Well having an almost two year old while working from home and looking for a job has certainly altered my day to day cooking. Fast meals, leftover makeovers, and freezing crock pot feasts are what I am all about these days. Rachel Ray's rise to power suddenly seems so logical. I have found weeknight success with Fresh and Easy's simmer sauces, specifically the Indian ones: Korma and Tikka Masala. Growing up in an East Indian home, I have never quite gotten used to "paying" for Desi dishes, and man does a tab run wild at Indian restaurant when you start ordering like it is the end of Ramadan. I find that these sauces really scratch the itch, certainly nothing comparable to making the "real thing" but cheaper than take out(by a mile) and you can put food on the table in under 30 minutes from the moment you open the refrigerator door till when you start scooping tikka into your kid's mouth. Of course they are loaded with creams and coconut milk so be advised that this is no "diet" friendly solution. My family likes curries with chicken breast, which seems like a doomed idea as chicken breast takes so little time to cook and a good curry simmers for at least 30 minutes but the simmer sauce, which is a 10 minute time frame, serves up a perfect solution. Don't mean to be a salesman but when something works, it works.
So for those of you in the know - Im about to go off reservation and experiment. I got a bottle of the Sante Fe sauce, where the recommended protein is diced beef, browned and then simmered with sauce. My plan is to take chuck roast, cut into 1-1.5 inch cubes, brown and place in a crock pot with the Santa Fe sauce and just enough beef stock to cover the meat, and cook at 4 hours on high. Think this will work out? I figure the simmer sauce is the end result of a crock pot/braised cook that is reduced; so my theory is to thin out(by adding the beef stock) and reduce after the beef is done.