The Liberty Tree Tavern is a wonderful restaurant in the Liberty Square “land” of the Magic Kingdom.  I really like the colonial atmosphere and I have always had a good meal there.  The Liberty Tree Tavern serves a la carte lunch options and a “family style” turkey meal at dinner.  I love the options at lunch and I enjoyed the New England Pot Roast entree a few years back. 

Here is the menu description of the pot roast:
New England Pot Roast… Our Tavern Keeper’s Favorite – Braised beef in a Cabernet wine and mushroom sauce served with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables – $18.99

Sounds like a good choice for dinner, right?  There are a few different recipes for the Liberty Tree Pot Roast floating around on the web and in the Disney cookbooks… and I chose to follow the New England Pot Roast recipe in the Cooking with Mickey and the Disney Chefs because I only had about 2 1/2 pounds of meat (some recipes called for 6 pounds).  I did tweak the recipe a bit, but I will explain that as I go. 

Here is a picture of all the ingredients needed:

 
First of all, I heated 1/4 cup of vegetable oil in my pot.  Then I seared the meat on all sides.  I used about 2 1/2 pounds of chuck roast.  The recipe calls for 3 pounds boneless beef shoulder roast.
 
Then I took the meat out of the pot and set it aside.  I added 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter to the pan and let it melt.   Make sure you keep all of those brown bits in the pot… it gives the sauce great flavor.
 
 
Next, I added 2 cups large diced carrots, 2 cups large diced celery and 2 cups large diced onions.
 
 
Then I added 1/4 cup chopped garlic.  Normally I would recommend chopping it fresh, but someone had brought this jarred garlic over to my house the other day, so I used it. 
 
 
Now, this is one place where I ventured away from the printed recipe.  The entree description mentions a mushroom sauce and there are no mushrooms to be found in this recipe (although they are in some of the other versions of this recipe).  Since I had mushrooms on hand, I added them.  Just one package of sliced white mushrooms.  I actually wish I had added more because they were very good in the sauce.
 
 
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme went in next.
 
 
Saute until the veggies are tender and then stir in one cup of flour. 
 
 
Cook the flour a bit so that your dish doesn’t taste like paste.  Add 1 cup wine (the entree description mentions a Cabernet sauce, so I used a Cabernet).  Don’t worry about the funny purple color the dish has… it comes out fine 🙂
 
 
 
Stir in 6 cups of beef broth.
 
 
At this point you can add the beef back into the pot and cover it.
 
 
 
I didn’t want to deal with hoisting it in and out the small oven at my In-Laws’ cottage, so I cooked the pot roast on the stove top (low flame).  If you want to put in the oven, the recipe calls for 350 degrees. 
 
The recipe says to cook the roast for 45-60 minutes, which is crazy-talk!  There is no way pot roast can get tender in 45 minutes.  I cooked mine for almost 3 hours and it could have gone longer. 
 
Here is the finished pot roast…
 
 
 
I sliced the meat and served it on top of mashed potatoes.
 
 
 
The verdict?  It was really good and my husband approved.  The meat was tender and the gravy was full of flavor.  The recipe made an enormous amount of gravy (even if I had doubled the amount of meat), but don’t throw it away after eating the pot roast.  I saved the gravy and used it to make a shepherd’s pie the next night.  I browned up some ground turkey (you can use beef if you like), then I mixed in the pot roast gravy and vegetables.  I put it in a casserole dish, covered it with some mashed sweet potatoes and some cheddar cheese.  I popped it in the over to brown the potatoes a bit and melt the cheese.  It was yummy way to use the leftovers. 
 
The pot roast was a success.. the recipe was easy and the results were close to what the Liberty Tree Tavern served.  It is just too bad that I wasn’t able to go for a ride on the Haunted Mansion after this meal!
 
Is the Liberty Tree Tavern New England Pot Roast a go-to of yours or do you choose a different menu item when visiting the restaurant?   I like several items on the menu so I will be cooking some of the other Liberty Tree Tavern dishes for this blog in the future.   What’s your favorite?
 
Liberty Tree Tavern New England Pot Roast
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Ingredients
  1. 1/4 Cup Vegetable Oil
  2. 2 1/2 Pounds Chuck Roast (or boneless beef shoulder roast)
  3. 1/2 Cup Butter
  4. 2 Cups Carrots, large-diced
  5. 2 Cups Celery, large-diced
  6. 2 Cups Onion, large-diced
  7. 1/4 Cup Garlic, chopped
  8. 2 Cups White Mushrooms, sliced
  9. 2 Tbs. Fresh Thyme, chopped
  10. 1 Cup Flour
  11. 1 Cup Cabernet Wine
  12. 6 Cups Beef Broth
Instructions
  1. In a large, oven-safe pot, heat oil and then sear the beef on all sides. Remove the meat from the pot and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the pot and add the carrot, celery, onion, garlic, mushrooms, and thyme. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add one cup flour and cook for one minute.
  4. Add the wine and beef broth. Stir.
  5. Cook on a stovetop on low heat for at least 3 hours. If you prefer putting it in the oven, cook it at 350 degrees until tender.
Dining with the Mouse http://www.diningwiththemouse.com/

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Crystal Palace Lemon Bars (Sort of)…

My attempt to make the lemon bars from the Crystal Palace was quite the adventure.  While dining at the restaurant for lunch and dinner, you may be lucky enough to find their delicious lemon bars on the buffet… 

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I love a good, tart lemon bar, so I was excited when I found that someone on the internet had been given the recipe from their server at the Crystal Palace.   However, I looked at the recipe with skepticism, because it sounded a bit off… but if it was from the actual recipe from the restaurant it had to be right, right?   Well, part of this blog is to show my failures at cooking Disney recipes and this was one big failure.   The bars’ crust seemed ok, but the filling was weird.  It called for a ton of butter, which just melted down in the oven.  It was a big, liquidy-oily mess and never transformed into yummy lemon bars.

Oh no….

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But now I had a hankering for lemon bars, so I found a promising recipe by Barefoot Contessa, which I will demonstrate here. 

Here are the ingredients.

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First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer,  cream together the butter and sugar until light.  Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just combined. 

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Scoop the dough out onto a floured board and (with floured hands) press it into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet.  Then chill for 15 minutes.  Since I was baking in a glass dish, and I worry about putting a chilled dish into a preheated oven, I chilled the dough ball for 15 minutes first, and then pressed the dough into the dish and put it into the oven. 

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Bake the crust for 15 – 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Let cool.

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 In the meantime, make the filling.   Wait until the crust is already cooled to start the filling because if you mix the lemon and the eggs too early, the mixture could start to curdle. 

Whisk together the eggs and sugar…  

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Then add the lemon zest…

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Then the lemon juice…

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… and the flour.

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Pour the lemon mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. 

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Let cool and then dust with confectioners’ sugar.

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Then you can enjoy your delicious sweet and sour treat… yum!

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These are even better once chilled for a bit, since they set up and the filling gets a bit more firm.

This recipe states that it is 12 servings, but I think 24 is more realistic… they are very good, but very rich.   The smaller serving is just enough. 

This lemon bar recipe didn’t exactly recreate the bars at the Crystal Palace (the shortbread crust was similar, but the filling was a bit softer and had a stronger lemon flavor), but it is a good recipe when you have a craving for a lemon bar. 

Do you like lemon desserts or do you prefer chocolate desserts?

 

Crystal Palace Lemon Bars (Sort of)
Serves 24
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For the crust
  1. 1/2 pound unsalted butter, room temperature
  2. 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  3. 2 cups flour
  4. 1/8 tsp kosher salt
For the filling
  1. 6 large eggs, room temperature
  2. 3 cups granulated sugar
  3. 2 tbs grated lemon zest (about 6 lemons)
  4. 1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. 1 cup flour
  6. Confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light. Then, with the mixer on low, add the flour and salt until just combined.
  2. Scoop the dough out onto a floured board and (with floured hands) press it into a 9x13x2 inch baking sheet. Then chill for 15 minutes. Since I was baking in a glass dish, and I worry about putting a chilled dish into a preheated oven, I chilled the dough ball for 15 minutes first, and then pressed the dough into the dish and put it into the oven.
  3. Bake the crust for 15 - 20 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let cool.
  4. In the meantime, make the filling.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and flour. Pour over the cooled crust and bake for 30-35 minutes, until set. Let cool and then dust with confectioners' sugar.
Dining with the Mouse http://www.diningwiththemouse.com/

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Top Five Disney Restaurant Tips  (with toddlers) –

Walt Disney World has great restaurants that are appropriate for children of all ages… especially your toddler.  You will be hard-pressed to find anywhere else that make families feel more welcome.

You really don’t be worried about bringing your toddler to a sit-down restaurant at Walt Disney World.   In fact, it is a good place to teach your child how to act in a restaurant, without being nervous about other diners being disturbed.  With the exception of the very fanciest restaurants on Disney property, everyone expects children to be present and probably has their hands full with their own kids. 

These tips can be applied to families with older children too!

1.  Think carefully about your dining times.  Try to keep your kids on the same dining schedule that they are on at home.  If you normally eat dinner at 5pm, don’t try to have dinner at 8pm in the Magic Kingdom… you are just asking for tired, hungry and grumpy kids.  

Also, since touring the parks can over-stimulate children, consider reserving sit-down restaurants for Breakfast or Dinner… and not for Lunch.  Hopefully, your children are rested at Breakfast and also refreshed for Dinner after an afternoon break at the pool or nap at the resort.   Lunchtime can be tough because kids have had a morning full of fun and the last thing they want is to be strapped into a high chair and have a relaxing lunch.

This is what can happen with a late dinner at California Grill… asleep in the booth before dessert!

sleeping

 

2.  Choose a restaurant with some entertainment.  Character meals and the dinner shows are obvious favorites, but how about enjoying the traditional “Oktoberfest” entertainment at the Biergarten Restaurant (with an invitation for the kids to dance in front of the stage),  participating in coconut races at ‘Ohana, or watching film clips inside you “car table” at Sci-Fi Dine In?   Kids can also view the marine life in the huge aquarium at Coral Reef, see a belly dancer perform at Restaurant Marrakesh, watch their food being cooked right in front of them at Teppan Edo, see the Irish stepdancers at Raglan Road at and interact with the “in character” servers at Whispering Canyon Café and 50’s Prime Time Café.

Here is one of the dancers at Raglan Road (Downtown Disney)…

stepdancer

 

3.  Just like at home, be prepared with some small toys in your bag (Fisher Price Little People Disney Princesses and Thomas Trains work best for us) and books to keep you kids occupied while waiting for your meal.  The kids’ menus have activities and pictures to color, but they don’t change very often and your child may be bored if they have to color the same picture at each meal during your trip.

4. If you think your child may need to nap in their stroller during the meal, ask the hostess to park allow you to park it at the table with you.  When my child was very young (8 months old), she couldn’t make it through a whole dinner in the high chair, but would happily lounge in her stroller while we finished our meal.  

 

A Mommy-Daughter lunch at the Brown Derby.  While I enjoyed a Cobb Salad…  she was comfortable in her stroller… and with her book…

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5.  For your Character meals, consider Family-Style or Plated meals instead of Buffets.    Buffets are great because you do not have to wait for your food… it is ready when you are.  However, they can be a logistical nightmare.  If you are lucky to have two adults in your party, you will have to have one “food runner” and one adult stay at the table with the children.   This means that the food will arrive a bit at a time, and it is difficult for everyone to eat together.   If you only have one adult and more than one child, I don’t recommend the buffets at all.   It is no fun to maneuver through a buffet line with children and multiple plates of food.

The Family-Style and Plated meal Character restaurants include Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (there is an appetizer buffet here, but the entrée and dessert is brought to your table), Garden Grill, and ‘Ohana Character Breakfast.   At these restaurants, you can have a seat… all together… and relax as your server brings you your meal and you wait for the Characters to greet you.

Dining at Walt Disney World with your toddler(s) is actually a lot of fun… there are a ton of entertaining restaurants and it is the most family-friendly place you can visit.   Does anyone have any tips to add to this list?

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