Lou's Clues: Tasty roast beef -- made at home

Chef Louie again, here to save you money! Last week, I mentioned the benefits of buying a roast when it goes on sale at the supermarket, and then cooking and deli-slicing it yourself with your brand new $39 slicer instead of buying store-prepared cold cuts at $8.99 a pound.

This week, I'm providing my favorite roast recipe to make those homemade sammies even tastier! Why? Because I want you to provide the same cheap-and-healthy lunches I gave my kids.

First up, watch for the sale. You can, of course, pay the full price any time and still enjoy a tastier roast beef than you'd find in the packaged section, but you get more bang for your buck when you keep an eye on the sale papers and buy when prices are low. When that top round, bottom round or eye round goes on sale, grab up a few and do it up like this:
In a large bowl, put 1 cup of any generic Italian seasoning, 2 tbsp of dried garlic, 2 tbsp of dried onion, 1 tbsp of coarse kosher salt, black pepper to taste, some finely chopped walnuts (if you can tolerate them), and mix well. Now take that roast, rub some extra virgin olive oil all over it, then roll it in that bowl of flavor! Be sure to pack the seasonings on good and thick. Next, place the seasoned roast into a baking pan and pop it into a preheated 350-degree oven for 25 minutes per pound (or until your meat thermometer gives you the proper reading for the desired doneness).

At this point, you can decide whether you want your roast to pull double duty - you can use some of it for dinner, and save the rest for your lunch cut, or you can just devote it all to lunch. If you decide to do dinner as well, just toss some potatoes and carrots into the roast pan to cook, and take a peek at the great gravy recipe I've provided below.

When the roast is finished, let that baby sit and rest for about 10 minutes and then you can start carving for your dinner. Take what is reserved for lunches, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and putting it in the fridge to stop the cooking process. Once chilled, pull out that budget slicer you bought last week, set the blade to the thin side and "Start your savings."

For a real treat, try taking a cup of mayo, adding a tbsp of horseradish to it, and slathering it on your roast beef sandwich. Or try your hand at an upstate New York treat call a Wick (short for "Kimmelwick roll"). Real simple, take a regular hard roll, wipe some egg wash on the top and sprinkle with some coarse kosher salt and pop into a 350 oven for 5 minutes. Take that roll, your fancy roast beef, and your spicy compound mayo, then sit back and enjoy as your family takes all that money you saved and uses it to hire a marching band to sing your praises down the block! (OK, you might want to encourage a better use for the savings -- like a college fund or vacation -- but the thought is still fun.)

Chef Louie's Great Gravy: Take 1 tbsp, of butter and 1 tbsp of flour and cook over medium high heat in a saucepan. Keep stirring for about 10 minutes or until the mixture turns golden brown, then add 1 cup of the pan juice from your roast, and 1 cup of a good, dry red wine - preferably a Chianti. Once it comes to a boil the thickening will be at its peak (if you feel the need to thin it out a bit, use even amounts of pan juice and wine). Once fully cooked, turn off the heat, and toss about 2 tbsp of fresh, chopped garlic into the deep end of this pleasure pool, then add good pat of butter.

I hope these recipes help keep both you and your wallet fat and happy - stay tuned to this blog for more tips and recipes. I'm going to save you a fortune while you eat like a king!

Salute!

Chef Louie hosts Good Day Food & Wine, a nationally syndicated weekend radio show. A culinary veteran, Chef Louie pledges to empower you in the kitchen, the supermarket, and help you eat better, entertain better and keep more of that hard-earned money close to home. Sign up for his free e-newsletter here.

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