If I’ve learned one thing in my frugal cooking experience, it’s how smart old people are. Really.
I think of all the things our grandparents did that people have laughed at over the years – washing their freezer bags, refusing to get credit cards, using that old seventies sofa until its exposed springs were a tetanus hazard. Then I look at these new blogs popping up every day, and I can’t help but laugh all over again. We’re suddenly realizing that our grandparents were pretty smart. They might not have a huge Twitter following (let’s face it – most of them are pretty savvy members of Facebook now), but many of them have wise ideas about handling and saving money.
A few years ago, after pinching our pennies, my husband and I were able to visit his old relatives that still live in the hill village inGreecewhere Chris’ family came from. We stayed with them for two months. During that time, my theas (“aunts” – only they weren’t actually my aunts – more like distant cousins who treated us like their long lost favorite children), taught me how to make Greek food. Most dishes involved exorbitant amounts of olive oil and salt, but each one of them was simple, frugal, and made with whole, real food ingredients. (I also learned I could cut down on the oil and salt and still make awesome food.)
They were delicious. Turns out the past generations knew a thing or two about whole food cooking as well as money.
This recipe was inspired by my Greek thea who served us this dish fairly regularly. She used a pressure cooker and I use a slow cooker; she boiled the meat and I brown it. But the basic recipe is the same, and the result is a savory, tender roast that only requires a few frugal ingredients and absolutely no processed ones.
Making this dish not only reminds me of my husband’s – and now my – Greek heritage, it also reminds me that I have a lot to learn from those people who do crazy, wise things like wash freezer bags and refuse to get credit cards.
Simple Greek-Inspired Beef Roast
- 3 pounds beef roast
- 1/3 cup olive oil, butter, or other fat (here’s a frugal healthy fat!)
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 6-7 whole cloves
- 5-6 peppercorns
- 1 two or three inch-long cinnamon stick (sounds unusual but trust me – it’s good)
- 1 ½ – 2 cups tomato juice (I’ve successfully substituted diced tomatoes)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Pour half of the oil in the bottom of a large skillet and brown the roast on the skillet, using tongs to carefully flip it over and brown it on all sides.
- Place browned roast in the bottom of your slow cooker and add tomato juice, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon.
- Pour the rest of the oil into the skillet and sauté the onions until translucent.
- Pour the onions on top of the roast, scraping the sides of the skillet to get any extra oil or fat to add to the slow cooker.
- Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve over brown rice (with a Simple Greek Salad, if desired).
THM Compliant: This is an S meal.
When Steph and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Steph was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget. So The Cheapskate Cook was born.
*This post is linked at Weekend Whatever on Your Thriving Family, at Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, at Fat Tuesday on Real Food Forager, at Make Your Own Monday at Nourishing Treasures, at Healthy 2Day Wednesday on Day2Day Joys, at Simple Lives Thursday on GNOWFGLINS, at Cooking Thursday on Diary of a Stay at Home Mom, at Proverbs 31 Thursday on Raising Mighty Arrows, at Full Plate Thursday on Miz Helen’s Country Cottage, at Hearth and Soul Blog Hop at Penniless Parenting, at Tuesdays at the Table on All The Small Stuff, and at Real Food 101 at Ruth’s Real Food.