Sure, some of them have been enjoyed out at new-to-us restaurants (Rosebud brunch = oh. my. goodness.) or at old favorites (enjoying the springtime patios for sushi at Aja or Mexican at Pancho's). But other meals have been whipped up here at home, taking into account our budgets and our cramped schedules. Because honestly, the one thing you don't want to be doing when the weather is this nice outside is slaving over a hot stove.
And if you aren't sure when you might make it home from the busy day at the office, why waste all the extra hours of daylight we are getting by staying indoors? A crock-pot meal can be ready when you are, and easily transportable to the patio. Don't restrict yourself to thinking only of the flaming hot stews and soups of winter; the crock-pot is multi-dimensional.
The recipe I am going to share today is one of those latter crock-pot meals perfect for any season. This one can serve a huge crowd, or a family of two or four for a few days, like it did us. We didn't see a bigger piece of meat readily available at our store, but no worries. The one- to two-pound roasts turn out fine, just with more sauce than probably needed. Nothing a good slotted spoon can't fix. I can't wait to search around for the bigger piece next time, though, because then the ratio of saucy veggies to meat would be absolutely divine.
Enjoy this one with some crusty bakery rolls and your favorite picnic sides like potato salad. Mangia!
Tangy Barbecue Sandwiches
My version adapted from the Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook (recipe submitted by Lavina from MI and Lois from PA)
Makes 10-14 big sandwiches
2c. chopped celery
1c. chopped onions
1c. each ketchup, barbecue sauce and water
2 tbsp. each apple cider vinegar and Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. chili powder or any hot ground spices you have on hand
1 tsp. each salt and pepper
3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast, browned
10-14 fresh rolls or buns from your bakery
Combine all ingredients except roast and buns in a slow cooker. Mix thoroughly and add roast on top. Cover and cook on High for 6-7 hours (or 5-6 hours if a smaller roast or under the minimum fill-line). Remove roast, cool and shred meat, trimming off any excess fat. Return to sauce, heat well and serve on buns.