Kaleidoscope Organic Garden (Italian Beef Sandwiches)

The most amazing organic garden in town is the Kaleidoscope organic garden with food grown for the purpose of supplying healthy meals for families dealing with the ravages of cancer. The garden is located behind a church in our small town and is completely maintained by volunteers. Kaleidoscope is a local organization started by an amazing educator who retired early after several bouts with cancer. It started small, with the sharing of Bags of Hope with people recently diagnosed with cancer. The organization blossomed with love and support of the Methodist Church. While I do not attend that church, I do love to cook! A friend told me about the Kaleidoscope krockpot brigade bringing one meal a week to people dealing with cancer to feed their families. Wow! On my end, this is a perfect way to contribute to my community.

As with so many volunteer ventures, I receive more than I could ever give. I’ve cooked for a family with a teenager going through many rounds of chemo. Some evenings, she would be smiling and full of energy while sporting the colorful headwrap of the day. Another evening the mother expressed her gratitude for the large meals she could stretch over several dinners as she told me about the recent week her daughter was in the hospital with the flu and staring a stack of unpaid bills on the counter. I’ve cooked for a well known local educator who’s work has filtered down with positive effect on my own children. I’ve cooked for a family whose children I’ve known for years through my own kids. Each time I prepare a meal, I realized how fortunate I am to be able to share my love of cooking and provide a healthy meal, and a offer night off from cooking, for a wonderful family.

So, yesterday I visited the Kaleidoscope garden and harvested some sweet tomatoes, onions, scallions, and bell peppers to include with the Italian beef sandwiches and salad for a local family.

Italian Beef Sandwiches

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix
  • 1 (5 pound) rump roast

Toppings:

  • provolone cheese, slices
  • Tomato, bell pepper, and onion thinly sliced and sauteed for 5 minutes.

Directions:

1. Dump everything except the meat into a slow cooker and stir. (If you don’t have one or two of the dry herbs on hand, just omit them.)

2. Add roast and cook on low for 10 hours.

3. Take out the meat, pull it into strings / chunks with a fork.

4. Lay out buns on a baking sheet, cut side up, and broil for just under 1 minute, until toasted.

5. Heap the bottom of each bun with beef and cover with one slice of cheese. Return the bun bottoms only to the broiler for another minute. Always keep a close eye on anything you are broiling.

6. Top with tomato / bell pepper / onion mix, cover with the bun top and enjoy. If you are a lover of messy sandwiches, go ahead and spoon some of the broth from the slow cooker on that sandwich for a wonderful treat.

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