GLUTEN FREE | Knock off Ice Cream Cake

As promised, I must deliver on this ridiculously simple and amazingly delicious gluten free version of, you guessed it, Dairy Queen’s infamous Ice Cream Cakes. I made this in 2016 for Mother’s Day, as mentioned in my post 10 Tips for Hosting the Perfect Mother’s Day Brunch, and chose this because it’s a dessert that must be made the night before, leaving more free time the day of. This weekend kick starts picnic season, and surprising everyone at your picnic with this cool and pretty dessert, would definitely wow a crowd.

This dessert went over so well with my in-laws and parents on Mother’s Day last year, that I believe they had all wished I would repeat for Father’s Day. I seriously regretted not repeating the recipe this year for Mother’s Day. But lucky for you gluten-free fanatics, my girls and I whipped one together just for fun this week!

Now, I was recreating this from memory, and quickly ran to the store grabbing the essentials. There are two major differences between the one I photographed, and the one I made last year. The first major difference is the one in the photographs only has one half gallon of vanilla ice cream; whereas the exact Dairy Queen Replica cake requires one full gallon of vanilla ice cream. The second difference is the quantity of whipped topping used to “ice” your cake. So be prepared for the one following the recipe below to be a bit taller than the one picture here.

To make this cake you will need a spring form pan, preferably a 9-inch. I believe mine was a 10-inch, which made a wider and flatter cake. (but just as delicious!)

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You will need to line the bottom and sides with wax paper. Remove the bottom piece of your pan and trace it on to a piece of waxed paper.

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Next line the edges of your pan with waxed paper. Tape it together if you are going for a cake that’s taller than the sides of your pan.

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I like to make this after getting home from the grocery store. Ice cream seems to naturally soften while shopping, loading, and unloading groceries. By the time everything is put away the ice cream is the perfect consistency to spread evenly.

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If you have a half gallon of chocolate, you will need a full gallon of vanilla. Begin by evenly spreading the chocolate in the bottom of the pan. Now, this is not an ad for ice cream brands, but if I’m being totally honest, Great Value brand ice cream has to be my favorite carton ice cream on the market right now. It’s so rich!

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Next, take a container of gluten free chocolate cookies with vanilla filling (aka, Gluten Free Oreo alternatives) and let out all that aggression from the week with a few good swift whacks of a rolling pin.

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Crumbling these Oreos evenly over your chocolate ice cream will create that delicious crunchy mystery layer hidden inside the Dairy Queen cakes. Place in the freezer at least 30 minutes.

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Next, soften two jars of hot fudge just until pliable. Drop the fudge on to the semi-frozen layer of ice-cream and cookie crumbs, and gently spread until evenly coated. If you are quick handed go ahead and spread the softened vanilla ice cream on to the fudge. If you are not comfortable with this, place the cake back in the freezer an additional 30 minutes until the fudge solidifies again.

This is where my pictures are not a proper replica of the recipe provided below. I only used a half gallon, but strongly recommend using a full gallon to create your cake.

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Place back into the freezer for a solid 30 minutes to an hour. Once the cake is nice a solid, remove spring-form sides and wax lining.

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Don’t worry if your cake isn’t perfectly smooth or even. A swift hand and lovely thick whipped topping “icing” will smooth out all of those bumps and cracks. You literally just open a package of cool whip and begin to “ice your cake, starting by evening out the top of your ice cream.

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Once you have a nice even layer of cool whip on the cake, place the cake back in to the freezer for at least two hours or overnight. If you want to get really fancy, consider this your “Crumb layer, and use a second container of cool whip at room temperature to put a smoother layer over the entire thing, even adding a little piping on the edge of the cake to get that true “DQ” feel.

Remove the cake from the freezer just before serving and top with sprinkles, pipe on some decorative cool whip or take my approach and line that bad boy with more cookies! Chop your gluten free cookies in half and gently press them into the frozen dessert.

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Ok, some little fingers found their way into this pile of cookies before ever decorating the final product. And trust me, I got one official stamp of approval on the end product from a 3 year old semi-pro dessert sampler.

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And with a few simple steps, zero cooking, a little free time, and a whole lotta ice cream carton licking, you can FINALLY have a gluten-free ice cream cake that will most certainly”Take the cake” to any store-bought ice cream cake around. Happy Summer!

Cheers!

  • Whitney

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Gluten Free DQ Knock Off Ice Cream Cake

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon chocolate ice cream
  • 1 gallon vanilla ice cream
  • 1 jar hot fudge
  • 1 container gluten free chocolate cookies with vanilla cream (plus additional for topping)
  • 2 8 oz containers Cool Whip
  • OPTIONAL
  • sprinkles, cherries, additional cookies to decorate

Directions

  1. Line a 9-inch spring form pan with wax paper. Spread softened half gallon of chocolate ice cream in bottom of pan.
  2. Crush chocolate cookies and sprinkle over ice cream. Drizzle hot fudge sauce (slightly warm) over cookies. Place in freezer 30 minutes or until solid.
  3. Spread softened gallon of vanilla ice cream over top. Free again until firm.(30 minutes to 1 hour)
  4. Remove from freezer. Ice with cool whip. Decorate with optional toppings, return to freezer at least 2 hours or over night. Serve immediately after pulling from freezer.

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Gluten Free Reuben

As a last celebratory Irish themed post, I present you with The Gluten Free Reuben. We love all things reuben in our house. When my husband and I took our delayed honeymoon trip to Maine for our first anniversary, we stopped in a cute little coastal town in New Hampshire for dinner to start our week off. This was my first truly normal dining experience. 5 years ago, dining out was so different in the New England area than it was for a Celiac person in Western Pennsylvania. Almost every restaurant we went to on our little getaway offered gluten free this, or gluten free that. I was in heaven.

Fast forward 5 years and my local area has gone above and beyond to catch up with the New England states jumping on the gluten free alternatives in almost every restaurant around. In my small town alone I have 5 different options for ordering a gluten free pizza. If you told 16 year old, newly diagnosed Whitney that in the future, not only would I be able to get gluten free pizza, but that I would have five different options, I probably would have cried. I still feel like crying thinking about how different my life was at 16 with this frustrating diet. Looking back, it was by far the best option of the possible issues I could have been dealing with, but as a teenager, I hated it.

When we discovered a tolerable tortilla shell a few years back, I made reuben styles quesadillas for St. Patrick’s Day. Now that gluten free bread is so readily available, it’s nothing to schedule a sandwich into our weekly meal plan.

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The recipe is pretty straight forward. I like to use Udi’s Whole Grain bread as a substitute for the classic Rye option. Start off by buttering one slice of your bread and lay it down on your prep area. Place 2 slices of the corned beef on to the bread and start the magical layering process!

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Next add a couple spoonfuls of Sauerkraut on to the meat, trying to drain off the excess liquid.

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Follow this up with Swiss cheese and the Thousand Island dressing.

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And then place those bad boys in a pan and grill away! I butter the top slice after placing it in pan. (I like to place a lid on for a minute to help heat up the meat and melt the cheese)

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Halfway through, flip the sandwiches and give a nice little golden hue to each side of the bread.

As always, if you are a split home like ours, half gluten free and half regular products, prepare on two separate surfaces, preferably preparing the gluten free sandwiches first. Here is a glimpse of what our counter looks like when preparing meals like this:

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It seems like a pain, but you get used to it quickly! It’s second nature to us at this point. Once your grilled sandwich has lightly browned on both sides plate that bad boy up and serve it with a side of Simple Potato Wedges.

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My second most favorite Reuben style dish, the one I will be taking to my Mom’s annual St. Patrick’s Day dinner is the Reuben Dip! My sister and I tried is several years ago when I spent the holiday weekend at her house. It was so good! I haven’t made it in a few years so I thought it would be a good variation on the holiday sides.

Cheers & Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Whitney

 

Simple Potato Wedge

My sister is a phenomenal chef, I’m sure I have mentioned this before. The ironic part about this is my most favorite recipes of hers are potato wedges and steamed broccoli. One might think, “Seriously? You have a culinary expert sister, and STEAMED BROCCOLI is your favorite thing she makes?” But any family member, picky toddler, or former client will vouch for the fact that my sister makes amazing broccoli!

Now, I have tried countless times to replicate her ridiculously simple-sounding instructions failing slightly every time. There is no point in even telling you how she does it because, you won’t get the full effect until you have had hers. Clearly she just has that natural instinct that someone well versed in a trade develops when they have a passion for something.

My sister is one of those people who excels at whatever she dabbles in, and can transition so smoothly from one professional opportunity to another, and doesn’t hold back from pursuing a dream. She also has the courage to make life decisions when that dream has changed or pulls her in an alternate direction, never wavering in the desire to pursue it. Perhaps it was a little of her inspiration that pushed me to make my current career shift back to the home, a decision that is all too quickly coming to a reality.

Returning back to the potato wedges. I have a very simple recipe inspired from my sister’s delicious potato wedges along with my nieces excellent Sirach mayo dipping sauce. My children love tater tots, fries, and hash brown thanks to Ore Ida, but I like to make potato dishes from scratch, even if it is a simple fry.

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My particular favorite version of these fries involves a little light olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika seasoning. To start, cut each potato in half lengthwise. Begin to slice the halves lengthwise to create wedges to your thickness preference. We like thinner wedges, and they are a little more time efficient for baking. 3 potatoes is plenty for my family of 2 adults and 2 toddlers. You might want to consider doubling the recipe for more than 2 adults.

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Once all of the potatoes are sliced, spread them out on a baking sheet evenly. Drizzle a little olive oil over the wedges, approximately 3-4 tablespoons. I do not measure this, just lightly drizzle. Toss the potatoes to coat, redistributing them evenly on the baking sheet again.

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Sprinkle the wedges with salt (about 1 – 2 tablespoons) to your liking. My favorite seasoning to add is a light coating of smoked paprika. You could really add any flavor to these to match whatever you are cooking. Some times we used onion salt and garlic powder, while other times we use plain salt. Once we used grill mates seasonings to pair them with my husband’s expertly grilled steaks. (Just wait until grilling season kicks in!)

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Place the baking sheet into an oven pre-heated to 425 degrees. Set your timer to 30 minutes. While the wedges bake, prepare your main course or sneak in a few extra snuggles from cuties running around your kitchen. Every time I create a recipe and photograph the different steps my youngest daughter runs into the kitchen yelling, “Cheese! Cheese! Cheeeeeeeeese!”

After the thirty minutes are up, pull the sheet pan from the oven and give the potato wedges a little toss. They should look something like this:

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Place back into the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes depending on the crispiness you prefer your potato wedges to have. Once they are complete, pair them with an excellent grilled meal, sandwich, or anything that meets your taste buds that evening!

So, thank the chef for always motivating me to try more “fresh” options for my family. Perhaps she’ll even inspire a healthier diet once I am home more to experiment with recipes and alternative ingredients!

Cheers!

Simple Potato Wedge

  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

A great side dish option when prep time is limited but homemade is critical.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons of Extra Light Olive Oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Slice each potato in half lengthwise. Continue to cut each half into aproximately 6-8 wedges lengthwise.
  2. Spread the potato wedges out on a large baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and toss to coat evenly
  4. Season with salt and paprika.
  5. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, turn over and return to bake an additional 10 – 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven when wedges have reached desired consistency.

 

 

 

St. Patrick’s Day Craft Ideas

Before I ever had children, I was obsessed with holiday crafting. A few girlfriends and I have made several feeble attempts to pull together a “Pinterest Club” or “Craft Club” as my mother used to call it. We usually get one excellent day in, with the plans to follow up a month later at someone else’s house, failing miserably on the follow-through. Once we all began to have children, those craft nights turned into food and drink and laughter nights, usually having at most, one member follow through with a craft. Yes, those children will do that do you. They wipe away all excessive motivation to complete a project when surrounded by your best girls and some excellent food and drink.

For those of you who still have that follow-through and motivation, I have rounded up some of my favorite online seasonal ideas for this dreary March that just seems to be having an identity crisis, alternating from Lamb to Lion and then back to Lamb.

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I have included 5 projects: one for each day between now and St. Patrick’s Day along with the link to the original post including instructions for completion. Perhaps this will inspire a St. Patrick’s day girl’s night for you to pull together a few girls and have a spontaneous creative Friday night. Or, if you are more like my girls and I, enjoy this Friday as a food and laughter filled evening, sharing the trials and tribulations of being a wife, mother, or employee! This St. Patrick’s Day I will be hosting an impromptu Girls Night In with a former classmate of mine! Kayla Jamison, a new member of the Stella and Dot family, will be introducing us to a collection of jewelry and fashion with a trunk show. You can check out all of her great products HERE. I’m not sure if I’m more excited to see her awesome collection, or just FINALLY get to catch up with her!

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This was the cute little invite I crafted; however, I failed to it out to the majority of the people invited! 
In high school we had several mutual friends, and definitely would have considered each other as friends, but shortly after graduation we each took very different life paths, keeping in touch with our select few friends and losing those common connections. Then that magical shift came. The moment you have a child, particularly if you are the first in a social group to have a child, the social group starts to dissipate. Suddenly those common grounds disappear and you find yourself drawn more to the young parents showing up in your social media news feed, and less to the shenanigans of those weekend events from your kid-less friends. This is when Kayla re-entered my life.

Shortly after our oldest was born I found her appearing more and more often in my social media. Perhaps this was because another classmate of ours, her best friend, was having a baby just a short two months after my oldest was born. And just like that both Kayla and the other classmate became my most common follows. I love watching my classmates children grow up. Particularly the ones who are going through different stages of parenting ahead of me, the ones close to my children’s ages since they will be in school together, and even ones who are miles away, say Florida, because it helps to keep me from feeling disconnected from those close friends. This is, in my opinion, the epitome of Social Media perks.

So bringing this ever-side-tracked mind back into focus the first items I have found for you include some festive decor, some of which I plan to include in my upcoming Girls Night In!

  1. DIY St. Patrick’s Day Garland

St Patricks Day Garland

For those of you unfamiliar with The Land of Nod, the children’s line from Crate and Barrel, they also have a blog: Honest to Nod which is, quite possibly, my absolute favorite creative idea go-to. This post comes from 2014, and reminds me of a little garland project my nieces and I took on that same year for Christmas. We made simple little pom poms out of yarn and strung them up in the girls rooms. I love the variety of three dimensional shapes along with flat glittery shamrocks in this garland. I can honestly say, this would be a cute and reusable decoration easily stored in a tote. If you aren’t big in to cutting out shapes, I would strongly recommend investing in a variety of paper punches, or a Shamrock Paper Punch . I did not purchase specific shapes, rather several sizes of Circles, presenting holiday feelings from the colors of paper I choose to make my garland with. I have the Fiskars Medium and Extra Large circles. You can find the full instructions by clicking on the link to the project above the picture.

2. Paper Shamrock Shapes

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This one is more of a cutsie decoration, not the type you save and reuse in your house each year. But I will admit, they are very fun to make! I was inspired to attempt to transform the hallway where my classroom is located after the Family and Consumer Science department decorated the entire wing of the school where their classrooms are located the month before Christmas. It was so festive and beautiful that I ran to Walmart and purchased 4 strands of 300 count white lights to string down our hallway trying to replicate their festivity. My students then went to work designing beautiful three-dimensional blue snowflakes to hang with fishing line from the drop ceiling. The end result was stunning! My classroom assistant began to peruse the internet for seasonal three dimensional shapes to incorporate into the design of the hallway throughout the remaining seasons of the school year, starting first with elegant tiny hearts (one of the leaves of the clovers pictures above). She then stumbled upon a shamrock version of the same shape. Currently, our hallway only has a few of the green shamrocks floating. We just received a random lion of a snow storm after 55 degree weather the day before. Another colleague and I were concerned our snowflakes were jinxing the school so we tore each one down quickly!

This was the best tutorial I could find online to make these cute shapes and would double as a great project to complete with kids on a random Lion of a March day.

3. Potted Clover

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With the world on a Joanna Gaines high, and Magnolia this, Magnolia that, I found that Pretty Handy Girl  (which I must add that I love her profile picture!) has an excellent and simple idea to get into the vibe of March. With Joanna continuing to inspire us with her fresh whites, clean lines, bright greenery and exquisite floral arrangements, this simple little craft idea is just enough to get into those spring vibes only days before Spring officially begins, and spark a light in all of those green thumbed friends out there itching to begin those gardens.

4. Free Printable Banners

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As a teacher, the thing I believe I am going to miss the most about the brick and mortar classroom will be the holiday decorating, or even the unit-specific decorations I have developed over the past five years. Already planning my home office, I’m envisioning some type of re-purposed frame with a chalkboard center, just to still have the feel of school around me as I convert to the digital world. These sweet little banners may work as the perfect seasonal alternative for a home office classroom.

That being said, I do not feel these should be limited to a classroom! They are so cute and would make an excellent food table backdrop, mantle addition, or entryway surprise any any other various creative location that might work for you! Flag banners are my favorite event accent as well. They are so simple but add a whole new level of creativity to any event. Ella Claire has three printable cute options available for you! Click here to go to my Pinterest page to view this item, along with many more options like it!

5. DIY St Patrick’s Day Mason Jars

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No craft post is ever complete without a mason jar project! And if you happen to be one of those mason jar junkies, I have found the blog for YOU! Ka Styles is seriously an entire blog with gorgeous mason jar ideas! I was stuck scrolling through her posts and ideas for 45 minutes! They are so pretty! And how simple is this?! You pick the color, paint the jar and just like that! You’ve created a beautiful little accent piece for a mantle, a gift for a friend, a vase for those Joanna inspired blooms, or a pencil jar for that home office. Plenty of time to spare to gossip with those gal pals!

While this was a bit wordy, I hope you were able to hop around and find some great projects to work on this week as we wind into the upcoming holiday festivities next weekend!

Cheers!

  • Whitney

 

Recipe Review | Balsamic Dijon Roast

So, it’s pretty obvious to most who know my family that we are a Meat-and-Potatoes kind of crew. My husband is an avid hunter and keeps us well stocked throughout the year with a variety of cuts of meat. I do appreciate a good quality roast recipe. In my initial searches, trial and errors of roast recipe hunting, they all felt like they tasted the same to me… like simply a hunk of meat would taste. I continued to make several pot roast recipes since my husband did really like this style of meal until I came across my first game changer roast recipe. This initial recipe, which was so crazy to me, but SO. DELICIOUS was a crock pot recipe.

The recipe was as follow:

  • 1 rump roast or chuck roast
  • 1 packaged of Hidden Valley Ranch Seasoning
  • 1 package McCormick gluten free brown gravy (this is a STAPLE in our house)
  • 2 cups beef broth, gluten free, low sodium

I literally tossed the roast in the crock pot in the morning before work, shook in each of the packages of dried seasonings and put in the broth plus an additional half cup because I knew it would be 10 + hours before I would be home and my Crock Pot did not have the timer setting on it.

The magic of this roast is the fact that it creates its own gravy while cooking! And it’s DELICIOUS! This is the quickest and easiest way to feel like you spent the day cooking when really, you were at work all day, or hopefully, shopping with your bestie all day.

Speaking of besties, I was fortunate enough to spend part of my weekend catching up with mine and snuggling her sweet new bundle of joy. She and I have been friends since childhood and she knows me better than anyone else! I could go on for an hour about how she’s the “peanut butter to my jelly…” the “yin to my yang…” and countless other corny sayings just to describe to you how crucial she is to my life.

She messaged me the other day with a recipe suggestion that she just loved and thought might be a good piece for my blog. Well let me tell you, she was SPOT ON. She sent me a pin from The Wicked Noodle, a blog now on my radar for excellent flavor combinations, with the suggestion that I try this Chuck Roast with Balsamic and Dijon. Now, typically when I hear the term balsamic, I hesitate a bit. Why? I have no idea because my adult taste buds love everything involving it. Perhaps it was a bad encounter when I was younger, but I’m so glad I resisted that naive thought process.

This recipe recommends using a dutch oven, which I happen to LOVE cooking in but do not use nearly enough. It’s a simple straightforward recipe that involves a total of 3 1/2 to 4 hours in the oven, so the perfect Sunday dinner. That is exactly when we tried this bad boy.

Simply start out by browning your well salted and peppered chuck roast in a couple tablespoons of oil, preferably canola, making sure to seal all the flavor in on all sides.

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Once you’ve browned all the sides of the roast remove from the pan and toss in one chopped yellow onion. I prefer larger chunks in something like this so I didn’t dice too small.

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Using the drippings from the meat, cook the onions until they begin to soften and absorb all the delicious flavors from the meat. This took me about 5 minutes. Once the onions soften add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil continuing to cook until the liquid reduces and appears to be slightly syrupy.

You can see the difference in the pictures above from when I first added the liquid to when the onions caramelized in the balsamic vinegar. By this point my kitchen was smelling ah-mazing! After the liquid reduces stir in the Dijon mustard making a nice creamy bed to lay your chuck roast on.

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Return the roast to the bed of onion mixture and add two cups of beef broth to the heavenly flavors that have already infiltrated the air. The recipe calls for fresh Thyme; however, I did not have that and replaced with a few shakes of dried thyme leaves. I would strongly recommend sticking to fresh herbs, they just were not available at the time of cooking this roast.

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Once you have added all of the ingredients, place the lid on your dutch oven and return it to a 300 degree oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

After the chuck roast has cooked for the given time, add in your carrots and teeny tiny potatoes. And, can I just add, that my daughters love teeny tiny potatoes? It doesn’t even matter what type they are, they love them! They also love large carrots! Switching from small carrots and standard sized potatoes adds a fun little spin on the recipe, so we went for it!

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After adding the vegetables, return to the oven for an additional 30 to 60 minutes. I chose to go for the full 60 because I love good tender vegetables with my roast.

The prep time on this meal was less than 15 minutes and so simple that I had enough time to grade some always lovely research papers for my cuties at work. As much as I would have loved to consume my time with meal prep in exchange for paper grading, both needed done, and BOTH were completed with a solid hour left over during nap time to do… whatever I wanted! I like to call that the Sunday JACK POT!

Once the meal was complete, I let it stand for a few minutes while prepping my little ladies final pieces to their meals and like all good Sundays, we sat down, together to eat.

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So, The Wicked Noodle hit the jack pot with this roast bursting with flavor and texture. Excellent job, excellent job.

Cheers!

  • Whitney