or more yummy, especially when it’s 14 degrees outside (seriously, that’s what it is…no exaggeration here, unfortunately…)
So, pre-planning…as a busy Mom of two little ones, I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen. I know, travesty, but that’s life these days. Like many of you, we’re busy people, work and play and kids and life all get in the way of the time that we have to prepare good, quality food for our families. Enter…pre-planning.  I’m going to be posting more recipes like this in the very near future, as they have become the crutch that I depend on to ensure there is always food in the fridge for lunches and on the table for dinner…yes, I could  order out, but we can’t afford it and honestly, end up disappointed by the quality for the cost when we do succumb to the ease of restaurant take-out. Not to toot my own horn, but my food just tastes better, and I know exactly what I put in it…and it’s not junk. Sooo…back to pre-planning.  For this to be SUPER easy, you have to have made some cranberry sauce before, and have doubled the recipe, and put about 2 cups in your freezer…remember that next Thanksgiving! (I usually make about 4 times the amount we need…that covers us for a few months!) That’s all…not so tough, right? So, what about if you don’t have cranberry sauce in the freezer? Well, my friend, this is your lucky day. It will take you approximately 30 minutes longer, but only about 3 of that is hands on…and next time you will have pre-planned and you’ll have some there, won’t you?
Ok, so assuming you have no cranberry sauce in your freezer…you need to make some. Rinse your 2 bags of cranberries (we’re pre-planning for next time…remember?!?!) and put them in a saucepan. Add a cup of water (or cider beer if you are feeling adventurous), a couple squirts of citrus (your choice, I usually mix lemon and orange, about 1/3 cup), 1 chopped up apple or pear, a little cinnamon, 1 tsp of stevia glycerite (or 1 cup of sugar) and simmer it all until the cranberries pop and it thickens up a bit. Taste it…if it’s still bitter, add a little more sweetener. It should take about 30 minutes…
Now, cool it a bit and portion it into 1 cup portions (this makes 4 portions-ish) and freeze all but 1 cup, for today’s pot roast, of course…
Now, onto the Pot Roast…
2-3 lb chuck shoulder roast, boneless, thawed or frozen**
1 cup cranberry sauce, fresh or frozen**
1 1/2 cups brewed coffee, hot or cold
1 onion, sliced thinly
3-4 carrots, daikon, parsnip (peeled and cut into 2 inch sections)
Layer the veggies (if using) and onion into the bottom of your slow-cooker. Add the meat. Sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper, ground mustard and onion powder. Turn meat over and pour coffee and cranberry sauce over the meat. Season on bottom side with salt, pepper, mustard and onion powder.
Cook on high for approximately 8 hours or until the meat can be pulled apart with a fork.
**If you are using a frozen chunk of meat, add a couple additional hours. If you are using cranberry sauce from the freezer, add it to the top of the meat after you season it, instead of before. It can be like a cranberry ice cube…it will melt! 🙂
Cheesy Cauliflower Mash (one bowl and 24 minutes…)
1 head of cauliflower
3-4 Tbsp of butter, depending on the size of your cauliflower.
1/3 c. heavy whipping cream
4 ounces (approximately 1/3 block) Mediterranean Herb Cheese (I use Cracker Barrel)
Wash your cauliflower and take off all the green leaves. Cut out any brown spots. Chunk it up into smallish pieces, so that it will all fit in your microwave safe container (preferably glass) with a lid. I use Pyrex. DON’T ADD WATER!!! Cut your butter into 4-5 pats and lay it on top of the florets. Pour the cream over the top. Put on the lid and microwave that bad boy for 22 minutes. This is NOT a typo…it takes awhile.
If you think your microwave is super fast, feel free to check it at 15, 18, 20 and then finally 22, but make sure it is done…you want it super tender and even beginning to get little brown marks on some of the top florets.
Once you get at least a couple brown edges, remove from the microwave and top with the cheese (which you chopped into small chunks while the cauliflower was cooking) and put the lid on it for 1 minute to allow the cheese to melt. Use an immersion blender, regular blender or food processor to puree your cauliflower into the most beautiful, cheesy mash you’ve ever had.
On the off chance that you had a very small head of cauliflower and your mash seems too mushy or watery, simply put it back in the microwave for 4-5 minutes with the lid off. It should thicken right up.
Notes –
1. You can shred your cheese, I just hate grating cheese.
2. The meat it also really good with a healthy helping of thyme.
3.  For a sweeter meat, you can double the cranberry sauce.
4. This would probably work without the coffee, using a dry red wine or even beef stock instead, but it probably won’t be as good.
5. Double down by making a double roast and use the leftovers the next night to make an easy Roasted Veggie Beef stew (recipe coming soon).



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