Sometimes it's the simplest of recipes that make for a memorable meal. Such can be said for a slow-cooker pot roast. For years, Mississippi pot roast — that delicious chuck roast made by adding a packet of dry ranch dressing, au jus mix, butter and, if desired, pepperoncini peppers, on top of the meat and letting it slow-cook for hours to a fork-tender state — has been the go-to recipe for many cooks.

Now, add Tennessee pot roast to your list of favorite pot roast recipes. Using canned soup often gets sneers from people when you mention you've used them in a recipe. In fact, I've often neglected to mention the use of canned soups out of embarrassment. Granted, I don't use them often — the sodium count tends to be high — but there are times when they come in handy. And we all know that sometimes there's nothing more comforting than a grilled cheese sandwich paired with a cup of Campbell's tomato soup.

But back to this recipe for Tennessee pot roast. Just like Mississippi pot roast, it's simple. Use a flank steak, chuck roast or any other of the tougher pieces of beef. The fact that you'll be slow-cooking for hours will break down the tough connective tissues. Combine a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of tomato soup, along with a small can of mushrooms to give the gravy extra texture, and pour it over the meat. Sprinkle an envelope of dry onion soup mix over the top, place the lid on the slow cooker and let it cook on low all day. The gravy is amazing on mashed potatoes, the perfect side dish to any roast. No need to tell anyone you've used canned soups.


Tennessee Pot Roast

1 (2- to 3-pound) flank steak, chuck roast or bottom round roast

1 can cream of mushroom soup

1 can tomato soup

1 small can mushroom bits and pieces

1 envelope onion soup mix

Place roast in slow cooker. Combine mushroom and tomato soups and can of mushroom, stirring to combine; pour over roast. Sprinkle with onion soup mix. Cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours or until fork-tender. Serve with mashed potatoes or wide noodles such as fettuccine or pappardelle, if desired.


Too much margarita mix?

A friend who will go nameless by request emailed offering a good way to use up leftover margarita mix — a problem he had recently when he was trying to figure out what to do with a bottle of the stuff that'd been in his refrigerator taking up too much room. The answer? An excellent marinade for pork.

"I spied the half-empty Zing Zang margarita mix and dumped it over some pork chops," he said. The end result was excellent. So good, in fact, he tried it again and added some smoked mustard and garlic powder to the margarita mix. "The result was again applauded by my household, so I feel I can recommend it for publication," he said. "Margarita mix has utility unimaginable to the masses. Who knew?"


Alabama Restaurant Week

Our culinary neighbors to the south are putting out the welcome mat for Alabama Restaurant Week, Aug. 14-23. This 10-day celebration invites food lovers to seek out the state's diverse range of cuisines.

Dining rooms are open with additional coronavirus precautions in place, and there are takeout, curbside pickup and delivery options. Once you've enjoyed your meal, you're invited to share your thoughts on social media.

For ideas, visit to download the 100 Dishes To Eat in Alabama brochure.

Email Anne Braly at

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Anne Braly