Instant Pot Pot Roast

This one was a big time winner! But then, every recipe I’ve found on Damn Delicious is a winner.

It tasted like it’d been cooking all day, but it only took about an hour total.  It was PHENOMENAL. I will make this all the time, seriously. It turns a weekend meal that takes a long time and makes it a weeknight meal.

The meat was tender and fell apart. The veggies were the perfect texture, and the gravy that it makes was spot on.

I made a few changes:

  • I used brisket because we had one in the freezer that needed to be used
  • I was not able to add wine to mine because I accidentally bought a cork bottle instead of screw too and I misplaced my wine opener. I used extra beef stock.
  • I added a ton of thyme and no rosemary because I didn’t have any
  • I only set my IP for 40 minutes based on other things I read about cooking brisket in the IP. If I had used the chuck roast, I would have done what the recipe says.
  • I didn’t shred it. I just cut it up as usual. It sort of falls apart itself anyway.

Shepherd’s Pie Stuffed Baked Potato

We love shepherd’s pie in my house, so I wanted to find a way to shake it up a little bit.  This was just the answer and it was so easy since I didn’t have to make mashed potatoes to go on top!

The filling recipe is a slight variation on my other shepherd’s pie recipe that I use with turkey. I think I like it with ground beef better, but both are delicious.

Serves 4

4 russet potatoes

1 pound ground beef

Olive oil

½ onion, diced

2-3 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup peas

1 cup carrots, diced small

¼ cup worchestershire sauce

1 cup beef broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Grated cheddar cheese (optional)

Poke a few holes in each potato after you wash the outside. In a 425 degree oven, bake the potatoes for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until done all the way through. My potatoes were really big, so it took a long time. If yours are smaller, it may not take as long. Just keep your eye on them.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, Add the carrots in a little olive oil until they begin to soften. Add the onion, garlic, and ground beef and cook until the carrots are soft and the beef is browned and cooked through. Add the peas just before the end of cooking so they can thaw (if frozen) and warm through.  Sprinkle with the cornstarch and add the worchestershire sauce and the beef broth and bring to a boil, stirring consistently to mix in the cornstarch and form the gravy.

When the potatoes are ready, cut them open slightly and fluff up the inside.  Top with the shepherd’s pie mixture and a sprinkle of cheese.

Serve and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Brisket Enchiladas

I know Instant Pots are all the rage right now, and I do love mine, but my slow cooker is still the pride and joy of my kitchen gadgets. It is tried and true and never lets me down.

Not too long ago, there was a bulk meat sale at Bristol Farms. I went to “just check it out” and ended up a freezer full of brisket and pork shoulder. As much as I could just eat smoked meat all the time, smoking a brisket is a 12-hour process and we just don’t always have that sort of time commitment. Don’t get me wrong; we will still smoke the brisket at some point, but we have 4 good-sized briskets so at least one of them has to be less time-consuming to prepare.

That’s where these enchiladas came in. Not only were they super easy to make, they were really delicious too! And even though they still took about 10 hours, it was mostly all in the slow cooker so it was pretty much zero maintenance for me.

Slow Cooker Brisket Enchiladas

1 4-5 pound brisket

½ pound shishito peppers

1 brown onion, quartered

4 cloves of garlic

1 package taco seasoning (or homemade)

1 cup beef broth

6 flour tortillas

Shredded cheddar or Mexican cheese blend

Enchilada sauce (store-bought or homemade)

Put the brisket in the slow cooker fat side up. Sprinkle with the taco seasoning. Add the peppers (whole), garlic (whole), onion, and beef broth. Cook for 8-10 hours on low.

When the brisket is done, remove to a cutting board and shred with two forks. I also spooned over the shredded meat some of the cooking liquid for added flavor, but that’s optional.

Add about ¼ cup of enchilada sauce to the bottom of a baking dish.

Put a generous amount of the meat in the tortilla, enough that you can still roll it closed without a mess. Along with some shredded cheese. Roll up and add seam side down to the baking dish. Repeat until done.

Top the enchiladas with the sauce and more cheese.

Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Autumn Steak Salad

I know salads for dinner are usually thought of as a summer thing. They are light and refreshing and rarely involve turning on an oven in the heat of the summer.

Fall foods are usually considered more hearty and comforting. However, there is nobody saying that you can’t enjoy a good salad in the Fall and still feel warm and full. I was looking for something that would check off all the boxes: healthy, salad, filling, hearty, full of Fall goodness, so I came up with this beauty of a dish. My husband loved it. I loved it. It definitely hit the spot.

I’ve put approximate amounts in the list below. That’s one of the things that’s so great about a salad: you have so much free reign to make it how you like. Don’t want steak? Use chicken. Or no meat at all. Change the apple, add more cranberries.

You do you, boo.

Autumn Steak Salad

1 bag mixed greens (or lettuce/greens of your choice)

1 sweet potato, cubed

Olive oil

Ground cinnamon

1 apple, diced (I used a Fuji)

½ cup dried cranberries (or more if you’d like)

½ cup chopped walnuts (or more if you’d like)

Goat cheese, crumbled

Steak cut of your choice (I used a 15oz rib eye I found at Trader Joe’s)

Maple Dijon Apple vinaigrette

Salt and pepper

Fresh sage, about 1 tablespoon, minced

Place your cubed sweet potato on a baking sheet and coat with some olive oil, salt, and cinnamon, just a sprinkle or so will be fine. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool.

While the potatoes are roasting, season your steak with salt and pepper. Cook in a skillet over medium heat (I used my cast iron) until cooked to your preferred doneness. Remove and let set for about 5-10 minutes. Slice thinly.

Mix together the vinaigrette by combining equal parts olive oil and apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and ½ tablespoon of maple syrup and whisk together.

Assemble the salad: In a big bowl, add the greens, apple, cranberries, walnuts, sage, goat cheese, cooled sweet potatoes, and steak slices. Drizzle with dressing and toss to combine.

Mexican Lasagna 

A while back, I posted a recipe for Ropas Viejas which came from one of my favorite actresses Eva Longoria’s cookbook Eva’s Kitchen. (PS: Eva, I know you are busy being amazing, but when are you going to crank out another cookbook??) 

I actually met Eva once back in 2011 when she first published this book. She was doing a book signing at Willams-Sonoma, so my son, who was only 1 at the time, and I went to the mall to meet her. 

She is teeny tiny. Like, pocket size. But she is just as beautiful as you would imagine she would be and she was very sweet. The more I read interviews with her, the more I like her. 

Over the past 5 years that I’ve had this book, I’ve made many of the recipes in it. The Mexican Lasagna is probably my husband’s favorite of the bunch. He requests it often and since it is so delicious, I have no problem adding it to my menu plan. 

There are many great things about this recipe: 1. it freezes really well, so make two and freeze one; 2. it passes the leftovers test; 3. it is completely adjustable to your preferences. Sometimes when I make it, I follow the recipe to the “T”. Other times, I wing it and change things up a bit. You can change the meat, you can change the cheeses, you can change the veggies. Do it how you want to and it will most likely be just as delicious as Eva intended. I would suggest doing it the way the book says first and then make your adjustments. 

Here’s my simplified take on Eva Longoria’s Mexican Lasagna: 

2 pounds ground beef (well, 2 packages. You know they aren’t always exactly 1 pound. I just got 2 packages so it’s probably somewhere between 1.5 & 2 pounds)

1 packet of taco seasoning (or make your own: 2t garlic salt, 3t cumin,1.5T chile powder, 1.5t onion powder)

1/4 cup water

4oz cream cheese

1 can low-fat refried beans (or you can make a batch of my healthier slow-cooker beans)

1 jar of salsa (whatever you like, just not pico de gallo or similar style. It should be more of a picante style salsa)

2 cups of cheddar cheese (which is really an arbitrary number. Use a lot, use a little. I usually err on the side of more cheese)

2 tortillas

In a skillet, brown your beef. Add your taco seasoning and stir to combine. Add your water and bring to a boil, then to a simmer until the water evaporates. Add the cream cheese and stir until the cream cheese is melted into the beef and all combined. Adding the cream cheese just really takes this filling over the top. I sort of “stole” the idea from these Mexican Stuffed Shells that are another family favorite over here. The cream cheese makes this meat mixture dreamy.

Now you can assemble:

Spray a round baking dish or pan with cooking spray. Start the first layer with one tortilla. Spread with a layer of the beans, then a layer of the meat mixture, then top with salsa and cheese. Top that with a second tortilla and repeat the layers ending with cheese. 

You could probably do less fillings per layer and do more layers, but I liked it this way. img_7986img_7987

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes until all the cheese is melted and gooey.


This is a very easy dish, perfect for busy weeknights. You can make it ahead of time and even freeze it.


Dish #11: (Diet friendly!) Beef and bean burritos (Mexico)

Ok, so I haven’t posted in awhile and I think I need to take some time off already. The hubby and I are going to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic in May and that means we have a mere 5 months to get beach body ready!! So, unless I find something particularly in line with our meal plan, there won’t be many posts from me for a little while. I do promise some Dominican-inspired recipes when I get back though!

I wouldn’t just leave without saying goodbye, so here’s a delicious dish to get you through to my return!

(Diet Friendly) Beef and Bean Burritos

Living my whole life in Southern California (Culver City, by way of Bakersfield and Long Beach), Mexican food has always been an option for any meal I could want. And as delicious as it is, it really isn’t the healthiest of choices! I’m always looking for ways to make it little bit friendlier on the waistline and I think this one fits the bill.

Burritos, or a preface to the modern burrito, has been around for many, many years. The precise origin is unknown, but it is known to have been common among the vaqueros of northern Mexico in the 19th century, the California Central Valley farmworkers, and the Sonoran miners. Either way, the common denominator in these theories is the convenience factor of a packet of food wrapped in a tortilla for the hard workers.

Burritos are most commonly found in Northern Mexico, i.e. Ciudad Juarez, where people can buy them from street carts. Mostly, they are only filled with 2 ingredients, like a meat and refried beans. Burritos started to become known in the US in the 1930s. In California alone, there are at least three different styles of burrito: Mission Burritos in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego style. All have more ingredients than the traditional Mexican burrito and are much larger!

This burrito is sort of a mix match of different types and I don’t really have a set recipe. It is all up to your specific tastes!

1lb Lean Ground beef (90-95%)
Taco seasoning (2t garlic salt, 2t cumin,1T chile powder, 1t onion powder. I try not to use the taco seasoning packets if I can help it. They are chock full of sodium. But, you know, sometimes I do because that’s real life.) You can adjust the seasonings if you need to suit your own tastes

Brown the beef in a skillet, just before it’s done, add the seasonings and continue cooking until done.

I make these in the crock pot and they are so good, you won’t even miss the fat usually used in refried beans!

All you need is dry pinto beans and water. However much beans you put in, make sure they are well covered in water. It’s better to put too much than not enough. I did 1 cup of beans and like 6 or 7 cups of water. You can always drain water at the end, but if there isn’t enough while it’s cooking, the beans will dry up and burn.

In the crock pot, add the beans, 1/2 an onion diced, 3 garlic cloves, 2 t cumin, 1 t salt. Top with water.

Cook on high for 6-8 hours.

Drain most of the water into a container. Keep it just in case the beans are too dry when you mash them and you need to add more liquid. Mash the beans with a potato masher or an immersion blender (my favorite method) to your desired consistency. Add more seasoning if you need. I found that most times I need to add a bit more salt. Just remember, you can always add, you can’t take away.


I used these multigrain tortillas from Mission Tortilla, and surprise, surprise! they were yummy!! And at only 100 calories a pop, I’m all for it. Now, they aren’t huge, but I felt satisfied after one burrito. (Portion control!)

Put a smear of beans on the tortilla, spoon the meat onto the beans and top with a little cheese (everything in moderation, you guys), and tomatoes. You can add lettuce if you want. I know my husband likes to put his fair share of Tapatio on his.

I promise you, it was so yummy! I think red meat tends to get a bad rap, but if you get a really lean beef, you should be fine. It is loaded with protein and iron.

If the beef really bothers you, you could easily substitute ground turkey or chicken.

Also, if you call the whole thing a Beef and Bean Wrap instead of a tortilla, it sounds healthier :0)




Dish #7: Ropa Viejas with Moros y Cristianos (Cuba)

Ropa Viejas, which translates to “old clothes” in Spanish, is a common dish in Cuba. It consists of shredded beef (hence the “old clothes”) in a tomato-based criollo sauce. The Criollo people is the name of a caste system of the overseas colonies established by Spain. Like many Cuban dishes, this one originates from the Canary Islands, which is a chain of Spanish islands located off the coast of Africa (which also has some influence on Cuban cuisine).
There are probably numerous ways to make this dish since it is such a staple in Cuban homes, but I found this recipe in my Eva’s Kitchen cookbook. I remember when I first got this book when it came out, I remember thinking that it looked really good, but never actually got around to making it. When I decided to do this blog, I thought it would be perfect.

So far, most of the recipes I’ve made have been my own, but I followed this one to the letter, so credit goes to my friend Eva for this one. (See? Friends. My son wouldn’t stop staring at her…)


Eva Longoria’s Crock-Pot Ropa Vieja (FYI: Doing this in the crock pot is AWESOME! It makes it much easier and it makes your house smell amazing…)

2.5 lbs Beef Flank Steak
6 Tbls ground cumin
4 Tbls Olive oil
2 cups Beef Broth
1 15 oz can or 2 8 oz cans tomato sauce
2 6 oz cans tomato paste
2 Tbls distilled vinegar
8 garlic cloves minced
1.5 tsp kosher salt
1 large onion chopped
1 green bell pepper seeded and sliced into strips
1 red bell pepper seeded and sliced into strips
1 bunch cilantro  (I loathe cilantro, so I only added a little bit. If you like it, add more)


1. Take 3 Tbls of the cumin and rub on the steak all over. Take 2 Tbls of the oil and heat it over medium-high heat in a nice big skillet. Brown flank steak on both sides and then throw in crock-pot.


2. In a large mixing bowl mix together the beef broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, garlic, salt, the rest of the cumin, and the remaining 2 Tbls of olive oil. Stir well. Add the onion, bell peppers and cilantro and again, stir until well blended. Add to the crock-pot.


3 .Cover and cook on low for up to 10 hours (mine went for around 9) or on high for 4 hours. You know it’s ready when the meat falls apart after being pierced with a fork. When done, take meat out and shred with 2 forks. Return the meat to the sauce and let stand for 15 minutes.


I served my Ropa viejas with Moros y Cristianos, which is a Cuban rice and beans dish that can be found in pretty much every Cuban restaurant and household. It’s name is a direct reference to the African Moors (black beans) and the Spanish Christians (white rice) as part of the Islamic conquest of Spain and the Reconquista, another period of fighting between the Christian and Muslim people. Cuban food is heavily influenced by Spanish, North African, and Carribbean cultures and this dish is a representative of that.

This is another one with a ton of ways to prepare, so for this one, I did make my own recipe based on what I read about it. Apologies if it isn’t traditional enough, but it was tasty!

2 cups of cooked white rice
1 can of black beans (alternately, you can buy Cuban-style black beans at Trader Joe’s, if so, skip everything and just heat and eat :0) )
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 a yellow onion, chopped
3 slices of bacon, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, mined
1 tsp oregano
3 bay leaves

In a skillet, cook the bacon and onion in the olive oil until the bacon is crisp and the onions are soft and slightly browned. Add the garlic and cook until soft (you’ll be able to tell by the fragrance). Add the can of beans with the liquid, rice, oregano, and bay leaves. Mix together and let simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Take out the bay leaves before serving.


Serve together and enjoy. I promise you will. It was probably one of my favorite dishes I’ve made so far.

(Side note: add a little cheese and wrap in a tortilla and it makes a yummy burrito the next day!)